A Song of Triumph
For the Pure and Shining One
David’s poetic song of praise
1God! Arise with awesome power,
and every one of your enemies will scatter in fear!
2Chase them away—all these God-haters.
Blow them away as a puff of smoke.
Melt them away like wax in the fire.
One good look at you and the wicked vanish.
3But let all the righteous be glad!
Yes, let them all rejoice in your presence
and be carried away with gladness. # 68:3 As translated from the Septuagint. The Aramaic is “they rejoice in his sweetness.”
Let them laugh and be radiant with joy!
4Let them sing their celebration-songs
for the coming of the cloud rider whose name is Yah! # 68:4 More than an abbreviation, the name Yah is associated with the God of heaven, the God of highest glory and power.
5-6To the fatherless he is a father.
To the widow he is a champion friend.
The lonely he makes part of a family.
The prisoners # 68:5–6 The Septuagint reads “the bitter ones.” he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy.
This is our Holy God in his Holy Place!
But for the rebels there is heartache and despair. # 68:5–6 Or “they will live in a sun-scorched land.”
7O Lord, it was you who marched in front of your people,
leading them through the wasteland.
Pause in his presence
8The earth shook beneath your feet; the heavens filled with clouds
before the presence of the God of Sinai.
The sacred mountain shook at the sight of the face of Israel’s God.
9You, O God, sent the reviving rain upon your weary inheritance,
showers of blessing to refresh it.
10So there your people settled. # 68:10 Or “For you live among them [in community].” The Hebrew is uncertain.
And in your kindness you provided # 68:10 Or “sustain.” God anticipates our needs and has gone before us to provide for and sustain us in our journey. the poor with abundance.
11God Almighty declares the word of the gospel with power, # 68:11 As translated from the Aramaic.
and the warring women of Zion deliver its message: # 68:11 As translated from the Masoretic Text.
12“The conquering legions have themselves been conquered.
Look at them flee!”
Now Zion’s women are left to gather the spoils.
13When you sleep between sharpened stakes, # 68:13 The Aramaic word shaphya can be translated “sharpened stakes” or “thorns.” This is an obvious prophecy of the cross and our union with Christ as he was crucified.
I see you sparkling like silver and glistening like gold,
covered by the beautiful wings of a dove! # 68:13 As translated from the Aramaic text, this verse contains prophetic hints of Calvary, where Jesus “slept” the sleep of death between the “sharpened stakes” of the cross. The word you is plural and points us to our co-crucifixion with Christ.
14When the Almighty found a king for himself,
it became white as snow in his shade. # 68:14 Every scholar consulted concludes that this verse is difficult, if not impossible, to interpret properly and translate accurately. The last words are literally “Snow fell in Zalmon.” Zalmon (or Salmon) was a wooded area and means “shady.”
15-16O huge, magnificent mountain,
you are the mighty kingdom of God! # 68:15–16 The Septuagint reads “mountain of provision.”
All the other peaks, though impressive and imposing,
look with envy on you, Mount Zion!
For Zion is the mountain where God has chosen to live forever.
17Look! The mighty chariots of God!
Ten thousands upon ten thousands,
more than anyone could ever number.
God is at the front,
leading them all from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary
with the radiance of holiness upon him. # 68:17 The Septuagint reads “The Lord sends his provisions from his Holy Place on Mount Sinai.”
18He ascends into the heavenly heights,
taking his many captured ones with him,
leading them in triumphal procession.
And gifts were given to men, even the once rebellious,
so that they may dwell with Yah.
19What a glorious God! # 68:19 The Aramaic is Maryah, the Aramaic form of YHWH or Lord Yahweh.
He gives us salvation over and over, # 68:19 Salvation is in the plural form in the Hebrew text (“salvations”).
then daily he carries our burdens! # 68:19 Or “daily loads us with benefits.”
Pause in his presence
20Our God is a mighty God who saves us over and over!
For the Lord, Yahweh, rescues us
from the ways of death many times.
21But he will crush every enemy, shattering their strength.
He will make heads roll
for they refuse to repent of their stubborn, sinful ways.
22I hear the Lord God saying to all the enemies of his people,
“You’d better come out of your hiding places,
all of you who are doing your best to stay far away from me. # 68:22 The Hebrew text makes reference to Bashan (a high mountain) and to the depths of the sea. In other words, there’s no place to hide.
Don’t you know there’s no place to hide?
23For my people will be the conquerors;
they will soon have you under their feet.
They will crush you until there is nothing left!” # 68:23 The Hebrew text is literally “Your enemies will be food for the dogs.”
24O God, my King, your triumphal processions
keep moving onward in holiness;
you’re moving onward toward the Holy Place!
25Leaders in front, # 68:25 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “Singers in front.” then musicians,
with young maidens in between, striking their tambourines.
26And they sing, “Let all God’s princely people rejoice!
Let all the congregations bring their blessing to God, saying,
‘The Lord of the fountain! The Lord of the fountain of life!
The Lord of the fountain of Israel!’ ”
27Astonishingly, it’s the favored youth leading the way: # 68:27 The Hebrew includes the names of four sons of Jacob, representing four tribes. Benjamin, the youngest son, means “son of my right hand” or “the favored one.” Judah means “praise.” Zebulon’s name is the word for “exalted.” Naphtali means “obtained by wrestling.” Each name speaks of a princely group and is used here poetically not only for Israel but for all of God’s “princely people” in this holy procession of worship.
princes of praise in their royal robes
and exalted princes are among them,
along with princes who have wrestled with God.
28-29Display your strength, God, and we’ll be strong! # 68:28–29 The Great Bible translated by Miles Coverdale (1488–1569) translates this as “Your God has sent forth strength for you.”
For your miracles have made us who we are.
Lord, do it again
and parade from your temple your mighty power.
By your command even kings will bring gifts to you.
30God, rebuke the beast-life that hides within us! # 68:30 Literal Hebrew is “rebuke the beasts in the reeds.”
Rebuke those who claim to be “strong ones,” # 68:30 This verse has puzzled scholars, and many conclude that the Hebrew text is nearly incomprehensible, with tremendous variations in the translation.
who lurk within the congregation
and abuse the people out of their love for money.
God scatters the people who are spoiling for a fight.
31Africa will send her noble envoys to you, O God.
They will come running, stretching out their hands in love to you.
32Let all the nations of the earth sing songs of praise to Almighty God!
Go ahead, all you nations—sing your praise to the Lord!
Pause in his presence
33Make music for the one who strides the ancient skies.
Listen to his thunderous voice of might split open the heavens.
34Give it up for God, for he alone has all the strength and power!
Proclaim his majesty! For his glory shines down on Israel.
His mighty strength soars in the clouds of glory.
35God, we are consumed with awe, trembling before you
as your glory streams from your Holy Place.
The God of power shares his mighty strength with Israel
and with all his people.
God, we give our highest praise to you!