Psalm 66:3
Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.
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66:1-7 The holy church throughout all the world lifts up her voice, to laud that Name which is above every name, to make the praise of Jesus glorious, both by word and deed; that others may be led to glorify him also. But nothing can bring men to do this aright, unless his effectual grace create their hearts anew unto holiness; and in the redemption by the death of Christ, and the glorious deliverances it effects, are more wondrous works than Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.Say unto God - In your songs of praise. Let your songs be directly addressed to him, setting forth the grounds of that praise, or the reasons why it is due to him.

How terrible art thou in thy works! - How fearful! how much to be reverenced! The meaning is, that the manifestations of his power and greatness, in the events which occur under his government, are suited to impress the mind with awe and reverence.

Through the greatness of thy power - By the putting forth of thy power. Or, Thou hast such power over thine enemies as to be able to compel them to submit to thee.

Shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee - Margin, Lie, or yield reigned obedience. The Hebrew word means to lie, to speak lies; then, to feign, to flatter, to play the hypocrite. It is thus applied to the vanquished, who make a hollow profession of submission and love to their victors. See the word explained in the notes at Psalm 18:44; compare Psalm 81:15; Deuteronomy 33:29; Job 31:28. The meaning here is, that he had power to subdue them, and to compel them to acknowledge his right to reign. It is the putting forth of mere power which is here referred to; and all that such power can do, is to secure outward and reigned submission. It cannot of itself secure the submission of the heart, the will, and the affections. That is to be secured by love, not by power; and the difference between the submission of the true people of God and that of all others is that the former are subdued by love, the latter by power; the submission of the former is genuine, that of the latter is forced. The inhabitants of heaven will be submissive to God because they love him; the dwellers in hell will be restrained by power, because they cannot deliver themselves. So now, the submission of a true child of God is that of love, or is a willing submission; the submission of a hypocrite is that of fear, when he feigns obedience because he cannot help it, or because he simply dreads the wrath of God. The object here is to celebrate the power of God, and it was sufficient, in order to set that forth, to say that it awed, and outwardly subdued the enemies of God.

3, 4. A specimen of the praise.

How terrible—(Compare Ps 65:8).

submit—(Compare Margin), show a forced subjection (Ps 18:44), produced by terror.

How terrible art thou in thy works! To wit to thine enemies, as it follows. Submit themselves unto thee, Heb. lie unto thee, i.e. profess subjection to thee, not sincerely and freely, but by constraint, and out of a servile fear.

Say unto God,.... Or, "concerning God" (t), as some; or, "before God", as the Targum; say to him as follows, in psalms and hymns of praise:

how terrible art thou in thy works! or "reverend" (u); to be feared and reverenced with a godly fear on account of them; such as the works of nature and providence, which are stupendous and marvellous, fearfully and wonderfully wrought; and especially those of grace and redemption, in which the goodness of Christ is manifest, and for which he is to be feared: unless rather his judgments upon his enemies are here meant; who, though he is a Lamb to his own people, is the Lion of the tribe of Judah to them, whom he will break in pieces as a potter's vessel it may be read, "how terrible", or "tremendous", is everyone of "thy works"; so Aben Ezra, and also Jarchi, who interprets the next clause,

through the greatness of thy power, thus,

"when thou showest to the world thy power, by the pestilence, or sword, or famine, or lightnings:''

shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee? in a lying, flattering, and deceitful manner, as the word (w) here used signifies; See Gill on Psalm 18:44; or, as the above interpreters,

"they shall, through the greatness of fear, confess the lies and transgressions they have committed.''

It will be a forced, and not a free, confession and submission; Christ's enemies, whether they will or not, will be obliged to own that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Philippians 2:10.

(t) "dicite de Deo", Campensis apud Gejerum; and some in Michaelis. (u) "reverendus", Junius & Tremellius. (w) "mentientur", V. L. Musculus, Montanus; "mendaciter se dedunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Amama.

Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies {b} submit themselves unto thee.

(b) As the faithful obey God willingly, so the infidels disguise themselves as obedient out of fear.

3. How terrible art thou in thy works!] Better as R.V., How terrible are thy works! Cp. Psalm 65:5; Revelation 15:3.

through the greatness of thy power] Rather, of thy strength; cp. Psalm 46:1; Psalm 63:2; Psalm 68:33-34.

submit themselves unto thee] Or, come cringing unto thee. The word, which means literally to lie (hence P.B.V. be found liars unto thee) and so to yield feigned obedience, denotes the unwilling homage paid by the conquered to their conqueror. Cp. Psalm 18:44; Psalm 81:15; Deuteronomy 33:29.

Verse 3. - Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! rather, How terrible are thy works! God's deliverances, while rejoicing the persecuted, are "terrible" to the persecutors. Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. God's enemies, compelled against their will, have to submit themselves, but it is a feigned submission (comp. Psalm 76:12). Psalm 66:3The phrase שׂים כבוד ל signifies "to give glory to God" in other passages (Joshua 7:19; Isaiah 42:12), here with a second accusative, either (1) if we take תּהלּתו as an accusative of the object: facite laudationem ejus gloriam equals gloriosam (Maurer and others), or (2) if we take כבוד as an accusative of the object and the former word as an accusative of the predicate: reddite honorem laudem ejus (Hengstenberg), or (3) also by taking תהלתו as an apposition: reddite honorem, scil. laudem ejus (Hupfeld). We prefer the middle rendering: give glory as His praise, i.e., to Him as or for praise. It is unnecessary, with Hengstenberg, to render: How terrible art Thou in Thy works! in that case אתּה ought not to be wanting. מעשׂיך might more readily be singular (Hupfeld, Hitzig); but these forms with the softened Jod of the root dwindle down to only a few instances upon closer consideration. The singular of the predicate (what a terrible affair) here, as frequently, e.g., Psalm 119:137, precedes the plural designating things. The song into which the Psalmist here bids the nations break forth, is essentially one with the song of the heavenly harpers in Revelation 15:3., which begins, Μεγάλα καὶ θαυμαστὰ τὰ ἔργα σου.
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