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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 112

Coffman's Commentaries on the BibleCoffman's Commentaries



See introduction to the preceding chapter for discussion of this psalm as “a twin” of that one. The theme of Psalms 111 was “The Character of God,” and the theme here is “The Characteristics of God’s Servant.” This is another of the Hallelujah Psalms. It is also an acrostic.

The theme of the psalm was stated by Leupold, “This psalm emphasizes the praise that God deserves because of what he does for those who truly fear him.”(F1)

Verses 1-3

“Praise ye Jehovah. Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah, That delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: The generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house; And his righteousness endureth forever.”

“Praise ye Jehovah” This stands apart from the acrostic pattern, serving somewhat as a title for the psalm. These words translate the Hebrew text, which is “Hallelujah.”

“Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah, etc.” This thought is repeated a hundred times in the Psalter, beginning with the very first verse in it.

“His seed shall be mighty upon earth, etc.” The two clauses of this verse are parallel, both of them promising that success and prosperity shall come to the righteous man’s posterity. Families that are reared in the knowledge and fear of God by their parents continue to exhibit the truth of what is written here. Jamieson noted that exceptions to this general rule may be cited, “But such exceptions occur only as they are seen by God to be inconsistent with those spiritual blessings which are better.” (F2)

“Wealth and riches are in his house, etc.” It is surely true of any society where righteousness generally prevails that wealth tends to be accumulated in the hands of good men. “A land needs its mighty men, and is fortunate if they are of such stock as this and if wealth is in such hands.”(F3) It is always a disaster for any community where the wealth and power of the people are concentrated in the hands of evil men.

Verses 4-6

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness; He is gracious, and merciful, and righteous. Well is it with the man that dealeth graciously and lendeth; He shall maintain his cause in judgment. For he shall never be moved; The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.”

The character of the righteous man is here said to be, “Gracious, full of compassion, and righteous. These terms are also used in Psalms 111 in the author’s description of God. This is an application of the eternal truth that a devout man becomes more and more like the object of his worship.”(F4) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale of Little Ernest and the Great Stone Face is a literary development of the same truth.

“The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance” Mary’s anointing the feet of Jesus and the widow’s two mites are examples of the everlasting remembrance of the righteous, but far more than such earthly remembrance and honor is the remembrance of the righteous by the Father in Heaven. Christ himself has promised, “That not even a cup of cold water given to one because he is Christ’s shall in no wise lose its reward” (Mark 9:41).

Verses 7-8

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: His heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, Until he see his desire upon his adversaries.”

“He shall not be afraid” “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18); and the man who loves God, delights in his commandments, trusts in the Lord, orders his life in the likeness of God’s own character, etc. that man has no need to fear anything. He need not fear pain, suffering, misfortune, poverty, sickness, even death itself; because his is the assurance from the 23rd Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, etc.”

“Evil tidings” is listed here as something of which the righteous man shall not be afraid. This does not mean that evil tidings shall not come; but that, even if they do, the rock-like stability of his heart shall not be moved. Whatever life brings, he will be able to take it and triumph over it.

Verses 9-10

“He hath dispersed, he hath given to the needy; His righteousness endureth forever: His horn shall be exalted with honor. The wicked shall see it and be grieved; He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: The desire of the wicked shall perish.”

“He hath dispersed” “There is no virtue in merely dispersing, since `spendthrifts’ `disperse,’ even more lavishly than the virtuous man.”(F5) The only commendable type of `dispersing’ is that directed to the relief of need or suffering. It is this kind of `dispersing,’ of course, which the Lord commends, as indicated by the last clause of this verse. “He hath given to the needy.”

“The wicked man shall see it and be grieved” Psalms 112:10 is the antithesis of Psalms 112:1. “The wicked shall gnash his teeth in the rage of disappointment and contemplation of the triumph of his adversary, and will melt away in impotent rage, melting, as it were, from his own heat. `The desire of the wicked will perish’ is antithetical to verse lb. He will go away in utter ruin, as in Psalms 1:6.”(F6)

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 112". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bcc/psalms-112.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
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