Psalm 68 Commentary

Psalm 68 Commentary

“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.” The Apostle Paul references this verse in his letter to the Ephesians. He is talking about God’s special gift to the Church.

In the original context, the scripture is probably celebrating Israel’s triumph – a triumph for the LORD. The LORD goes up mount Zion and takes captives. These captives bring gifts. They pay tribute. This is the LORD’s promise to Abraham.

The conquered mountain becomes the LORD’s dwelling place. The LORD gives it to Israel as a gift. Jacob’s children get pieces of land as gifts from the LORD.

The LORD doesn’t take residence without first conquering His enemies. Greediness, pride, immorality, hatred, drunkenness, and many others. May God arise, and may these enemies be scattered. Then the LORD might dwell there.

The psalmist uses several graphics to display Israel’s elevated status. Mount Bashan gazes in envy as Mount Zion stands tall in triumph. The tens of thousands of chariots are a direct reference to Israel’s military prowess. But this military strength is actually God’s strength. He daily bears the burdens of His people.

The procession has the colors of a victorious military parade. But again, it is simply a praise team with musical instruments. The two are one and the same in Christendom. Ironically, it is the least, low, down, and out, who is in the lead during this procession. The little tribe of Benjamin in the lead may represent the thought that the least in the kingdom of God may be the greatest.

In the immediate context, the psalmist envisions a prosperous Israel receiving tributes from the powers of the day: Egypt and Cush. The powers of the day may represent pride, vanity, oppression, and arrogance. The LORD will bring about a time when these earthly powers are bowed down in submission to the righteousness of the LORD Jesus Christ. And Christ’s ambassadors of righteousness will sit with their master in full joy and strength.

Praise the LORD! What a psalm!

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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