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Psalms 9-10 God fights for the oppressed
In Psalms 9:0 and 10 we meet another kind of Hebrew verse, the acrostic. (Other acrostics are Psalms 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145.) In an acrostic the first word of each verse (or stanza) begins with a different letter of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet, moving in order, so to speak, ‘from A to Z’. The acrostic in this case moves unbroken through Psalms 9:0 and 10, indicating that originally they probably formed one psalm. The absence of a heading to Psalms 10:0 supports this view. The two psalms appear to belong to the days of David’s kingship.
David begins with an expression of praise to God (9:1-2) because of a notable victory that God has given Israel over its enemies (3-6). This victory illustrates God’s perfect justice in upholding what is right (7-8) and his unfailing love in caring for those who trust in him (9-10). David therefore calls on the whole congregation to join him in this hymn of praise (11-12).
As he recalls the enemy attacks, the grateful psalmist recalls also how he prayed desperately in the crisis and promised to offer public praise to God on his successful return to Jerusalem (13-14). Knowing that God is righteous in all his judgments, the psalmist is assured that God will punish the wicked and care for the faithful (15-18). He asks God to act decisively against those who defy him, and to show them that they are merely mortal beings (19-20).
At times it seems to the psalmist that God stands idly by while the ungodly do as they please. Self-seeking people use their power, influence and wealth to oppress the poor and trample on the rights of others (10:1-2). Because God does not act in judgment against him immediately, the unjust think that God is not concerned. They think there will be no judgment (3-6). Greed, lying, cruelty and deceit are the characteristics of such people (7-9). The more easily they crush people, the more confident they become that they have escaped God’s punishment (10-11).
But God is not indifferent to the arrogance of the oppressors; nor is he indifferent to the sufferings of the oppressed. Silently, he has been taking notice of everything. God has a particular concern for those who are defenceless and easily exploited (12-14). The arrogant can never triumph over God. Those who advance themselves by oppressing others will meet with certain punishment, but those who trust in God will be delivered (15-18).
Longing for judgment
Ideas commonly associated with God’s judgment are those of condemnation and punishment. Judgment is not usually something to look forward to. Yet the psalmists often long for God’s judgment and rejoice in anticipation of the day when it will come (Psalms 67:4; Psalms 96:12-13).
The reason for this longing for judgment is that, for the psalmists, God’s judgment means the administration of justice in the everyday affairs of life. The godly were oppressed and downtrodden. Corruption, bribery and injustice meant they had no way of obtaining justice, no way of gaining a hearing, no way of getting a judgment of their case (Psalms 10:1-6; Psalms 82:1-4). They knew they were in the right. That was why they longed for the day when God would act in judgment, righting the wrongs, declaring them to be right, and sentencing their oppressors to punishment (Psalms 7:6-8; Psalms 9:8,Psalms 9:12; Psalms 10:12,Psalms 10:17-18; Psalms 35:23-24).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 10". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany