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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Psalms 62


The many close resemblances between this psalm and Psalms 39:0 lead to the inference that it belongs to the same time, and is even from the same pen. The author and his age are, however, alike unknown; and there is no indication to guide to their discovery. The psalm records an experience common in every age, of the vanity of those objects on which man is apt to set his affections; but an experience particularly likely to find expression in days such as so many of the psalms reflect, when there was open conflict between the national sentiment and the ruling classes. The poet’s is a voice raised in behalf of pious Israel suffering under tyranny. A refrain (Psalms 62:1-2; Psalms 62:5-7) marks the rhythmical structure, but the form is irregular.

Title.—See titles, Psalms 4, 39.

Verse 1

(1) Waiteth upon God.—Literally, unto God (is) silence my soul. (Comp. Psalms 22:2; Psalms 39:2; Psalms 65:1.) The LXX. and Vulg., “shall be in subjection to,” which no doubt gives one side of the feeling; but another may be illustrated by Wordsworth’s—

“The holy time is quiet as a nun

Breathless with adoration.”

Verse 2

(2) Defence.—Properly, high tower, as so often. The metaphor is important here from the contrast with the tottering wall of next verse.

Shall not be greatly moved . . .i.e. (as in Psalms 37:24), shall not be made to totter or fall.

Verse 3

(3) Imagine mischief.—This is the Rabbinical rendering of a word that occurs only here. The LXX. have “fall upon”; Vulg., “rush upon,” a meaning supported by an Arabic root meaning to storm or assault, and is so far preferable to Aquila’s and Jerome’s “plot against,” and Symmachus’ “labour in vain,” or Syriac, “act foolishly.”

Ye shall be slain.—The reading varies, the Tiberian school reading the verb passive, the Babylonian, active. The latter is supported by the ancient versions. The primary meaning is given to break, and we get:

How long will ye assault a man?
(How long) will ye try to break him down,
As if he were a bowing wall, a tottering fence.

The metaphor of the falling wall is common in Eastern proverbs. “The wall is bowing,” is said of a man at the point of death. “By the oppression of the headman, the people of that village are a ruined wall.”

Verse 4

(4) Their mouth.—Literally, his mouth. They bless each with his mouth, &c

Excellency.—Rather, height, carrying on the metaphor of preceding verse.

Verse 5

(5) As in Psalms 62:1. Truly to God, be silence my soul. The state of resignation is one which can only be preserved by prayer. We may say, I will, but can only feel it through prayer.

Verse 7

(7) In God.—Literally, upon God, as in Psalms 7:10.

Verse 9

(9) Are vanity.—Or, mere breath.

To be laid in the balance.—Literally, in the balances to go up, which may mean in the scales they must go up, i.e., kick the beam. But a slight change in one letter gives the more probable, when weighed in the scales.

Verse 10

(10) If riches increase.—Even if by honest means you grow rich, distrust your wealth.

Verse 11

(11) Once; twice.—The usual Hebrew mode of emphasising a numerical statement, and one growing naturally out of the structure of the verse, which loves a climax. (Comp. Proverbs 6:16-19.) The union of power and love is proved to the poet by the fairness and justice mentioned in the last clause.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 62". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.