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Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 9
To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, a Psalm of David. Some, take "muthlabben" to be the name of the tune to which this psalm was sung, and to design the same note which we call the counter-tenor: others think, that "upon muth", or "almuth", are but one word, and the same as "alamoth", Psalm 45:1, title; and that it is the name of a musical instrument; and that "Ben" in "labben", is the name of the chief musician, who was over that sort of instrument, to whom the psalm is inscribed (l); and indeed R. Sol Jarchi says, that he had seen in the great Masorah these words as one; and so it seems the Septuagint interpreters read them, who render them, "for the hidden things of the son"; and the Arabic version, "concerning the mysteries of the son": and Ben is a name, it is said, of one of the singers, whose kindred and companions were appointed with psalteries on "alamoth", 1 Chronicles 15:18. And so then the title runs thus; "to the chief musician on alamoth, [even to] Ben". But others are of opinion that the subject matter or occasion of the psalm is designed by this phrase; and that as "muth" signifies "death", the death of some person is intended, on account of which this psalm was composed; some say Nabal, seeing the word "Laban", inverted, or read backwards, is "Nabal" (m), whose death affected David; as appears from 1 Samuel 25:38. Others, that it was one of the kings of the Gentiles, whose name was Labben, and is mentioned nowhere else, who fought with David, and whom he slew, and upon his death penned this psalm (n). Others, Goliath the Philistine (o), who is called, 1 Samuel 17:4. , which we render "champion" and dueller, one of two that fight together. But rather the reason of the name is, as given by the Jewish commentators (p), because he went and stood between the two camps of the Philistines and the Israelites; and so the Chaldee paraphrase renders the title of this psalm,
"to praise, concerning the death of the man who went out between the camps, a song of David.''
And so the psalm itself, in the Targum, and by other Jewish writers, is interpreted of Goliath and the Philistines, and of the victory over them; and which does not seem amiss. Arama interprets it of the death of Saul. Others interpret Almuth Labben "of the death of the son"; and understand it of the death of Absalom, the son of David (q): but David's passion moved in another way, not in joy, but in grief, 2 Samuel 18:33; nor is there anything in the psalm that can be referred unto it. Others, of the death of the son of God; but of that there is not the least hint in the psalm. Theodoret interprets it of Christ's victory over death by dying, which was a mystery or hidden thing. Rather, I should think, it might be interpreted of the death of the son of perdition, the man of sin and his followers; who may be typified by Goliath, and the Philistines: and so, as Ainsworth observes, as the former psalm was concerning the propagation of Christ's kingdom, this is of the destruction of antichrist. And Jerom, long ago said, this whole psalm is sung by the prophet in the person of the church, concerning antichrist: and to this agrees the Syriac version; which makes the subject of the psalm to be,
"concerning Christ, taking the throne and kingdom, and routing the enemy.''
And also the Arabic version, according to which the argument of the psalm is,
"concerning the mysteries of the Son, with respect to the glory of Christ, and his resurrection and kingdom, and the destruction of all the children of disobedience.''
To which may be added, that this psalm, according to R. Sol Jarchi, belongs to the time to come, to the days of the Messiah, and the future redemption by him.
(l) Kimchi & Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc. (m) So some in Jarchi & Aben Ezra in loc. (n) Donesh Hallevi in ibid. (o) Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. (p) Jarchi, Kimchi, Levi Ben Gersom, R. Isaiah, & Ben Melech in 1 Samuel 17.4. (q) So some in Jarchi in loc.
1‹‹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 praise thee, O Lord, with my whole, heart,.... This is what is called in the New Testament making melody in the heart, or singing with grace in the heart, Ephesians 5:19; and yet does not signify mere mental singing, but vocal singing, the heart joining therein; for the word here used for praise signifies to confess, to speak out, to declare openly the praises of God in the public congregation, as David elsewhere determines to do, Psalm 111:1; the heart ought to, be engaged in every, part of divine service and worship, whether in preaching or in hearing, or in prayer, or in singing of praise; and the whole heart also: sometimes God has nothing of the heart in worship, it is removed far from, him, and gone after other objects; and sometimes it is divided between God and the creature; hence the psalmist prays that God would unite his heart to fear him, and then he should praise him with all his heart, with all that was within him, with all the powers and faculties of his soul; see Psalm 86:11. This phrase is not expressive of the perfection of this duty, or of performing it in such manner as that there would be no imperfection in it, or sin attending it; for good men fail in all their performances, and do nothing good without sin; hence provision is made for the iniquities of holy things; but of the heartiness and sincerity of it; and in such a sincere and upright manner the psalmist determines, in the strength of divine grace, to praise the Lord;
I will show forth all thy marvellous works; such as the creation of all things out of nothing, and the bringing them into the form and order in which they are by the word of God; and in which there is such a display of the power and wisdom of God; and particularly the formation of man out of the dust of the earth, in the image, and after the likeness of God; the sustentation of the whole world of creatures in their being, the providential care of them all, the preservation of man and beast; and especially the work of redemption: it is marvellous that God should think of redeeming sinful men; that he should fix the scheme of it in the way he has; that he should pick upon his own Son to be the Redeemer; that ungodly men, sinners, the chief of sinners, and enemies, should be the persons redeemed; and that not all the individuals of human nature, but some out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation: as also the work of grace, which is a new creation, and more marvellous than the old; a regeneration, or a being born again, which is astonishing to a natural man, who cannot conceive how this can be; a resurrection from the dead, or a causing dry bones to live; a call of men out of darkness into marvellous light; and it is as wondrous how this work is preserved amidst so many corruptions of the heart, temptations of Satan, and snares of the world, as that it is; to which may be added the wonderful works yet to be done, as the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, the destruction of antichrist, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the eternal glory and happiness of the saints; and doubtless the psalmist may have respect to the many victories which he, through the divine power, obtained over his enemies; and particularly the marvellous one which was given him over Goliath with a stone and sling: these the psalmist determined to make the subject of his song, to dwell and enlarge upon, to show forth unto others, and to point out the glories, beauties, and excellency of them: and when he says "all" of them, it must be understood of as many of them as were within the compass of his knowledge, and of as much of them as he was acquainted with; for otherwise the marvellous works of God are infinite and without number, Job 5:9.
2I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee,.... Not in himself, in any attainments or works of his; not in his wisdom, riches, and strength, nor in his warlike exploits, but in the Lord; not in second causes, in horses and chariots, in armies, and in the courage and valour of men, but in God, as the author of deliverance, victory, and salvation; not in God only as the God of nature and providence, but as the God of all grace, and as his covenant God and Father; and because of the blessings of this covenant, as forgiveness of sin, a justifying righteousness, &c. for he rejoiced not in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ, as well as in his person, grace, and sacrifice; so the Chaldee paraphrase renders it, "I will be glad and rejoice", "in thy Word", the Logos, the essential Word of God, of whom there were many types, promises, and prophecies in the former dispensation; two words being here used express the greatness of this joy, and especially the latter word denotes a very vehement joy, a joy unspeakable and full of glory; such as arises from a sight of Christ the object, and which the psalmist had now in view; and this was not a carnal and worldly joy, but joy in the Holy Ghost;
I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High; that is, to the glory of his name, his being, and perfections, as displayed in his marvellous works, and in the revelation of his word, and especially in his son; and under the character of the "most high" God, the supreme Being over all creatures, angels and men; see Psalm 7:17.
3When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
When mine enemies are turned back,.... As the Philistines were, when Goliath their champion was dead; and as the men that came to apprehend Christ, David's antitype, went backwards and fell to the ground, through the superior power of Christ; and as sin, Satan, and the world, and at last antichrist, are made to retreat from the Lord's people, who are more than conquerors over them through Christ that has loved them. "They shall fall and perish at thy presence"; they shall stumble at one thing or another which divine Providence will throw in their way to hinder them from executing their designs, and so fall before them they meant to destroy, and perish at the presence of God as wax melteth before the fire; see Psalm 27:2; so antichrist shall be consumed with the breath of Christ's mouth, and the brightness of his coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; and this is the ground and foundation of the psalmist's joy, and rejoicing, and singing praise to God as it will be the reason of the joy of saints in the latter day, Revelation 18:22.
4For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
For thou hast maintained my right and my cause,.... Or vindicated and established his righteous cause; God had pleaded and defended it, and by the flight, fall, and ruin of his enemies, had clearly made it appear that his cause was just and good;
thou sittest in the throne judging right; God has not only a throne of grace on which he sits, and from whence he distributes grace and mercy to his people, but he has a throne of judgment, and which is prepared for it, as in Psalm 9:7; where he sits as the Judge of all the earth, and will do right; nor can he do otherwise, though his judgments are not always manifest in the present state of things; and the vindication of the psalmist's innocence and uprightness is another reason of his joy and gladness.
5Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
Thou hast rebuked the Heathen,.... The people of the Philistines, as the Targum and Kimchi explain it, though some Jewish writers (a) understand it of Amalek the chief of the Heathen nations; but it rather refers to Gospel times, and to the rebukes of the Heathen, by the preaching of the Gospel, for their idolatry and superstition; and especially to the latter day, and to the rebukes of the antichristian states, the Papists who are called Gentiles; which will be with flames of fire, and will issue in their utter extirpation, upon which a profound peace and prosperity will succeed in the Christian churches, according to Isaiah 2:4; which is a prophecy of those times;
thou hast destroyed the wicked; the wicked man; for it is in the singular number, "labben", as Aben Ezra observes, or who is meant by him; Goliath, according to the Targum and Kimchi; or Esau, as other Jewish writers (b), that is, his posterity the Edomites; and each of these were figures of antichrist, the man of sin, the wicked one, whom Christ will slay with the breath of his lips, Isaiah 11:4;
thou hast put out their name for ever and ever; that is, the glory and reputation of their name, a good and honourable one, which they sought to transmit to the latest posterity; for though the names of wicked men may continue, as Pharaoh, Judas, and others; yet they continue with a scandal and reproach upon them that shall never be wiped off, their names rot and stink; see Proverbs 10:7; the whole of this denotes the utter ruin and shameful end of the enemies of Christ and his church, and which is matter of joy to the saints.
(a) Jarchi in loc. & Pesikta in ibid. in v. 1.((b) Ibid.
6O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
O thou enemy,.... Which some understand of Goliath, though we do not read of any desolations made by him, nor of any cities destroyed by him; nor by the Israelites upon his death, and the flight of the Philistines on that account; Jarchi interprets it of Esau and his posterity, who shall be destroyed in future time, to which he applies, Ezekiel 35:9; other Jewish writers (c) think Amalek is intended, whose destruction they suppose will be in the days of the Messiah, and then will this Scripture be fulfilled: and as these all prefigured antichrist, as before observed, he seems to be designed, and not Satan, as some Christian interpreters have thought, that enemy of Christ, personal and mystical, of the church, and every true believer; and so is antichrist, he opposes himself to God, and all that is called God; he is one that is contrary to Christ, as his name signifies, to his persons, offices, grace, and kingdom; who blasphemes the name of God, his tabernacle, and his saints;
destructions are come to a perpetual end; which may be understood either of the destructions and desolations made by antichrist, the havoc he has made in the world, treading under foot the holy city, the church, destroying the earth and the inhabitants of it, the bodies, souls, and estates of men; but now the psalmist prophetically declares the end of them to be come, his forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, will be up, and he will go on no more desolating and destroying; see Revelation 11:2; or of the destructions and desolations made upon him by the pouring out of the seven vials upon the antichristian states, upon the seat of the beast, and upon both Pope and Turk, the eastern and western antichrist; when in the issue the beast, and the false prophet with him, will be taken and cast alive into a lake of fire; see Revelation 19:20; and so this phrase denotes that the destruction of antichrist will be consummate, his ruin will be complete, and there will be an utter end of him. Some, instead of "desolations", by the change of a point read "swords", and Ben Labrat or R. Donesh says (d) that he found it so written in an ancient book; and so reads Jarchi, though he takes notice of the other reading also; and so read the Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; and then the sense is, swords shall fail, they shall be no more made use of to destroy men with, they shall be beaten into ploughshares; for upon the destruction of the man of sin there will be a profound peace in the world; see Isaiah 2:4. Some (e) read these words interrogatively, "are destructions come to a perpetual end?" that is, which the enemy antichrist designed to bring upon the people of God? no, they are not; he may imagine they are, when the two witnesses are slain; and may think he has then made an entire slaughter, and a complete destruction of the saints; but he will be mistaken, these witnesses will rise again, and ascend up to heaven in the sight of their enemies, and to the great terror of them, Revelation 11:10;
and thou hast destroyed cities, or "hast thou destroyed cities?" that is, as antichrist threatened and intended, namely, to destroy all the cities and churches of Christ; but, alas! he will never be able to do it, they are built on a rock against which the gates of hell can never prevail: but it is better to read the words affirmatively, and interpret them not of the enemy, but of God, and of him destroying the cities of the enemy; for, at the pouring out the seventh and last vial, the great city, the whole antichristian jurisdiction, will be divided into three parts, and utterly perish; and the cities of the Pagan and Mahometan nations will fall, and particularly Babylon the great city will come in remembrance before God, and be utterly destroyed, Revelation 16:19;
their memorial is perished with them; they shall not be returned or built any more, but shall be like a millstone cast into the sea, and be found no more at all, Ezekiel 35:9. Some (f) read this clause by way of interrogation as the others, "is their memorial perished with them?" no, the righteous are in everlasting remembrance, even those churches which the Romish antichrist has made havoc of, as the Albigenses and Waldenses; the memory of them is still precious.
(c) Midrash Tillim in loc. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.((d) Apud Aben Ezra in loc. (e) So Piscator, Cocceius, Ainsworth. (f) Sic Genevenses, Diodatus, Bueerus, Cocceius.
7But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
But the Lord shall endure for ever,.... When antichrist is entirely ruined, his cities destroyed, and the memorial of them perished, then "shall the Lord sit for ever" (g), as the words may be rendered; that is, as a Jewish writer (h) paraphrases them, in rest and quiet. The words may be expressive of the unchangeableness and eternity and power of God; the Chaldee paraphrase of them is, , "the Word of the Lord is for ever; his habitation is in the highest heavens". And they may very well be interpreted of Christ, the essential Word of God, who is the unchangeable, everlasting, and almighty God; and who sits King for ever, and must sit at God's right hand, in the highest heavens, until all his enemies are made his footstool; and to him most properly do the following things in this verse Psalm 9:8 belong:
he hath prepared his throne for judgment; for the administration of judgment in this world, for the particular judgment after death, and for the general judgment after the resurrection of the dead; which seems by what follows to be chiefly meant, and which will come on after the destruction of antichrist; and all things are preparing for it; the day is appointed in which God will judge the world; Christ is ordained to be the Judge of quick and dead; devils and ungodly men are reserved to the judgment of the great day; the throne is ready, which will be a white one, Revelation 20:11; denoting the purity, justice, and uprightness of the Judge, who himself is at the door.
(g) "sedebit", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Michaelis; so Ainsworth; "sedet", Vatablus, Musculus. (h) R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.
8And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
And he shall judge the world in righteousness,.... The word rendered "world", is, as Ben Melech well observes, a general name for all the countries of the habitable world; and so shows that it is the universal judgment that is here spoken of; and which will be carried on and finished with the utmost righteousness, and according to the strictest rules of justice and equity; and is therefore called the righteous judgment of God, Romans 2:5; see Psalm 96:13;
he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness; which signifies the same with the former clause, unless by the "world" there, should be meant the wicked of the world; and by the "people" here, the people of God; to whom the righteous Judge will give the crown of righteousness.
9The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,.... The poor and weak, such as have no might nor power, and are thrown down and trampled upon, as the word (i) signifies; and such are the people of God. They are oppressed with the burden of sin; they are bowed down with Satan and his temptations; and are sometimes pressed out of measure, and above their strength, with the persecutions of men; they are trodden under foot by antichrist, or otherwise are borne down with a variety of sorrows and afflictions; but the Lord is a refuge for them. The Chaldee paraphrase renders it as before, "the Word of the Lord", the eternal Logos, the Son of God: he is a refuge for poor sensible sinners, fleeing from wrath to come; being typified by the cities of refuge, whither the manslayer fled from the avenger of blood: he is the strong hold for the prisoners of hope to turn into; his name is a strong tower and place of defence for oppressed saints; he is a refuge when all others fail, and at all times, in the day of affliction, and in the hour of death, and at judgment;
a refuge in times of trouble; of which the saints have many, as when God hides his face, when corruptions prevail, when grace is low in exercise, and temptations are strong, yet even then Christ is the refuge from the storm; the salvation of his people is of him, and he is their strength in every time of trouble; see Isaiah 25:4.
(i) "attrito", Cocceius, Gejerus: "contrito", Michaelis.
10And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
And they that know thy name,.... As proclaimed in the Gospel, a God gracious and merciful, and forgiving sin; and as in Christ, in whom his name is, and in whom he is the God of love, grace, and mercy, though out of him a consuming fire; or the name of Christ himself, the Word of the Lord, who is the refuge of saints and sinners; his name Jesus, a Saviour: such who know him to be the able, willing, complete, all sufficient, and everlasting Saviour; who know his power and faithfulness to keep what is committed to him; and who know him not merely notionally and speculatively, and in a professional way only, but affectionately, spiritually, and experimentally: such
will put their trust in thee; as they have great reason to do; and the more they know of the grace and mercy of God in Christ, and of the ability and suitableness of Christ as a Saviour, the more strongly will they place their trust and confidence in him;
for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee: who are first sought out by God in the effectual calling, and then under the influence and direction of his grace and Spirit seek him in Christ, where he is only to be found; and seek Christ and his righteousness above all things else, and with their whole hearts, and diligently; and seek to Christ alone for life and salvation, and continue seeking the Lord, by prayer and supplication, for whatever they stand in need of; these God does not forsake: he may sometimes hide his face from them, as he does from his own children, and did from his own Son, yet he never forsakes them totally and finally; nor will he forsake the work of his own hands, which he has wrought in them, but will perfect it; he will never leave them so as that they shall perish by sin, Satan, or any enemy; he will not forsake them in life, nor at death, but will be the strength of their hearts, and their portion for ever.
11Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion,.... The psalmist having determined in the strength of grace to praise the Lord himself, and show forth all his marvellous works, and given his reasons for it, both with respect to himself in particular, and with respect to the people of God in general, here calls upon others to engage in the same work; the Lord is not only to be praised, which may be done by celebrating the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands; by giving him thanks for mercies temporal and spiritual, and by living to his glory; but his praises are to be sung by a modulation of the voice in musical notes, as the word used signifies; see Sol 2:12; where the same word is used of the singing of birds; and this is to be done by the saints jointly, in concert together, as Paul and Silas in prison sang the praises of God; and there is great reason why they should join together in this work, since they share the blessings of divine grace in common together; and it is their duty to stir up one another to this service, as well as to other parts of worship: and this perfectly agrees with the exhortation to the saints, and the work they shall be employed in at the fall of Babylon, or destruction of antichrist, Revelation 14:1. Jehovah, to whom praises are to be sung, is described as the inhabitant of Zion, the ark and tabernacle being there before the temple was built, which were symbols of the divine Presence. The Targum paraphrases it, "who causeth his Shechinah to dwell in Zion"; as many of the Jewish writers interpret this psalm of Goliath, a doubt arises here about it, since in the days of Saul, and at the time of Goliath's death, Zion was in the hands of the Jebusites, and the ark of God was not there till many years afterwards; to this it is replied, that David might compose this psalm upon that occasion not immediately at that time, but after he was king of Israel, and when the ark was brought to Zion; or that he said this by a prophetic spirit, foreseeing that, God would dwell there; and Kimchi observes, that it was everywhere a received tradition among the people of Israel that the sanctuary would be built there; but however this be, certain it is that the church of God goes by the name of Zion frequently; see Psalm 2:6, Hebrews 12:22. God by his essence and power is everywhere, he fills heaven and earth, and cannot be contained in either; his glorious presence is in heaven; his gracious presence is in his church and among his people; where they dwell he dwells, and where he dwells they dwell: hence the church is called by the same name as the Lord is here, the inhabitant of Zion, Isaiah 12:6; and this description of him points out the place where his praises are to be sung, in Zion; who are to sing them, the members of the church; and the reason why, because the Lord dwells in Zion; and is there a refuge for his people, and protects them;
declare among the people his doings; what God does for the souls of men is not only to be declared among the people of God, Psalm 66:16; but also among the people of the world, when a suitable opportunity offers; and especially in the public ministry of the word; partly that the name of God may be exalted, his grace, goodness, and mercy be displayed; and partly that it might be the means of the conversion of God's chosen ones among them, Psalm 96:2; though it may be here his doings in providence are meant, his special providential care of his church and people, and his vengeance on their enemies, on Babylon; for upon the ruin of antichrist, the judgments of God, his providential dispensations towards his church and people, will be made manifest, and all nations will be called upon to fear and worship him; see Jeremiah 50:28; the word (k) which is here used signifies such deeds and actions as are the effects of thought and counsel, and which are purposely and industriously done; and whatsoever is done by the Lord, whether in a way of grace or providence, is done after the counsel of his own will; as he thought so it is, as he purposes so it comes to pass, and all things are done well and wisely, and answer the ends and designs of them.
(k) "significat tam machinationes, sive consilia", 1 Sam. 3. "quam consiliorum eventus, seu opera ipsa, quomodo", Jeremiah 32.19. Gejerus.
12When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
When he maketh inquisition for blood,.... The Arabic version renders it, "he remembers him that seeks their blood"; that is, the wicked man, that lies in wait for innocent blood, and whose feet are swift to shed it; the man of sin, who is bloodthirsty; who drinks up the blood of the saints like water, and has been made drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, him will God remember, and take vengeance on, in his own time: but rather this is to be understood of God himself, seeking for the blood of his saints: he knows where it is, though ever so privily shed, as he did Abel's; yet, to show his strict care and accurate notice of it, he is represented as searching for it, and finding it out by secret search, Jeremiah 2:34. And it is the same phrase with "requiring" blood, and expresses a demand of satisfaction for it; and declares the vengeance that God will take on account of it: he requires the blood of every man at the hand of him by whom it is shed, Genesis 9:5; especially the blood of the righteous, Matthew 23:35; particularly the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, shed by the Romish antichrist; he will make inquisition for that, and will find in Babylon the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all that are slain on earth; and will avenge the blood of his servants at her hand, and give her blood to drink, Revelation 18:24;
he remembereth them; either the "righteous", as the Targum paraphrases it, whose blood has been shed; or else the wicked, who shed their blood: God will remember them and their sins; which, for some time, may seem not to have been taken notice of by him, and will pour out his wrath, and inflict just punishment on them; see Revelation 16:19;
he forgetteth not the cry of the humble: the "Cetib", or writing of the text, is "afflicted"; the "Keri", or marginal reading, is "humble"; so the Masorah and Targum read: both may be taken into the sense: afflicted persons are generally humble, afflictions make them humble; God's people are an afflicted people; afflicted with sin, with Satan, with the world, with antichrist and his followers: and they are an humble people; grace makes them humble, and a sense of their sin and unworthiness keeps them so: and this is a proper character of the followers of Jesus. These in their distress cry to the Lord, as the Israelites did in Egypt under their bondage and, pressures: yea, their blood cries after death, as Abel's did, and as the blood of the martyrs of Christ does, whose souls under the altar cry for vengeance, Revelation 6:9; and God is not unmindful of their cry; however he may seem to be, he takes notice of it, and wilt in his own time avenge his elect, which cry unto him day and night.
13Have 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:
Have mercy upon me, O Lord,.... The psalmist proceeds to petitions on his own account in this verse: the ends he proposes by the fulfilling of them are mentioned in the next. A good man, a man called by the grace of God, though he has obtained mercy of the Lord, yet still stands in need of more, of fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, of merciful supplies, of merciful support, and merciful deliverances from enemies, inward and outward: and such an one flees to God, and not to the creature; and pleads, not his own dignity, righteousness, or merit, but the mercy of God;
consider, my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me; or "see my affliction because of mine enemies" (l); look upon me under it with an eye of pity and compassion, and help and deliver me; and look upon mine enemies that give me this trouble, and take vengeance on them;
thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; the house appointed for all living; that is, from the power of it, when just upon the brink of it; when near it, as a person is to an house, when he is at the gates of it; either through sickness, or some violent distemper of body, as Hezekiah was; or through some imminent danger in battle, as David was when engaged with Goliath; when everyone thought, as Kimchi observes, that he should fall by his hand: or it may be this may have respect to his being raised up from the death of sin, and delivered from the power of darkness; to his being brought out of the horrible pit and miry clay of an unregenerate state, and set upon the rock of salvation; which is a lifting up indeed, an exaltation from a very low to a very high estate: and this the psalmist takes notice of to encourage his faith; and makes use of it as an argument with God, that as he had dealt so graciously and bountifully with him, he would still show mercy to him, and look upon him under his affliction.
(l) "intuere afflictionem meum propter osores meos", Gejerus.
14That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
That I may show forth all thy praise,.... That is, all thy bounties and acts of goodness, deserving of praise; even as many of them as he had an experience of, and which came within his knowledge; and as much of them as he was capable of observing: for otherwise the instances of divine grace and goodness are so many, that they cannot be reckoned up in order, nor God be praised for them, in the present state of things, as he should; See Gill on Psalm 9:1;
in the gates of the daughter of Zion: it was usual with the Hebrews to represent a chief city as a mother city, and the towns and villages, and places adjacent, as daughters; and so, as Zion or Jerusalem signifies the church of God in general, or the mother church, Galatians 4:26; so "the daughter" of Zion may mean a particular church: the Targum renders it the congregation of Zion; and "the gates" of it are the public ordinances of divine worship in it; and the sense is, that the psalmist desired to show forth the praises of God in the most public manner in the congregation and assembly of the saints;
I will rejoice in thy salvation, or "that I may rejoice in thy salvation" (m): meaning either temporal salvation and deliverance from enemies, wrought by God for him, which would be matter of joy to him; or spiritual salvation, which may be called God's salvation, because contrived by him in the council of peace, and secured by him in the covenant of grace, and wrought out by his Son in the fulness of time, and applied by his Spirit at conversion. And a gracious man rejoices in this salvation more because it is the Lord's than because it is his own; or he rejoices more because of the glory of God, which is displayed in it, than because of his own advantage and happiness by it.
(m) "exultem", Junius & Tremellius, Musculus; "ut exultem", Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; "gaudeam", Cocceius; so Ainsworth.
15The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
The Heathen are sunk into the pit that they made,.... The psalmist having determined to praise the Lord, and called upon others to join with him in it, here enters upon it: for, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra observe, this is "the praise" he was desirous to show forth, which is occasioned by the destruction of God's enemies, and the deliverance of his people: by "the Heathen" are meant not the Philistines, as Kimchi interprets it, who thought to cause Israel to fall, and fell themselves; but this is spoken prophetically of the nations of the earth, who have joined in the idolatry of antichrist, the Gentiles, by whom the holy city has been trodden under foot; even the several antichristian states, that will be destroyed by the pouring out of the seven vials, and especially the last, at the battle of Armageddon; and which will be brought on by themselves, with a design to destroy the whole kingdom and interest of Christ, but will issue in their utter ruin, which this phrase is expressive of; see Revelation 18:3. The metaphor is taken from hunters, who dig pits for the wild beasts to fall into, that they may the more easily take them, into which they fall themselves; see Psalm 7:15. Wicked men are mischievous and crafty, but sometimes they are taken in their own craftiness;
in the net which they laid is their own foot taken; which may signify the same thing as before, that the mischief they design for others falls upon themselves; only as the former phrase denotes their utter destruction like the sinking of a millstone in the sea, by which the irrecoverable ruin of Babylon is expressed, Revelation 18:21; this may design the restraint and hinderance of them from doing the evil they would; their feet are entangled, that they cannot run to shed blood; and their hands are held, that they cannot perform their enterprise; and their wrath in restrained and made to praise the Lord. The metaphor is taken from fowlers, who lay nets and snares for birds, and cover them that they may not be seen, but fall into them unawares; see Psalm 124:7.
16The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth,.... The judgment which God will execute upon antichrist, and the antichristian powers, will be a means of making known his name, his glory, his perfections, in all the earth; as his wisdom, power, justice, and goodness; see Exodus 9:16. The destruction of antichrist will be the Lord's doing, and it will be a righteous one; it will be a just retaliation; as he has killed with the sword, multitudes of his followers shall be killed with the sword; as he has led captive, he shall be taken captive at the battle of Armageddon; as he has burnt, many of the martyrs of Jesus, he shall be cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Some read these words as two sentences, "The Lord is known; he hath executed judgment" (n): the latter of these refers not to the ministration of justice in the providential government of the world, or at the last day in the general judgment; but to the judgment of the great whore, or antichrist, at which time the Lord will be known in his Gospel in all the world; the earth will be tilled with the knowledge of him, and he, and he alone, will be exalted; his name will be great and glorious throughout the earth; all shall know him, from the least to the greatest; and their knowledge of him will be very clear and comprehensive;
the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands; not Goliath, as Kimchi thinks, who was slain by David with his own sword, though this was true of him in the letter and type; but the wicked one, the man of sin and son of perdition, antichrist, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all craftiness and wily stratagems, called the depths of Satan, Revelation 2:24; but his own sins shall take him, and he shall be holden with the cords of his iniquities, and be rewarded double for all his sins; what is before figuratively expressed is here literally declared; or, "he hath snared the wicked in or by the work of his hands" (o), that is, God.
Higgaion. Selah; of the latter of these words; see Gill on Psalm 3:2; the former signifies "meditation"; Jarchi paraphrases it "let us meditate on this, selah"; Aben Ezra interprets it, "I will show forth this in truth"; the Chaldee paraphrase is, "the righteous shall rejoice for ever"; the note of Kimchi and Ben Melech is, "this salvation is to us meditation and praise"; upon the whole the sense seems to be this, that God's judgments upon antichrist, and the antichristian states, and the deliverance of his people from their yoke and tyranny, are things worthy of the meditation of the saints, and afford just matter of joy, praise, and thanksgiving.
(n) "notus est Dominus; judicium fecit", Pagninus, Montanus, Gussetius; so Vatablus, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis, and Ainsworth. (o) "illaqueavit iniquum per opus (vel in opere) manunm ipsius", Gussetius.
17The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
The wicked shall be turned into hell,.... Some render it, "shall return to the grave" (p), to the earth, the original dust from whence they came; but this is common to all men, to the righteous as well as the wicked; rather here signifies the place of torment, commonly called hell, where devils and damned spirits are; hither the souls of the wicked go immediately upon their departure from their bodies, Luke 16:23; and after the judgment is over, they will be remanded thither in soul and body; and their damnation is called the destruction of soul and body in hell; which will consist in an everlasting separation from God, and in a sense of his wrath and fiery indignation: and though this is true of all the wicked, yet here that wicked one, antichrist, and his wicked followers, are chiefly designed; even the beast and false prophet, who shall be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, Revelation 19:20;
and all the nations that forget God; which is not to be understood of the Pagan nations, though they may be said to forget God, since he is to be known by the light of nature, and yet they worship idols, the works of their hands; but the Papal nations, who adore the pope of Rome as God on earth, worship angels and saints departed, and images of gold and silver, and wood and stone. It may be applied to every wicked man who forgets there is a God who sees and knows all things, and to whom men are accountable; see Psalm 50:22.
(p) "revertentur ad vel in sepulchrum", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
18For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,.... The people of God are poor and needy for the most part; they are so in things temporal, and they are poor in spirit, or in things spiritual, of which they are sensible; their needs are many, and frequently return; but God has provided a throne of grace for them to come to for help in time of need, and he will supply all their wants out of the fulness of grace in Christ; nor is he unmindful of them, and of his covenant with them; strictly speaking, they are never forgotten by him, being engraven on his hands, and set as a seal on his heart; but they sometimes seem to be so both to themselves and others, Psalm 42:3; and they may continue so long; God may seem for a long time to take no notice of them, but suffer them to lie under affliction and persecution; the holy city is trodden under foot forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days, that is, so many years; so long the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, so long the church is in the wilderness, and so long will be the reign of antichrist, Revelation 11:2; but as great Babylon will come up in remembrance before God, and he will remember her sins, and render her double; the set time to favour his poor and needy will come, and he will arise and have mercy on them, and bring them into a glorious and comfortable state and condition;
the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever; the negative particle, though not in the original text, is rightly supplied from the preceding clause, as it is by the Targum, Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi, and as the sense requires; and the expectation of Christ's poor ones is not only a supply of grace here and eternal happiness hereafter; but they expect a glorious state of the church on earth, and that Christ will descend in person from heaven, and his tabernacle will be among men; and that they shall be kings and priests, and possess the kingdom, and reign with Christ a thousand years; and though these things may seem to be deferred, and their expectation put off to a length of time, yet it shall not perish for ever; there will be a performance of the things promised and expected.
19Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
Arise, O Lord,.... To the destruction of thine enemies, and the salvation of thy people; See Gill on Psalm 7:6;
let not man prevail; the man of sin, antichrist, that is, let him not always prevail; he is the little horn that was to prevail against the saints, and has prevailed, Daniel 7:21; but he shall not always prevail; this petition will be heard and answered; for though he shall cast down many thousands, he shall not be "strengthened" by it, Daniel 11:12; where the same word is used as here; the Lamb at last shall overcome him and his ten kings, his supporters, and all that shall aid and assist him, Revelation 17:14;
let the Heathen be judged in thy sight; that is, the antichristian nations that adhere to the man of sin, let them be judged and punished in the sight of God, the Judge of all the earth, whose eyes are as a flame of fire; compare with this Joel 3:12.
20Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
Put them in fear, O Lord,.... Who are, a bold, impudent, fearless generation of men; who, like the unjust judge, neither fear God nor regard men, therefore the psalmist prays that God would inject fear into them, who only can do it; and this will be done at Babylon's destruction, when the antichristian kings, merchants, and seafaring men, will stand afar off for fear of her torment, Revelation 18:10;
that the nations may know themselves to be but men; and not God, and have no power against him; see Isaiah 31:3; the sense is, that the antichristian nations, who oppose themselves to Christ and his people, may know that they are but frail, mortal, miserable men, as the word (q) signifies; and that he who is at the head of them, the man of sin, is no other, though he exalts himself above all that is called God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4; or these words are a prayer for the conversion of many among the nations, and may be rendered, "put, O Lord, fear in them" (r); that is, the true grace of fear, "that the nations may know" themselves, their sin and guilt and danger, and know God in Christ, and Christ, and the way of salvation by him; for at the word "know" should be a stop, concluding a proposition, since the accent "athnach" is there; and then follows another, "they are men. Selah": destitute of the fear and grace of God, are capable of it, but cannot give it to themselves.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(q) "mortales esse", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; "homines miseri", Cocceius, Michaelis; "sorry men", Ainsworth. (r) "pone timorem eis", so Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Ainsworth.