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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 9

Verses 1-20

Psalms 9, 10 are combined in LXX, and there is certainly a real, though obscure, relationship between them. The two together form one ’acrostic,’ the vv. beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, though in both Pss. there is a gap in the arrangement. The subject matter of the two Pss., however, does not suggest that we have in tbem the two halves of what was originally a single Ps. Psalms 9 is distinctly national and Psalms 10 as distinctly personal, and though both may be by the same author, the problem of their connexion must be left unsolved.

Psalms 9 is the song of a king who has gained a victory over a foreign enemy, and finds in this a proof of God’s righteous rule over the whole earth—a rule which he prays may be yet more fully displayed. Only in Psalms 9:13-14 is the note of personal affliction and need to be heard.

Title.—Upon Muth-labben] ’Muth-labben’ means ’Death to the son,’ and probably indicates some well-known song, to the tune of which the Ps. was directed to be sung.

3. They shall fall] RV ’they stumble.’

4. Judging right] RV ’judging righteously.’

5. Heathen] RV ’nations.’ So in Psalms 9:15, Psalms 9:19.

6. RV ’The enemy are come to an end, they are desolate for ever: and the cities which thou hast overthrown, their very memorial is perished.’ The words are still part of the prayer to Jehovah. Faith in God demands complete deliverance.

7. Shall endure] RV ’sitteth as king.’ The eternal rule of God contrasted with the passing powers of earth.

8. People] RV ’peoples.’

10. Thy name] see on Psalms 5:11.

11. Which dwelleth in Zion] Jerusalem, and especially the hill of Zion, was regarded as the earthly throne of God, after David had placed the ark there: see Psalms 76:2; Psalms 132:13.

12. RV ’For he that maketh inquisition for blood remembereth them.’ God is represented as the avenger of blood (Genesis 9:5). Humble] RV ’poor’ or meek. One of a group of words which in OT. have at first an outward and then a more spiritual sense, the chief sufferers from want and oppression being often God’s true people.

13, 14. This personal cry of distress seems to break the connexion rather abruptly. Possibly we should read, ’The Lord has had mercy.. he has considered my trouble.’ The gates of death] the extremity of affliction.

The gates of the daughter of Zion] ’The daughter of Zion’ is a figure for Jerusalem: see Isaiah 1:8; Lamentations 2:2-5; Psalms 45:12; Psalms 137:8. The gates of an Eastern city were its most public and busy spots. The throng of life is thus contrasted with the solitude and dreariness of ’the gates of death’ in Psalms 9:13.

16. RV ’The Lord hath made himself known, he hath executed judgment.’ Higgaion] a musical term applied only here. It occurs in the text of Psalms 92:3, and probably means something like our forte. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4. ’Higgaion. Selah’ together may mean fortissimo.

17. Be turned into hell] RV ’return to Sheol,’ the place of the dead, not regarded specially as a place of torment. ’Return’ seems strictly to apply to the body, which goes back to the dust whence it was taken: cp. Genesis 3:19; Psalms 90:3; Psalms 104:29.

18. Needy] Another of the group of words referred to in the note on Psalms 9:12. Poor] The same word as in Psalms 9:12.

19. Man] The word means ’frail man,’ as in Psalms 8:4.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 9". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.