Continued from yesterday: https://hballinger.com/2018/01/12/small-group-psalm-65-who/
Psalm 65 itself doesn’t outright tell us when or where David wrote this Psalm. When I come to a question that I cannot answer by myself, I remember the wise advice about seeking counsel from others that is in the Bible.
You can find a wealth of information on that topic here: https://www.openbible.info/topics/wise_counsel
In this case, we are going to look at “Commentaries”. I have various physical, paper commentaries that I keep in my beside bookshelf and in my study/office, but we are going to stick to the commentaries we can easily reference online for the benefit of us researching this together.
Don’t just read what I’ve written in this post, but follow the links I provide and walk through the process yourself. This will help you learn to do this yourself. And my goal is not to gather a bunch of people listening silently in the pews with an occasional “like” as a virtual “Amen” to my “preaching”, but my goal is for you to be a disciple yourself — a student of the Word of God — a follower of Jesus who will have an active and saving Faith and a living testimony of living, serving, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the nations.
A few great places for multiple online Bible commentaries are here:
Many of these sites have links to the related commentaries directly from the page when you go to the scripture itself on their sure as well.
I usually end up with Matthew Henry’s commentary first when working online because Google seems to provide his first if you search for something like “Psalm 65 commentary”: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Psa/Psa_065.cfm
But we can see after reading through it, that Mr. Henry gives us no clear opinion on specifically when or where David might have written this Psalm. Since David is primarily talking about the glory of God’s goodness and power and not about something in His own life, there are few clues that point to a point along the timeline of David’s life.
If we ask Google more specifically “When did David write psalm 65”, it leads us to this exposition/ commentary:
And we can find a section with three parts that read:
Whole Psalm. The author of the Psalm is mentioned, but not the date of its composition; but from an examination of its contents, it would seem to have been intended as a song for the “day of atonement,” and for the “feast of tabernacles,” which followed immediately after. Numbers 29:7 Numbers 29:12 . The sins of the year were then “covered over,” and a thorough purification of the sanctuary was made by a special service of expiation. The labours of the year were all by that time concluded, and its fruits secured; and Israel could look on the goodness of God towards them, through its entire extent; and this Psalm was penned to serve as a fitting expression of their feelings. It opens with a reference to the “silence” that reigned in the sanctuary; to the profound, unbroken, solemn stillness that reigned within it; while, in deep abasement, the people without waited in hushed expectation the return of their high priest from the immediate presence of God, Leviticus 16:17 . It goes on to a statement of the blessedness of those who are accepted of God, and admitted to fellowship with One so unspeakably great; and concludes with a description of the various processes by which the Almighty had fitted the earth to yield a year’s supplies for his people. Dalman Hapstone, in “The Ancient Psalms in appropriate Meters… with Notes.” 1867.
Whole Psalm. We have here a psalm of thanksgiving to be sung in the Temple during a public festivity, at which the sacrifices were to be offered which had been vowed during a long and protracted drought ( Psalms 65:1-2 ). To the thanksgiving, however, for a gracious rain, and the hope of an abundant harvest ( Psalms 65:9-14 ), is added gratitude for a signal deliverance during a time of distress and commotion affecting all the nations around ( Psalms 65:7-8 ). Thus the Psalm becomes a song of praise to Jehovah as the God of history and the God of nature, alike. From the “Psalms Chronologically Arranged. By Four Friends.” 1867.
Whole Psalm. This is a charming psalm. Coming after the previous sad ones, it seems like the morning after the darkness of night. There is a dewy freshness about it, and from the ninth verse to the end there is a sweet succession of landscape pictures that remind one of the loveliness of spring; and truly it is a description, in natural figures, of that happy state of men’s minds which will be the result of the “Day spring’s visiting us from on high.” Luke 1:7-8 . O. Prescott Hiller.
The first commentary speaks more primarily to the authorship, the facts, and the likely circumstances surrounding David’s writing this Psalm. The second commentary speaks more to this Psalm’s use in religious ceremonies and how it might have fit into the “Hymnal” of the day. The last focusses on the feel and the mood and the atmosphere of the Psalm itself.
Understanding all three of these components I believe will seriously help us in creating the stage in our minds for today’s question of WHERE/WHEN? today where our actors from yesterday’s question of WHO? so that this Psalm can begin to come alive within our mind’s recreation that we are working so hard in this study to see fully manifested.
That’s probably enough for this post, but dig more into the commentaries if you like. See if you can find even more that we can consider about this stage as we are building in our mind’s eye a complete picture, in order to better understand this Psalm.
Next post, we will continue our work on the questions…