Ps 68:1-35. This is a Psalm-song (see on Ps 30:1, A Psalm and Song at the dedication of the house of David. I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. title), perhaps suggested by David’s victories, which secured his throne and gave rest to the nation. In general terms, the judgment of God on the wicked, and the equity and goodness of His government to the pious, are celebrated. With the direct leading of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul quoted Psalm 68:18 and applied it to Jesus, keeping the context but changing one key word. Paul quoted, (When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. Ephesians 4:8). It’s kind of like the hymnals you find in churches, they give you the song’s title and the name of the guy or lady who wrote it. So, for most of these Psalms, you can tell whom they recognized as author way back when. The Philistines lived by the sea to the west of the Jews. David was the king of the Jews. The Philistines and the Jews were enemies. In one of their fights, the Philistines took away the Ark of God. The Ark was a special box made of wood. It was a metre long and half a meter high and half a meter wide. The Jews kept things in it that gave them help to remember their ‘Covenant’ with God. In the ‘Covenant’ they agreed to love, serve and obey God. He agreed to give them help at all times. People that kept the ‘Covenant’ had a special name for God. It was Yahweh, which we translate ‘LORD’. (There is another word ‘Lord’ that means master. It is Adonai in Hebrew, not Yahweh. Both names are in this psalm.) Bad things happened to the Philistines when they took the Ark. 1 Samuel 4:10-11: they sent it back to the Jews. For a long time, it was on a farm between Gath and Jerusalem. Gath was a Philistine city. 1 Samuel 17:23: Jerusalem did not belong to the Jews at this time, but David fought against it and won. 2 Samuel 5:6-10 He made it his capital city. Then he decided to take the Ark from where it was into Jerusalem. There was no temple in Jerusalem at that time, only a tent where people met God. A tent is a building made of animal skins and other materials, not with stones. So, somebody wrote Psalm 68. It may have been David, or someone else wrote it for David. Everybody sang it while the Ark came into Jerusalem. They also sang other psalms, Psalm 24. The people all walked together in a procession. Procession is a number of people walking or marching together. They started where the Ark was and took it to its new home in the tent in Jerusalem. Psalm 68 starts long before that. It starts in Egypt and describes the Jews coming to their new land. God had promised it to them, we often call it the Promised Land. They went through Sinai, where they built the Ark. They fought against the people that lived in their new land. In the end they lived at peace and brought the Ark into Jerusalem. It may have been David or someone who wrote it for David. So, someone wrote Psalm 68.
Psalm 68:1-35 NIV:
(For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.)
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. May you blow them away like smoke, as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him, his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing, but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder. Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.” When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon. Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the Lord himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, that you, Lord God, might dwell there. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.” Your procession, God, has come into view, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel. There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali. Summon your power, God; show us your strength, our God, as you have done before. Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war. Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice. Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!