The Psalms of David in Metre

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Psalm 89

This psalm was perhaps composed on the occasion of Absalom’s rebellion, 2 Sam. 15; or of the revolt of the ten tribes, from their subjection to the family of David, 1 Kings 12; or it relates to the Chaldean oppression and captivity, 2 Kings 24-25. In the first, and joyful part, we have, (1.) The foundation of all comfort, happiness, honour, and stability, laid in the mercy of God, and his covenant with David, emblematic of that made with Jesus Christ for the redemption of mankind, ver. 1-4. (2.) A celebration of the God of the covenant, in his faithfulness, glory, greatness, mercy, and equity; and in his works, ver. 5-14; and of the glorious dignity, happiness, and safety of the covenant people, ver. 15-18. (3.) A bundle of covenant promises, securing proper qualifications, assistance and glory, to the Head of the covenant; and indefeasible blessings to his covenant seed, notwithstanding their manifold sins and chastisements, ver. 19-37.

In the second, and mournful part, we have (1.) Grievous lamentations over the dishonour, distress, and danger of David’s family, ver. 38-45. (2.) Expostulations with God concerning the same ­ drawn from the continuance of trouble; the shortness of human life, and certainty of death; the withdrawment of former kindness promised in the covenant; and the insolent reproaches of enemies, ver. 46-51. (3.) A triumphant conclusion of praise to God, ver. 52.

While I sing, let me chiefly keep mine eyes on David’s Lord. Let me with joy behold the covenant made with him, for our redemption. Let me adore my covenant God, as in him, well pleased for his righteousness’ sake, and rendering him and his seed most blessed for evermore. And as Jesus’ sufferings for me purchased my eternal happiness, let never my own, or the church’s troubles weaken my faith, or make me drop my songs of praise.

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

1 God’s mercies I will ever sing;
and with my mouth I shall
Thy faithfulness make to be known
to generations all.

2 For mercy shall be built, said I,
for ever to endure;
Thy faithfulness, ev’n in the heav’ns,
thou wilt establish sure.

3 I with my chosen One have made
a cov’nant graciously;
And to my servant, whom I loved,
to David sworn have I;

4 That I thy seed establish shall
for ever to remain,
And will to generations all
thy throne build and maintain.

5 The praises of thy wonders, Lord,
the heavens shall express;
And in the congregation
of saints thy faithfulness.

6 For who in heaven with the Lord
may once himself compare?
Who is like God among the sons
of those that mighty are?

7 Great fear in meeting of the saints
is due unto the Lord;
And he of all about him should
with rev’rence be adored.

8 O thou that art the Lord of hosts,
what Lord in mightiness
Is like to thee? who compassed round
art with thy faithfulness.

9 Ev’n in the raging of the sea
thou over it dost reign;
And when the waves thereof do swell,
thou stillest them again.

10 Rahab in pieces thou didst break,
like one that slaughtered is;
And with thy mighty arm thou hast
dispersed thine enemies.

11 The heav’ns are thine, thou for thine own
the earth dost also take;
The world, and fulness of the same,
thy pow’r did found and make.

12 The north and south from thee alone
their first beginning had;
Both Tabor mount and Hermon hill
shall in thy name be glad.

13 Thou hast an arm that’s full of pow’r,
thy hand is great in might;
And thy right hand exceedingly
exalted is in height.

14 Justice and judgment of thy throne
are made the dwelling-place;
Mercy, accompanied with truth,
shall go before thy face.

15 O greatly blessed the people are
the joyful sound that know;
In brightness of thy face, O Lord,
they ever on shall go.

16 They in thy name shall all the day
rejoice exceedingly;
And in thy righteousness shall they
exalted be on high.

17 Because the glory of their strength
doth only stand in thee;
And in thy favor shall our horn
and pow’r exalted be.

18 For God is our defense; and he
to us doth safety bring:
The Holy One of Israel
is our almighty King.

19 In vision to thy Holy One
thou saidst, I help upon
A strong one laid; out of the folk
I raised a chosen one;

20 Ev’n David, I have found him out
a servant unto me;
And with my holy oil my King
anointed him to be.

21 With whom my hand shall stablished be;
mine arm shall make him strong.
22 On him the foe shall not exact,
nor son of mischief wrong.

23 I will beat down before his face
all his malicious foes;
I will them greatly plague who do
with hatred him oppose.

24 My mercy and my faithfulness
with him yet still shall be;
And in my name his horn and pow’r
men shall exalted see.

25 His hand and pow’r shall reach afar;
I’ll set it in the sea;
And his right hand established
shall in the rivers be.

26 Thou art my Father, he shall cry,
thou art my God alone;
And he shall say, Thou art the Rock
of my salvation.

27 I’ll make him my first-born, more high
than kings of any land.
28 My love I’ll ever keep for him,
my cov’nant fast shall stand.

29 His seed I by my pow’r will make
for ever to endure;
And, as the days of heav’n, his throne
shall stable be, and sure.

30 But if his children shall forsake
my laws, and go astray,
And in my judgments shall not walk,
but wander from my way:

31 If they my laws break, and do not
keep my commandements;
32 I’ll visit then their faults with rods,
their sins with chastisements.

33 Yet I’ll not take my love from him,
nor false my promise make.
34 My cov’nant I’ll not break, nor change
what with my mouth I spake.

35 Once by my holiness I sware,
to David I’ll not lie;
36 His seed and throne shall, as the sun,
before me last for aye.

37 It, like the moon, shall ever be
established stedfastly;
And like to that which in the heav’n
doth witness faithfully.

38 But thou, displeased, hast cast off,
thou didst abhor and loathe;
With him that thine anointed is
thou hast been very wroth.

39 Thou hast thy servant’s covenant
made void, and quite cast by;
Thou hast profaned his crown, while it
cast on the ground doth lie.

40 Thou all his hedges hast broke down,
his strong holds down hast torn.
41 He to all passers-by a spoil,
to neighbors is a scorn.

42 Thou hast set up his foes’ right hand;
mad’st all his en’mies glad:
43 Turned his sword’s edge, and him to stand
in battle hast not made.

44 His glory thou hast made to cease,
his throne to ground down cast;
45 Shortened his days of youth, and him
with shame thou covered hast.

46 How long, Lord, wilt thou hide thyself?
for ever, in thine ire?
And shall thine indignation
burn like unto a fire?

47 Remember, Lord, how short a time
I shall on earth remain:
O wherefore is it so that thou
has made all men in vain?

48 What man is he that liveth here,
and death shall never see?
Or from the power of the grave
what man his soul shall free?

49 Thy former loving-kindnesses,
O Lord, where be they now?
Those which in truth and faithfulness
to David sworn hast thou?

50 Mind, Lord, thy servant’s sad reproach;
how I in bosom bear
The scornings of the people all,
who strong and mighty are.

51 Wherewith thy raging enemies
reproached, O Lord, think on;
Wherewith they have reproached the steps
of thine anointed one.

52 All blessing to the Lord our God
let be ascribed then:
For evermore so let it be.
Amen, yea, and amen.