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Commentary on Psalms - Volume 2
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Psalm 66:13-16

13. I will come into thy house with burnt-offerings; I will pay thee my vows, 14. Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. 15. I will offer unto thee burnt-sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; 479479     Here Calvin, as well as our English Bible, joins incense with rams, appearing to mean by incense, offering by fire, the smoke produced by the sacrifice. But the burning of incense was a distinct offering from that of animal sacrifices; and therefore many critics read the verse so as to make incense a distinct offering. Thus Horsley, altering the punctuation, translates,
   “Offerings of fatlings I will offer unto thee, with incense;
“I will sacrifice rams, bullocks, and full-grown goats.”

   This, we think, gives an improved view of the passage. It may be here observed, that the Hebrews were not allowed to sacrifice other animals than these three kinds, rams, bullocks, and goats.
I will bring bullocks, with goats. Selah. 16. Come, hear, I will tell to all them that fear God, what he hath done for my soul.

 

13 I will come into thy house with burnt offerings Hitherto the Psalmist has spoken in the name of the people at large. Now he emphatically gives expression to his own private feelings, and calls upon them, by his example, to engage individually in the exercises of religion, it being impossible that there should be any hearty common consent unless each entered seriously upon the service of thanksgiving for himself and apart. We are taught that when God at any time succours us in our adversity, we do an injustice to his name if we forget to celebrate our deliverances with solemn acknowledgements. More is spoken of in this passage than thanksgiving. He speaks of vows having been contracted by him in his affliction, and these evidenced the constancy of his faith. The exhortation of the Apostle James is worthy of our special notice —

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry?
let him sing psalms.” (James 5:13)

How many are there who lavish their hypocritical praises upon God in the career of their good fortune, while they are no sooner reduced to straits than the fervor of their love is damped, or gives place to the violence of fretfulness and impatience. The best evidence of true piety is when we sigh to God under the pressure of our afflictions, and show, by our prayers, a holy perseverance in faith and patience; while afterwards we come forward with the expression of our gratitude. The words, which my lips have uttered, are not an unmeaning addition, but imply that he had never allowed himself to be so far overcome by grief as not to throw his desires into the express form of petition, declaring that he cast himself for safety into the hands of God. On the subject of vows, I may just shortly repeat the remarks which have been given at greater length elsewhere. First, the holy fathers never vowed anything to God but what they knew to be sanctioned by his approval. Secondly, their sole end in vowing was to evidence their gratitude. The Papists, therefore, can find no warrant, from their example, for the rash and impious vows which they practice. They obtrude upon God whatever chances to come first into their lips; the end which they propose to themselves is the farthest removed from the right one; and with devilish presumption they engage themselves to things which are not allowed them.

15 I will offer unto thee burnt-sacrifices of fatlings. We must suppose the speaker to be either David or one of the more considerable men of the nation, for none in humbler circumstances could have offered rich sacrifices of this kind. It is probable that David was the author of the psalm, and here he signifies his intention to show a kingly liberality in his offerings. The reason why God ordered victims to be offered as an expression of thanksgiving was, as is well known, to teach the people that their praises were polluted by sin, and needed to be sanctified from without. However we might propose to ourselves to praise the name of God, we could only profane it with our impure lips, had not Christ once offered himself up a sacrifice, to sanctify both us and our services. (Hebrews 10:7) It is through him, as we learn from the apostle, that our praises are accepted. The Psalmist, by way of commendation of his burnt-offering, speaks of its incense or sweet savor; for although in themselves vile and loathsome, yet the rams and other victims, so far as they were figures of Christ, sent up a sweet savor unto God. 480480     “Le Prophere loue yci le perfum de son holocauste, combien qu’il n’en peust monter au ciel qu’ une odeur puante et infecte: mais il faut noter que les beliers et autres bestes qu’on sacrifioit flairoyent bon devant Dieu, entant que c’estoyent figures de Iesus Christ.” — Fr. Now that the shadows of the Law have been abolished, attentionis called to the true spiritual service. What this consists in, is more clearly brought under our notice in the verse which follows, where the Psalmist tells us, that he would spread abroad the fame of the benefits which he had received from God. Such was the end designed, even in the outward ceremonies under the Law, apart from which they could only be considered as an empty show. It was this — the fact, that they set forth the praises of the divine goodness — which formed the very season of the sacrifices, preserving them from insipidity. In calling, as he does, upon all the fearers of the Lord, the Psalmist teaches us, that if we duly feel the goodness of God, we will be inflamed with a desire to publish it abroad, that others may have their faith and hope confirmed, by what they hear of it, as well as join with us in a united song of praise. He addresses himself to none but such as feared the Lord, for they only could appreciate what he had to say, and it would have been lost labor to communicate it to the hypocritical and ungodly.


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