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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 68

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 68

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 68

1. For the conductor, a psalm, a song of David.   א. לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר:
2. May God rise; His enemies scatter, and those who hate Him flee from before Him.   ב. יָקוּם אֱלֹהִים יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו וְיָנוּסוּ מְשַׂנְאָיו מִפָּנָיו:
May God rise; His enemies scatter: Amalek and his ilk.  
3. As smoke is driven away, You will drive [them] away; as wax melts before fire, the wicked will perish from before God.   ג. כְּהִנְדֹּף עָשָׁן תִּנְדֹּף כְּהִמֵּס דּוֹנַג מִפְּנֵי אֵשׁ יֹאבְדוּ רְשָׁעִים מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים:
As smoke is driven away: as it is driven away. As the smoke is driven away so will You drive [them] away.  
from before God: From before the Ark in the days of Moses. (And it came to pass when the Ark traveled, that Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and Your enemies will scatter.” Shem Ephraim) And when it rested, he would say, “Return, O Lord, etc.”  
4. And the righteous will rejoice, yea, they will exult before God and they will delight with joy.   ד. וְצַדִּיקִים יִשְׂמְחוּ יַעַלְצוּ לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהִים וְיָשִׂישׂוּ בְשִׂמְחָה:
and they will delight with joy: And this is the joy, and so will they say, “Sing to God, etc.”  
5. "Sing to God, sing praises to His name, praise Him Who rides in Aravoth by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him.   ה. שִׁירוּ | לֵאלֹהִים זַמְּרוּ שְׁמוֹ סֹלּוּ לָרֹכֵב בָּעֲרָבוֹת בְּיָהּ שְׁמוֹ וְעִלְזוּ לְפָנָיו:
praise: Heb. סולו, an expression of praise. Similarly (Job 28:16): “It cannot be praised (תסלה) with the jewelry of Ophir” ; (Lam. 4:2), “worth their weight (המסלאים) in fine gold.”  
by His name Yah: By the name י-ה, which is an expression of fear, as we translate it דחילא, fear (below 118: 14): “My might and my praise is the fear of the Lord (י-ה).” Likewise (Exod. 17:16): “For a hand is on the throne of the Lord (י-ה) ,” in the Targum: [And he said, “This is stated with an oath from below the fear of the Shechinah on the throne of His glory, etc.] Similarly (Isa. 26:4): ” for in Yah the Lord, “ is paraphrased by the Targum: for then You will be redeemed by the word of the fear of the Lord, the Strongest of the world.” The Psalmist says, “Praise Him, fear Him, and rejoice.” This resembles what is said elsewhere (above 2: 11): “and rejoice with quaking.”  
6. O Father of orphans and Judge of widows, O God in His holy dwelling place."   ו. אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְדַיַּן אַלְמָנוֹת אֱלֹהִים בִּמְעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ:
O Father of orphans: And this is the praise that You shall praise before Him: the entire matter until the end of the psalm.  
Father of orphans: Who became a father to Israel, who are orphans, as it is said (Lam. 5:3): “We were orphans without a father.”  
and Judge of widows: Who performed the judgment of Jerusalem, concerning which it says (Lam. 1:1): “was like a widow.”  
7. God settles the solitary in a house; He takes the prisoners out at the most opportune time, but the rebellious dwell in an arid land.   ז. אֱלֹהִים | מוֹשִׁיב יְחִידִים | בַּיְתָה מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים בַּכּוֹשָׁרוֹת אַךְ סוֹרְרִים שָׁכְנוּ צְחִיחָה:
settles the solitary in a house: Israel, who were spread out. He gathered together each one from the place where he was lost and settled them in a complete household and a complete nation.  
He takes the prisoners out at the most opportune time: He took Israel out of Egypt in the month that is best suited for travelers, neither hot nor cold.  
but the rebellious: The Egyptians.  
dwell in an arid land: Their land remained arid and thirsty. I found [this].  
8. O God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness, forever.   ח. אֱלֹהִים בְּצֵאתְךָ לִפְנֵי עַמֶּךָ בְּצַעְדְּךָ בִישִׁימוֹן סֶלָה:
when You marched: When You stepped with your step.  
forever: There You showed me that this is Your way forever: for every distress, redemption.  
9. The earth quaked, even the heavens dripped; this is Sinai, because of God, the God of Israel.   ט. אֶרֶץ רָעָשָׁה | אַף שָׁמַיִם נָטְפוּ מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים זֶה סִינַי מִפְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
this is Sinai: That too quaked because of the Lord God of Israel.  
10. Generous rain You poured down, O God; Your heritage, which was weary, You established.   י. גֶּשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת תָּנִיף אֱלֹהִים נַחֲלָתְךָ וְנִלְאָה אַתָּה כוֹנַנְתָּהּ:
Generous rain You poured down: This too You did for us: if we needed rain, You lifted them and poured upon us constantly rains of generosity and blessing.  
Your heritage, which was weary, You established: When the heritage of Your land was weary and thirsty for rain, You established it [Your heritage]. I found:  
Your heritage which was weary: Which is called your heritage, and which is weary; i.e., sometimes it is so.  
11. Your congregation dwelt therein; You prepare with Your goodness for the poor, O God.   יא. חַיָּתְךָ יָשְׁבוּ בָהּ תָּכִין בְּטוֹבָתְךָ לֶעָנִי אֱלֹהִים:
Your congregation dwelt therein: Heb. (חיתך). Your congregation has dwelt therein, as (II Sam. 23:11): “and the Philistines gathered together their camp (sic) into a troop (לחיה).” Another explanation: The congregation of Israel is known as the animal and the beast of the Holy One, blessed be He.  
You prepare with your goodness: When they left Egypt, You led them around in the desert for forty years because the Canaanites rose and cut down the trees. During the interim, when they tarried in the desert, they rose and rectified it all.  
12. The Lord will give out a word; they will announce it to a great multitude.   יב. אֲדֹנָי יִתֶּן אֹמֶר הַמְבַשְּׂרוֹת צָבָא רָב:
The Lord will give out a word; they will announce it to a great multitude: Heb. אמר, [like] מאמר, statement. He will yet roar with [His] voice to allow the hosts of the great nations to hear it. Now what is the word? The kings of the hosts of nations will wander, yea they will wander. They will wander and be cast out of the land of Israel, and the congregation of Israel, who is the dweller of the house, will divide their spoils, as it is said (Isa. 23:18): “And her commerce and her hire shall be holy, etc.”  
13. Kings of hosts will wander, yea they will wander, and she who dwells in the house will divide the spoils.   יג. מַלְכֵי צְבָאוֹת יִדֹּדוּן יִדֹּדוּן וּנְוַת בַּיִת תְּחַלֵּק שָׁלָל:
14. If you lie between the borders-the feathers of a dove covered with silver, and its pinions with brilliant gold.   יד. אִם תִּשְׁכְּבוּן בֵּין שְׁפַתָּיִם כַּנְפֵי יוֹנָה נֶחְפָּה בַכֶּסֶף וְאֶבְרוֹתֶיהָ בִּירַקְרַק חָרוּץ:
If you lie between the borders, etc.: All this is the word. He says to them, “If you had lain between your borders and had enjoyed pleasures, this My dove, My congregation, whose feathers are covered with silver.” Now what is the silver, and what is the gold?  
(15) When the Almighty spreads out, etc.: When the Holy One, blessed be He, explained His Torah, with which the kings are “snowed and whitened” in a land of the Shadow of Death and darkness then its feathers (dove’s feathers) were covered with the desire and yearning for the Torah and [its] Commandments.  
the feathers of a dove: Plumes in French.  
and its pinions: Its wings, with which it flies.  
with brilliant gold: Heb. בירקרק חרוץ. Dunash the son of Labrat interpreted חרוּץ as gold. Therefore, the Psalmist juxtaposed it to silver, and ירקרק חרוץ is the gold brought from the land of Havilah and from the land of Cush; very good gold, neither yellow nor red. Therefore, it is called ירקרק, as (Lev. 13: 42): “reddish white (לבן אדמדם),” which is neither white nor red. Therefore, it is doubled: אדמדם, ירקרק.  
15. When the Almighty spreads out for kings therein, it will become as white as snow in darkness.   טו. בְּפָרֵשׂ שַׁדַּי מְלָכִים בָּהּ תַּשְׁלֵג בְּצַלְמוֹן:
kings: These are the Torah scholars, as it is said (Prov. 8:15): “Kings reign with me.”  
When… spreads out: Heb. בפרש, an expression of (Deut. 22: 17): “and they will spread out (ופרשו) the garment”; they clarify the matter as a new garment.  
16. The mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; the mountain of peaks is the mountain of Bashan.   טז. הַר אֱלֹהִים הַר בָּשָׁן הַר גַּבְנֻנִּים הַר בָּשָׁן:
The mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan: And where did He spread it out? On Mt. Sinai, which is the mountain of God and is near Bashan on the eastern side of the Jordan.  
the mountain of peaks: The special mountain among the mountains.  
peaks: Heb. גבננים, an expression of mountains, because of their height, as (Ezek. 16:24): “and you built for yourself a platform (גב).” Any high thing is called גַב.  
17. Why do you lurk, you lofty mountains, for the mountain that God desired for His dwelling? Even the Lord will dwell [there] forever.   יז. לָמָּה | תְּרַצְּדוּן הָרִים גַּבְנֻנִּים הָהָר חָמַד אֱלֹהִים לְשִׁבְתּוֹ אַף יְהֹוָה יִשְׁכֹּן לָנֶצַח:
Why do you lurk, you lofty mountains: All this refers back to “The Lord will give out a word.” He says further to them, “Why do you lurk (תרצדון), you lofty mountains?” Why do you lurk, you lofty mountains, to destroy the mountain that God desired for His dwelling, to cause His Shechinah to rest upon it? That is the Temple Mount. Even He will dwell there forever. Its sanctity is a perpetual sanctity. After it was chosen for His dwelling, the Shechinah did not rest elsewhere. I saw in the works of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan that רצד is “ambush” in Arabic. But Menachem (p. 166) explained תרצדוּן like תרקדוּן, you prance. That expression, too, fits the context.  
18. God's chariot is twice ten thousand times thousands of angels. The Lord was among them at Sinai in His holiness.   יח. רֶכֶב אֱלֹהִים רִבֹּתַיִם אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן אֲדֹנָי בָם סִינַי בַּקֹּדֶשׁ:
God’s chariot, etc.: This too refers back to the “The Lord will give forth a word,” to mention the love of His people. Even when God’s chariot of “twice ten thousand times thousands of” brilliant “sharpened” angels appeared, and the Lord was among them at Sinai with His holiness, there too, you, the leader of His people, Moses the son of Amram ascended on high and took captives.  
19. You ascended on high, you took captives; you took gifts to be among men, and also rebellious ones for Yah God to dwell.   יט. עָלִיתָ לַמָּרוֹם | שָׁבִיתָ שֶּׁבִי לָקַחְתָּ מַתָּנוֹת בָּאָדָם וְאַף סוֹרְרִים לִשְׁכֹּן | יָהּ אֱלֹהִים:
and also rebellious ones for Yah God to dwell: Also you brought about that the Holy One, blessed be He, rested in the Tabernacle of the Torah, and you took gifts from the celestial beings to give them to the sons of men, also among a people who were rebellious and were rebelling against Him and provoking Him.  
20. Blessed is the Lord; every day God lavishes upon us our salvation forever.   כ. בָּרוּךְ אֲדֹנָי יוֹם | יוֹם יַעֲמָס לָנוּ הָאֵל יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ סֶלָה:
Blessed is the Lord, etc.: This is part of the song mentioned above: “Sing to God.”  
lavishes upon us: He will give us a great salvation, [greater] than any burden, as much as we can carry. (I found:  
every day… lavishes upon us: He always behaves in this manner to us, that for every distress there is a salvation.)  
21. God is to us the God of salvations, but God the Lord has the ways to death.   כא. הָאֵל | לָנוּ אֵל לְמוֹשָׁעוֹת וְלֵיהֹוִה אֲדֹנָי לַמָּוֶת תּוֹצָאוֹת:
God is to us the God of salvations: God is our Savior, but He has many paths, i.e., kinds of death. תוצאות means, ways to death. However, He does not lay them upon us, but with them He wounds the head of His enemies.  
22. Indeed God will wound His enemies' head, the hairy pate of him who goes with his guilt.   כב. אַךְ אֱלֹהִים יִמְחַץ רֹאשׁ אֹיְבָיו קָדְקֹד שֵׂעָר מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּאֲשָׁמָיו:
the hairy pate: The pate of Esau, who is a “hairy man,” and who always goes with his guilt.  
23. The Lord said, "I shall restore from Bashan; I shall restore from the depths of the sea.   כג. אָמַר אֲדֹנָי מִבָּשָׁן אָשִׁיב אָשִׁיב מִמְּצֻלוֹת יָם:
The Lord said, “I shall restore from Bashan”: For so He promised to restore us from the mighty ones of Bashan and from the islands of the sea.  
24. In order that your foot may wade through blood; the tongue of your dogs will have its portion from the enemies."   כד. לְמַעַן | תִּמְחַץ רַגְלְךָ בְּדָם לְשׁוֹן כְּלָבֶיךָ מֵאוֹיְבִים מִנֵּהוּ:
In order that your foot may wade through blood: When He crushes the head of the enemy, our feet will wade through their blood. תִּמְחַץ is an expression of splitting into the blood, as (Jud. 5:26): “she split (ומחצה) and penetrated his temple,” like בָּקְעָה, she split. This is Mishnaic Hebrew: “and the pilgrims were wading (בוקעים) up to their knees in blood.” Another explanation: תִּמְחַץ The name of a vessel with which they draw wine from the pit is called מַחַץ, in Tractate Avodah Zarah (72b).  
from the enemies: From the blood of the enemies.  
will have its portion: Heb. מנהו, its sustenance will be, as we say (Suc. 39b): “How do we know that מן is an expression of food?” For it is written (Dan. 1:10): “who appointed (מנה) your food, etc.”  
25. They saw Your ways, O God, the ways of my God, my King in sanctity.   כה. רָאוּ הֲלִיכוֹתֶיךָ אֱלֹהִים הֲלִיכוֹת אֵלִי מַלְכִּי בַקֹּדֶשׁ:
They saw Your ways, O God: That is to say, it is fitting that You save these people, for when they saw Your ways in Your sanctity in the sea, singers came first to sing before You the Song of the Sea, and after them came the minstrelsthese are the angels.  
26. Singers went first, minstrels afterwards, in the midst of maidens playing timbrels.   כו. קִדְּמוּ שָׁרִים אַחַר נֹגְנִים בְּתוֹךְ עֲלָמוֹת תּוֹפֵפוֹת:
in the midst of maidens playing timbrels: With Miriam and her maidens, who took the timbrel in her hand, and they said with their praise…  
27. In congregations bless God the Lord, from the womb of Israel.   כז. בְּמַקְהֵלוֹת בָּרְכוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲדֹנָי מִמְּקוֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל:
In congregations bless God, the Lord, from the womb of Israel: Even the fetuses in their mothers’ wombs recited the Song.  
28. There Benjamin the youngest rules over them; the princes of Judah pelt them with stones, as do the princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naftali.   כח. שָׁם בִּנְיָמִן | צָעִיר רֹדֵם שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה רִגְמָתָם שָׂרֵי זְבֻלוּן שָׂרֵי נַפְתָּלִי:
There Benjamin: the youngest became the ruler over them.  
rules over them: Heb. רֹדֵם, like רֹדָם, with a “kamatz.” From there, he merited to become king because he descended first into the sea, and so did Samuel say to Saul (I Sam. 15:17): “Even if you are small in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel?” which Jonathan paraphrases: The tribe of Benjamin crossed the sea at the head of all the other tribes.  
the princes of Judah pelt them with stones: They envy them and throw stones at them, and so do the princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naftali. So, he says to him, “Your God has commanded your strength.” Another explanation: רִגְמָתָם is the equivalent of רִקְמָתָם, their embroidery, their embroidered garments, an expression of purple (ארגמן). In this way Menachem associated it (p. 161).  
29 show this strength, O God, etc.: Now the Psalmist returns to his prayer that he prayed, “Let God rise, and let His enemies scatter.” Show Your strength, O God, and strengthen Yourself, for You have wrought all these for us.  
29. Your God has commanded your strength; show this strength, O God, which You have wrought for us.   כט. צִוָּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עֻזֶּךָ עוּזָּה אֱלֹהִים זוּ פָּעַלְתָּ לָּנוּ:
30. From Your Temple, which is over Jerusalem, kings will bring You tribute.   ל. מֵהֵיכָלֶךָ עַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם לְךָ יוֹבִילוּ מְלָכִים שָׁי:
From Your Temple, which is over Jerusalem, etc.: And since the kings will see the glory of Your temple, which is over Jerusalem, they will bring You a gift and a tribute.  
31. Rebuke the people of the forest, the congregation of mighty bulls among people like calves, submitting himself for pieces of silver; he scatters peoples, they always desire battles.   לא. גְּעַר חַיַּת קָנֶה עֲדַת אַבִּירִים | בְּעֶגְלֵי עַמִּים מִתְרַפֵּס בְּרַצֵּי כָסֶף בִּזַּר עַמִּים קְרָבוֹת יֶחְפָּצוּ:
Rebuke the people of the forest: This is Ishmael [Esau], who is compared to the “boar from the forest,” which dwells among the reeds (below 80:14).  
the congregation of mighty bulls, among peoples like calves: A people that has become fat and thick like mighty bulls among the other nations, which are merely like calves as compared to them.  
submitting himself for pieces of silver: They do not submit themselves to any person unless he persuades them with money.  
he scatters peoples: They scattered the tribes, as it is said: (Deut. 33: 3): “Also He loves the peoples,” and they always desire battles. They want to fight with us.  
32. Gifts will be brought from Egypt; Cush will cause his hands to run to God.   לב. יֶאֱתָיוּ חַשְׁמַנִּים מִנִּי מִצְרָיִם כּוּשׁ תָּרִיץ יָדָיו לֵאלֹהִים:
Gifts will be brought: (Then, when You destroy Esau and the King Messiah arises, they will bring you gifts from Egypt and from Cush.Parshandatha) Then, when You scatter the enemy, and the King Messiah arises in the future, they will bring you gifts from Egypt and from Cush. Menachem interpreted חשמנים as the name of a province, the dwellers of Hashmonah (p. 96), but the commentators interpret it as an expression of a gift.  
33. Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, sing praises to the Lord forever.   לג. מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ שִׁירוּ לֵאלֹהִים זַמְּרוּ אֲדֹנָי סֶלָה:
sing to God: Who showed His greatness and redeemed His people.  
34. To Him Who rides on the heaven of heavens of old; behold, He gives forth with His voice a voice of strength.   לד. לָרֹכֵב בִּשְׁמֵי שְׁמֵי קֶדֶם הֵן יִתֵּן בְּקוֹלוֹ קוֹל עֹז:
behold He gives forth: Heb. יתן, behold He gives.  
35. Attribute strength to God; over Israel is His pride, and His strength is in the skies.   לה. תְּנוּ עֹז לֵאלֹהִים עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל גַּאֲוָתוֹ וְעֻזּוֹ בַּשְּׁחָקִים:
36. You are feared, O God, from Your Sanctuary; the God of Israel-He gives strength and power to the people; blessed be God.   לו. נוֹרָא אֱלֹהִים מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁיךָ אֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא נֹתֵן | עֹז וְתַעֲצֻמוֹת לָעָם בָּרוּךְ אֱלֹהִים:
You are feared, O God, from Your Sanctuary: Because You destroyed it, You are feared. If He did not show favoritism to His [own] Sanctuary, surely [He will] not [show favoritism] to the wicked of the heathens. The Midrash Aggadah explains: Do not read: מִמִּקְדָּשֶׁי, “from Your Sanctuaries,” but מִמְּקֻדְּשֶׁי, “from Your hallowed ones.” When the Holy One, blessed be He, executes justice upon the righteous, He is feared, elevated, and praised. Similarly, it is said (Lev. 10: 3): “Through those near to me I will be sanctified.” [Also] (Exod. 29: 43), “and it will be sanctified with My honor” [i.e., with My honored ones]. With the death of Aaron’s two sons (Zev. 115b). Our Rabbis, however, expounded on the entire psalm until (verse 20): “Blessed is the Lord; every day” as referring to the giving of the Torah; (verse 10) “generous rain” refers to the giving of the Torah, and (verse 11) “Your congregation dwelt therein,” means that they became engrossed in Torah (Mid. Ps. 68 with variations). But as for me I feel uncertain in explaining the expression ישבוּ as meaning that they became engrossed in Torah. Also, my heart is uneasy at explaining (verse 17) “the mountain that God desired for His dwelling” as referring to Mt. Sinai, because He did not desire it for His dwelling and [did] not [want] to dwell there forever, whereas here it is written: “Even the Lord will dwell there forever.” Likewise (verse 13): “Kings (מלכי) of hosts,” he explained as “angels (מלאכי) of hosts,” which is not the language of Scripture.  
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