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Verses 1-23

The title (A PsALM of Asaph) is discussed in Intro, to Book 3, where the other Pss. of Asaph are found. The present Ps. is one of solemn warning to those who attempt to serve God by formal sacrifices while their lives are full of wickedness. God will come to judge His people (Psalms 50:1-6). He tells the formalists that He does not need animal sacrifices (Psalms 50:7-13), and asks for praise, obedience, and prayer (Psalms 50:14-15). He reproves the hypocrites for their sins (Psalms 50:16-20) and ends with a call to repentance (Psalms 50:21) and a promise of salvation to true worshippers (Psalms 50:22). The teaching of the Ps. is that of the great prophets of the 8th and 7th centuries b.c., and it is probably to be assigned to that period.

1. The mighty God, even the Lord] RV ’God, even God, the Lord.’ From the rising, etc.] from the E. to the W., not from morning to evening.

2. Zion, the perfection of beauty] see Psalms 48:2; Lamentations 2:15. Shined] RV ’shined forth,’ from His earthly dwelling-place.

4. Heavens from above] RV ’heavens above.’

5. Saints] the true Israel, whose worship is not hypocritical. A covenant.. by sacrifice] The covenant between Jehovah and Israel at Sinai was ratified in every act of sacrifice, as one to which the worshipper bound himself afresh. This shows that the Ps. recognises the true religious value of sacrifice, and only condemns the abuse of it.

7. Against thee] RV ’unto thee.’

8. Will not reprove] because such offerings were not what God most regarded. Or thy burnt offerings, etc.] RV ’and thy burnt offerings are continually before me.’

13. Eat.. drink] The primitive idea of sacrifice was that the god partook of the offerings in a physical sense. This view is rejected here.

14. Thanksgiving] RV ’the sacrifice of thanksgiving.’

21. Kept silence] not in indifference, but in patience.

23. Conversation] RM ’way,’ manner of life.

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