Psalm 67

The Hebrew expression natsách (preceded by the preposition “to”) is commonly thought to signify “to the musical director” or “leader.” In the Septuagint, the rendering is “to the end.” An ancient Latin translation of the Hebrew Psalter reads victori (“to the victor”), probably because of linking the Hebrew expression to a root meaning “to defeat.” This suggests that considerable uncertainty exists about the significance of natsách.

The words “with stringed instruments” could indicate that only strings (and no wind and percussion instruments) were to accompany the singing. The Septuagint, however, does not include this point but has the words en hymnois (“among hymns”).

Psalm 67 is specifically called a song. The composition expresses thoughts contained in the priestly benediction set forth in Numbers 6:24-26, “May YHWH bless you and safeguard you. May YHWH let his face shine upon you and show you favor. May YHWH lift up his face upon you and give you peace.”

For God to be gracious, manifest his favor, or be compassionate and bless his people would be an expression of his loving attention and care. To make his face “shine” upon them would signify that he looked upon them with approval as if his face had been turned toward them in its full radiance.

Such favorable attention would result in God’s way or his just and loving manner of dealing with his people becoming known in the earth or among the inhabitants of the land areas beyond the borders of Israel. Among “all nations,” people would come to recognize God’s “salvation,” the deliverance he had effected for his people.

In view of what people of the nations had witnessed, the psalmist expressed the desire that they appreciatively acknowledge God or praise him. These words of verse 3(4) the psalmist then repeated in verse 5(6).

The people of the nations had good reason to raise a joyous shout, for God judges uprightly, adhering to the highest standard of justice, and provides guidance for them. Even though he is in heaven and they are on earth, they can benefit from his leading if they are willing to turn to him.

With God’s blessing upon it, the earth or land “yields its increase” or produces abundantly. When appreciatively acknowledging God’s blessing, the psalmist referred to him as “our God,” indicative of a personal relationship. “All the ends of the earth” designates people far beyond the borders of Israel. For these non-Israelites to fear God would mean that they would manifest a wholesome regard for the Most High on account recognizing his wondrous activity.

Note: Verses 1(2) and 4(5) conclude with the expression “selah,” the meaning of which is uncertain. The Septuagint rendering is diápsalma, thought to mean “pause” or “musical interlude.”