THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
The happiness Of the godly. —The unhappiness of the ungodly.
BLESSED is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sittetli in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season: his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
THIS first is a Psalm of consolation; by which the hearts of the godly are encouraged and stirred up to magnify above all things the word of God, in which the whole of true life and salvation stands; and to hear, read, weigh, and meditate on it with a willingness of mind. For this Psalm shows, that those only are truly blessed, prosperous in all things, and enjoy a firm, sure, and eternal consolation both in prosperity and adversity, who are enabled to learn and know, from his word, the will and the works of God.
Thus, as a tall palm-tree by the water-side continually grows upwards higher and higher against all the violence of storms, retains its strength against all the weights that man can put upon it, and, by a secret growth, becomes daily more and more flourishing, and brings forth its fruits in its season; so, saith this Psalm, do the saints increase and grow continually by the Spirit and word; so are they rendered more and more firm and constant, and invincible against every evil; so do they daily become more fortified against all the calamities of life.
This Psalm denies, on the other hand, that any knowledge of God or any true consolation can be derived from human doctrines, how fair a show soever they may make. The wicked, (saith it,) and hypocrites, are like the chaff that is scattered by the wind: that is, the wicked are utterly destroyed by afflictions, at least in death; they endure not in temptation, but by and by separate themselves from the assembly of the righteous, and at length come to nought.
God looks upon those alone who worship him by hearing, learning, and declaring his word; and these are they whom this Psalm pronounces “blessed.” He disregards all the rest, who are hypocrites and pharaisaical worshippers; he despises all their good works and worshippings, and leaves them to perish in their blindness.
This Psalm flows from the Third Commandment, and has respect unto that which is there written: “Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day;” that is, that thou hear, read, meditate on, and ponder the word of God. And the sum of this Psalm is comprehended in the Lord’s Prayer, in the second and third petitions, where we pray, that the kingdom of God may increase and be edified by his word, and at length be revealed in its perfection, and that his will may be done: and both of these petitions are answered, when the word of God, which abideth for ever, is purely taught and learnt, and seriously and diligently used and pondered.
The kingdom of Christ.—Kings are exhorted to accept it.
WHY do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his Anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a zlittle. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
THIS Psalm is a remarkable prophecy concerning Christ: it is cited by the apostles in the Acts, chapter iv.: it predicted that Christ should suffer, be crucified, and glorified, and that he should be King and Lord of all creatures; that to him should be given all power both in heaven and in earth, and that his name should be above every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come.
This Psalm contains also a description of the kingdom of Christ and the terrible threatenings of God against the kings, the princes, the wise, and the powerful of the world; that they shall all perish, who, being carried away with the pride of human reason and carnal wisdom, do not acknowledge this King, Christ, nor obey his gospel; but who oppose his kingdom, and endeavour to blot out his name.
On the other hand, this Psalm contains most consoling promises, namely, that he that sitteth in the heavens, (in comparison of whom all the kings of the earth are mere worms,) holds in derision, and in a moment defeats, all their counsels and all their crafty devices against his word and this kingdom of Christ; and that he ever powerfully and miraculously saves, preserves, delivers, and prospers believers, and the whole church throughout the world, in the midst of the kingdom of the devil, and against all the powers and the gates of hell.
This Psalm flows from the First Commandment; where God declares that he alone will be our God, to save us and deliver us from all afflictions. Thus, it was he alone that delivered us, through Christ, from sin, from death, from the power of the devil, and from hell, and gave unto us eternal life. This pertains to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”
The security of God’s protection.
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
LORD, how are they increased that trouble me? many are they that rise up against me.
Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
But thou O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
I laid me down and slept; I awaked: for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek-bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly,
Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
THIS Psalm is a prayer of David in the time of his greatest affliction, and under the severest trial he ever experienced. And here we have set before us a signal example of this greatest and most spiritual of men —David; how he, in the time of Absalom, when all Israel revolted from him and went over to Absalom; how this eminent saint, I say, who was now an exile, forsaken by all, betrayed by those of his own household, and in the midst of the most appalling peril of his own life and salvation; how, when sinking under this heavy calamity, and struggling in this agony, he prayed unto God in faith; and what a fervency of heart there was in these his cries unto him.
In a word,—in this Psalm, David, with a wonderful feeling of mind, and a signal experience of faith, extols, in the highest strains, the greatness of the long-suffering and goodness of God, when he says, “Salvation is of the Lord!” As if he had said, The Lord is he alone who has all salvation in his hand, and all the issues of life and death. He sets up and changes kingdoms in a moment, just as he wills. No peril is so great, no death so instant, from which he cannot deliver his own, if they but call upon him in true faith, and flee unto him alone.
This Psalm has reference to the First Commandment, wherein it is said, ” I am the Lord thy God;” and it is comprehended in the seventh petition of the Lord’s Prayer, where we pray, ” Deliver us from evil.”
David prayeth for audience.— He reproveth and exhorteth his enemies.— Man’s happiness is in God’s favour.
To the chief Musician on Neginoth. A Psalm of David.
HEAR me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.
But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
THIS is a Psalm of consolation: yet it at the same time teaches us to bear afflictions patiently, to expect the help of God, and to trust in him in all adversities. For that greatest of all wisdom, true and real Christian wisdom, is unknown to the world: which wisdom is, to learn and to know, by daily temptations and by various trials of faith, that God exercises his people in all these afflictions, to the end that they may understand his will; and that his design in exposing them to the all-bitter hatred of the world and the devil, is, that he might save, deliver, comfort, strengthen, and glorify them in a wonderful manner, in the midst of perils, and even in death itself; and that he might make known his conflicting church as being invincible, through faith and the word, in the midst of the kingdom of the devil, against all the storms of the world, and under all the clouds, darkness, and tempests of temptations of every kind.
This Psalm also most severely strikes at all hypocrites and wicked men of every description, who, before the eyes of the world, would have us believe that they are the only true saints and the people of God; who even say that they worship God, while they know nothing of him; for in the time of affliction, they tremble with cowardly fear, and impatiently mutter in their hearts against God and his holy will; they soon forget his words and his works, and, wickedly forsaking him who alone is able to comfort them, cease from expecting his aid, hate the cross, and seek for human consolation: whereas, there is no sure consolation to be obtained either from friends or from all the resources of human help; for in God alone is sure consolation; and that is all-sure, and eternal; which no creature can take away, either in this world or in that which is to come.
This peace and consolation of God, however, is not like the peace of the world. For, “Know ye, (saith David) that the Lord dealeth wonderfully with his saints:” he casts them down, that he may raise them up; he afflicts them that he may minister consolation unto them; he bumbles them that he may exalt them; he makes them sorrowful that he may make them glad: in a word, be kills them that he may make them alive.
The agonizing struggles of the godly, therefore, in this life against sin, and the devil who unceasingly assaults them, and desires to sift them as wheat, are their exercises of faith and patience: from which exercises those that fear God learn more satisfactorily to know his presence ;—that he is ever present with them; and that he will never leave nor forsake those that believe in him, but will ever marvellously deliver, save and rescue them from all their deaths and destructions.
But the wicked and hypocrites, how much soever they may talk about God with their lips, yet hate God, and hate this his will in the afflictions of his saints; as it is written in the first commandment— “Unto them that hate me.” And again, as Paul saith— “Whose God is their belly.” These characters wish first, and above all things, that all theirs,— their fortunes, their property, their friends, should be safe; and they trust in their riches and possessions. All such, therefore, deride this doctrine of faith: and if any one should preach to such this patience, and this word of the cross, they would laugh at it, and would boast of their holiness and religion in opposition to those who truly fear God. They would say, ‘What! are we to be taught what is right by such a fool as you? Are you to teach us what is good, and what the true worship of God is?’
This Psalm also pertains to the First Commandment. It teaches us to trust in God both in prosperity and adversity, and patiently to wait for his help, calling upon him with earnestness and constancy. The subject matter of this Psalm is contained in the third and seventh petition of the Lord’s Prayer— “Thy will be done,” and “Deliver us from evil:” and also in the fourth, where we pray, “that there may be given us our daily bread:” that is, peace, and all those things that are required unto the sustaining of this life, against all the various evils of poverty, hunger, and want; with which things the devil, in an especial manner, exercises the church of God in this world.
David prayeth, and professeth his study in prayer.—God favoureth not the wicked-—David, professing his faith, prayeth unto God to guide him—and to preserve the godly.
To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth. A Psalm of David.
GIVE ear to my words, O LORD; consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; neither shall evil dwell with thee.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy; and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels: cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
THIS Psalm is an earnest prayer against that most destructive pestilence in the church—false teachers: and all ages, from Cain, the first man that was born, the first hypocrite after the creation of Adam, and the first “man of blood,” have had their Cainish saints, their false prophets, their false apostles, and their fanatic spirits; who have taught their own human dreams, and their own traditions for the word of God, and resolutely contended for their own Cainish holiness, ever burning with an insatiable thirst to drink the blood of the Abels, the true saints: and these Christ has called, in his gospel, “vipers.”
It is at the blasphemies of these against God, and their cruelty towards men, that this Psalm strikes; and openly exposes the persons themselves as most virulent hypocrites, in whose doctrine and works there is nothing but outside daubing, nothing but doubting and disquietude, and a whole slaughter-house of consciences. These characters suppress the true word, the doctrine of faith, and the true worship of God; namely, the worship required by the First Commandment: and there is no end to their rage against those that fear God: they cause horrid devastations in the church, and load her with an infinity of injuries.
Against the destructive influence of these, therefore, David prays in this Psalm;—that it would please God to prevent the persecuting and Cain-like counsels of such hypocrites, and all crafty and blood-thirsty characters of the kind, and, amid all this bitter and furious hatred of the world and the devil, and such an infinity of cruelty in all their adversaries, to defend, comfort, prop up, and protect the godly; to confound the hypocrisy of the wicked, to root out all false worship; to cause the true word and the true worship of God to spread and flourish, and to glorify the true church in the face of the false one, under all the outward daubing and show of the latter.
In the last verse, David appends a most glorious promise ;—that, although those who truly fear God are cruelly treated by those hypocrites, it shall yet come to pass that the godly shall at length rejoice that their prayers are heard, and shall see the judgments of God openly fall upon the hypocrites and fanatics, and the true church defended and preserved.
This Psalm has reference to the Second and Third Commandments of the Decalogue, and to the first and second petitions of the Lord’s Prayer; where we pray “that the name of the Lord may be sanctified and glorified,” against the pride and gloryings of such hypocrites.
David’s complaint in his sickness.—By faith he triumpheth over his enemies.
To the chief Musician, on Neginoth upon Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.
For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
THIS Psalm is a prayer full of those mental exercises that are felt under the deepest and most secret temptations which can only be known by experience, because no words can describe them; for they are those feelings under which the saints agonize in those bitter and unutterable conflicts which are wholly unknown to the world: they are those feelings, I say, under which they agonize when struggling with sin, the law, and the wrath and judgment of God: all which are experienced in the hours of darkness, while the devil is horribly tempting and pressing in upon them.
These internal fears and terrors, under which all the godly agonize and sweat, will, of necessity, one day wholly swallow up the hypocrites who are destitute of the word. Here it is, that in the godly, there is an unspeakable conflict of justice with sin; the law, and wrath of God, with a confidence in his mercy; and faith and hope, with desperation and despair; though the godly are at length delivered and saved. These terrors the scripture calls in other places, and especially in the Psalms, “the pains of hell,” and, “the snares of death.”
But this Psalm expressly shews in the end, that the sighs and groans of the godly under these agonizing conflicts, these pains, and these straits of soul, shall surely be heard. This Psalm, therefore, and others like it, open to us a view of the heart of David, and afford the greatest consolation to the godly. For they shew, that, although the saints thus deeply agonize under these straits, and under these terrible and open views of the wrath of God, yet, that these temptations which appear to be infinite and endless, shall surely have an end, and that God will never forsake those who fear him, in their terrors and conflicts with death and hell.
On the other hand, the prophet, in this Psalm, with a wonderful zeal of spirit, and with the most cutting sharpness and severity, strikes at all the wicked of the world: and, above all, he condemns all secure hypocrites and pharisaical ministers; calling them, notwithstanding their outward appearance of being saints,—”workers of iniquity;” who persecute all afflicted and true Christians with the bitterness of Cain, and cease not to hate them with all the virulence of Satan; adding grief to their grief, and affliction to their affliction.
‘Away with ye,’ saith he, ‘ye hypocrites. I have learnt that I have a God to go to; but ye are ignorant both of God and of his works. Ye know not what an awful weight the wrath of God is, and how great and soul-refreshing a thing the remission of sins, the knowledge of eternal life, and the experience of grace, are. Ye worship God with your mouths and with your lips; ye trust in your own righteousnesses and works, not knowing what God and what sin are; and therefore ye are most cruel and most bitter enemies to the word and true worship of God; in which worship, the greatest and most acceptable sacrifice is a spirit thus pressed into straits and afflicted.’
This Psalm has reference to the First and Second Commandment; it contains the agonizing conflict of faith, and calls upon God against the force of sin and death. And it refers also to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer; as do also the other supplicatory Psalms. For, to supplicate and pray, is to sanctify and call upon the name of the Lord.
David prayeth against the malice of his enemies, professing his innocency. —By faith he seeth his defence, and the destruction of his enemies.
Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.
O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me;
Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy;)
Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.
Arise, O LORD, in thine anger; lift up thyself, because of the rage of mine enemies; and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.
So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes, therefore, return thou on high.
The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready.
He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
THIS is a prayer against that common and usual blasphemy with which the world accuses the prophets, apostles, and all others who fear God, as being seditious persons, who destroy the peace and general tranquility of the state: as Shimei bitterly upbraided David, when under that heavy affliction in the time of Absalom, calling him a bloody man, and saying that he had invaded the kingdom of Saul, &c. In the same way the Jews accused Christ before Pilate. And in the same way also now do certain hypocrites, —bishops and other enemies, against all conscience, brand the professors of the gospel with the appellation of ‘seditious persons.’
Against all trials of this kind, which are indeed most bitter to bear, the prophet fights by prayer unto God, calling upon God to bear witness to his innocency. And then, to encourage and comfort all that fear God, he shews, that all who thus pray are heard; and he sets forth himself as an example.
Lastly, he threatens a horrid, sudden, and momentary judgment to those hypocrites and tyrants, who thus rage against the godly with the most bitter hatred: and be signifies that all such shall in the end perish like Absalom, who was cut off and died in a new, sudden, and dreadful way, in the midst of his furious career, before he could accomplish that which he had planned.
This Psalm refers to the second precept in the Decalogue, and to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
God’s glory is magnified by his works, and by his love to man.
To the chief Musician upon Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
THIS is a prophecy concerning Christ, —concerning his passion, his resurrection, and his dominion over all creatures; and it is thus that the apostle cites it, Ephes. i. with reference to the kingdom of Christ: where he foretels, that the power and might of his kingdom will be invincible against all enemies, how violent soever they may be in their determination to wreak their vengeance: —that is, that he will be victoriously mighty against all the wise and the powerful of the world, and against all hypocrites and Pharisaical saints: —that he will be invincible and victorious, I say, not by arms, nor by mighty forces of horse and foot, but by the word of his gospel; which shall be preached by “babes and sucklings,” (that is, by humble men, men who are weak and contemptible in the sight of the world,) and believed in by his church of poor, afflicted, crying, and complaining creatures: —that this word of the gospel, I repeat, preached and believed in by such poor creatures, shall nevertheless confound all the wisdom of the world, and break and crush under it all the strength of the world, and that no creature power whatever shall impede it in its work and course, but that it shall stand firmer than the heaven, or the sun, or the moon, and shall endure for evermore!
This Psalm pertains to the First Commandment, where God declares that he will be our God: and also to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, as I have before observed under Psalm II.
David praiseth God for executing of judgment.—He inciteth others to praise him.—He prayeth that he may have cause to praise him.
To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben. A Psalm of David.
I WILL praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.
When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
O thou enemy! destructions are come to a perpetual end; and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment;
And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
Put them in fear, O LORD; that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
THIS Psalm is a prophecy: its title is “concerning the beautiful youth:” that is, concerning the children that are born anew in Christ, the people of God and the church of God. For the people and sons of God, and his new-born children by faith in Christ, must be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ.
Christians and the true sons of God are variously afflicted in the world; and the blood of the innocents is daily shed by the fury and cruelty of Satan, raging against the word and the works of God. These are the flourishing and undented youth, the sons and children of God, of whom the title of the Psalm speaks; who are blameless, without rebuke, and babes in the midst of wolves, and among a perverse generation.
This Psalm has its striking descriptions of persons: and the prophecy which it contains is written in the manner of a thanksgiving: and therefore it may be numbered among the consolatory Psalms. For, (as is generally the case with these spiritual canticles and songs,) the Prophet here speaks in his own person, and in that of all the saints also who are afflicted for the word of God’s sake: all of whom give thanks with wonderful sensations of heart, that God does not forsake his own. But God requires, at times, the tears and the blood of the saints: though he preserves and saves his Church, and renders her invincible against sword or fire, and against all the power of enemies temporal or spiritual, nay, in the midst of blood and death; and he raises her up, as it were, from the blood, slaughter, and ashes of the saints, and makes her flourish again and increase the more, in a wonderful manner, in this and that part of the world: so that many, even of the most bitter enemies, have been converted to the faith, and even a Saul has been made a Paul; and sometimes also the judgments of God have fallen on the wicked, and they have perished before the eyes of the godly.
This Psalm has reference to the First Commandment of the Decalogue, and to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, as we have observed concerning the preceding Psalm.
David complaineth to God of the outrage of the wicked.—He prayeth for remedy.—He professeth his confidence.
WHY standest thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
His mouth is full of cursing, and deceit, and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily laid against the poor.
He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
Arise, O LORD ; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
THIS Psalm is a fervent prayer, and contains complaints of the deepest concern against Antichrist, that most atrocious enemy of God and the gospel, who will ever assail and lay waste the church, not by force and tyranny only, but with all the πανσαγία of Satan, all his frauds and impostures, and with an infinite variety of outside deception and hypocrisy.
This “Man of Sin” is descriptively portrayed in the present Psalm; —that he really rages against the body with the sword, ruins and destroys souls by his all-crafty and infinite hypocrisy, and with his sweet poison of false doctrines, and imposing forms of worship; but that he has no concern whatever about teaching any one kindly and with gentleness, nor instructing them seriously unto godliness or true comfort, but has his mouth ever full of cursing and deceit.
This we have manifested in the kingdom of the Pope, and in the tyranny of the Romish-church. All those fulminating and thundering excommunications are mere execrations and cursing, by which he has wished to make himself, and has succeeded in making himself, formidable even to kings, under the false pretence of the apostolic name, and divine authority. And his ‘craft‘ and lies are all that infinite and inexplicable variety of hypocrisy and traditions of men; together with all that outward whitewash of holiness, and those deceptive forms of worship, by means of which, and his delusions of masses at one time, and of indulgences at another, this Antichrist ceases not to turn to wicked lucre all things human and divine, under the blasphemous cover and pretext of the name of God.
In the end of the Psalm we have a consolation; which declares that such an abomination shall, in the end of the world, be revealed, and, having been made openly manifest by the sudden judgment of God, shall be rooted out.
This Psalm has reference to the Second Commandment, and to the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer; as have all the Psalms of supplication.