Destroy thou them, O God - All these apparently imprecatory declarations should be translated in the future tense, to which they belong; and which shows them to be prophetic. Thou Wilt destroy them; thou Wilt cast them out, etc.
Upon Nehiloth - The title of Psalm 4:1-8 is, “upon Neginoth.” As that refers to a musical instrument, so it is probable that this does, and that the idea here is that this psalm was intended particularly for the music-master that had special charge of this instrument, or who presided over those that played on it. Perhaps the idea is that this psalm was specially designed to be accompanied with this instrument. The word here, Nehiloth - נחילות nechı̂ylôth plural. נחילה nechı̂ylâh singular - is supposed by Gesenius, Lexicon, to denote a flute, or pipe, as being “perforated,” from חלל châlal to bore.” The word occurs only in this place. Very various opinions have been entertained of its meaning. See Hengstenberg, “Com.” The Latin Vulgate and the Septuagint understand it as meaning “inheritance” - the same as נחלה nachălâh and as being somehow designed to refer to the people of God “as” a heritage. Latin Vulgate: In finem pro ca, quae hereditatem consequitur, psalmus David. So the Septuagint - ὑπὲρ τῆς κληρονομούσης huper tēs klēronomousēs So Luther, Fur das Erbe. What was the precise idea affixed to this it is not very easy to determine. Luther explains it, “according to the title, this is the general idea of the psalm, that the author prays for the inheritance or heritage of God, desiring that the people of God may be faithful to him, and may always adhere to him.” The true interpretation, however, is evidently to regard this as an instrument of music, and to consider the psalm as adapted to be sung with the instrument of music specified. Why it was adapted particularly to “that” instrument of music cannot now be determined. Horsley renders it “upon the flutes.” Compare Ugolin. Thesau. Ant. Sac.; tom. xxxii. pp. 158-170.
A Psalm of David - See introduction to Psalm 3:1-8.
Direction to Study Several Psalms—How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one's self when it is too late! Why, O why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” [Psalm 27:8]. The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should be placed in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the Word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth (Manuscript 96, 1899)? 3BC 1142.1Read in context »