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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 62

Verse 1

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

Psalms 62:1-12.-Three strophes, marked by Selah at Psalms 62:4; Psalms 62:8. Each begins with "Only;" (Psalms 62:1, margin; Psalms 62:5; Psalms 62:9). By waiting upon God only he finds repose and salvation, while his foes' only aim is to cast him down from his dignity (Psalms 62:1-4). He urges therefore himself and others to wait only upon God (Psalms 62:5-8); warning against trust in man, much less in oppression or riches; because power belongeth unto God; also mercy and righteous retribution (Psalms 62:9-12). The time was during Absalom's rebellion, when the rebels sought to cast down the king, because they could not bear his kingly and spiritual eminence (Psalms 62:5; Psalms 3:1-8; Psalms 4:1-8.)

To the chief Musician - for the public liturgy of the temple, which it would not have been if the experiences were merely individual.

To Jeduthun - note on title, Psalms 39:1-13; literally, 'over Jeduthun' - i:e., over the choir of Jeduthun-Jeduthun himself being the president under David (1 Chronicles 25:1-3).

Truly - rather, 'Only.'

My soul waiteth upon God - Hebrew, 'Only to God is my soul silence' ( duwmiyaah (H1747)); i:e., it is only by turning to God that my soul finds repose from the tumultuous agitation which prevails in it, so long as it looks for help to any, other quarter. Psalms 13:5 expresses the opposite state, (cf. 22:2, margin) In Psalms 62:5 he confirms his practice in Psalms 62:1, by urging his soul to persevere in it. He proceeds to give the ground of his thus resting on the Lord-namely,

From Him cometh my salvation

Verse 2

He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

He only is my rock and my salvation ... my defense - or 'high places.' The accumulated names of God as the "ONLY" Saviour are so many shields to ward off Satan's fiery darts. The name 'Elohiym (H430) is used for God throughout, as the general name forms the most suitable contrast to all that is human and earthly.

I shall not be greatly moved - (Psalms 37:24.) I may meet slight stumbles, but I shall not be greatly and finally moved from my solid footing. Temptations and afflictions move somewhat for a time, but the believer at last can say with Paul, "None of these things move me" (Acts 20:24). So in Psalms 62:6, where he regards the trifling shakes as exceptions not worth noticing, he says - "I shall not be moved."

Verse 3

How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.

How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? The Septuagint and Vulgate translate, 'do ye make an attack upon a man?' [ howteet (H2050), from haatah (H2050), the Poel conjunction.] So Gesenius from the Arabic 'to break,' 'to break in upon.'

Ye shall be slain all of you - in contrast to "a man" Almost all conspire against the one David (Psalms 2:2-3). [The reading of the eastern Jews and Jacob Ben Naphthali is tªtatsªchuw. That of the Western Jews and Aaron Ben Asher (1037 AD) is tªraatsªchuw (H7523). The latter is our text. The former is the usual form; for which Hengstenberg thinks the latter form stands, the rare Pihel, in which the absent dagesh (an internal dot) is compensated for by the lengthened vowel.] Hengstenberg translates actively, 'all of you murder him (a man).' So the ancient versions. But the English version accords best with our text, which Pual or passive.

As a bowing wall (shall ye be) - an image of the ultimate end of the ungodly (Ezekiel 12:13-14; Isaiah 30:13). This confirms the English version, "ye shall be slain," rather than 'all of you slay him,' which would make David to, be the bowing wall.

(As) a tottering fence - or 'a fence violently struck' (Psalms 118:13).

Verse 4

They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

They only consult to cast him down from his excellency - whence arises his need to 'wait only upon God,' his 'only rock' (Psalms 62:2). "His excellency" is his high dignity as king (Genesis 49:3). The expression "cast down" or 'thrust down' is the very one, by undesigned coincidence, recorded in 1 Samuel 15:14, margin, as used by David.

They delight in lies instead of abhorring them as all good men do (cf Psalms 4:2; Psalms 63:10) They delight in lies - instead of abhorring them, as all good men do (cf. Psalms 4:2; Psalms 63:10).

They bless with their mouth - literally, 'with his mouth'; i:e., each one of them with his mouth.

But they curse inwardly. Hypocrisy was a chief instrument with Absalom for attaining his ends (cf. 2 Samuel 15:7-9).

Verses 5-8

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

-From the enemy he turns to God, urging his own soul, as well as others, to wait only upon him.

Verse 5,6. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for ... He only is my rock ... - almost identical with Psalms 62:1-2, showing that the contemplation of the wickedness of our foes should only bring us back afresh to God. "Wait thou upon God" - literally, 'be silent to God:' so Psalms 37:7; Hebrew, 'be silent to the Lord.' Only in Him, not in men of the world (Psalms 62:9-10), can we find rest from our agitations. The exhortation here, after the assertion that his soul was 'resting silently upon God' (Psalms 62:1), shows how we need to keep ourselves resting on Him by continually stirring ourselves up to prayer.

For my expectation is from him - "my expectation" of "salvation" (Psalms 62:1).

I shall not be moved - however much my enemies 'consult to cast me down.'

Verse 7. In God (is) my salvation - literally, 'upon God (depends) my salvation,' (Psalms 7:10, margin)

Verse 8. Trust in him at all times - not merely in prosperity, or in minor trials, but in all times, even the most trying.

Ye people, pour out your heart before him - as a vessel completely emptied of its contents (1 Samuel 1:15; Lamentations 2:19; Psalms 142:2; 1 Peter 5:7).

Verses 9-12

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

-Warning against trust in anyone or anything except God, to whom alone belong power, mercy, and retributive justice. Verse 9. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie - literally, 'Only vanity are the sons of men in general [ 'aadaam (H120)], a lie are the sons of (even) the distinguished man' [ 'iysh (H376)] (Psalms 4:2; Psalms 39:5; Psalms 39:11, end; 136:3-4). The reference is to Psalms 62:9; it is in relation to trustworthiness for one's main hope that they are "a lie" - that is, disappointing to the expectations; God alone is our ultimate "trust" and "refuge" (Psalms 62:8; Psalms 40:4). He who trusts in God is 'like a spring of water, whose waters lie not' (margin Isaiah 40:11).

To be laid in the balance, they (are) altogether (lighter) than vanity - literally, 'in the balance (they are) for going up; i:e., they must go up, as being of no weight: they all to a man (are) of Vanity (nothing)' (Isaiah 40:15; Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 41:24). So Belshazzar in Daniel 5:27.

Verse 10. Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery. Next after trust in men comes trust in wrong, whereby the world tries to prop up its tottering greatness. Literally, 'become not nothing in robbery' -

i.e., in gain acquired by robbery. 'Whoever puts his trust in what is nothing will become nothing himself' (Hengstenberg). In the case of such the insecurity which attaches to all earthly things is aggravated by their lying under the curse of God.

If riches increase (yanub) - literally, 'sprout up' of their own accord, as distinguished from riches acquired by "oppression" and "robbery." So "the ground of the rich man (in the parable, Luke 12:15-16) brought forth plentifully."

Set not your heart upon them - (1 Timothy 6:17.)

Verse 11. God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this - i:e., more than once. Again and again, in His providential government of the world, and in His revealed Word, God repeats the lesson, if only man will hear it (Job 33:14).

That power belongeth unto God - as contrasted with 'men of low degree and high degree' when made objects of trust (Psalms 62:9); this is the ground of the precept, Psalms 62:8, "Trust in Him at all times."

Verse 12. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy. His power (Psalms 62:11) would terrify us, were it not that His mercy comforts us. As His power assures us that He can, so His mercy or grace assures us that He will save His people.

For thou renderest to every man according to his work. God's mercy is not an indiscriminate indulgence toward all alike, but a discriminating mercy: a mercy which is altogether just and consonant with the character of the righteous God; because it is right that He should render mercy to the merciful (Matthew 5:7) and vengeance to the unmerciful oppressors (Psalms 62:3-4; Romans 2:6; and Revelation 22:12 refer to this).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 62". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.