The Psalms of David in Metre

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Psalm 84

This psalm is much like the 27th, 42nd, 43rd, and 63rd, and may have been composed on the same occasion with the former, when David was banished from Jerusalem by Absalom his son, 2 Sam. 15-16. We have here, (1.) David’s ardent affection towards the public ordinances of God, and sense of their happiness who enjoyed them, ver. 1-7, 10. (2.) His heart-burning desire to the God of ordinances, ver. 8-9. (3.) His assured faith of God’s kindness, and persuasion of the happiness of such as trust in him, ver. 11-12.

So let my heart cry out for God, the living God. So let me covet earnestly intimate fellowship with him in his ordinances. So let me praise his name, and hold on in his way, till I arrive at the Zion above. So let God be my friend, my protector, my supplier, my store, and the everlasting rock of my rest.

To me it is inconceivable, how sparrows or swallows could fix their nests in the altars of God, which were of brass or rough stones, and had a fire perpetually burning upon them, and multitudes of priests and Levites crowding around them. God did not allow of any trees to be planted near them; and I cannot believe God’s tabernacle or temple was polluted with the nests and ordure of birds, in the manner of our ruinous churches. Nor can I see this idea answerable to the context, or scope of the psalm. Might not the verse be rather translated, “As the sparrow findeth the house, and the swallow the nest for herself, where she hath put her young ones, my soul findeth thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God” ­ i.e. with inexpressible ardour I long for, and desire them; and with ineffable pleasure I approach them, in order to intimate fellowship with my God. Compare ver. 1-2, 10 of this psalm, with Psalm 42:1-2; 43:3-4.

To the chief Musician upon Gittith,
A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1 How lovely is thy dwelling-place,
O Lord of hosts, to me!
The tabernacles of thy grace
how pleasant, Lord, they be!

2 My thirsty soul longs veh’mently,
yea faints, thy courts to see:
My very heart and flesh cry out,
O living God, for thee.

3 Behold, the sparrow findeth out
an house wherein to rest;
The swallow also for herself
hath pur-chas-ed a nest;

Ev’n thine own altars, where she safe
her young ones forth may bring,
O thou almighty Lord of hosts,
who art my God and King.

4 [Blessed] are they in thy house that dwell,
they ever give thee praise.
5 [Blessed] is the man whose strength thou art,
in whose heart are thy ways:

6 Who passing thorough Baca’s vale,
therein do dig up wells;
Also the rain that falleth down
the pools with water fills.

7 So they from strength unwearied go
still forward unto strength,
Until in Zion they appear
before the Lord at length.

8 Lord God of hosts, my prayer hear;
O Jacob’s God, give ear.
9 See God our shield, look on the face
of thine anointed dear.

10 For in thy courts one day excels
a thousand; rather in
My God’s house will I keep a door,
than dwell in tents of sin.

11 For God the Lord’s a sun and shield:
he’ll grace and glory give;
And will withhold no good from them
that uprightly do live.

12 O thou that art the Lord of hosts,
that man is truly blest,
Who by assured confidence
on thee alone doth rest.