on Psalms 68 :4
Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name Jah - "Extol him who sitteth on the throne of glory, in the ninth heaven; Yah is his name; and rejoice before him." - Targum.
בערבות baaraboth, which we render in the high heavens, is here of doubtful signification. As it comes from the root ערב arab, to mingle, (hence ereb the evening or twilight, because it appears to be formed of an equal mixture of light and darkness; the Septuagint translate it dusmwn, the west, or setting of the sun; so does the Vulgate and others); probably it may mean the gloomy desert, through which God, in the chariot of his glory, led the Israelites. If this interpretation do not please, then let it be referred to the darkness in which God is said to dwell, through which the rays of his power and love, in the various dispensations of his power and mercy, shine forth for the comfort and instruction of mankind.
By his name Jah - יה Yah, probably a contraction of the word יהוה Yehovah; at least so the ancient Versions understood it. It is used but in a few places in the sacred writings. It might be translated The Self existent.
Psalm 68:4, 7Let us now see how Isaiah treats the subject of the return of the people from Babylon. They were to march through the wilderness with Jehovah at their head, who was to lead them, to smooth the way before them, and to supply them with water in the thirsty desert; with perpetual allusion to the exodus: -
"Come ye forth from Babylon, flee ye from the land of the Chaldeans with the voice of joy: Publish ye this, and make it heard; utter it forth even to the end of the earth; Say ye, Jehovah hath redeemed his servant Jacob: They thirsted not in the deserts, through which he made them go; Waters from the rock he caused to flow for them; Yea, he clave the rock, and forth gushed the waters." Isaiah 48:20, Isaiah 48:21.
"Remember not the former things;
on Psalms 68 :4
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name - That is, to him; the name being often put for the person himself. The repetition denotes intensity of desire; a wish that God might be praised with the highest praises.
Extol him - The word here rendered "extol" - סלל sâlal - means to lift up, to raise, to raise up, as into a heap or mound; and especially to cast up and prepare a way, or to make a way level before an army by casting up earth; that is, to prepare a way for an army. See the notes at Isaiah 40:3. Compare also Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10; Job 19:12; Job 30:12, Proverbs 15:19 (margin); Jeremiah 18:15. This is evidently the idea here. It is not to "extol" God in the sense of praising him; it is to prepare the way before him, as of one marching at the head of his armies, or as a leader of his hosts. The allusion is to God as passing before his people in the march to the promised land; and the call is to make ready the way before him - that is, to remove all obstructions out of his path and to make the road smooth and level.
That rideth - Rather," that marcheth." There is, indeed, the idea of riding, yet it is not that of "riding upon the heavens," which is the meaning, but of riding at the head of his hosts on their march.
Upon the heavens - The word used here - ערבה ‛ărābâh - never means either heaven, or the clouds. It properly denotes an arid tract, a sterile region, a desert; and then, a plain. It is rendered desert in Isaiah 35:1, Isaiah 35:6; Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 41:19; Isaiah 51:3; Jeremiah 2:6; Jeremiah 17:6; Jeremiah 50:12; Ezekiel 47:8; and should have been so rendered here. So it is translated by DeWette, Prof. Alexander, and others. The Septuagint renders it, "Make way for him who is riding westward." So the Latin Vulgate. The Chaldee renders it, "Extol him who is seated upon the throne of his glory in the north heaven." The reference, doubtless, is to the passage through the desert over which the Hebrews wandered for forty years. The Hebrew word which is employed here is still applied by the Arabs to that region. The idea is that of Yahweh marching over those deserts at the head of his armies, and the call is to prepare a way for him on his march, compare Psalm 68:7-8.
By his name JAH - This refers to his riding or marching at the head of his forces through the desert, in the character described by that name - or, as יה Yâhh; that is, יהוה Yahweh. Yah (Jah) is an abbreviation of the word Yahweh (Jehovah), which was assumed by God as His special name, Exodus 6:3. The word Yahweh is usually rendered, in our version, Lord, printed in small capitals to denote that the original is יהוה Yahweh; the word itself is retained, however, in Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2 (see the notes); and Isaiah 26:4. The word "Jah" occurs in this place only, in our English translation. It is found in combination, or in certain formulas - as in the phrase Hallelujah, Psalm 104:35; Psalm 105:45; Psalm 106:1. The meaning here is, that God went thus before His people in the character of the true God, or as Yahweh.
And rejoice before him - Or, in His presence. Let there be joy when He thus manifests Himself as the true God. The presence of God is suited to give joy to all the worlds that He has made, or wherever He manifests Himself to His creatures.
on Psalms 68 :4
68:4 Jah - Is an abbreviation of the name Jehovah, which the Heathens pronounced Jao. Before him - Before the ark where he is present, as David is said to dance before the Lord, upon this occasion, 2Sam 6:14.