Psalm 95:7
For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
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(7) To-day if . . .—In joining this clause with Psalm 95:8-9 the Authorised Version follows the LXX. The Masoretic text connects it with the preceding part of the verse, and there seems no good reason for departing from that arrangement. Indeed, the change from the third person, “his voice,” to the first, “tempted me,” in the same sentence is intolerable even in Hebrew poetry. Nor is there any necessity to suppose the loss of a line. Render: “For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his hand. Today would that ye would hearken to his voice.” The Oriental custom of leading flocks by the voice is doubtless alluded to, as in John 10:4. Notice the resemblance in Psalm 95:6-7 to Psalm 100:3-4.

Psalm 95:7. For he is our God — He not only has dominion over us, as he has over all the creatures, but stands in a special relation to us. He is our God in a peculiar sense, and therefore it would be most unreasonable and wicked if we should forsake him, when even the Gentiles shall submit to his law. And we are the people of his pasture — Whom he feeds in his church, with his word and by his ordinances, and defends by his watchful providence. And the sheep of his hand — Under his special care and government. To-day — That is, forthwith, or presently, as this word is often used. Or the expression may mean this solemn day of grace, or of the gospel, which the psalmist speaks of as present, according to the manner of the prophets; if ye will hear his voice — If ye will hearken to his call, and obey his further commands, which may be added as a necessary caution and admonition to the Israelites, that they might understand and consider that God’s presence and favour were not absolutely, necessarily, and everlastingly fixed to them, as they were very apt to believe, but were suspended upon the condition of their continued obedience, which, if they violated, they should be rejected, and the Gentiles, performing it, should be received for his people. And this clause may be connected with the preceding, and considered as expressing the condition of their interest in God as their God, thus: “He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, &c., if ye will hear his voice;” that is, if ye will be his obedient people he will continue to be your God. Or else the word אם, im, translated if, may be rendered in the optative form, O that you would hear his voice to-day, saying unto you, Harden not your hearts. “However this be,” says Dr. Horne, “what follows, to the end of the Psalm, is undoubtedly spoken in the person of God himself, who may be considered as addressing us, in these latter days, by the gospel of his Son; for so the apostle teaches us to apply the whole passage, Hebrews 3:4. The Israelites, when they came out of Egypt, had a day of probation, and a promised rest to succeed it; but by unbelief and disobedience, they to whom it was promised, that is, the generation of those who came out of Egypt, fell short of it, and died in the wilderness. The gospel, in like manner, offers, both to Jew and Gentile, another day of probation in this world, and another promised rest to succeed it, which remaineth for the people of God in heaven. All whom it concerns are, therefore, exhorted to beware, lest they forfeit the second rest, as murmuring and rebellious Israel came short of the first.”

95:7-11 Christ calls upon his people to hear his voice. You call him Master, or Lord; then be his willing, obedient people. Hear the voice of his doctrine, of his law, and in both, of his Spirit: hear and heed; hear and yield. Christ's voice must be heard to-day. This day of opportunity will not last always; improve it while it is called to-day. Hearing the voice of Christ is the same with believing. Hardness of heart is at the bottom of all distrust of the Lord. The sins of others ought to be warnings to us not to tread in their steps. The murmurings of Israel were written for our admonition. God is not subject to such passions as we are; but he is very angry at sin and sinners. That certainly is evil, which deserves such a recompence; and his threatenings are as sure as his promises. Let us be aware of the evils of our hearts, which lead us to wander from the Lord. There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.For he is our God - Not only the God whom we worship as the true God, but One who has revealed himself to us as our God. We worship him as God - as entitled to praise and adoration because he is the true God; we worship him also as sustaining the relation of God to us, or because we recognize him as our God, and because he has manifested himself as ours.

And we are the people of his pasture - whom he has recognized as his flock; to whom he sustains the relation of shepherd; who feeds and protects us as the shepherd does his flock. See the notes at Psalm 79:13; compare Psalm 23:1-3.

And the sheep of his hand - The flock that is guided and fed by his hand.

To day if ye will hear his voice - His voice calling you; commanding you; inviting you; encouraging you. See this passage explained in the notes at Hebrews 3:7-11. The word "today" here means "the present time;" now. The idea is, that the purpose to obey should not be deferred until tomorrow; should not be put off to the future. The commands of God should be obeyed at once; the purpose should be executed immediately. All God's commands relate to the present. He gives us none for the future; and a true purpose to obey God exists only where there is a willingness to obey "now," "today;" and can exist only then. A purpose to repent at some future time, to give up the world at some future time, to embrace the Gospel at some future time, is "no obedience," for there is no such command addressed to us. A resolution to put off repentance and faith, to defer attention to religion until some future time, is real disobedience - and often the worst form of disobedience - for it is directly in the face of the command of God. "If ye will hear." That is, If there is a disposition or willingness to obey his voice at all; or, to listen to his commands. See the notes at Hebrews 3:7.

7. This relation illustrates our entire dependence (compare Ps 23:3; 74:1). The last clause is united by Paul (Heb 3:7) to the following (compare Ps 81:8), Our God, in a peculiar manner; and therefore it will be most unreasonable and abominable for us to forsake him, when the Gentiles submit to his law. The people of his pasture; whom he feedeth and keepeth in his own proper pasture, or in the land which he hath appropriated to himself.

The sheep of his hand; which are under his special care and conduct, or government; which is oft expressed by the hand, as Numbers 4:28 31:49 Judges 9:29.

Today, i.e. forthwith or presently, as this word is used, Deu 4:4,8 27:9 Joshua 22:16,18, &c. Or, this day; in this solemn day of grace, or of the gospel, which the psalmist speaks of as present, according to the manner of the prophets. And this word, though belonging to the following clause, as appears from Hebrews 3:7, may seem to be thus placed, to show that it had some respect to the foregoing words also. For the sense of the place may be this, We (Jews) are or shall be the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand; God will still own us for his people this day, i.e. in the days of the Messiah, if this day or in that time we shall hear his voice. Otherwise God will reject us, and receive the Gentiles in our stead.

If ye will hear his voice; if you will hearken to his call, and obey his further commands; which may be added as a necessary caution and admonition to the Israelites, that they might understand and consider that God’s presence and favour was not absolutely, necessarily, and everlastingly fixed to them, as they were very apt to believe, but was suspended upon the condition of their continued obedience, which if they violated they should be rejected, and the Gentiles performing it should be received to his mercy. And this clause may be connected either,

1. With the former words, as the condition of their interest in God as their God, as was now said. Or,

2. With the following verse; If you are willing to hearken to God’s call delivered by his Son, take the following counsel.

For he is our God,.... God over all, blessed for ever, truly and properly God, and therefore to be worshipped: "our God"; in whom we have interest, who became our head and surety in covenant; took upon him our nature, is our "Immanuel", God with as, which increases the obligation to worship him; these are the words of New Testament saints:

and we are the people of his pasture; for whom he has provided a good pasture; whom he leads into it, and feeds in it, even by the ministry of the word and ordinances:

and the sheep of his hand; made and fashioned by his hand, both in a natural and spiritual sense; led and guided by his hand, as a flock by the hand of the shepherd; are in his hand, being put there for safety by his Father; and upheld by it, and preserved in it, and from whence none can pluck them; see Deuteronomy 33:3 receiving such favours from him, he ought to be worshipped by them. The Heathens had a deity they called Pan, whom they make to be a keeper of sheep (e); and some Christian writers have thought that Christ the chief Shepherd is meant; since, when the Heathen oracles ceased, after the coming and death of Christ, a voice is (f) said to be heard at a certain place, "the great Pan is dead: today, if ye will hear his voice"; the voice of the Shepherd, the voice of God, says Aben Ezra, his Word, as the Targum; the voice of the Messiah, both his perceptive voice, his commands and ordinances, which ought to be hearkened to and obeyed; and the voice of his Gospel, and the doctrines of it; which is to be heard not only externally, but internally: when it is heard as to be understood, to be approved of and believed, and to be distinguished; so as to have a spiritual and experimental knowledge of it; to feel the power and efficacy of it, and practically attend to it; it is an evidence of being the sheep of Christ; see John 10:4, where the sheep are said to know the voice of the shepherd, and not that of a stranger; of which Polybius (g) gives a remarkable instance in the goats of the island of Cyrnon, who will flee from strangers, but, as soon as the keeper sounds his trumpet, they will run to him: though the words may be connected with what follows, as they are in Hebrews 3:7, where they are said to be the words of the Holy Ghost, and are applied to times, and are interpreted of the voice of the Son of God in his house; for though it may refer to some certain day in David's time, as the seventh day sabbath, in which the voice of God might be heard, the word of God read and explained; and in Gospel times, as the Lord's day, in which Christ speaks by his ministers; and to the whole time of a man's life, which is called "while it is today", Hebrews 3:13, yet it chiefly respects the whole day of the Gospel, the whole Gospel dispensation, 2 Corinthians 6:2.

(e) "Pan ovium custos----" Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 17. "Pana deum pecoris veteres coluisse feruntur", Ovid. Fasti, l. 2.((f) Plutarch. de orac. defect. p. 419. (g) Hist. l. 12. in principio.

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his {e} hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

(e) That is, the flock whom he governs with his own hand. He shows how they are God's flock, that is, if they hear his voice.

7. our God] P. B.V. the Lord our God, from the Vulg.

the people &c.] The people whom He shepherds, the flock which is His own especial charge. Cp. Psalm 74:1, note.

To day if ye will hear &c.] The A.V. follows the LXX in taking this clause as the protasis to Psalm 95:8. But here the Psalmist is still speaking (‘his voice’), while in Psalm 95:8 God speaks; and it is better to take it as a wish, Oh that to-day ye would hearken to his voice! Cp. Deuteronomy 5:29. As the Psalmist recalls God’s care for His people in the wilderness, He cannot forget their thankless disobedience, and the earnest wish springs to his lips that this generation may not repeat the sin of their forefathers. This wish leads up naturally to the solemn warning of Psalm 95:8-11. To day is emphatic, and has a special significance if the Psalm was sung at the Dedication of the Second Temple: now, in contrast to that former time; now, when Jehovah has visibly manifested His goodness; now, while the door of opportunity lies open before you. His voice is not merely the words which follow, but all His message. Cp. Deuteronomy 4:30.

Verse 7a. - For he is our God. A second, and a more urgent, reason for worshipping God. Not only is he a "great God" (ver. 3), but he is also "our God" - our own God - brought into the closest personal relationship with us. And we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (comp. Psalm 74:1; Psalm 79:13; Psalm 80:1, etc.). We are led by him, tended by him, fed by him, folded by him. We owe everything to his shepherding. Verses 7b-11. - The warning against waywardness. This is delivered in four, or rather four and a half, verses, and commences with the words, "Today if ye will hear his voice." Verse 7b. - Today. This word, standing prominently forward as it does, is a startling call, intimating that the time is come for a momentous decision. If ye will hear his voice. God is crying to his people - will they hear, or will they forbear? If the former, all will go well; if the latter, than assuredly they shall not enter into his rest. The "voice" intended proceeds to give the warning of vers. 8-11. Psalm 95:7The second decastich begins in the midst of the Masoretic Psalm 95:7. Up to this point the church stirs itself up to a worshipping appearing before its God; now the voice of God (Hebrews 4:7), earnestly admonishing, meets it, resounding from out of the sanctuary. Since שׁמע בּ signifies not merely to hear, but to hear obediently, Psalm 95:7 cannot be a conditioning protasis to what follows. Hengstenberg wishes to supply the apodosis: "then will He bless you, His people;" but אם in other instances too (Psalm 81:9; Psalm 139:19; Proverbs 24:11), like לוּ, has an optative signification, which it certainly has gained by a suppression of a promissory apodosis, but yet without the genius of the language having any such in mind in every instance. The word היּום placed first gives prominence to the present, in which this call to obedience goes forth, as a decisive turning-point. The divine voice warningly calls to mind the self-hardening of Israel, which came to light at Merמbah, on the day of Massah. What is referred to, as also in Psalm 81:8, is the tempting of God in the second year of the Exodus on account of the failing of water in the neighbourhood of Horeb, at the place which is for this reason called Massah u-Merı̂bah (Exodus 17:1-7); from which is to be distinguished the tempting of God in the fortieth year of the Exodus at Merı̂bah, viz., at the waters of contention near Kadesh (written fully Mê-Merı̂bah Kadesh, or more briefly Mê-Merı̂bah), Numbers 20:2-13 (cf. on Psalm 78:20). Strictly כמריבה signifies nothing but instar Meribae, as in Psalm 83:10 instar Midianitarum; but according to the sense, כּ is equivalent to כּעל. Psalm 106:32, just as כּיום is equivalent to כּביום. On אשׁר, quum, cf. Deuteronomy 11:6. The meaning of גּם־ראוּ פעלי is not they also (גם as in Psalm 52:7) saw His work; for the reference to the giving of water out of the rock would give a thought that is devoid of purpose here, and the assertion is too indefinite for it to be understood of the judgment upon those who tempted God (Hupfeld and Hitzig). It is therefore rather to be rendered: notwithstanding (ho'moos, Ew. 354, a) they had ( equals although they had, cf. גם in Isaiah 49:15) seen His work (His wondrous guiding and governing), and might therefore be sure that He would not suffer them to be destroyed. The verb קוּט coincides with κοτέω, κότος. בּדּור .ען, for which the lxx has τῇ γενεᾷ ἐκείνη, is anarthrous in order that the notion may be conceived of more qualitatively than relatively: with a (whole) generation. With ואמר Jahve calls to mind the repeated declarations of His vexation concerning their heart, which was always inclined towards error which leads to destruction - declarations, however, which bore no fruit. Just this ineffectiveness of His indignation had as its result that (אשׁר, not ὅτι but ὥστε, as in Genesis 13:16; Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:51; 2 Kings 9:37, and frequently) He sware, etc. (אם equals verily not, Gesen. 155, 2, f, with the emphatic future form in n which follows). It is the oath in Numbers 14:27. that is meant. The older generation died in the desert, and therefore lost the entering into the rest of God, by reason of their disobedience. If now, many centuries after Moses, they are invited in the Davidic Psalter to submissive adoration of Jahve, with the significant call: "To-day if ye will hearken to His voice!" and with a reference to the warning example of the fathers, the obedience of faith, now as formerly, has therefore to look forward to the gracious reward of entering into God's rest, which the disobedient at that time lost; and the taking possession of Canaan was, therefore, not as yet the final מנוּחה (Deuteronomy 12:9). This is the connection of the wider train of thought which to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews Heb 3:1, Hebrews 4:1, follows from this text of the Psalm.
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