The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 93

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 20, 2012


THIS psalm is a hymn to Yahweh as King of the universe.  The cry with which it begins: “The Lord is King” is a cry of joy at the sight of Yahweh ascending, as it were, the throne from which He rules the world. For a time Israel had been cast down in defeat, and it had seemed as if Yahweh had abandoned His rule of the nations. But once again He has intervened and shown His might and His justice. Israel’s enemies have been overthrown, and in the pride of victory, the psalmist sings as if now, for the first time, Yahweh were the King of the world, “Yahweh is King.” What the intervention was that proved the love of the Lord for Israel we do not know. It was not the return from Exile, for verse 5 speaks of the Temple as still standing inviolate. The ascription of the psalm to David is wanting in the Massoretic text, and it is improbable that the occasion of the poem was an event of the Davidic period. The enthronement of Yahweh is coloured for the psalmist by the Messianic outlook: Yahweh, as King of the world, is depicted in the traditional imagery of the Messianic King. The King of the Messianic End-period was traditionally regarded as resuming and repeating in Himself the glories of the Lord of the Creation-period. So the Lord of the world is here shown restraining His foes as the Creator restrained His adversaries, the powers of Chaos and the Abyss, “when He shut in the Sea with the sand”—

When he burst forth, issuing from the womb.
When I made cloud his apparel,
And thick vapour his swathing band.
And imposed on him a decree.
And set a bar and doors :
‘ Thus far thou mayest come, but no farther ;
And here shall thy swell be broken.”—(Job38:8-1 1.)

The enemies of Yahweh may storm and rage, but above the sea-storm of their fury Yahweh sits unmoved on His eternal throne. No billows, however highly tossed, of their raging can attain to the everlasting throne which is set above the waters of earth and heaven (cf. Ps 29:10). It is not now for the first time that Yahweh is King : His reign is from eternity and to eternity. The recent defeat of Israel’s foes which has driven them back from Jerusalem and the Temple is a striking proof of the permanence of Yahweh’s rule, even when His foes may seem for a moment to prevail. His promises of help to Israel, and of inviolability for His Sanctuary have been fulfilled in the deed of rescue which He has performed for His people, and the psalmist looks forward triumphantly to the permanent inviolability of Sion.

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