What does Psalms 75 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
This passage, along with Psalms 57—59, refers to "Do Not Destroy." This was probably a melody to which these words were set. It is also associated with Asaph, a common name seen in titles of psalms (Psalm 50; 73—83). While other psalms request victory, this one speaks in expectation that God's victory is guaranteed.

The song begins with thanks to God. He is "near" to the people of Israel. In this context, this implies that God has an intimate, loving relationship with His people. The Lord's influence on them is obvious. Thanks are also given for the miracles He has done. Recognition of God's previous wonders (Psalm 46:8–10; 66:5–7) is important when facing an existing struggle (Psalm 75:1).

Next, the psalmist speaks from God's perspective. As noted in the prior psalm (Psalm 74:10, 23), judgment will come in God's timing. The term "equity" is a combination of the concepts of justice and goodness. This means things which are morally right and perfectly just. Even when the world is shaken—by natural disasters or God's own power—He maintains it (Psalm 75:2–3).

Continuing His statement, the Lord warns those who would reject Him: they should set aside their arrogance and stubbornness (Psalm 10:11–14; 14:1). The imagery of an animal lifting its horns up high implies defiance. The same is true of the reference to the neck: an animal resisting its master's commands does so most immediately by refusing to move its head when it is told. This imagery is common when the Bible speaks about obstinate sin (Exodus 33:5; Nehemiah 9:29; Proverbs 29:1). Those who think to defy God will suffer His wrath (Psalm 75:4–5).

The psalm returns to the viewpoint of the psalmist. Rescue from life's dangers and salvation for one's soul come from nowhere on earth, no matter how near or far. Rather, all success and failure are ultimately up to the will of God. Those who refuse to submit to their Creator (Psalm 75:4–5) can expect to suffer God's unimaginable wrath. This is symbolized by a cup of wine, also a common symbol in the Bible (Isaiah 51:17; Matthew 20:21–23; 26:42; Revelation 14:10). This represents wrath: God will bring every drop of judgment to those who prefer evil over goodness (Psalm 75:6–8).

The final two verses of the psalm may both come from the psalmist's perspective. It's also possible that the final verse is again coming from the Lord Himself. The psalmist intends to praise the One True God (John 17:3) who came to Israel's patriarchs (Psalm 46:7; Acts 3:13). Either the psalmist, or the Lord, promise to strike at the "horns" of evil people, while preserving those who are godly (Psalm 75:9–10).
Verse Context:
Psalm 75:1–3 thank God for His intimate love of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6). This includes celebrating the miracles He has used to help them in the past. The psalmist knows that judgment will happen in God's own time. No matter how powerful these consequences are, God can and will keep the earth intact until His will is accomplished. The construction of the phrases makes it clear that the Lord, not the psalmist, is speaking in verses 2 and 3.
Psalm 75:4–8 continues to speak from God's point of view. The Lord warns anyone whose arrogance keeps them from obeying their Creator (Psalm 10:11–13). In Scripture, obstinate refusal of God's will is depicted as a stiff neck: one that refuses to bow or move as its master requires (Exodus 33:5; Proverbs 29:1). The psalm then returns to the psalmist's voice by declaring that rescue and salvation don't come from earth, but from the Lord alone. Using the common metaphor of a cup of wine (Isaiah 51:17; Revelation 14:10), those who refuse the Lord will suffer every single bit of His judgment.
Psalm 75:9–10 distinguishes those who honor God with praise from those who refuse to submit to His will. The psalmist intends to worship the Lord. Those who defy Him (Psalm 75:4–5) will be harshly punished, but those who respect Him will be rescued. It's likely that the final verse reverts to God's statement, rather than that of the psalmist.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm begins by thanking the Lord for His many incredible actions. It then speaks from the Lord's perspective as He states that judgment will occur only on His timing. This comes with warnings to those tempted to reject God's authority. Those who oppose the Lord will suffer wrath beyond their imagination. In contrast, the psalmist intends to praise the Lord. He expects God's judgment to separate the righteous from the wicked.
Chapter Context:
The prior psalm, also associated with the name Asaph, was an appeal for God to answer an enemy's horrific attack. Now, this psalmist acknowledges that God has His own timing for judgment. This follows a pattern seen in songs connected Asaph: recognition of a problem (Psalm 73:2–3; 74:1–3) followed by reassurance that God is ultimately in control (Psalm 73:15–18; 74:12–13). What is probably the tune of this song, "Do Not Destroy," is also mentioned in psalms 57—59.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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