June 13 Evening Verse of The Day

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76:12 cut off the spirit of princes. God shatters the attitude of proud governmental leaders who rebel against Him.[1]

76:11b, 12 Then the Gentile nations surrounding Israel are counseled to bring presents as tribute to the Supreme Ruler—this Mighty One who can reduce earth’s princes to size and cause awesome things to happen to the most powerful rulers.[2]

12. If verse 11 left the matter open, this closes it. The first line can mean either ‘he snuffs out the lives’ (jb) or ‘he breaks the spirit’ (neb). The second line takes a related word to ‘feared’, discussed above (11); but now, as in verse 7, its context can only allow the meaning terrible.

If this is an Old Testament ending, the New Testament presents the same alternatives of willing or unwilling submission. But it adds to this the daunting dimension of eternity.[3]

12. He will cut off the spirit of princes. As the Hebrew word בצר, batsar, occasionally signifies to strengthen, some think it should be so translated in this passage. But as in the two clauses of the verse the same sentiment is repeated, I have no doubt that by the first clause is meant that understanding and wisdom are taken away from princes; and that by the second, God is represented in general as terrible to them, because he will cast them down headlong from their loftiness. As the first thing necessary to conduct an enterprise to a prosperous issue is to possess sound foresight, in which the people of God are often deficient from the great perplexity in which they are involved in the midst of their distresses, while, on the other hand, the ungodly are too sharp-sighted in their crafty schemes; it is here declared that it is in the power of God to deprive of understanding, and to inflict blindness on those who seem to surpass others in acuteness and ingenuity. The majority of princes being enemies to the Church of God, it is expressly affirmed, that He is sufficiently terrible to subdue all the kings of the earth. When it is said, that their spirit is cut off, or taken away from them, it is to be limited to tyrants and robbers whom God infatuates, because he sees that they apply all their ingenuity and counsels to do mischief.[4]

Ver. 12.—He shall cut off the spirit of princes. “The spirit” seems here to mean “the life.” God cuts off princes in their prime as a gardener cuts off bunches of grapes (comp. Isa. 18:5). He is terrible to the kings of the earth. Not “princes” only—נגידים—but “kings”—מלכים—also are cut off in their prime when God pleases. Sennacherib’s untimely death (2 Kings 19:37) followed not many years after the destruction of his host, in which there must have been many “princes.”[5]

76:12 He breaks the spirit of rulers. The verb for “breaks” is used of cutting off grapes in preparation for the treading of the winepress and here gives the picture of “snipping” off the spirits of rulers, a figure of divine vengeance. This is an example of a truncated metaphor, where a verb or noun is enough to suggest the whole picture of the phenomenon represented in the author’s mind.[6]

He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth (v. 12). God is able to take the life of rulers, using the analogy of pruning of vines. Not only within Israel is he the object of fear, but foreign rulers are called on to treat him with awe. Events in Israel and Judah were intended to be a lesson for other nations as well. The theme of fear of God occupies a central (nôrâʾ, v. 7) and concluding place in this psalm (môrâʾ, v. 11; nôrâʾ, v. 12).[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 76:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 665). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kidner, D. (1975). Psalms 73–150: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 16, p. 306). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[4] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 3, pp. 204–205). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 2, p. 102). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[6] Bullock, C. H. (2017). Psalms 73–150. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (Vol. 2, pp. 27–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[7] Harman, A. (2011). Psalms: A Mentor Commentary (Vol. 1–2, p. 574). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

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