Psalm 75

Psalm 75[a]

God Is Judge of the World

1 For the director.[b] According to “Do not destroy!” A psalm of Asaph. A song.

2 We give thanks[c] to you, O God,
we give thanks to you.
For your wondrous deeds
declare that your name is near.
3 [d]You say, “When I receive the assembly,
I will judge with equity.
4 When the earth quakes, with all its inhabitants,
it is I who will hold its pillars firm.[e] Selah
5 [f]“I say to the arrogant,[g] ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
6 Do not rebel against heaven
or speak with arrogance against the Rock.’ ”[h]
7 [i]For judgment does not come from east or west,
nor from the wilderness or the mountains.[j]
8 Rather, it is God who judges rightly,
humbling one and exalting another.[k]
9 The Lord holds in his hand a cup
filled with foaming wine and richly spiced.
When he pours it out,
all the wicked[l] of the earth must drink;
they will drain it down to the dregs.
10 As for me, I will proclaim this forever;
I will sing praises[m] to the God of Jacob.
11 “I will cut off all the horns of the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous[n] will be exalted.”

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 75:1 This psalm has parallels to the song of Hannah (see 1 Sam 2:1-10). Freed from the Exile but always dependent on and pestered by those who had taken their place in the land, the People of God give thanks to the Lord. They know that in the end God will make right triumph on earth; the righteous will obtain glory, and the wicked will receive the chastisement they deserve. These oracles proclaim once again the reversal worked by true justice: the proud will be abased, and the humble will be lifted up.
    We can pray this psalm with the same sentiments of the psalmist and apply the role of Judge to the risen Christ, to whom the Father has given it. We can proclaim the wondrous deeds of our Savior, who will come to save the righteous and punish the wicked on the last day.
  2. Psalm 75:1 For the director: thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. According to “Do not destroy!”: see note on Ps 57:1. Asaph: see notes on Pss 73–89.
  3. Psalm 75:2 Give thanks: this is given in the form of praise (see Pss 7:18; 28:7; 30:13; 35:18). Wondrous deeds: see note on Ps 9:2. Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
  4. Psalm 75:3 This is a reassuring word from God, possibly through prophetic words already uttered by the Prophets (e.g., Isaiah in 2 Ki 19:21-34). When I receive the assembly: another possible translation is: “I choose the appointed time.”
  5. Psalm 75:4 God is the Master of the moral order as well as the physical universe, and he keeps them stable (see Pss 93:1f; 96:10; 1 Sam 2:8) or makes them quake (see Ps 18:8; Job 26:11); no cataclysm escapes his will (see Pss 46:3f; 60:4), and he alone establishes the hour of the judgment (see Hab 2:3).
  6. Psalm 75:5 This passage recalls Ps 94:4; 1 Sam 2:3; Job 15:25f. The wicked are fools (see Pss 14:1; 94:7). The horn is the symbol of arrogant and aggressive force (see Pss 89:18; 92:11; Deut 33:17; 1 Ki 22:11); it will be broken (see Jer 48:25; Zec 2:1-4).
  7. Psalm 75:5 The Lord speaks to those who incite chaos and immorality: the arrogant and the wicked who live without God and his laws (see Pss 52:3; 73:3ff).
  8. Psalm 75:6 The wicked even dare to place themselves in direct opposition to God by rebel[ling], i.e., raising their horns against heaven and speaking with arrogance, i.e., with outstretched neck—a common gesture of opposition.
  9. Psalm 75:7 Concerning these first two verses of the response from earth (vv. 7-8), possibly by a Levite, see 1 Sam 2:7; Dan 2:21. The oracles against the nations envisaged such and such a power, in the north (see Zep 2:13), in the south (see Isa 30:6), or in the wilderness (Isa 21:1); other oracles were directed against the mountains of Israel (see Ezek 6:2; 36:1), or the forests of the south (see Ezek 21:2f). Here, the wilderness represents the south, and the mountains (Lebanon) stand for the north (see note on v. 7, below). As in Zec 1:16, the accent is placed on the universality of the divine judgment (see v. 9) on the day of the Lord (see Mt 24:23ff).
  10. Psalm 75:7 For judgment does not come . . . the mountains: another possible translation is: “No one from the east or the west / or from the wilderness can exalt a man.” In other words, search where we may, there is no other arbiter but God; therefore, no earthly honor is anything but provisional. Furthermore, no one can escape God’s judgment (see Ps 139); God will bring down anyone who exalts himself.
  11. Psalm 75:8 Indeed, judgment belongs to God alone, for he is sovereign in judgment and in redemption.
  12. Psalm 75:9 All the wicked will be vanquished by God. The image of the cup full of foaming and dizzying wine is taken from the Prophets (see Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15; 49:12; Lam 4:21; Ezek 23:31; Hab 2:15); it has already appeared in Ps 60:5 (see Job 21:20) and will reappear in Rev 14:10. See also note on Ps 16:5.
  13. Psalm 75:10 It is unclear who is speaking in this verse. It may be the Levite in his own name or as a representative of his people. Sing praises: see note on Ps 7:18. Jacob: i.e., Israel (see Gen 32:28).
  14. Psalm 75:11 This verse appears to be another word from the Lord to go with verses 2-5, above. He indicates that even if godlessness now triumphs and justice is subverted, at the end of time the Messiah will come to judge the nations in fulfillment of the promise about the victory of the righteous.

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