Psalms 95 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
This Psalm consists of two parts, an invitation to worship, and a warning against disobedience.
i. The call to worship Jehovah because He is the Lord of all the world (Psa 95:1-5) is followed by a reiterated call to worship Him because He is in an especial way the God of Israel (6, 7).
ii. The worshippers are solemnly warned not to repeat the sin of their ancestors in the wilderness (Psa 95:8-11).
This is the first of a group of Psalms (95 100) strongly marked by common characteristics and obviously intended for liturgical use. The key-note of them has already been struck in Psalms 93, which forms a prelude to them, and should be studied in connexion with them. It seems highly probable that they were composed for the Dedication of the Second Temple in b.c. 516, and that the Septuagint titles of Psalms 96, When the house was being built after the Captivity, and Psalms 97, When his land was being settled, preserve a true tradition as to their date.
They are the lyrical echo of Isaiah 40-66, Psalms 98 in particular being full of resemblances to that collection of prophecies.
In the humiliation of Babylon and the restoration of Israel, Jehovah had proved Himself the sovereign of the world, supreme over all the gods of the heathen. He had vindicated His judicial righteousness and manifested His faithfulness to Israel. The joy of the deliverance culminated in the Dedication of the Temple. That event was the outward expression of the thought that He had once more seated Himself on His throne in Zion, not as the King of Israel only, but as the King of all the world.
But that event might well be an occasion not only for rejoicing but for warning. The deliverance from Babylon was the counterpart of the deliverance from Egypt. What if Israel of the Restoration should tempt Jehovah by faithlessness and disobedience as Israel in the wilderness had done? And therefore this Psalmist hears God’s voice tempering their exultation with salutary admonition. Such is the connexion of thought between the two parts of Psalms 95. The words of Psa 95:7 a, b which recall the care of Jehovah for His people in the wilderness lead up most naturally to the hope that now at least Israel may be obedient (Psa 95:7 c), and that hope is fitly followed by the solemn words of divine warning in Psa 95:8-11.
Some critics hold that this Psalm, like Psalms 81, with which it has much in common, is a combination of two separate fragments; but in neither case is such a hypothesis necessary.
In appointing this Psalm, sometimes called the ‘Invitatory Psalm,’ for daily use as an introduction to the Psalms for the day, the English Church follows a primitive and general usage. “Before the beginning of their prayers,” writes Athanasius of the practice of the Church of Constantinople, “Christians invite and exhort one another in the words of this Psalm.” In the Western Church the whole Psalm appears to have been generally used. In the Eastern Church an invitatory founded on it is used at the commencement of service. See Daniel, On the Prayer Book, p. 88.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".