Psalms 22, literally means "a hind or doe of the dawn." It is to be sung to a tune by that title. The inscription of Psalm 21, calls to mind the coronation of David. The title of this Psalm, which in the versions has stood in the super-scription of Ps. 22, as the sub-scription to Ps. 21 carries the meaning "the hind of the morning". In the eighth verse of this psalm David addresses the best loved things in his life - his psaltery and harp. He cries, "Awake psaltery and harp. I myself will awake early." Literally he sings, "I'll call up the dawn."
The Jewish commentators, Rashi (A.D. 1040-1145, Troyes) and Kimchi (A.D. 1160-1232, Narbonne) render it "a hind fair as the morning". The Targum has it "the morning sacrifice".
A figure of speech common in the East, and frequently met with in Arabian poetry, it is used of the Day-Dawn, in which the beams of light from the rising sun are seen shooting forth (like the horns of a deer) above the horizon before the sun even appears. It is used in Psalm 21 of the rays of Messiah's coming glory, and tells of the dawn of His approaching coronation which is the one great subject of Psalm 21. It is the same "day-Dawn" which forms the theme of David's "last words". Compare with 2 Pet. 1:19.
Was the song for the maidens to sing in the going up of the Ark in I Chronicles 15. There were three groups of singers mentioned: the Levites, the maidens, and the men-singers. This Psalm was used by the maidens. Maidens. (Ps. 45) a ‘Song of loves’ (see heading) for the Maidens' Choir. I Chron. 15. 20; Ps. 68. 24, 25. (Verses 9 to 16) as justifying the title. The words: 'Al = meaning relating to, or concerning, or connected with. 'Al has a wide range of meaning, and we select that which lends itself best to the context. As to 'Alamoth (fem. pl.) commentators agree that it means "damsels or maidens." 'Almah occurs (in sing. and pl.) seven times in the Heb. O.T., and is rendered "virgin" in Gen. 24:43. Song 1:3; 6:8. Isa. 7:14; "maid" in Ex. 2:8. Prov. 30:19; and "damsel" in Ps. 68:25. The term for virgin is bethulah (Gen. 24:16, &c.), while 'almah denotes a young woman of marriageable age, still under the care of others.
According to Josephus (1st century A.D.), the kinnor used by the Temple musicians had ten strings; the nevel, twelve. The Bible also mentions the nevel `asor or `asor, probably a ten-stringed nevel; the nevel `al - `alamot or `alamot, apparently an alto-pitched or "maidenly" nevel; and the kinnor `al - hashsheminit or hashsheminit, a "lyre upon the eighth". In the plural, therefore, 'alamoth can mean only maidens. This does not restrict the use of the word to "a maidens' choir", when used as a sub-scription to Ps. 45, and not as the super-scription of Ps. 46. There is no connection between "maidens" and Ps. 46, but there are many points in the subject-matter of Ps. 45 which link it on to that Psalm. There are references to the "king's daughter", and "honorable women" (v. 9). It is a "daughter" that is addressed as the bride (v. 10). There is the "daughter of Tyre" (v. 12); "the king's daughter" (v. 13); and "the virgins her companions" (v. 14).
The subject-matter of Ps. 45, appears to connect it with that Psalm, making it appropriate that, even if the Psalms were intended to be sung by maidens, such singing need not be connected with the Temple or its services. It was sung in the open air processionals and 1 Chron. 15 is the backdrop for such an occasion. In the procession in which the Ark was carried up from the house of Obededom to Zion three bodies of singers are mentioned: (1) the Levites (vv. 16-19), (2) the maidens (v. 20); and (3) the Sheminith or men-singers (see No. XIX, p. 95) who brought up the rear of the procession (v. 21). This is the very order which is mentioned in Ps. 68. (1) the singers going before (1Chron. 15:16-19); (2) the players on instruments following after (v. 22); in the midst, "the damsels (the 'Alamoth) playing with timbrels" (v. 20). Ps. 68 begins with the words of Num. 10:35, which prescribes the formula for the setting forth of the Ark. The "goings" of Ps. 68:24 refer to the great going up of the Ark to Zion. The company of those who published the word of Jehovah (v. 11) is fem. plural, and the reference is not to Ex. 15:20 or 1Sam. 18:6, but to 1Chron. 15:20. From all this it is clear that this Psalm (68) must be carried back to as early a date as 951-950 B.C., instead of being assigned to the later dates of 537 B.C. or 167 B.C. as demanded by modern criticism.
A cry that God would spare was made by Moses in time of crisis (Ex. 32:11-14, cp. Deut. 9:25), and by David (2Sam. 24:16, 17) where we have the same Heb. word (shahath). David acted on the injunction of Deut. 4:30, 31; the reason being "for Jehovah thy God is a MERCIFUL God, He will not forsake thee, neither DESTROY thee". This is why Pss. 56 and 57 begin "Be merciful".
Pss. 56, 57, 58, 74. Psalms for a season of humiliation, praying for deliverance from danger and adversity. Destroy not.
There are four Psalms which have this sub-scription, viz. 56, 57, 58, and 74 (not Psalms 57, 58, 59, and 75, which in all the versions have is as the super-scription). The first three are David's, the fourth is by Asaph.
Two by David (56 and 57) are each connected with crisis in his life, while the third belongs to a peculiar time of trouble. There is no dispute as to the meaning of the word.
It is rendered as "Destroy not" and is a cry of distress, a cry at the very time of crisis. But this cry is found, in the Psalms to which we have placed it, as an inscription, and not in the others where it has formerly stood as a super-scription.
Such a cry had been made by Moses at a great crisis (Ex. 32:11-14, cp. Deut. 9:25), and by David (2Sam. 24:16, 17) where we have the same Heb. word (shahath). David acted on the injunction of Deut. 4:30, 31; the reason being "for Jehovah thy God is a merciful and loving God, who will neither forsake thee, nor destory". This is why Pss. 56 and 57 begin "Be merciful".
For further references to this sub-scription compare Pss. 56:1, 9, 10, 11; 57:1-3, 6, 7; 58:3, 6, 7, 11, and 74:1-3, 10, 11, 18-20, 22, 23. Ps. 74 is prophetic of the latter days (spoken of in Deut. 4:30) when "Destroy not" will be an appeal suited to "the day of Jacob's trouble".
David was a prophet (Acts 2:30), and spake of things yet future; why should not some Psalms speak prophetically and proleptically of Zion before it was built, and of the Exile before it took place, instead of being styled "post-Exilic" by the modern critics?
Gittith speaks of a song to be sung on a harp of Gath, most of which are joyful Psalms. Psalms 8, 81, and 84.Winepresses relating to the Autumn Festicals (Pss. 7, 8o, 83) The enjoyment of God's divine protection and full reliance upon His tender care (Lev. 23. 43). For the Autumn Feast, Tabernacles, designed to commemorate God's goodness to Israel as Protecter, and Keeper, especially shown in the early days of the nation. (Lev. 23. 43) Gittith is commonly supposed to refer to an instrument invented in Gath or to a tune that was used in the Philistine city. One commentator sees this as 'gittoth, "wine presses," and connects Psalms 7; 80 and 83 with the Feast of Tabernacles.
There are three Psalms which have this word in the sub-scription. They are 7, 80, and 83 (not 8, 81, and 84, over which they have hitherto stood as the super-scription).
There is no doubt about Gittith meaning winepresses; from Gath (Judges 6:11. Neh. 13:15. Isa. 63:2. Lam. 1:15), not the "vat" which receives the juice from the "press" (which is yekeb, Num. 18:27, 30. Deut. 15:14, &c.). The word speaks of the autumn, just as Shoshannim, No. XX below (lilies), speaks of the spring. Hence Shoshannim (flowers) is associated with the Spring Festival (the Passover), as Gittoth (fruit) is associated with the Autumn Festival (Tabernacles). The Passover told of Jehovah's goodness in Divine redemption; the Feast of Tabernacles told of Jehovah's goodness in Divine keeping. A study of the three Gittith Psalms (7, 80, and 83) in this connection will prove profitable for instruction, removing any perplexity involved in associating the word with the subject-matter of Pss. 8, 81, and 84, with which it has no connection.
Higgaion is a murmuring sound to denote solemnity. It is rendered solemn sound in Psalms 92:3, where it is to be played plainifly. The word is translated "meditation" in Psalms 19:14 and 5:1. A call for meditation. Used internally in the Psalms. The word HIGGAION, which is rendered ‘meditation’ in Ps. 19: 14, occurs as a lone note after verse 16 of Ps. 9. It can be rendered ‘meditation’ there also, since the four verses that follow constitute the moral of the preceding portion of the psalm. It stands before Selah, the sign for a new stanza or paragraph, and is a heading for the psalm.
The word is found in three Psalms : viz. 9:16; 19:14, and 92:3. In 9:16 it is transliterated "Higgaion". In 19:14 it is translated "meditation"; and In 92:3 it is rendered "solemn sound".
The word occurs also in Lam. 3:62, where it is rendered in the A.V. "device", and in the R.V. "imagination".
It is derived from hagah, and means to soliloquize, to speak to one's self; hence, to meditate (Josh. 1:8. So Pss. 77:12 and 143:5).
As a noun, it would mean a meditation, or a speaking in premeditated words; and therefore worthy of memory or repetition.
If the three Psalms be read in the light of this word, we shall note the subjects which are so worthy of our meditation, and not think about music.
In Ps. 9:16 it is the judgment of Jehovah.
In Ps. 19:14 it is the words and the work of Jehovah.
In Ps. 92:2, 3 it is the lovingkindness and faithfulness of Jehovah.
We know from 1 Ch 16:41; 25:3 that JEDUTHUN (which see) was a choir leader in the days of David. He perhaps introduced a method of conducting the service of song which ever afterward was associated with his name. Jeduthun was a singer who sang praise and worship music along with Asaph and Heman before the ark in Jerusalem in the days of David (I Chr 16:41). His name appears in the superscription to Psalm 39 verse 1. He is called a seer (II Chr 35:15). His sons were "keepers of the gate" (I Chr 16:42). Jeduthun and his six sons were assigned the role of "prophesy with harps, stringed instruments and cymbals" (I Chr 25:1, 3, 6). They and the other musical guilds mentioned in I Chronicles chapter 25 performed music at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple. According to II Chronicles 5:12 it is asserted that they were Levites.A descendant of Jeduthun named Abda or Obadiah was among the first to return to Judah from Babylonia after the promulgation of the Edict of Cyrus (I Chr 9:16; Neh 11:17).Jeduthun also seems to be the name of a musical instrument, for the name appears in the formula "for the leader of the music upon a Jeduthun" (Ps 62:1; 77:1). Since in all other cases in the Bible Jeduthun is a musician, it has been suggested that these references (and possibly 39:1) denote a type of harp, flute or drum originated by Jeduthun.
I Chr 9:16; 16:38, 41-42; 25:1, 3, 6. II Chr 5:12; 29:14; 35:15. Neh 11:17 This is the subscription of Psalms 38, 61, and 76. This man was apparently one of three chief Musicians from each of the three families of Levi. He was a Merarite, also named Ethan. Understanding that his name is given in the subscript clears up the apparent error of two authors being given in two of the three Psalms following his Psalms. The Temple worship (1 Chron. 16:41, 42; 25:1-6; 2Chron. 5:12; 35:15). The three sons of Aaron were thus represented by the three men whose names occur in this category. JEDUTHUN was a descendant of MERARI (1Chron. 26:10); while ASAPH was a descendant of GERSHOM; and HEMAN of KOHATH.
JEDUTHUN seems to have had another name, "ETHAN" (1Chron. 15:17, 19, compared with 16:41, 42; 25:1, 3, 6, and 2Chron. 35:15). That there was an "Ethan", a Merarite, is seen from 1Chron. 6:44; 15:17.
In 2 Chron. 35:15 he is called "the king's seer"; and in 1Chron. 25:1 it was the duty of these three men "to prophesy" and "to confess, and to praise Jehovah" (v. 3). This was according to the king's order (v. 6).
There are three Psalms connected with JEDUTHUN (38, 61, and 76), and they will be found to fulfill these conditions.
By comparing these Psalms as set out in The Companion Bible, the confusion, caused by two of these Psalms appearing to have the names of two different authors, vanishes. The sub-scription of each Psalm now stands "To the chief Musician -- Jeduthun."
The Dove of the Distant Terebinths. This is the Psalm 55 inscription. There is no reference to a dove in Ps. 56, but there is in Ps. 55:6. In v. 2 he says, "I mourn in my complaint, and moan" (R.V.). In Isa. 38:14, Hezekiah, in trouble equally great, says, "I did moan as a dove" (the same word as in Ps. 55:17 David sees himself as the dove, moaning over the trouble that has come upon him through his son Absalom. Ps. 55. Note verses 5-8, 16, 17. Probably sung in commemoration of the conflicts of David's career.
There is only one Psalm with this inscription, i.e. Ps. 55 (not Ps. 56, over which it hitherto stood in other Bibles and Versions as the super-scription or title).
There is general agreement that this Title means "Relating to the dove in the distant terebinths (or oaks)".
David is the "dove". He is far away in the distant woods, moaning over the trouble that has come upon him through the rebellion of Absalom, recorded in 2Sam. 15-19.
There is no reference to a dove in Ps. 56, but there is in Ps. 55:6. In v. 2 he says, "I mourn in my complaint, and moan" (R.V.). In Isa. 38:14, Hezekiah, in trouble equally great, says, "I did moan as a dove" (the same word as in Ps. 55:17 (R.V.). Cp. Ezek. 7:16, where we have it again). David speaks further concerning this moaning in Ps. 55:4-8; also in vv. 16, 17. The desertion of Ahithophel at this crisis is alluded to in vv. 12-14. All Psalms of, or "relating to David", refer to the true David; so we may compare David's desertion with Christ's betrayal, and the end of Ahithophel (2Sam. 17:23) with the end of Judas Iscariot (Matt. 27:5-8. Acts 1:18, 19).
See Psalm 87 inscription. Refers to the bringing up of the Ark to Jerusalem by David, when he danced before the Lord and all the people shouted, as mentioned in II Samuel 6: 14-15.
Mahalath. "The great Dancing" is the Psalm 52 inscription, and refers to the dancing associated with David’s victory over Goliath as mentioned in I Samuel 18: 6-7.
The Septuagint translators could make nothing of the words (there being no vowel points); so they simply transliterated the word, spelling it maeleth, which has no meaning whatever. AQUILA, a reviser of the Sept. (about A.D. 160), supplied different vowels, and read the Hebrew as though it meant choreia, dancing. He must have take the Hebrew Mecholoth to mean dancing (or, by the plural of majesty, the great dancing). SYMMACHUS, another reviser of the Sept. (about A.D. 193-211), follows AQUILA.
This rendering, which takes the Hebrew as being Mecholoth (instead of Mahalath), at once connects Ps. 52 with 1Sam. 18:6, 7, the occasion being celebrated and known afterwards, as "the great dancing". Twice, later in David's life, this event is referred to as a landmark in David's history (1Sam. 21:11; 29:5). If we read Ps. 52, we shall note the references to Doeg's mischievous tongue (in vv. 1-4); to David's assertion (1Sam. 17:37) in v. 5; to David's words, "all this assembly shall know" (1Sam. 17:47); in vv. 6, 7 "the righteous also shall see and fear". The victory is ascribed to God in v. 9, as it is in 1Sam. 17:37. When we read these remarkable references, we shall not heed the modern critics' talk about "catchwords of an older song", or the "name of a tune called 'Sickness'", or "the name of a choir at Abel-meholah".
MAHALATH (for M'HOLOTH) LEANNOTH: Dancings with shoutings. The Psalm 87 subscription. Refers to the bringing up of the Ark to Jerusalem by David, when he danced before the Lord and all the people shouted, as mentioned in II Samuel 6: 14-15. Ps. 87, celebrating the bringing of the Ark to Zion (2 Sam. 6. 4, 14, 15). (The great Dancing and Shouting).
These words are found as the sub-scription to Ps. 87 in The Companion Bible (not as the super-scription or title to Ps. 88 over which it stands in all other Bibles and Versions).
As Mecholoth means dancing (see No. IX above), so all are agreed that Leannoth means shoutings (and, with the pl. or majesty, the great shouting). (Cp. Ex. 15:20, 21; 32:17, 18. Num. 21:17. 1Sam. 18:6, 7. Ezra 3:11). So that the combined words "The Great Shouting and Dancing" give us the subject-matter of Ps. 87.
We have only to read the Psalm in the light of 1Sam. 6:14, 15 to see the obvious connection with David's bringing the Ark to Zion. In v. 2 there is a distinct allusion to the other places where the Ark had found a temporary dwelling, Shiloh (1Sam. 1:3; 2:14; 3:21. Ps. 78:60); Beth-shemesh (1Sam. 6:13); Kirjath-jearim (1Sam. 7:1); Gibeah (2Sam. 6:3, 4); the house of Obed-edom (vv. 10-12). But none of these was the dwelling-place Jehovah had chosen. Hence, Zion is celebrated as "the Mount Zion which He loved".
"Understanding" or "Instruction." (Public.) Is a term found as a title of thirteen Psalms, and imports one that instructs or makes to understand. Some interpreters think it means an instrument of music; but it more probably signifies an instructive song. Psalms 32, 42, 44, 45, 52, 53, 54, 55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142 superscription. These Psalms are for the instruction of the general populous. Since the words belong in the superscription, they are attached to the proper Psalms in our Bibles.This word is found in the super-scription proper of thirteen Psalms (32, 42, 44, 45, 52, 53, 54, 55, 74, 78, 88, 89, 142).
PSALM 44 To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, The deeds You did in their days, In days of old:
Unlike the "Michtam" Psalms (which are all by David, see No. XII below), these are by various authors. Six are by David (32, 52, 53, 54, 55, and 142). Three are by the sons of Korah (42, 44, and 45). Two are by Asaph (74 and 78). One is by Heman the Ezrahite (88). One is by Ethan the Ezrahite (89).
Maschil is from sakal, to look at, scrutinize, to look well into anything (1Sam. 18:30); hence the noun will mean understanding arising from deep consideration (Prov. 13:15. Neh. 8:8). The Sept. rendering is suneseos = understanding and eis sunesin = for understanding. It is the O.E. verb to skill.
The first of these Psalms (32) gives the basis of all true instruction and understanding. In v. 8 it is given:
"I will instruct thee And teach thee in the way thou shouldest go ... Be not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding".
Or Ps. 44:1, "We have heard", &c.; or 45:10, "Hearken, O daughter, and incline thine ear", &c.
The idea "to play skillfully" seems trivial in comparison with such "instruction" as this.
Prefixed to Psalms 16:11, and meaning golden, profound, or as some think, a writing or song, as in Isaiah 38:9. Michtam. "Engraven." Psalms 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60 inscription. Refers to something written permanently or "graven" because of its importance. Also carries the meaning of death and resurrection, so often specifically relates to Christ. This word is found (in all Versions of the Bible) in the super-scription of six Psalms (16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60). All are by David. The last five form a group by themselves.
See the Second Book of the Psalms in which the congregation of Israel speak to Him as Israel's Redeemer; and His work as telling of His death and resurrection.
The word Michtam is from Katam, to cut in, or engrave, as in Jer. 2:22, "thine iniquity is graven before me" (not "marked", as in A.V. and R.V.).
The Sept. renders it stelographia = a sculptured writing. Hence, stele = a sepulchral monument, on account of the inscription graven on it.
The word, therefore, points to a graven and therefore a permanent writing; graven on account of its importance (cp. Job. 19:24). What that importance is can be gathered only from the Michtam Psalms themselves.
The A.V. and R.V. derive the word from Kethem gold, either from its being precious, or hidden away.
This meaning is not far out; but it lacks the raison d'etre for this importance, which the other derivation gives in connecting with death and resurrection.
The Michtam Psalms are all pervaded by the common characteristic of being Personal, Direct, and more or less Private.
This word is found (in all Versions of the Bible) in the super-scription of six Psalms (16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60). All are by David. The last five form a group by themselves. See the Structure of "the Exodus Book" (or the Second Book) of the Psalms (p. 759), where, in Group F1-F5, God's People speak to Him as Israel's Redeemer; and His work as telling of His death and resurrection. The word Michtam is from Katam, to cut in, or engrave, as in Jer. 2:22, "thine iniquity is graven before me" (not "marked", as in A.V. and R.V.). The Sept. renders it stelographia = a sculptured writing. Hence, stele = a sepulchral monument, on account of the inscription graven on it. The word, therefore, points to a graven and therefore a permanent writing; graven on account of its importance (cp. Job. 19:24). What that importance is can be gathered only from the Michtam Psalms themselves. The A.V. and R.V. derive the word from Kethem gold, either from its being precious, or hidden away. This meaning is not far out; but it lacks the raison d'etre for this importance, which the other derivation gives in connecting with death and resurrection. The Michtam Psalms are all pervaded by the common characteristic of being Personal, Direct, and more or less Private. This reference is to David's Son and David's Lord; and especially to His death and resurrection; or to a deliverance from imminent danger, or death; or even from the grave itself. See Pss. 16:10, 11; 56:13; 57:3; 58:10, 11; 59:16; 60:5, 12. It is David who "being a prophet" (Acts 2:25-31), knew that God "would raise up Messiah to sit on his throne". Hence this is the truth engraven in the first of these Michtam Psalms (16). This reference is to David's Son and David's Lord; and especially to His death and resurrection; or to a deliverance from imminent danger, or death; or even from the grave itself. See Pss. 16:10, 11; 56:13; 57:3; 58:10, 11; 59:16; 60:5, 12. David, as a Hebrew prophet, was aware (Acts 2:25-31), that God "would raise up Messiah to sit on his throne". This truth is engraven in Psalms (16), the first of these Michtam Psalms.
From Hebrew מות לבן (muth labbén), a phrase which appears in Psalms 9:1. What the phrase means is somewhat disputed, but it likely indicates either what motivated the writing of the psalm (in which case it probably means "the death of Labben" or "the death of the son" or "the death of the fool") or how the psalm was to be sung (in which case it probably denotes a specific musical instrument to be used for accompaniment, or an existing song whose tune was to be used, or it could mean something like "young boys' voices").
Ps. 8, in which the victory over Goliath is ascribed to Jehovah, who "stilled the enemy and avenger," and gave dominion to the one who encountered the giant ‘in the name of the Lord of hosts’ (I Sam. 17. 4, 45).This, in The Companion Bible, stands now as the sub-scription of Ps. 8, and not as the super-scription or title of Ps. 9, as in other Bibles and Versions. All are agreed that muth can mean only death. As to the other word labben, the matter is not so simple. For ben means son, but there is nothing about a "son" in either Psalm (8 or 9) : and, as it must relate (like the other Titles) to subject-matter, and not to the name of a "song", or a "tune", or a "musical instrument", there must be another explanation of ben. Now ben may be beyn, written what is called "defective", i.e. without the full sign for its vowel (which is very often found in Hebrew). In that case it would mean the separator, and thus be related to bayin = "between" which is the dual form of this word in the designation of Goliath in 1Sam. 17:4, 23, "the man between [the two hosts" of Israel and the Philistines], or "the duellist". Hence, labben ("for the son") may be read labbeyn, "for the duellist" or "the champion", or "the one standing between". Indeed, this is exactly how the words are given in the ancient Jewish commentary called the Targum : "To praise; relating to the death of the man who went between the camps". That is to say, the champion, as he is called in 1Sam. 17:4, 23
Read in this light, Psalm 8 stands out with quite a new signification, seeing it relates to "the death of the champion", Goliath of Gath.
We may compare with this Ps. 144, which in the Sept. version has this remarkable title, "by David, concerning Goliath" : in v. 3 or which Psalm we have the very words of Ps. 8:4. And in v. 10 the words, "Who delivereth David His servant from the hateful sword" : i.e. of Goliath.
natsach (naw-tsakh') Meaning "to glitter from afar, i.e. to be eminent (as a superintendent, especially of the Temple services and its music) "The chief musician on Neginoth " appears to have been the conductor of that portion of the temple-choir who played upon the stringed instruments, and who are mentioned in (Psalms 68:25) Neginoth. "Smitings." Psalms 3, 5, 53, 54, 60, (sing.), 66, 75, and Habakkuk 3. Refers to deliverance from personal smitings or strikings. To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David. [4:5] Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Psalm 6 To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. [6:5] For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
NEGINOTH: Stringed Instruments. NEHILOTH (for N'HALOTH): Inheritances. Ps. 4, in commemoration of the coming into possession of the Land of Promise as the people of God (Num. 26. 53, 56; 33. 54; 36. 2; Josh.2: 23; 14. 1, 2). See "Neginoth", No. XV below, of which it is the singular.
This word, in The Companion Bible, stands in the sub-scriptions of eight Psalms, i.e. 3, 5, 53, 54, 60 (sing.), 66, 75, and Hab. 3. (Not in the super-scriptions of Pss. 4, 6, 54, 55, 61 (sing. with 'al instead of Beth), 67, and 76).
"Neginoth" is from nagan, to strike, or smite. Hence it has hitherto been associated with the striking of the strings of some musical instrument! But why should the striking be connected with strings? Is there no other kind of smiting known? Why may it not refer to the stroke of affliction, or the smiting with words? Indeed, it is so associated in Lam. 3:63 : "I am he whom they smite [with their words]". In all these Neginoth Psalms there is the note of deliverance from personal smitings. See 3:2; 5:6; 53:1; 54:3; 60:3, 5, 11; 66:10-12; 75:4, 5. We have the verb again in 77:7, "I call to remembrance my song", or my stroke of affliction. So in Isa. 38:20, "We will sing, or make songs", or, we will make songs concerning my stroke, or afflictions. In Hab. 3:19 we may, in the same way, understand it as "relating to my smitings", i.e. those referred to in v. 16.
Nehiloth. "Inheritances," or "The Great Inheritance." This is the Psalm 4 inscription. Refers to the LORD, the inheritance of His people. Has nothing to do with flutes. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. Psalm 2:8
The word is Nehiloth, which has been taken from halal, to bore; but, even then, human imagination does not seem able to rise higher than the boring of holes to make a flute!
The Septuigent renders it "concerning her that inherits". AQUILA in his revision (A.D. 160) has "Division of Inheritances". SYMMACHUS (A.D. 193-211) has "Allotments"; while the Latin Versions have similar renderings. This shows that they must have had before them the consonants N, H, L, TH, with the vowel-points NehaLoTH which gives the intelligible meaning, inheritances, or the great inheritance. In Ps. 4 this reference is quite clear. Jehovah was the inheritance of His People (Ps. 16:5; cp. 73:26; 119:57; 142:5. Jer. 10:16. Lam. 3:24). Hence, in Ps. 4:6, the question is asked, "Who will show us [what] good [is]"? And the answer which follows is "Thou". For, joy in Jehovah is greater than joy in harvest.
The same truth is seen in Ps. 144. See notes on vv. 11-15-, with the true answer in v. -15. XVII. PSALM (Heb. Mizmor).
This word is used in the super-scriptions forty-four times in all (Pss. 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15. 19. 20. 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 31, 38, 39, 40, 41, 47, 49, 50, 51, 62, 63, 64, 73, 77, 79, 80, 82, 84, 85, 98, 100, 101, 109, 110, 139, 140, 141, 143. Of these, twenty-one are in Book I, seven in Book II, seven in Book III, three in Book IV, and six in Book V.
Mizmor means, and is invariably rendered, "a Psalm", and occurs nowhere but in the Psalm-Titles. It differs from Shir (see below), which is "a Song" : i.e. for singing, whereas Mizmor may be for meditation, &c.
Mizmor is joined with Shir in thirteen Psalms (30, 65, 67, 68, 75, 76, 87, 92, preceding it; and 48, 66, 83, 88, 108, following it). XVIII. SELAH. See Ap. 66. II.
This speaks of a special division of singers characterized by the fact that they were circumcised on the eighth day according to the law (and thus were faithful worshippers.) This was part of the male contingent of singers that were one of the three divisions of singers that went before the Ark on its journey to Jerusalem. In I Chronicles 15:21 we are told that they were “to lead” the procession with harps. These two Psalms were composed for them to sing in the procession. The Male Choir, as distinguished from Alamoth, the Maidens Choir (see i Chron. 15. 20, 21; Ps. 68. 24, 25). Pss. 5, II.This word occurs in the sub-scription of two Psalms (5 and 11 in The Companion Bible); not in the super-scription of Psalms 6 and 12, as in other Bibles and Versions.
There is a general agreement that it means "the eighth", and in its thirty-one occurrences it is always so rendered, except in 1Chron. 15:21 and in these two sub-scriptions (Pss. 5 and 11), where it is transliterated "Sheminith".
The A.V. puts "the eighth" in the margin in all three cases. The R.V. puts "the eighth" only in the case of the two Psalms.
Though it is agreed that the word means "eighth", it is not agreed as to what "the eighth" refers to. It varies between "the eighth mode", "the eighth (or octave) below" (i.e. the bass), "the eighth day", or year, or "an instrument with eight strings".
The latter is out of the question, because, in 1Chron. 15:21, those with harps are set "over the Sheminith" (as others are set "over the 'Alamoth"), and we cannot speak of certain "instruments" being "set" over others. Moreover, the Sheminith are additional to Neginoth in the sub-scription to Ps. 5.
1 Chron. 15:21 helps us to the solution. The 'Alamoth being maidens (v. 20), it would seem obvious that the Sheminith must be men (v. 21).
But what class of men? The Talmud (*4) suggests a class of true Israelites, i.e. those circumcised on the eighth day, and thus distinguished from all other Jews or Gentiles; for other nations who practice circumcision always do so on a later day (*5), never on the eighth day.
As all others in the procession were, in this sense, Sheminith, and the Sheminith are distinguished from these as well as the 'Alamoth, Dr. Thirtle concludes that it must refer, as well, to a division in that procession. Everything points to divisional order in such processions (cp. Ex. 25:14. Num. 4:15; 7:9. So also in 1Chron. 24:1; 26:1, 12). The definite article seems conclusive. In 1Chron. 15:21 the Sheminith were to lead (R.V.), not "to excel" (as in A.V.). This is its general meaning (see 1Chron. 23:4. 2Chron. 34:12. Ezra 3:8,9), where it is rendered "set forward".
An examination of Pss. 5 and 11 show us that there is special emphasis on "righteous worshippers" as distinct from others. Cp. 5:7, 11 with 11:1 and 7, and see the Structures of those Psalms.
The Psalm 7 and Habakkuk 3 inscription. Refers to the loud cries of David and Habakkuk in those psalms. This word occurs only in the super-scription of Ps. 7, and in the super-scription of the prayer in Hab. 3:1, where it is in its right place. The scope of the Psalm guides Dr. Thirtle to the choice of sha'ag, to cry aloud, in trouble, danger, or pain, and to discard shagah, which means to wander, or go astray. There is nothing in the Psalm to agree with the latter, and everything that points to the loud cry of David when he was in danger of being torn in pieces, and to the loud cries (pl.) or Habakkuk : of pain in v. 16 and of praise in v. 18.
The Lily of the Covenant." (Psalm 60) Psalms chapters 45 and 69 are to be played on a straight trumpet. (Ps 7) is probably a musical note. Lilies (Flowers) for the Feast of Passover celebration (in the Spring), which, in a word, meant "DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT," a guarantee or pledge of a thousand deliverances (Exod. 12. 2, 27 ; Deut. 24. i8). This is the Psalms 44 and 68 inscription.
SHOSHANNIM (or SHUSHAN) ELUTH: Shushan (and Shoshannim) Eduth. Psalms chapters 60 and 80 is the title of a popular song to which this song was to be sung, namely, "Lily of Testimony." "Instruction as to the Spring Festival, or the Second Passover." Psalm 79 subscription in singular “shushan” and Psalm 59 subscription in plural “shoshannim.” Refers to testimony about keeping the festival of the Passover in the second month rather than the first when the need arises. Both Psalms speak of enemies in the land, which occurrence could necessitate such an arrangement.Lilies (or Lily): Testimonies. Pss. 59, 79. For the Spring Festival, Passover, as ordained by special ordinance for the second month (Num. 9:6-14). See record of such a celebration in the reign of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 30. 2-5, 15-26.This word is found in the sub-scription of two Pss., i.e. 44 and 68, not in the super-scription of Pss. 45 and 69, as it stands in other Bibles and Versions.
Under "GITTITH" the spring and autumn were appropriately represented by flowers and fruit, so lilies and winepresses were singled out from each.
The Passover and Feast of Tabernacles divided the year into two fairly equal parts; the former being the spring festival and the latter the autumn.
Israel is in scripture, repeatedly symbolized again and again by the vine. The extrabiblical book of Esdras reads: "O Lord That bearest rule of all the woods of the earth, and of all the trees thereof, Thou hast chosen Thy ONE VINE; and of all the lands of the world Thou hast chosen the ONE country; and of all the flowers of the world, ONE LILY ...; and among all its peoples Thou hast gotten the ONE PEOPLE ... now, O Lord, why hast Thou give this ONE PEOPLE over unto many", &c.
Lilies and pomegranates (spring flowers and autumn fruits) were everywhere seen in the Temple (1 Kings 7:20-22), and the knops (or knobs) of flowers of Ex. 25:31-34 were doubtless the same globe-like pomegranates and lilies. The Septuigent has "globes" and lilies. Cp. Ex. 28:33, 34; 39:25, 26, where the "bell"-like flower is doubtless meant.
In the Jewish Prayer Book, at the Feast of Purim, Israel is spoken of as "the lily of Jacob"; and at the Feast of Dedication (Chanucha) God is praised for delivering "the standard of the lilies" (i.e. of Israel).
The Hebrew shekel had, on one side, sometimes a lamb (Passover), and, on the other side, a wine-bowl (Tabernacles). The half-shekel had a triple lily and a wine-bowl : (SILVER SHEKEL OF SIMON MACCABAEUS.) In old Jewish cemeteries, tombs are seen with the seven-branched candlestick with its knops and flowers, and sometimes with the triple lily and pomegranate.
"Does not the lily say, 'Here lies one of Jehovah's redeemed'? and the pomegranate, 'Here lies one safe in Jehovah's keeping'"? Compare the two Shoshnnim Psalms (44 and 68), and the Passover story will be seen in all its fulness and beauty.
(Instruction as to the Spring Festival, or the Second Passover.)
This title is found in the sub-scription of Ps. 79 in The Companion Bible (not the super-scription of Ps. 80, as in other Bibles and Versions), while SHUSHAN (sing.) EDUTH is found in the sub-scription of Ps. 59 in The Companion Bible (not the super-scription of Ps. 60, as in other Bibles and Versions). The first of these two words refers to the Spring Festival (see under No. XXI above), the latter refers to some testimony concerning it. There is no dispute as to the 'Eduth meaning "testimony". It is one of "the ten words" found twenty-three times in Ps. 119 (see Ap. 73). But what is the "testimony" to which these two Psalms refer? It must be concerning something connected with the Spring Festival (Passover), and Dr. Thirtle sees in it the Law and the "Testimony" respecting the keeping of the Passover in the second month, when, under special circumstances, it could not be kept in the first month (see Num. 9:10, 11, and cp. 2Chron. 30:1-3). Psalms 59 and 79 treat of enemies being then in the land, which might well have created a difficulty in keeping the Passover in the first month.
"It is written in the book of Jasher." Septuigent, epi bibliou tou euqouv, "in the book of the upright." atyrwad arps siphra deoraitha, "The book of the Law."
Included in songs are spiritual or prophetic songs. These songs are completely spontaneous, with the singer rarely knowing what they will sing until they sing it. "A spiritual song" is not a song we have sung before or that we all know. God Himself dictates the spiritual song in the moment, in the flow of our worship… What results from this process is sometimes a solo song, something sung for the congregation to hear and absorb. In Psalm 86:4, David sang: Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. The word translated "lift up" is a Hebrew prophetic term. How did David "lift up" his soul? He did this in praise and worship on the harp!
Shir -- to sing (EX.15:1,1,21; Num.21:17; Judg.5: 1,3; 1 Kgs. 10:12,; 1 Chron.16:9,23; Psa.7, title; 13:6; 21:13; 27:6;33:3; 57:7;-59:16; 65:13; 68:4,32; 89:1; 96:1,2; 98:1; 101:1; 137:3,4; 38:5; 144:9; 149:1; Prov.29:20; Isa.5:1; 44:10; Jer. 20:13). See also under "Song "and "Music."
Shir 3 to sing (Zeph.2:14)
Shirah a song (Isa.23:15).
The Hebrew word used by Jeremiah to describe that which is being carried is "משא" (transliteration: massah), which means "a heavy burden", from the Hebrew verb לשאת, "to lift". The word massah implies the lifting or transport of heavy burdens. For instance, many prophets speak figuratively about their משא, or "heavy burden" of bringing Yehowah's words to Israel: "The burden (משא) of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi" [Malachi 1:1]. As another example, in Leviticus 11:11, Moshe complains to God about the heavy burden of leading Israel: "Why have you done evil to your servant and why have I not found favor in your eyes that you place the burden (משא) of this entire people upon me?"
In 2 Kgs 3:10-15, it was a time of war for Israel, and they needed a word from the Lord. Elisha called for a minstrel and when he played, the hand of the Lord came on ELisha and he prophesied:
10And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
11But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
12And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.
14And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.
15But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
But another clear example of "massah" as meaning "to lift" is seen in Nehemiah 13:15-22, in which we see a replay of the events mentioned in Jeremiah 17: "In those days I saw among the Jews, those who were trampling in the winepress on the Shabbat and bringing piles [of grain] and loading them onto their donkeys; and wine, grapes and figs, and all kinds of loads (משא), and bringing them into Jerusalem on the Shabbat day..." The individual "lifts" His soul to God and God pours forth of His prophetic Spirit with divine revelation.
Song Psalms 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, and 134 (Songs of the degrees,) and Psalms 18, 45, and 46, all in the superscription. Hebrew Shir, which means “song” and is always correctly translated as such.
This word may be from one of two roots; from salah = to pause; or from salal = to lift up.
There is no need to descend to the guesses as to musical terms. A reference to Ap. 65 (p. 92, Int. Col. 1) will lead us o connect it with subject-matter, not with music; and with truth, not with tunes.
Some say it occurs always at the beginning of a strophe; others, always at the end. But this is a question of fact, and not of argument.
The outstanding fact is that in four cases it comes in the middle of a verse, i.e. Ps. 55:19; 57:3; and Hab. 3:3, 9.
This is fatal to both theories, but yet it helps us to, and agrees with, the right conclusion, that both are the two halves of one truth. Selah does connect the end of one strophe with the beginning of the next; and, indeed, in four cases it connects the end of one Psalm with the beginning of the next, thus uniting the two Psalms (see Pss. 3 with 4; 9 with 10; 24 with 25, and 46 with 47).
Selah, therefore, neither ends nor begins a passage, but it CONNECTS the two passages between which it is placed.
An examination of each occurrence will show what this connection is. It is neither the pausing on one subject; nor the passing on from one subject to another : but it is the connecting of the two subjects together.
Sometimes it is the Structures which are connected.
Sometimes it is synthetic, and adds a development of thought by connecting a prayer with that which forms the basis of it.
Sometimes it is antithetic, and adds a contrast.
Or it connects a cause with an effect, or an effect with a cause.
It is a thought-link, which bids us look back at what has been said, and mark its connection with what is to follow; or to some additional consequent teaching.
Thus, if it be derived from salah, to pause, it is not the instruments of music which are to pause while the voices continue to sing; but it is our hearts which are to pause and to note the connection of precious truths.
If it be derived from salal, to lift up, then, it is not the instruments which are to lift up their sound in a louder degree, but our hearts which are to be lifted up to consider more solemnly the two truths which are about to be connected.
These connections, showing the importance and object of each "Selah", are given in the notes on each occurrence of the word.
The phenomena connected with "Selah" may be thus stated :
The word occurs seventy-four times in the Bible, and all are in the Old Testament.
Of these, seventy-one are in the Book of Psalms, and three are in the model Psalm, "the prayer of Habakkuk", ch. 3.
The use of the word is confined to thirty-nine Psalms our of the 150. In sixteen of these thirty-nine it occurs once (7, 20, 21, 44, 47, 48, 50, 54, 60, 61, 75, 81, 82, 83, 85, and 143) : of these thirty-nine Psalms, thirty-one are in Psalms handed over to "the chief Musician". (See Ap. 64.)
In fifteen Psalms it occurs twice (4, 9, 24, 39, 49, 52, 55, 57, 59, 62, 67, 76, 84, 87, and 88).
In seven Psalms it occurs thrice (3, 32, 46, 66, 68, 77, and 140).
In one Psalm it occurs four times, viz. Ps. 89. It is distributed over the five Books of the Psalms (see p. 720) as follows : Book I (1-41), seventeen times in nine Psalms. Book II (42-72), thirty times in seventeen Psalms. Book III (73-89), twenty times in eleven Psalms. Book IV (90-150), four times in two Psalms.