Tehillim / Psalms 75, Part 2, Remembering and Declaring the Praises of God

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 75:1-9, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף שִׁיר: For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song. (NASB) Asaph says, ב הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ | אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ וְקָרוֹב שְׁמֶךָ סִפְּרוּ נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ: 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. (NASB) What does it mean the Name of the Lord is near? He continues saying, ג כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד אֲנִי מֵישָׁרִים אֶשְׁפֹּט: ד נְמוֹגִים-אֶרֶץ וְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ אָנֹכִי תִּכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶּלָה: 75:2 ‘When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. 75:3 ‘The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah. (NASB) The Hebrew text states that the Lord make’s straight His judgments by the selection of an appointed time. How does the Lord making an appointed time cause him to make His judgments straight? What does it mean to make a judgment straight? Asaph continues saying, ה אָמַרְתִּי לַהוֹלְלִים אַל-תָּהֹלּוּ וְלָרְשָׁעִים אַל-תָּרִימוּ קָרֶן: ו אַל-תָּרִימוּ לַמָּרוֹם קַרְנְכֶם תְּדַבְּרוּ בְצַוָּאר עָתָק: 75:4 ‘I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; 75:5 Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.’ (NASB) What does it mean to lift the horn? The lifting of a horn is connected to one speaking in pride? Asaph continues saying, ז כִּי לֹא מִמּוֹצָא וּמִמַּעֲרָב וְלֹא מִמִּדְבַּר הָרִים: ח כִּי-אֱלֹהִים שֹׁפֵט זֶה יַשְׁפִּיל וְזֶה יָרִים: 75:6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; 75:7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. (NASB) The text says that not from the east or the west, or from the desert comes exaltation. Why does the author not mention the north and the south? He says It is the Lord who raises up and exalts. He says, ט כִּי כוֹס בְּיַד-יְהֹוָה וְיַיִן חָמַר | מָלֵא מֶסֶךְ וַיַּגֵּר מִזֶּה אַךְ-שְׁמָרֶיהָ יִמְצוּ יִשְׁתּוּ כֹּל רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ: 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs. (NASB) What does it mean that the wicked must drain and drink the dregs? Why is the illustration of the wine used to describe the wicked who must drink? The Psalm concludes saying, י וַאֲנִי אַגִּיד לְעֹלָם אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב: יא וְכָל-קַרְנֵי רְשָׁעִים אֲגַדֵּעַ תְּרוֹמַמְנָה קַרְנוֹת צַדִּיק: 75:9 But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 75:10 And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. (NASB) The author says that he will declare it forever. What is it that he is declaring? He concludes with the Lord cutting off the wicked, but raising up the horn of the righteous.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק עה

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף שִׁיר: ב הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ | אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ וְקָרוֹב שְׁמֶךָ סִפְּרוּ נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ: ג כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד אֲנִי מֵישָׁרִים אֶשְׁפֹּט: ד נְמוֹגִים-אֶרֶץ וְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ אָנֹכִי תִּכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶּלָה:

סםר טוביה פרק עה

א לשבחא בזמן די אמר דוד לא תחבל עמך תושבחתא על ידוי דאסף ושירא׃ ב אודינן לך יהוה אודינן וקריב שמך אישתעיו פרישותך׃ ג ארום אירוע זמנא אנא תריצן אדון׃ ד מיתמססין מתמסמסין דיירי ארעא וכל יתבהא אנא אתקינית עמודהא לעלמין׃ ה אמרית למתלעבין לא תתלעבון ורשיעיא לא תרימון ובזוזיא לא תזקפון איקר׃ ו לא תרימון תזקפון למרומא איקרכון אתון אינון די ממללין בתוקפא ובגידופין׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 75

75:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος μὴ διαφθείρῃς ψαλμὸς τῷ Ασαφ ᾠδῆς ἐξομολογησόμεθά σοι ὁ θεός ἐξομολογησόμεθα καὶ ἐπικαλεσόμεθα τὸ ὄνομά σου 75:2 διηγήσομαι πάντα τὰ θαυμάσιά σου ὅταν λάβω καιρόν ἐγὼ εὐθύτητας κρινῶ 75:3 ἐτάκη ἡ γῆ καὶ πάντες οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν αὐτῇ ἐγὼ ἐστερέωσα τοὺς στύλους αὐτῆς διάψαλμα 75:4 εἶπα τοῖς παρανομοῦσιν μὴ παρανομεῖτε καὶ τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσιν μὴ ὑψοῦτε κέρας

ה אָמַרְתִּי לַהוֹלְלִים אַל-תָּהֹלּוּ וְלָרְשָׁעִים אַל-תָּרִימוּ קָרֶן: ו אַל-תָּרִימוּ לַמָּרוֹם קַרְנְכֶם תְּדַבְּרוּ בְצַוָּאר עָתָק: ז כִּי לֹא מִמּוֹצָא וּמִמַּעֲרָב וְלֹא מִמִּדְבַּר הָרִים: ח כִּי-אֱלֹהִים שֹׁפֵט זֶה יַשְׁפִּיל וְזֶה יָרִים: ט כִּי כוֹס בְּיַד-יְהֹוָה וְיַיִן חָמַר | מָלֵא מֶסֶךְ וַיַּגֵּר מִזֶּה אַךְ-שְׁמָרֶיהָ יִמְצוּ יִשְׁתּוּ כֹּל רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ: י וַאֲנִי אַגִּיד לְעֹלָם אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב: יא וְכָל-קַרְנֵי רְשָׁעִים אֲגַדֵּעַ תְּרוֹמַמְנָה קַרְנוֹת צַדִּיק:

ז ארום לית בר מיני ממדינחא ועד מערבא ולא מן צפונא בית מדבריא ומן דרומא אתר טורייא׃ ח ארום אלהא דיין זכאי דנן דין ימאיך ודנן ודין ירומם׃ ט ארום כס לוט ביד יהוה וחמר עשין מלא מזיגת מרירותא לטלטלה מדעא די רשיעיא ממה דשדרי מיניה וקשי מן דין קדמאין ברם דורדייהא ודורייהא ופקטייהא ימצצון ישתון כל רשיעי ארעא׃ י ואנא אתני לעלם ניסיא אשבח לאלהא דיעקב׃ וכל מלכוות תקוף רום רשיעיא אמאיך אתלושינון יתקטפון [ מתוקפיהון יתרוממן יזדקפון תקוף רומהון דצדיקיא׃

75:5 μὴ ἐπαίρετε εἰς ὕψος τὸ κέρας ὑμῶν μὴ λαλεῖτε κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀδικίαν 75:6 ὅτι οὔτε ἀπὸ ἐξόδων οὔτε ἀπὸ δυσμῶν οὔτε ἀπὸ ἐρήμων ὀρέων 75:7 ὅτι ὁ θεὸς κριτής ἐστιν τοῦτον ταπεινοῖ καὶ τοῦτον ὑψοῖ 75:8 ὅτι ποτήριον ἐν χειρὶ κυρίου οἴνου ἀκράτου πλῆρες κεράσματος καὶ ἔκλινεν ἐκ τούτου εἰς τοῦτο πλὴν ὁ τρυγίας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐξεκενώθη πίονται πάντες οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τῆς γῆς 75:9 ἐγὼ δὲ ἀγαλλιάσομαι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ψαλῶ τῷ θεῷ Ιακωβ 75:10 καὶ πάντα τὰ κέρατα τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν συγκλάσω καὶ ὑψωθήσεται τὰ κέρατα τοῦ δικαίου

Tehillim / Psalms 75

For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song. 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. 75:2 ‘When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. 75:3 ‘The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah. 75:4 ‘I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; 75:5 Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.’‘ 75:6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; 75:7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs. 75:9 But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 75:10 And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 75

75:1 For praise; in the time that David said, “Do not harm your people.” A psalm composed by Asaph, and a song. 75:2 We have praised you, O Lord, we have praised you, and your name is near, your wonders have declared it. 75:3 Because of the meeting of the festival, I will judge uprightly. 75:4 The inhabitants of the earth melt away, and all who dwell in it; I have made its pillars firm forever. 75:5 I said to the mockers, “Do not mock,” and to the wicked, “Do not exalt [your] honor.” 75:6 Do not exalt your honor to the height, you who speak in harshness and blasphemy. 75:7 For there is none beside me from east to west, nor from the north, the area of deserts, to the south, the site of mountains. 75:8 For God is a righteous judge; this one he will humble, and this one he will exalt. 75:9 For the cup of cursing is in the hand of the Lord, and a harsh wine, full of a bitter mixture, to confuse the wits of the wicked by what is poured out from it, and more severe than the judgment of the ancients; yet its dregs and its foam all the wicked of the earth will press out and drink. 75:10 But I will tell forever the miracles; I will praise the God of Jacob. 75:11 But all the mighty loftiness of the wicked I will humble; I will uproot them from their strongholds; the mighty loftiness of the righteous will be magnified. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 75

For the end, Destroy not, a Psalm of a Song for Asaph. 75:1 We will give thanks to thee, O God, we will give thanks, and call upon thy name: I will declare all thy wonderful works. 75:2 When I shall take a set time, I will judge righteously. 75:3 The earth is dissolved, and all that dwell in it: I have strengthened its pillars. Pause. 75:4 I said unto the transgressors, Do not transgress; and to the sinners, Lift not up the horn. 75:5 Lift not up your horn on high; speak not unrighteousness against God. 75:6 For good comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert mountains. 75:7 For God is the judge; he puts down one, and raises up another. 75:8 For there is a cup in the hand of the Lord, full of unmingled wine; and he has turned it from side to side, but its dregs have not been wholly poured out; all the sinners of the earth shall drink them. 75:9 But I will exult for ever: I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 10 And I will break all the horns of sinners; but the horns of the righteous one shall be exalted. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 75:1-9, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף שִׁיר: For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song. (NASB) The words אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת are transliterated as Al-tashheth. The word תַּשְׁחֵת appears to be an verb written in the Hiphil Imperfect 2nd Masculine Singular form meaning “to spoil; destroy.” Combining the negative particle אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת it appears to have the meaning “do not destroy,” which may be a reference to the Lord who is the Mighty One, where He is the One who is capable of destroying and Asaph is asking the Lord not to destroy His people. Brown, Drivers, Briggs Lexicon states that this is “a command to the chief musician, or perhaps the title of a melody used for several Psalms,” BDB’s definition suggests some doubt on the part of the commentators about its translation. The opening phrase of the Psalm in the MT generally gives a sense of what the author is going to say. In this instance, Asaph is saying “do not destroy” and he writes a song to sing unto the Lord His praises. This interpretation is consistent with the Aramaic Targum which states, 75:1 For praise; in the time that David said, “Do not harm your people.” A psalm composed by Asaph, and a song. (EMC) and the Septuagint which states, For the end, Destroy not, a Psalm of a Song for Asaph. (LXX)

Asaph says, ב הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ | אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ וְקָרוֹב שְׁמֶךָ סִפְּרוּ נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ: 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. (NASB) He says הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ “we thank You,” אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ literally “God we thank.” He continues saying, וְקָרוֹב שְׁמֶךָ “and near is Your name.” What does it mean the Name of the Lord is near? He writes, סִפְּרוּ נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ using the word נפלאות giving the meaning that “they number your miracles.” Asaph is saying that the people give thanks, and they praise the Name of the Lord by numbering the miracles (works) He has performed. In the remembering process, the Name of the Lord is near. The point that Asaph is making is the remembering of God working in the life of His people, in their deliverance from Egypt, the miracles He performed for them, crossing the red sea, the water from the rock, the bread from heaven, how He sustained them throughout the 40 years in the wilderness, etc. The important observation from the Torah is that the manner in which one lives also effects our relationship with the Lord in heaven, such that He will move in our lives to draw us back to Him and His ways of righteousness and truth if we have fallen away. Living in sin causes the heart and the soul to become dull to the Spirit of God and draws one away from remembering the Lord. This is why remembering is so important, and how remembering draws in the fulfilling of the command, and how the Name of the Lord is near. This is the point of the teaching in Parashat Yitro on Shemot / Exodus 20:24, the Lord said “… in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.” (NASB) This may also be the point of Parashat Korach, where these men were lost spiritually and desired to make a name for themselves by changing the interpretation of the commands on who will be the priests and High Priest in the Tabernacle. The Scriptures speak of the altar being built in a particular way (without tools) and not to be built in places that are chosen arbitrarily, but at places in which the Lord has chosen. This is very important, because obedience and having the right motivation in seeking the Lord in heaven is related to hearing from God, and His presence being in our midst, and receiving his blessing.

Considering the teaching within “Christendom” that states an individual may be saved merely by professing a belief in the Messiah, this approach to salvation has caused some skeptics to claim that the Bible contradicts itself where in one section of the Scriptures the disciples speak of only confessing a belief in the Name of Yeshua, and other sections requires obedience as well (See 1 John and 1,2 Peter). Both Peter and Paul declared, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (see Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and Joel 2:32), skeptics remind those they are talking to that Yeshua also stated, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (see Matthew 7:21, and Luke 6:46). The basis for their argument is that Yeshua’s words in Matthew 7:21 are opposed to the passages as Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and 1 John 2:4. The issue is that many people believe “calling on the name of the Lord” is synonymous to saying “Jesus save me.” Is this what Asaph is trying to say when he said “For Your name is near?” How does simply “calling out to Christ,” save a person when the Messiah Himself proclaimed that a mere calling upon Him would not save a person? The key to correctly understanding the phrase “calling on the name of the Lord” or as Asaph states, “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works,” is to recognize that more is involved in this action of calling out than a mere verbal or mental petition directed toward God. For example, the “calling out” mentioned in Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13, and Acts 22:16 (e.g. Paul was “calling on the name of the Lord”), is not equal with the “calling out Lord, Lord” as Yeshua spoke of in Matthew 7:21. To illustrate this point, when a person calls on someone, it frequently means more than simply making a request. For example, when a medical doctor goes to a hospital patient’s room to “call on” some of his patients, he does not simply walk into the room and say “I just wanted to come by and say Hello so you can tell me how you are doing, now, pay me for the visit.” On the contrary, he involves himself in a service. He examines the patient, listens to his/her concerns, gives instructions regarding their recovery, and prescribes medication. All of these elements are involved in the doctor “calling upon” a patient. While studying the expression of “calling upon the Name of the Lord,” the way it is used in the Scriptures, the conclusion is that this phrase has a deeper meaning. For example, Paul’s statement recorded in Acts 25:11 (εἰ μὲν οὖν ἀδικῶ καὶ ἄξιον θανάτου πέπραχά τι, οὐ παραιτοῦμαι τὸ ἀποθανεῖν: εἰ δὲ οὐδέν ἐστιν ὧν οὗτοι κατηγοροῦσίν μου, οὐδείς με δύναται αὐτοῖς χαρίσασθαι: Καίσαρα ἐπικαλοῦμαι.) saying, “I appeal unto Caesar.” The word “appeal” (epikaloumai, ἐπικαλοῦμαι) is the same word translated “call” or “calling” in Acts 2:21, 22:16, and Romans 10:13.

Acts 2:21

καὶ ἔσται πᾶς ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται.

Acts 22:16

καὶ νῦν τί μέλλεις; ἀναστὰς βάπτισαι καὶ ἀπόλουσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου ἐπικαλεσάμενος τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ.

Romans 10:13

Πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται.

Paul was not simply saying, “I’m calling on Caesar to save me.” Paul appealed to Caesar, claiming the right of a Roman citizen to have his case judged by Caesar. He was asking that his case be transferred to Caesar’s court and that Caesar hear and pass judgment on his case. He indicated that he was resting his case on Caesar’s judgment. In order for this to take place (to occur) Paul had to submit to whatever was necessary in order for his case to be brought before Caesar. He had to submit to the Roman soldiers who conveyed him to Rome. He had to submit to whatever formalities or procedure Caesar demanded of those who came before him. All of this was involved in his appeal to Caesar. From this perspective, Paul’s calling upon Caesar involved his submission to him. This is similar to Asaph’s words, ב הוֹדִינוּ לְּךָ | אֱלֹהִים הוֹדִינוּ וְקָרוֹב שְׁמֶךָ סִפְּרוּ נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ: 75:1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works. (NASB) The remembering of the Lord’s wondrous works is found within the covenant relationship whose stipulations are put into practice in one’s life. The people whom Paul was persecuting and later speaking to in his letters were not people who only prayed to God, but those who were serving the Lord, and who, by their obedience, were submitting themselves to His authority (see Matthew 28:18). Zephaniah 3:9 links one’s “calling” with his “service” saying, 3:9 ‘For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

(NASB) Based upon these texts, when a person submits to the will of God, he can be described as “calling on the Lord.” As a result, both Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 (example verses) do not contradict Matthew 7:21, because to “call on the Lord” involves more than simply pleading for salvation; it involves submitting to God’s will. According to Colossians 3:17, (καὶ πᾶν ὅ τι ἐὰν ποιῆτε ἐν λόγῳ ἢ ἐν ἔργῳ, πάντα ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, εὐχαριστοῦντες τῷ θεῷ πατρὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ. 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. NASB) everything a believer does in both word and deed, is to be carried out by the authority of Yeshua the Messiah. For a non-believer to receive salvation, this is no different. In order to receive salvation, a person must submit to the Lord’s authority by entering into the covenant relationship with God which also involves Teshuvah (Repentance). This is what Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 are teaching; and it is our job to search the Scriptures to determine what it means to “call upon the name of the Lord.” When Peter spoke to the crowd in Jerusalem following Shavuot (Pentecost), and when the listeners learned that “calling on the name of the Lord for salvation” was equal to obeying the Gospel, it was at that point that approximately 3,000 were “obedient to the faith” and performed Teshuvah and were immersed in a mikvah (baptized) which showed an active decision to turn from their sins and follow the risen Messiah. (see Acts 2:38, 2:41) Note how Paul speaks in Romans 10:6-15:

Romans 10:6-15

10:6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 10:7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).’ 10:8 But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10:10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 10:11 For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 10:13 for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 10:15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ (NASB)

Paul is speaking to the Romans saying, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” He asks the question “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” He continues saying, as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Note that these passages do not explicitly define what it means to call on the name of the Lord. What Paul does say is that the gentile cannot call upon the name after the One whom he has not heard, not having heard the Word of God and believing it. Note how this parallels Parashat Ki Tavo (Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) when Moshe lists the blessing that follows the one who listens and obeys (השמעים והשמרים) God’s Word, and the curse that follows when one chooses not to listen and obey. Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1 states וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת “now it comes to be that you listen hearing the voice of the Lord God to keep and to do …” The phrase שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע is translated as “diligently obey” according to the NASB. The translators of the NASB realize that both of these words are taken from the root word שמע meaning “to listen/hear.” The first word שָׁמוֹעַ is a 3rdע Qal noun meaning “to hear or to listen” and תִּשְׁמַע is written in the imperfect Qal second person masculine singular form denoting a past action that is in progress but not completed at the time in question. This Hebrew phrase is translated into English as “to hear listening,” where the NASB translates as to “diligently obey” the Lord your God. It is interesting that, the verse says “if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God” (וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת) in Hebrew, the imperfect form תִּשְׁמַע indicates that listening is an ongoing process. This indicates the process of listening (hearing) and obeying God’s voice is an ongoing life long process. A parallel is drawn within the sentence on “listening or hearing the voice of the Lord God” to the words “to keep” (לִשְׁמֹר) and “to do” (לַעֲשֹוֹת) what God has commanded. This is how Paul is drawing in the context of hearing, continuing to listen, obeying, keeping, and doing, that is coupled to the covenant inheritance, the “gospel” message of grace, salvation, sacrifice, and atonement. Paul is speaking of the covenant agreement of obedience to the Word of the Lord, just as Peter did in Acts 2. It was only after the crowd heard Peter speak during the Shavuot festival and believed in the resurrected Messiah whom Peter proclaimed were they “cut to the heart” and their subsequent question was, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter told them how to call on the name of the Lord and be saved (Acts 2:38). The remembering of the wondrous works of God’s hand in the Torah draws us to repentance (Teshuvah), and our desire to draw near to the Lord in heaven, and thus is the meaning “For Your Name is near” uttered from Asaph’s lips.

Asaph continues saying, ג כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד אֲנִי מֵישָׁרִים אֶשְׁפֹּט: ד נְמוֹגִים-אֶרֶץ וְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ אָנֹכִי תִּכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶּלָה: 75:2 ‘When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. 75:3 ‘The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah. (NASB) The Hebrew text states that the Lord makes straight His judgments by the selection of an appointed time. How does the Lord making an appointed time cause Him to make His judgments straight? What does it mean to make a judgment straight? Ecclesiastes 7:13 states that it is the Lord who is able to straighten what was crooked.

Ecclesiastes 7:13

7:13 Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? (NASB)

יג רְאֵה אֶת-מַעֲשֵֹה הָאֱלֹהִים כִּי מִי יוּכַל לְתַקֵּן אֵת אֲשֶׁר עִוְּתוֹ:

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes to “consider the work of God.” We are told to take into consideration the manner in which the Lord judges. He is slow to anger, long suffering, and merciful, which provides us with reasons why we should not be hasty to judge or bring accusation against another, and this echoes Yeshua’s words in Matthew 7:1-3. (7:1 ‘Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 7:2 ‘For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 7:3 ‘Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? NASB) In all the things that happen in life, we are to recognize and acknowledge the work the Lord God has put into us in order to set our lives on the path that He chooses. What is important to note is according to Ecclesiastes, the Lord does both, he makes straight and he makes crooked. The purpose is to bring difficulties in our lives to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him. The Septuagint states, Τίς δυνήσεται κοσμῆσαι ο{ν α}ν ὁ Θεὸς διαστρέψῃ αὐτόν; “Who will be able to straighten him whom God has distorted?” and the Vulgate states, Nemo possit corrigere quem ille despexerit, “No one can amend him whom he hath despised.” And so the idea is, according to Ecclesiastes 6:10, “man cannot contend with him that is mightier than he.” We are not able to arrange the events of our lives according to our wishes or expectations. The concept of כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד “I will choose the moed” the appointed time, is not necessarily a reference to the Moedim as listed in the Torah (e.g. Pesach, Shavuot, Succot, etc). The idea here is that the Lord is the one who chooses the timing for judgment to begin or end. We are told that the Lord judges with equity (Tehillim / Psalms 75:2), and so we can be assured the Lord has our best interests in mind, and the purpose is for our drawing near in thought, prayer, and deed, and continuing in His righteousness. The wise man will make every effort to be faithful to remain in the Messiah in every existing circumstance. Note how the Hebrew text is written in Ecclesiastes 7:13, כִּי מִי יוּכַל לְתַקֵּן אֵת אֲשֶׁר עִוְּתוֹ Solomon uses the word לְתַקֵּן meaning “to fix, repair; correct” as opposed to the word ישר meaning “straight, even, level, smooth” which is used in David’s words to make straight the path of the one who acknowledges the Lord in all his ways according to Solomon in Mishley / Proverbs 3:6, ו בְּכָל-דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ וְהוּא יְיַשֵּׁר אֹרְחֹתֶיךָ: 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (NASB) The idea is that the Lord is not moving in our lives to make the way smooth, but to fix or repair where we have fallen short. To show us the way of His righteousness, to draw us near, to direct us back towards His throne which is centered in the Messiah, as opposed to our centering our mind, thoughts, and actions on the thrown of our own lives. These things cover all areas of one’s actions and life. Note Solomon’s words in Mishley / Proverbs 3:6, בְּכָל-דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ saying “in all your ways” to “acknowledge” using the word דָעֵהוּ suggests a form of intimacy with the Lord or knowing Him and His knowing us at the deepest level. It guards against our acknowledging God in great crises with solemn acts of worship only without following through with our actions to remain faithful and true. The word acknowledge (daehu) is translated in the Vulgate as “cogita,” and in the Septuagint as γνέριζε. The Hebrew verb yada signifies “to know, or to recognize” at a very intimate level. This is why the Hebrew verb yada is used as the reference to a husband and wife in sexual unity. Solomon’s words calling us to acknowledge the Lord, is to do so at a very intimate level, meaning to recognize His involvement and to acknowledge His involvement in all our dealings and undertakings. This establishes God’s overruling providence over our lives and “shapes the manner in which we choose to do things in this life.” Note that He does not cause us to choose sin. But He is involved in calling us to repentance and to turn from sin. In the Messiah Yeshua, the Lord God in heaven empowers us by His Spirit to overcome sin. This is not a mere theoretical acknowledgment or some kind of spiritualization, this is about our living what we believe, and in doing so, we see the power of God working in our lives, His wisdom, His providence, His goodness, and His justice.

Asaph continues saying, ה אָמַרְתִּי לַהוֹלְלִים אַל-תָּהֹלּוּ וְלָרְשָׁעִים אַל-תָּרִימוּ קָרֶן: ו אַל-תָּרִימוּ לַמָּרוֹם קַרְנְכֶם תְּדַבְּרוּ בְצַוָּאר עָתָק: 75:4 ‘I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; 75:5 Do not lift up your horn on high, Do not speak with insolent pride.’ (NASB) What does it mean to lift the horn? The lifting of a horn is connected to one speaking in pride? In 1 Chronicles 25:1-7, we are told of the Levites who were to give praise to the Lord. It is interesting to note that the horn was not an instrument that is connected to the praise of the Lord. The lifting of the horn was an expression to signify a person lifting up and show forth one’s power or abilities. Note how this praise is used in 1 Chronicles 25:5:

1 Chronicles 25:5

25:5 All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. (NASB)

ה כָּל-אֵלֶּה בָנִים לְהֵימָן חֹזֵה הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּדִבְרֵי הָאֱלֹהִים לְהָרִים קָרֶן וַיִּתֵּן הָאֱלֹהִים לְהֵימָן בָּנִים אַרְבָּעָה עָשָֹר וּבָנוֹת שָׁלוֹשׁ:

The Tanach uses the word “horn” (קָרֶן) as a description of the Lord God exalting Heman. The Lord gave Heman 14 sons and 3 daughters. The lifting of the horn is taking within this context to indicate how the Lord is showing forth Heman, and both his family and his gifts are to be used in the service to the Lord. Note how his sons were also used in the Temple service in the playing of musical instruments. Note how the lifting of the horn is synonymous to the Lord honoring a person by blessing him with many descendants. This is consistent with the Aramaic Targum which states, 75:5 I said to the mockers, “Do not mock,” and to the wicked, “Do not exalt [your] honor.” 75:6 Do not exalt your honor to the height, you who speak in harshness and blasphemy. (EMC) The rabbis translate horn as honor. The idea here is Asaph speaks to the wicked to not boast, to not lift up their horns (or how they have been honored) in pride, and to use what God has given them to acknowledge the Lord who is the source of their blessings. The Talmud Megillah 17b states the following:

Talmud Megillah 17b

And when the transgressors have disappeared, the horn of the righteous will be exalted, as it is written, “All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted” (Psalms 95:11). And “righteous converts” are included with the righteous, as it says, “Before the hoary head rise up, and honor the face of the elder”, and the text goes on, “And if a stranger sojourns with you” (Leviticus 19:32).וכיון שכלו הפושעים מתרוממת קרן צדיקים דכתיב (תהלים עה, יא) וכל קרני רשעים אגדע תרוממנה קרנות צדיק וכולל גירי הצדק עם הצדיקים שנאמר (ויקרא יט, לב) מפני שיבה תקום והדרת פני זקן וסמיך ליה וכי יגור אתכם גר

When transgressors (הפושעים), the workers of iniquity disappear, the righteous will be lifted up. The cutting down of the horns of the wicked is suggestive that the Lord will destroy not only the wicked person, but also the generation that follows, a man’s entire family.

Note also that, the lifting of the horn of the righteous includes the righteous proselytes. Remember, the term “proselyte” is an Anglicization of the Koine Greek term προσήλυτος (proselytos), as used in the Septuagint for “stranger,” a “newcomer to Israel,” or a “sojourner in the land.” Note in the NT this word is used as a reference to a first century convert to Judaism (see Matthew 23:15, Acts 2:10, 6:5, and 13:43). The Greek term προσήλυτος (proselytos) is a translation of the Hebrew phrase גר תושב (ger toshav, see Strongs H1616 for list of references in the Torah). Today the term “proselyte” has a more general meaning in the English language of a new convert to a particular religion or doctrine, also known as Proselytism. There are two kinds of proselytes in Rabbinic Judaism: (i) the ger tzedek (גרי הצדק, meaning “righteous proselytes, proselytes of righteousness, religious proselyte, devout proselyte”), and (ii) the ger toshav (גר תושב, meaning “resident proselyte, proselytes of the gate, limited proselyte, half-proselyte”). A “righteous proselyte” (ger tzedek, גרי הצדק) is a gentile who has converted to Judaism (taking on the Yoke of Judaism), and is bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the rabbis in Judaism, and is considered a full member of the Jewish community. The gate proselyte (ger toshav, גר תושב) on the other hand is someone who lives in the land of Israel and follows only some of the precepts in the Torah for the purpose of being able to live in the community and make money. The Talmudic interpretation is that the Lord will exalt those who honor and seek Him. We are to sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord, whether Jew or Gentile, we are to sing with understanding, and to be without pride in our dealings with others, to live at peace with men, to live righteously, in truth and justice, and to walk humbly before our God in the Messiah Yeshua. It is in this way that we will find our place in the family of God, and serve him in the manner in which He, the Lord, has placed us.

Asaph continues saying, ז כִּי לֹא מִמּוֹצָא וּמִמַּעֲרָב וְלֹא מִמִּדְבַּר הָרִים: ח כִּי-אֱלֹהִים שֹׁפֵט זֶה יַשְׁפִּיל וְזֶה יָרִים: 75:6 For not from the east, nor from the west, Nor from the desert comes exaltation; 75:7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. (NASB) The text says that not from the east or the west, or from the desert comes exaltation. Why does the author not mention the north and the south? Asaph says that exaltation, or promotion does not come from the east or the west. The idea is that the children of the east rely upon their wisdom and wealth in the sense that the sun raises in the east, and the people of the east have relied upon astrology, placing their beliefs in the exaltation of the sun and the stars rather than having faith and believing in the God in heaven. The west may be a reference to the Gentile forces in Europe. The failure to mention the north and the south, may be due to Asaph’s understanding of the Torah, to not return to Egypt for help, and that there is no help in Babylon or Syria, possibly a reference to the northern tribes who stood in opposition to Judah. There are none who come from the north to help. When people come to contend for the prize, the Lord puts down that one and sets up another as He sees fit, so as to serve his own purposes and bring to pass his own counsels. The Lord in heaven is the One who judges, He is the One who raises up and exalts.

Asaph continues saying, ט כִּי כוֹס בְּיַד-יְהֹוָה וְיַיִן חָמַר | מָלֵא מֶסֶךְ וַיַּגֵּר מִזֶּה אַךְ-שְׁמָרֶיהָ יִמְצוּ יִשְׁתּוּ כֹּל רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ: 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs. (NASB) What does it mean that the wicked must drain and drink the dregs? Why is the illustration of the wine used to describe the wicked who must drink? The Aramaic Targum states plainly the meaning of this verse saying, 75:9 For the cup of cursing is in the hand of the Lord, and a harsh wine, full of a bitter mixture, to confuse the wits of the wicked by what is poured out from it, and more severe than the judgment of the ancients; yet its dregs and its foam all the wicked of the earth will press out and drink. (EMC) The cup that is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine that foams, is a reference to the “cup of God’s fury, and wrath,” a frequent metaphor used by the prophets (see Isaiah 51:17-22, Jeremiah 25:15, 17-28,Jeremiah 49:12, Lamentations 4:21, Ezekiel 23:31-33, Habakkuk 2:16, etc.). The cup of the fury of God and is commonly represented as full of wine in which his enemies must drink. We are told in various places in the Scriptures that God pours out the cup of his fury on all nations, or persons, whom he chooses to afflict, and they are compelled to drink of it (Jeremiah 25:15-28). It is interesting to note how Tehillim / Psalms 75:8 states that they are to even drink the dregs. In the wine making process, if wine made from fruit is allowed to ferment (the first fermentation) longer than a week, the dregs (the grape pulp), the tannins will continue to leach out and modify the taste of the wine. If the wine is not properly racked, it may develop a off normal taste. The Psalmist concept of drinking down to the dregs, suggests that one takes in the full measure of the wrath of God, and possibly to drink the cup, dregs and all, until it is empty indicating that the enemy of God is required to swallow down all its contents. Both the good and the bad.

Asaph’s Psalm concludes saying, י וַאֲנִי אַגִּיד לְעֹלָם אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב: יא וְכָל-קַרְנֵי רְשָׁעִים אֲגַדֵּעַ תְּרוֹמַמְנָה קַרְנוֹת צַדִּיק: 75:9 But as for me, I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. 75:10 And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off, But the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, 75:10 But I will tell forever the miracles; I will praise the God of Jacob. 75:11 But all the mighty loftiness of the wicked I will humble; I will uproot them from their strongholds; the mighty loftiness of the righteous will be magnified. (EMC) The author says that he will declare it forever. What is it that he is declaring? He is remembering and declaring the praises of the Lord God of Jacob, the God of Israel, all the works of His hands, and the manner in which He deals with our enemies. He concludes with the Lord cutting off the wicked, but raising up the horn of the righteous to honor His people forever. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 75 has 5 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 75, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 75, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For the leader; Altashheth (Destroy not) (Tehillim / Psalms 75:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not fail you, neither destroy you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:31), and also, And I prayed unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, do not destroy your people. (Tehillim / Psalms 9:26).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words with regard to the Lord destroying and the Lord having listened to Moshe’s request.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying that the Lord chastens His son.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “When the Holy One blessed be He, sought to give the Torah to Israel, the earth began to quake and totter out of fear that the children of Israel would not, God have mercy, accept the Torah, and that the earth would turn back to emptiness and chaos. But as soon as the children of Israel said, We will do and obey (Shemot / Exodus 24:7), the earth established itself again on its foundation, as is said, I myself established the pillars of it. Selah.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “I say to the wicked, You will not lift up the horn (Tehillim / Psalms 75:5).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Berechiah in the name of rabbi Levi read these words in the light of the verse, The Lord will rejoice in His works (Tehillim / Psalms 104:31).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words and say that the Lord removed His presence from the earth as a result of the sin of mankind.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal and say that the Lord will rejoice in the world to come when He will dwell with His people.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “And so the arrogantly righteous have no joy in this world; only the wicked rejoice. Hence, I say to the arrogant, You will not arrogantly rejoice.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak insolence with a haughty neck. For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness, comes and uprising (Tehillim / Psalms 75:6-7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When Belshazzar saw the palm of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5), he said, I wonder if perhaps a kingdom is in rebellion against me.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words to say that Belshazzar sought to see if there was a province that stood in rebellion to him.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the Lord puts down individuals, and raises them up, He does the same for kindoms.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “A different exposition, He puts down one, and raises up another means that God brings one family low and raises another family high.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup (Tehillim / Psalms 75:9).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Lest the cup be thought empty, the verse goes on to say, is seething, that is, the wine is strong and old.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words to parallel pharaoh who drank the cup of God’s wrath.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying there is also a cup of God’s wrath in the world to come for the wicked.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “These are the four cups of punishment which God will give the wicked to drink in the time to come.”

Part 5

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “An all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up (Tehillim / Psalms 75:11).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “There are ten horns which the Holy One blessed be He, lifted up for the children of Israel…
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon Asaph’s words giving examples of the horns that God honors.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal providing all kinds of examples of the horn that God honors.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Then The horns of the Righteous One will be lifted up, that is, the horns of Israel which the Righteous One of the universe had cut off.”

Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For the leader; Altashheth (Destroy not) (Tehillim / Psalms 75:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not fail you, neither destroy you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:31), and also, And I prayed unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, do not destroy your people. (Tehillim / Psalms 9:26). The rabbis comments upon Asaph’s words seeking the Lord not to destroy His people, their conclusion is that He will not destroy you. Under what circumstance does the Lord destroy and would the Lord destroy His own people?

From a Torah perspective, we are told that the Lord created us because of His great love, and at Sinai, the Lord explains to us that as His children, we are meant to be obedient to His Word. In Parashat Vayera, we are told 18:17 The Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18:18 since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? 18:19 ‘For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.’ NASB (Bereshit / Genesis 18:17-19) The obedience of the faith that Paul spoke of so often in the book of Romans, is related to those who are faithful will continue, unwavering in their walk before God according to His Word (Hebrews 11:8, 10:38-39). If we are seeking to live obedient lives, the Lord will not destroy you. However, if we have a blatant disregard for His commands, and seek to live according to what we think is right in our own lives, the Lord will work to draw us back to Him and to the obedience of the faith that is spoken of so often in the Scriptures.

The rabbis continue in the midrash stating the following:

The Holy One blessed be He, answered Moshe, I will not destroy, as is said, And the Lord listened unto me that time also; the Lord would not destroy you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:10). Asaph also said to the holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, even as You did listen to Moshe, so listen to us. Hence, in saying Altashheth (Destroy not), Asaph meant, Master of the universe, chasten me, yes but as a man chastens his son, as is said, As a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:25). And he also said, Even in the time when You did no miracles for us, did we not give You thanks? Do for us, and we will thank You the more, as is said, We give thanks unto You, O God, we give thanks, and Your name is near (Tehillim / Psalms 75:2). By these words Asaph meant, We give thanks unto You when You bring good, and we give thanks unto You when You impose suffering. Whether You bring good or impose suffering, we give thanks unto You, and Your name is near, that is, Your name is in our mouths. (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 1)

The rabbis remember the Torah narrative when Moshe went before the Lord to seek forgiveness for the people’s sin of Chet HaEgel in Parashat Ki Tisa, and called upon the Name of the Lord that He would not destroy His people, and to forgive as He had forgiven in the past. They say that even in the times when there were no miracles, Israel gave thanks to the Lord. The interpretation of the words אַל-תַּשְׁחֵת Al-tashheth, is that even when the Lord brought both the good and the bad, we are to give thanks, even when the Lord imposes suffering upon us, we are to give thanks. This is derived from Isaiah 45:7, ז יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ עֹשֶֹה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא רָע אֲנִי יְהֹוָה עֹשֶֹה כָל-אֵלֶּה: 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace (שָׁלוֹם), and create evil (רָע): I the LORD do all these things. (KJV) The way this works is that all things are in the hands of the Lord God Almighty. This is also the idea behind Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB) Under a similar mode of thought, the rabbis say, “Whether You bring good or impose suffering, we give thanks unto You, and Your name is near, that is, Your name is in our mouths.” The Name of the Lord is to be praised no matter what circumstances occur in our lives. The rabbis said, “Do for us, and we will thank You the more, as is said, We give thanks unto You, O God, we give thanks, and Your name is near (Tehillim / Psalms 75:2).” The rabbis continue saying,

Men did tell of Your wondrous works. When will you tell? At the time of redemption, as is said, When I reach the appointed time I will declare the acts of equity (Tehillim / Psalms 75:3). When the earth and all the inhabitants thereof were quaking, I Myself established the pillars of it. Selah (Tehillim / Psalms 75:4). (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 1)

The time of redemption is the point at which the people tell of the Lord’s wondrous works. The question is what if one never sees the redemptive work of God? The redemptive work that is being spoken of here is not of that which Yeshua the Messiah has accomplished which merits eternal live for those who believe by faith in Him. What the rabbis are speaking of is the phrase, כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד, the appointed time the Lord has selected to redeem his people who are in exile or who have been given an amount of time of imposed suffering whereupon the Lord will cause an end to that suffering. (ג כִּי-אֶקַּח מוֹעֵד אֲנִי מֵישָׁרִים אֶשְׁפֹּט: ד נְמוֹגִים-אֶרֶץ וְכָל-יֹשְׁבֶיהָ אָנֹכִי תִּכַּנְתִּי עַמּוּדֶיהָ סֶּלָה: 75:2 ‘When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. 75:3 ‘The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah. NASB) The Hebrew text states that the Lord makes straight His judgments by the selection of an appointed time, and the midrash suggests that this is the time of redemption and declare the acts of equity (honesty, fairness, justice). Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 1 concludes saying, “When the Holy One blessed be He, sought to give the Torah to Israel, the earth began to quake and totter out of fear that the children of Israel would not, God have mercy, accept the Torah, and that the earth would turn back to emptiness and chaos. But as soon as the children of Israel said, We will do and obey (Shemot / Exodus 24:7), the earth established itself again on its foundation, as is said, I myself established the pillars of it. Selah.” The idea here is that the world was created for the purpose of the giving of the Torah to Israel. If Israel had refused, the world would have been destroyed. It is believed that the word remains by reason that man is to live according to God’s Law, which is connected to the Tzadikim Nistarim (צַדִיקִים נִסתָּרים, “the hidden righteous ones”). The earth quaked when the Torah was offered to Israel under the interpretation that the world was created for such a purpose. This again is consistent with the Apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesians saying, 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)

Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “I say to the wicked, You will not lift up the horn (Tehillim / Psalms 75:5).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Berechiah in the name of rabbi Levi read these words in the light of the verse, The Lord will rejoice in His works (Tehillim / Psalms 104:31, יהי כבוד ה׳ לעולם ישמח ה׳ במעשיו (תהלים קד לא)). As we had studied previously, the Tanach uses the word “horn” (קָרֶן) as a description of the Lord God exalting Heman. The Lord gave Heman 14 sons and 3 daughters where the Lord lifted up the horn of Heman, showing forth Heman and his abilities along with his family and the gifts God had given him to be used in the service to the Lord. Note how his sons were also used in the Temple service in the playing of musical instruments. Thus, the lifting of the horn is synonymous to the Lord honoring a person by blessing him with many descendants. The Aramaic Targum which states, 75:5 I said to the mockers, “Do not mock,” and to the wicked, “Do not exalt [your] honor.” 75:6 Do not exalt your honor to the height, you who speak in harshness and blasphemy. (EMC) The rabbis translate horn as honor in the Aramaic Targum and in a similar manner interpret the Psalm to say that the Lord will rejoice in His works (Tehillim / Psalms 104:31). The idea here is Asaph speaks to the wicked to not boast, to not lift up their horns. The point appears to be that the righteous are to honor God by acknowledging the Lord as the source of their blessings, whereas the wicked do no such thing.

The midrash continues saying the following:

Of the time when the Holy One blessed be He, created His earth, what does Scripture say? God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Bereshit / Genesis 1:31). The words God saw can have no other meaning than that God rejoiced, as in the verse, When he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart (Ezekiel 4:14). But, God said, after Adam sinned, I removed My presence into heaven, so that I whom am the God of the world no longer rejoice, if one may venture to attribute such words to Him, in the world, because the wicked rejoice in the world. Hence, the verse The glory of the Lord will be in the world; the Lord will rejoice in His works speaks of the world to come. The verse does not say, The Lord rejoices, but the Lord will rejoice, that is, will rejoice in the world to come, in the time to come. (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 2) וירא (ה׳) [אלהים] את כל אשר עשה והנה טוב מאוד (בראשית א לא), אין וירא אלא לשון שמחה, שכן כתיב וראך ושמח בלבו (שמות ד יד), וכיון שחטא אדם סלקתי שכינתי למרום, ואני הוא אלוהו של עולם ולא שמחתי בעולם כביכול והרשעים שמחים בעולם, יהי כבוד ה׳ לעולם ישמח ה׳ במעשיו לעולם הבא, שמח ה׳ אין כתיב כאן, אלא ישמח, לעולם הבא לעתיד לבא, הוי אמרתי להוללים אל תהולו, רבנן אמרי זו היתה אלישבע בת עמינדב שהיתה בידה ארבע שמחות ביום אחד, ראתה משה יבמה מלך, אהרן בעלה כהן גדול, נחשון אחיה נשיא, אלעזר ואיתמר סגני כהונה, ונכנסו בניה להקריב ונשרפו, שנאמר ותצא אש מלפני ה׳ (ויקרא י ב), וכתיב אחרי מות שני בני אהרן (שם טז א)

The rabbis say God seeing all that he had made, and declared that it was טוב מאוד (very good). The Lord saw the work of his hands and He rejoiced (שמחה). The creation is a demonstration of God’s glory. The Lord rejoices in His glory, and we could go as far to say that He rejoices in His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and peace as well. In addition, the rabbis say, When he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart (Ezekiel 4:14). The Lord’s love for us causes Him to rejoice when He sees us, however sin causes his glory to depart from this world and if we are living in sin, from our lives as well. Our lives are also interpreted as being a world, as we have learned according to the Talmud Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 37a and the Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9 (“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”). The rabbis parallel the glory of God to His rejoicing, and find it difficult to interpret the Lord rejoicing in this world while the wicked also rejoice in their evil deeds. Thus, they interpret the glory of the Lord and His rejoicing as referring to the Olam Haba (לעולם הבא) and in the time to come (לעתיד לבא). Here the words “time to come” (לעתיד לבא) appear to be synonyms for the “world to come” (לעולם הבא). The phrase “time to come” (Mishnah Avot 2:16), the “extended world” (עולם ארלך) (Talmud Bavli Chullin 10:16), and the “Garden of Eden” (גן עדן) (Mishnah Avot 5:20), based upon the usage by the rabbis in the rabbinic literature, seem to parallel or signify what is denoted by the term “the world to come.” (e.g. The Lord God will walk with the righteous in the Garden of Eden in the time to come.) As we know according to the Apostolic Writings, in addition to the rabbinic literature, the world to come is also metaphorically described as a great feast to highlight the pleasures reserved for the righteous (see Mishnah Avot 3:16 and 4:16). Contained within this context is the manner in which one lives today (whether righteous or wicked) will effect what will happen in the world to come. The rabbis believe the consequences of the acts of obedience and disobedience in this life spill over into the next life. This comes by the same logic that the Scriptural promise of God (Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, Yeshua…) is extended into the life in the world to come, as it is written in the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:7.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:7

Great is Torah, for it gives life to those who do it in this world and in the next world, as it says: ‘For they are life to those that find them, and healing to all his flesh’ (Proverbs 4:22), and it says ‘It will be healing for your navel, and tonic to your bones’ (Proverbs 3:8). And it says ‘It is a tree of life to those who hold it, and those who grasp it are happy’ (Proverbs 3:18). And it says ‘For they are an accompaniment of grace for your head, and a necklace for your throat’ (Proverbs 1:9). And it says ‘She will give your head an accompaniment of grace; with a crown of glory she will protect you’ (Proverbs 4:9). And it says ‘For by me your days will be multiplied, and you will be given additional years of life’ (Proverbs 9:11). And it says ‘Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left is wealth and honor’ (Proverbs 3:16), and it says ‘For length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you’ (Proverbs 3:2), and it says ‘her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace’ (Proverbs 3:17). גדולה תורה שהיא נותנת חיים לעשיה בעולם הזה ובעולם הבא, שנאמר (משלי ד), כי חיים הם למוצאיהם ולכל בשרו מרפא, ואומר (שם ג), רפאות תהי לשרך ושקוי לעצמותיך.ואומר (שם), עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ותומכיה מאשר.ואומר (שם א), כי לוית חן הם לראשך וענקים לגרגרתיך.ואומר (שם ד), תתן לראשך לוית חן עטרת תפארת תמגנך.ואומר (שם ט), כי בי ירבו ימיך ויוסיפו לך שנות חיים.ואומר (שם ג), ארך ימים בימינה בשמאולה עשר וכבוד, ואומר (שם), כי ארך ימים ושנות חיים ושלום יוסיפו לך ואומר (שם), דרכיה דרכי נועם וכל נתיבותיה שלום.

The rabbis continue saying the following in Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 2.

Hence it is written I say unto the arrogant, You will not deal arrogantly, and to the wicked, You will not lift up the horn. According to the Rabbis, this verse alludes to Elisheva, daughter of Amminadab, who in one day knew four great joys, she saw her brother in law Moshe made king, her husband Aaron made high priest, her brother Nashon made prince, and her sons Eleazar and Ithamar made adjutants of the high priest. But then her two sons Nadav and Avihu went in to make offerings and were devoured by fire, as is said, And there came forth fire from before the Lord, and devoured them (Vayikra / Leviticus 10:2), and after the death of the two sons of Aaron (Vayikra / Leviticus 16:1), her joy changed to grief. (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 2)

The wicked are told that they will not rejoice in the lifting up of their horn. The Lord God honoring men, the joy of the Lord, and the joy of the people, are paralleled to the Torah narrative from Bamidbar (Numbers) and Elisheva, the daughter of Amminadab who had four great joys. Note how the midrash ends; Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 2 concludes saying, “And so the arrogantly righteous have no joy in this world; only the wicked rejoice. Hence, I say to the arrogant, You will not arrogantly rejoice.” The idea here is that it is possible to be considered the “arrogant righteous.” This appears to be paralleled to Elisheva, daughter of Amminadab an the joy that she had which turned into sorrow and grief. The point of the midrash appears to be referring to the idea that it is the Lord God who honors us by the gifts and blessings that He gives to us. We need to keep this in perspective, that it is the Lord who has blessed us, and our prosperity is not by the work of our own hand. In addition, it is the Lord who places His righteousness upon us for the sake of the saving of our lives in this world and in the world to come. We are called to live righteously before God. Remember though that our own righteousness is as filthy rags, and will turn to grief if we rely upon or own righteousness deeds for justification before the Lord God in heaven.

Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak insolence with a haughty neck. For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness, comes and uprising (Tehillim / Psalms 75:6-7).” This midrash appears to be a follow up to the previous midrash. The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When Belshazzar saw the palm of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5), he said, I wonder if perhaps a kingdom is in rebellion against me. Belshazzar (בלשאצר) was a 6thcentury BCE prince of Babylon, the son of Nabonidus and the last king of Babylon, according to the Book of Daniel in the Hebrew Bible. Daniel chapter 5 and 8 speaks of Belshazzar as being the King of Babylon before the raising up of the Medes and Persians. The narrative in the book of Daniel speaks of Belshazzar seeing a hand appear and writing upon the wall. In Daniel Chapter 5, the details start off by there being a banquet for a thousand of his lords. Belshazzar orders the vessels of gold that were taken from the Temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that everyone can drink wine from them. It is at this moment that a man’s hand appears and starts to write on a wall. Belshazzar’s countenance is described as having changed and he cries out to bring in his astrologers, Chaldeans and Soothsayers and that whoever interprets the writing on the wall will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom. The queen comes in and suggests that he call for Daniel who is by now an old man because Nebuchadnezzar made him his chief of the Magicians, Astrologers, Chaldeans, and Soothsayers. Belshazzar offers Daniel the position of third highest ruler in the kingdom if he can interpret the writing but Daniel doesn’t want to be rewarded. Daniel interprets the writing, it was a prophetic writing for Belshazzar containing the consequences of his actions, his death and the death of his kingdom. Belshazzar immediately makes Daniel the third highest ruler in the kingdom and the last two verses of the narrative states at that very night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty two years old. It is at this point in the book of Daniel the rabbis take to interpret the Psalm, “Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak insolence with a haughty neck. For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness, comes and uprising (Tehillim / Psalms 75:6-7).” It was because Belshazzar lifted up his horn to exalt his name and the names of his lords by desecrating the holy objects. They found pride, the lifted up their horns in their hearts to drink from the holy cups that were taken from the Temple in Jerusalem with dire consequences.

The midrash continues saying the following:

When Belshazzar saw the palm of the hand that wrote (Daniel 5:5), he said, I wonder if perhaps a kingdom is in rebellion against me. And he sent messengers to every single prefecture, but did not find a kingdom in rebellion against him. Hence, it is said, For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness, comes an uprising. The Holy One blessed be He, said to Belshazzar, You sent messengers to all prefectures. But did you send one to Me? Yet I am He who will put you down, for I am He that puts down and He that raises up, as is said For God is judge; He puts down one, and raises up another (Tehillim / Psalms 75:8).

The point of the midrash, it appears that Belshazzar took it upon himself to determine the meaning of the hand writing by sending messengers to see who was in rebellion against him. In the Daniel narrative, he sought out men, the Magicians and Astrologers for an interpretation rather than the Lord God in heaven. The midrash draws in the context of Belshazzar seeking not only the meaning of the writing on the wall, but also whether another kingdom was rebelling against him, all of which he believes he alone is able to save himself (able to withstand). It is the Lord God who raises up and puts down. Belshazzar would have done well to seek the Lord God in heaven for understanding and for the Lord’s help to overcome the enemy. Rabbi Berechiah recognizes this by stating the following as the midrash continues:

Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of rabbi Levi, God puts down one kingdom and raises up another kingdom; when the kingdoms of Media and Persia came up, the kingdom of Babylon went down. And he sent messengers to every single prefecture, but did not find a kingdom in rebellion against him. Hence, it is said, For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the wilderness, comes an uprising. The Holy One blessed be He, said to Belshazzar, You send messengers to all prefectures. But did you send one to Me? Yet am I, He who will put you down, for I am He that puts down and He that raises up, as is said, For God is judge; He puts down one, and raises up another (Tehillim / Psalms 75:8). Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Levi, God puts down one kingdom and raises up another kingdom; when the kingdoms of Media and Persia came up, the kingdom of Babylon went down. In a different exposition, the verse is read, This puts down and this raises up (Tehillim / Psalms 75:8) and is taken to speak of the children of Israel who, when they lowered themselves to make the golden calf, used this in a tone of contempt, saying, as for this man Moshe (Shemot / Exodus 32:1); but who, when God commanded This they will give half a shekel for the Lord (Shemot / Exodus 30:13), raised themselves by heeding the “this” of the command.

The Lord is the one who lifts up and puts down kingdoms. The rabbis interpret the east and the west as finding no kingdom against Belshazzar. It may be that there is found no kingdom against a king, however, the Lord has the power to raise up a kingdom in an instant to cause defeat, and Belshazzar bore the reality of God’s power to raise up and put down at that very night loosing his life. The midrash draws in Parashat Ki Tisa and the story of Chet Ha’egel from Shemot / Exodus 32:1, saying that “the children of Israel who, when they lowered themselves to make the golden calf, used this in a tone of contempt, saying, as for this man Moshe (Shemot / Exodus 32:1); but who, when God commanded This they will give half a shekel for the Lord (Shemot / Exodus 30:13), raised themselves by heeding the “this” of the command.” (מדבר בישראל, בשעה שהשפילו עצמן ועשו אותו מעשה ואמרו כי זה משה האיש (שמות לב א), ונתרוממו בזה, שנאמר זה יתנו (שם שמות ל יג)) What exactly is the purpose of this reference to the golden calf and the half shekel? How does this relate to the topic of the midrash on the Lord raising up and putting down, and seeking the Lord for help rather than to rely upon ourselves?

Notice how the rabbis describe the purpose of the golden calf. They say that the golden calf was constructed (“used or made,” ועשו אותו מעשה) in contempt to Moshe ואמרו כי זה משה האיש “saying, as for this man Moshe… etc,” the people were in the process of finding their own way, by the work of their own hand, which is illustrated in the “half shekel” by the rabbis saying they raised themselves (raising their horns) by heeding the “this” of the command, meaning that they took hold of the command with the motivation that they could save themselves by performing the command of the half shekel. This does seem to be the subtle message the rabbis are making in the midrash. Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 3 concludes saying, “A different exposition, He puts down one, and raises up another means that God brings one family low and raises another family high.” The conclusion of the midrash draws us back to a more personal perspective, from the Lord raising up and putting down a kingdom and king, to the Lord doing so to a man and his family. This midrash teaches us that we are to seek the Lord God in heaven for help, for salvation in this present age and in the world to come, and in His sustaining power for our families, our nation, our people.

Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup (Tehillim / Psalms 75:9).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Lest the cup be thought empty, the verse goes on to say, is seething, that is, the wine is strong and old. The rabbis begin a discussion on the cup that is in the hand of the Lord. The midrash continues saying the following:

Rabbi Yudan, Rabbi Hama, and Rabbi Isaac taught in the name of Rabbi Hiyya that in the time to come the Holy One blessed be He will say to Pharaoh, Drink your cup, and Pharaoh will reply, Master of the universe, long since I drank my cup in the world. God will then say, What you drink in the world was scarcely a drop, as it is and He caused the same to be poured out drop by drop, but it is also said, Surely the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth will drain them and drink them. Though you drink of the wine, you did not drain it, as is said, They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink (Isaiah 29:9).

The midrash appears to be related to a discussion between the unrighteous and the Lord God our Father in heaven in the world to come. Note how Pharaoh speaks to the Lord regarding “drinking your cup” in Egypt (in this world) attempting to make an argument over the punishment he is about to receive in the world to come in the sense that he had already partaken of God’s wrath. The Lord however states that he drank only but a drop from the cup, His wrath is also reserved for the world to come. The idea is that “Though you drink of the wine, you did not drain it, as is said, They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink (Isaiah 29:9).” Nahum 1:5 states “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yes, the world, and all that dwell therein.” It is interesting how the world, both the animate and inanimate is represented as being in terror of the Lord God due to “conscious guilt.” Man sins, and the earth had been cursed due to man’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Both the Tanach, the Apostolic Writings, and the Rabbis speak of sin and its consequences which are paid either in this world, or in the world to come. Without the Messiah Yeshua for payment of sin in this world, one will spend all eternity drinking the wrath of God that is described as the cup of wine, and drinking down the dregs to describe the wicked draining (consuming) all of God’s wrath in the world to come.

The rabbis continue saying the following:

Rabbi Eliezer, the son of rabbi Jose the Galilean, took the verse, Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up in My treasures? (Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:34) to mean that this bitter cup is laid up with God for those who reject the Torah and who will themselves be rejected. Rabbi Aha taught, From what kind of cup will they be made to drink? From a Tiberian cup, not a cup so roundly shaped that it pours all at once, but one shaped like a pail for it is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, a cup like the one referred to in the verse, You will drink of your sister’s cup, which is deep and wide (Ezekiel 23:32). You find that there are four cups of good and four cups of evil. (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 4)

Rabbi Eliezer describes the cup that is laid up as for those who reject God’s Torah. The rejection of His Torah leads to the rejection of the individual (see Matthew 7). The idea is that the Torah is eternal, being valid for both this world and for the world to come because in its precepts contain the righteousness, love, and mercy of God. The wicked who reject God’s Torah in this world, will also reject His Torah in the world to come. As a result, the conclusion is that such a person who rejects God’s ways in this life, will continue to reject His ways in the world to come, and he himself will ultimately be rejected. The rabbi continues saying that there are four cups for good, and four cups for evil. The midrash goes on to describe these four cups:

The cups of good, My cup runs over (Tehillim / Psalms 16:5); and I will lift up the cup of deliverance (Tehillim / Psalms 116:13), deliverances implying two such cups. There are the four cups of good, the four cups of consolation which the Holy One blessed be He, will give the children of Israel to drink in the time to come. The four cups of punishment for the wicked, Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand that made all the earth drunken (Jeremiah 51:7); for in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is seething, the dregs, all the wicked of the earth will wring them out, and drink them (Tehillim / Psalms 75:9); Burning tempest; this will be the portion of their cup (Tehillim / Psalms 11:6); Take this cup of the wine of fury, and cause all the nations to drink it (Jeremiah 25:15). (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 4)

The four cups of good consist of the cup of deliverance, which the rabbis say implies two, and there are four cups of consolation which the Lord will give to Israel in the time to come. The four cups of evil refer to the cups of punishment for the wicked. Babylon is described as being the cup in God’s hand that made all the earth drunk, upon which is described as a burning tempest, the cup of fury. The cup of evil is described as the cup that all the nations have been caused to drink, which is the cup of punishment, the punishment for their sins and their wicked deeds. Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 4 concludes saying, “These are the four cups of punishment which God will give the wicked to drink in the time to come.” Punishment is described as that which will come in the world to come due to sin and wickedness. The reason the nations sins are not forgiven is because they refuse to call upon the Lord, to recognize that He is the source of both the good things and the bad things, and to accept and receive the covenant that He has given to Israel. The nations refuse to join themselves to the Lord by taking up the yoke of the Torah, the midrash describes as the one who rejects God’s Torah. The point is that even Yeshua said the lawless (Matthew 7) will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven (Revelation 22). So the question is whether you have decided to be on the side of the Lord according to His Torah in Yeshua the Messiah, or according to yourself, in the way that seems right in your own eyes?

Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 5 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “An all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up (Tehillim / Psalms 75:11).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “There are ten horns which the Holy One blessed be He, lifted up for the children of Israel… The ten horns that were lifted up according to the midrash are as follows:

Ten Horns the Lord God lifted for the Children of Israel

  1. The horn of Abraham, as is said, Let me sing of my well beloved, a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved had a vineyard in the horn, of the son of oil (Isaiah 5:1);
  2. The horn of Isaac, as is said, Behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns (Bereshit / Genesis 22:13);
  3. The horn of Moshe, as is said, The skin of his face sent forth horns (Shemot / Exodus 34:29);
  4. The horn of Samuel in prophecy, as is said, And Hannah prayed, and said, my horn is exalted in the Lord (1 Samuel 2:1);
  5. The horn of Aaron in the High Priesthood, as is said, His horn will be exalted in honor (Tehillim / Psalms 112:9);
  6. The horn of the Sanhedrin in Torah, of which is said, He had horns coming forth from His hand (Habakkuk 3:4);
  7. The horn of Heman in the Levitical office, as is said, All these were the sons of Heman, to lift up the horn (1 Chronicles 25:5);
  8. The horn of Jerusalem at the building of the Temple, as is said, You have heard me from the horns of the reem (Tehillim / Psalms 22:22);
  9. The horn of King Messiah in Kingship, as is said, The Lord will exalt the horn of His anointed (1 Samuel 2:10);
  10. The horn of David in the light of the day to come, as is said, There will I make the horn of David to bud (Tehillim / Psalms 132:17).

Looking at this list, note how Jacob is not mentioned because Jacob is Israel; the rabbis are speaking to the children of Israel. The rabbis say the horn of Abraham is lifted up. Notice how Abraham is compared to the one who sings of his beloved, and of a vineyard, and that the horn had a vineyard inside. This seems to draw a parallel back to our previous discussion on the horn that God exalts, a man’s good deeds, and his righteous acts are pleasing to the Lord, where the vineyard inside of the lifted up horn is synonymous to good fruit and oil. The good fruit that one produces as a result of our faith, the Lord exalts, raises up our gifts, our families, and we are called to use our gifts to bring glory to the Lord God in heaven. The next reference is to Isaac, the son that would be sacrificed and the Lord testing Abraham and his faithfulness. The horn of Moshe is paralleled to the way in which his face shown forth the glory of God, which is described as showing forth horns. The horn of God is His glory, and similar for men, the horn of a man is his glory, his family, and his righteous deeds which are done for the sake of the Name of the Lord God in heaven. We are told that the Lord lifted up the horn of Samuel and of Aaron. Remember that Samuel was the product of a prayer and a promise. Aaron is lifted up in the service of the Kohen HaGadol (the High Priesthood). The horn of the Sanhedrin is lifted up to exemplify that the Lord desires justice and truth in the land of His people. Heman is mentioned because we find the Scriptures (1 Chronicles 25:5) speak directly that God lifted his horn by giving him many sons. The horn of Jerusalem is lifted by reason of the locations the Lord will establish for His name (המקום), the place that he will establish His Name forever. The horn of the King Messiah, and of David, are described, the Lord will cause the horn of David to bud, drawing a parallel to Aaron’s rod that budded (Bamidbar / Numbers 17:8) indicating He is the one that God has chosen to be king, establishing his throne forever, coupled with the King Messiah, who comes with the glory, authority, and the power of God. It is interesting to note how all of these things find themselves within the covenant context. The covenant context brings with it the promises of God, His mercy, forgiveness, and peace, which are eternal.

The midrash continues saying the following:

But when the children of Israel sinned, the horns were taken from them and given to the nations of the earth, as is said, Behold a fourth beast dreadful and terrible and it had ten horns (Daniel 7:7). This verse proves that the heathen nations of the world are symbolized by the beasts described in Daniel, and that as long as the horns of the wicked endure, the horns of Israel remain cut off, as is said, He has cut off in fierce anger all the horn of Israel (Lamentations 2:3); but the verse further proves that when God lifts up the horns of the righteous, He will also cut off the horns of the wicked, as is said, All the horns of the wicked will I cut off (Tehillim / Psalms 75:11). (Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 5)

The idea is that through sin, Israel had their lifted up horns removed which were then given to the nations to make war, to destroy, to burn, and to kill. Notice how in the hands of Israel, when the Lord lifts up the horn of Israel, we find the lifting of the covenant of God, of peace, mercy, justice, and truth. On the other hand, when the lifted up horn is given to the nations, there is nothing but destruction, wickedness, unrighteousness, and lies, which is paralleled to the fourth beast dreadful and terrible. The heathen nations are those who reject God’s Torah, and are symbolized by the beasts Daniel described. As long as the horn of the wicked endures, the horn of Israel will remain cut off. On the other hand, the midrash states, “but the verse further proves that when God lifts up the horns of the righteous, He will also cut off the horns of the wicked, as is said, All the horns of the wicked will I cut off (Tehillim / Psalms 75:11).” Midrash Tehillim 75, Part 5 concludes saying, “Then The horns of the Righteous One will be lifted up, that is, the horns of Israel which the Righteous One of the universe had cut off.” What a wonderful God we serve. When the Lord lifts up our horn, when He honors us, brings prosperity and life, do we show forth the mercy, forgiveness, love, justice, and truth that we are supposed to, as is described in the horn of Abraham, in which there was a vineyard that grew producing fruit. When the Lord honors man, his response should be to bring glory to the Name of the Lord. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 75-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!