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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 9

Verse 1

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

Title. - To the chief Musician upon Muth-labben. The Septuagint and Vulgate read, 'concerning the mysteries of the Son.' The Hebrew may be `al (H5921) `ªlaamowt (H5959), as the Septuagint read, but with a different pointing. 'Upon Alemoth' (as in the title of Psalms 46:1-11), an instrument which young virgins used to play, 'upon a virginal,' or else a melody. 1 Chronicles 15:20 agrees with this - "with psalteries on Alamoth." Then "Labben" is contracted for libneey (H1121) Qorach (H7141)], 'for the sons of Korah' (since the full title appears in the same, Psalms 46:1-11); or else means. 'For Ben,' the musician of the second order, mentioned in the same context (1 Chronicles 15:18); or, best, laben is an anagram (in reverse order) for naabaal (H5036), i:e., a fool: 'Upon the dying of the fool,' then, is the sense of the title: cf. Psalms 9:5-6;12:17; 1 Samuel 25:26; 1 Samuel 25:38; 2 Samuel 3:33. In the Septuagint rendering, the psalm prophetically refers to the Divine Son's death, the earnest of His final triumph over the enemy. So Psalms 14:1.

Vv.1-20.-Thanksgiving for God's vindication of His people's cause (Psalms 9:1-5); the extinction of enemy, the eternity of the Lord (Psalms 9:6-7); being about to judge in righteousness, He will be a refuge to His people (Psalms 9:8-10); David, representing the humble, praises God for what He hath done, and will do, in destroying the wicked, and in fulfilling His poor people's expectation (Psalms 9:11-12); praise gives confidence to the closing prayer (Psalms 9:13-20).

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart - not as hypocrites, with a divided heart. The "heart" is the true instrument of praise, the mouth is only the organ.

I will show forth thy marvelous works. Full appreciation of God's marvelous working in grace is the secret spring of whole-heartednees in praise.

Verse 2

I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

I will be glad and rejoice in thee - not merely in what thou doest, or what thou givest, of earthly blessing, (Psalms 4:7), but in thyself. THOU art thy people's chief joy.

I will sing praise to thy name - I will praise thee in thy manifestation of thyself ("name") as thy people's Saviour from "enemies" (Psalms 9:3). Therefore be adds, "O thou Most High" - i:e., exalted far above all who set themselves against thee and thy people (Ecclesiastes 5:8).

Verse 3

When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.

They shall fall ... at thy presence. The mere glance of God is enough to destroy every enemy. It is not man's might that gains for His people their triumph over the ungodly. "The man of sin," the "wicked one," "the son of perdition," shall in the last days be destroyed by the brightness [ epifaneia (G2015), literally, manifestation] of the Lord's coming [ parousia (G3952), literally, presence in person] (2 Thessalonians 2:8). An earnest of the confusion of the anti-Christian confederacy at the mere presence of the Lord was given when the bend under Judas (the only other one in all Scripture called "the son of perdition"), at the mere presence of the unarmed Jesus, and on His merely saying, "I am He." "went backward and fell to the ground" (John 18:3-6).

Verse 4

For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

For thou hast maintained my right, [ `aasiytaa (H6213) mishpaaTiy (H4941)] - literally, 'Thou madest my right;' i:e., thou gavest the decision which was due to my righteous cause. The question at issue between Satan, the adversary, and the Lords people, is not to be decided by might, but by right. Messiah is their Vindicator and Law-fulfiller (Romans 8:33-34).

Thou satest in the throne - as the place rightfully belonging to lª- thee.

Judging right - rather, 'judging righteousness' [ tsedeq (H6664)]: a different Hebrew word from that for "right" in the former clause.

Verse 5

Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.

Thou hast rebuked - not in mere word, as man rebukes, but with actual punishments inflicted; because God's Word shall be operative as a terrible reality to the lost (Psalms 106:9; cf. Psalms 68:30).

The pagan - Hebrew, 'the nations' [ gowyim (H1471)] - namely, those confederate against Messiah, of which nations those leagued against David and Israel were the type.

Thou hast destroyed the wicked - Hebrew, singular, 'the wicked one:' the same as the "enemy," next verse.

Verse 6

O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

O thou enemy - rather Hebrew haa'owyeeb (H341) 'as for the enemy' (see note Psalms 9:5; Psalms 9:7) Satan is the O thou enemy - rather, Hebrew, haa'owyeeb (H341), 'as for the enemy' (see note, Psalms 9:5; Psalms 9:7). Satan is the adversary, in the court of divine justice, against man. The Lord Messiah is our Advocate, and so 'rebukes' Satan (cf. Zechariah 3:1-2), "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan: the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee." Egypt, the Philistines, Babylon, Edom, Rome, and Autichrist, in various ages are the enemy's, representatives, and constitute the visible "enemy" for the time being. David probably had chiefly in view the Amalekites, who, after the victories of Saul and David over them, altogether disappear from history (2 Samuel 8:12). See how the people of God overcome the enemy, Romans 16:20; Revelation 12:11.

Destructions are come to a perpetual end - literally, 'consummated (or finished) are the wastes forever' [ tamuw (H8552) chªraabowt (H2723) laanetsach (H5331)]: 'his own now desolated strongholds (parallel to 'the cities') are finished forever.' So Job 3:14, "With kings ... which built desolate places (same Hebrew as here) for themselves:" i:e., places doomed to be desolate. The Hebrew for 'to an end' is literally 'to victory' (cf. Isa. 2:58 with 1 Corinthians 15:54). "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 20:14). The enemy's strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4; Colossians 2:15) are now wastes - "come to a perpetual end."

And thou hast destroyed cities - "thou," i:e., God. Therefore, it is not likely that the "enemy" is addressed in the first clause; for then "thou" in the first clause would mean the enemy, in the second, God. God is addressed throughout the verse. Thou, O God, hast destroyed the enemy's strongholds utterly and forever.

Their memorial is perished with them - literally, 'their memorial, even it has perished:' or 'even theirs,' emphatically repeated. Here David has in view the Amalekites, who had been by this time utterly extinguished. Compare Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:19; Numbers 24:20.

Verse 7

But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

But the Lord shall endure for ever. From speaking TO God, in confident anticipation of his destruction of the enemy's strongholds (Psalms 9:6), David passes to speak OF God's perpetuity of reign, in contrast to the enemy's 'short time' of usurpation (Revelation 12:12) as "prince of this world."

He hath prepared his throne for judgment. The Hebrew [ kowneen (H3559)] is the same as in Proverbs 3:19, margin. He hath 'solidly established' it; not as the throne of wickedness, which rests on a basis of sand. God's throne rests on "righteousness" (Psalms 9:8), as well as power. Every triumph of right over wrong now is an earnest of the final judgment in righteousness.

Verses 8-9

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

And he shall judge the world [ teebeel (H8398 ), the habitable world] in righteousness, he shall And he shall judge the world [ teebeel (H8398 ), the habitable world] in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people (literally, peoples) in uprightness (literally, uprightnesses).

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed. His judging in righteousness is the pledge of assurance that He "will be a refuge [ misgaab (H4869)] (literally, a high place) for the oppressed" (literally, the downtrodden) [ ladaak (H1790)], as Israel had long been (Revelation 11:2). David is the first to call God 'a high place' (cf. Psalms 9:2): a natural image to one who so often found refuge in such high places from his persecutor Saul.

In times of trouble - literally, 'for seasonable,' or 'opportune times [ lª`itowt (H6256)] in trouble,' or straits, batsaaraah (H6869). The Church's extremity is God's opportunity.

Verse 10

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee. They that know experimentally thy character in its past manifestations of love and power in their behalf will put their trust in thee for the time to come.

For (such know personally that) thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee - therefore in confidence they will "seek" and "trust" in thee again.

Verses 11-12

Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

These two verses form the concluding summary of THE FIRST PART of the psalm, wherein David has set forth both what God has done and what God is. It appropriately takes the form of a song of thanksgiving.

Verse 11. Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion. Therefore by this time the tabernacle and ark had been removed to Zion from Baale, or Kirjath-jearim, and then from the house of Obed-Edom (2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Samuel 6:12; 2 Samuel 6:17). There is no "in" in the Hebrew. It is literally, 'who, enthrones Zion,' or 'makes Zion His habitation.'

Declare among the people (literally, peoples) his doings - literally, His counsels and the events of them [ `ªliylowtaayw (H5949)]; i:e., His workings. Compare Jeremiah 32:19, "Great is counsel and mighty is work."

Verse 12. When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them - Hebrew, 'bloods.' Thus "them" daughter of Zion. Cities are poetically represented as virgins, Isaiah 37:22.

I will rejoice - or, continuing the "that" from the previous clause [ lªma`an (H4616)], 'that I may rejoice in thy salvation.' So the Syriac and Arabic. The Chaldaic, Septuagint, and Vulgate support the English version.

Verse 15

The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.

The heathen are sunk down. In strong faith he takes his petition as granted.

Verse 16

The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

The Lord is known (by) the judgment (which) he executeth. The Hebrew expresses joyful abruptness. 'The Lord maketh Himself known: He is executing judgment.'

The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands - i:e., in the snare which he hath laid for others. "The wicked" - Hebrew, singular, 'the wicked one'. The singular is the more remarkable as the plural succeeds next verse, "The wicked." See 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:20.

Higgaion - i:e., meditation [ Higaayown (H1902), from [ haagah (H1897) to meditate]. Found also, Psalms 19:14; Psalms 92:3; Lamentations 3:61. It is an appropriate call to reflection here, where he expresses the assurance of God's vindication of His retributive justice in snaring the wicked foes of His people in their own snare. The celaah (H5542) fitly follows, implying a pause in the music, to give time for meditation.

Verse 17

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

The wicked shall be turned into hell. The Hebrew for "hell" is emphatic [ li-Shª'owlaah (H7585), the Hebrew suffix, -aah, being expressive of locality]. The same God who "lifts up" the godly "from the gates of death," shall "turn the wicked (from this world, where they are in prosperity) into hell" ( Shª'owl (H7585)): their own place. (And) all the nations that forget God. Not distinct from the wicked, because there is no "and" in the Hebrew. "The wicked" - namely, "all the nations that forget God." Not mere ignorance, such as that of the pagan, is meant; but willful ignoring of God, the Judge and Avenger of guilt. All such as apostatize from the true faith, searing conscience as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1-2). The characteristic of the anti-Christian apostasy in the last days, of which the symptoms already are seen in the professing Church and in the world. The wicked who forget God shall be put away from His remembrance forever.

Verse 18

For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

For the needy shall not alway be forgotten - whereas the wicked shall be put out of remembrance "forever and ever" (Psalms 9:5; Psalms 9:17). The needy righteous, though now seemingly overlooked in respect to temporal prosperity, shall not 'always' be so.

Verse 19

Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.

Arise, O Lord: let not man prevail. "Man;" literally, weak, mortal man [ 'ªnowsh (H582), from 'aanash (H605), to be weak]. That weak man should seem the strong one, and the power of God seem in abeyance, is such a glaring anomaly as to require the Lord to "arise" and put things in their true relations.

The pagan - `the nations.'

Verse 20

Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Put them in fear - literally, Put fear into them. So the Chaldaic. Also one reading [ mowraa' (H4172 ]. Even the other reading [mowraah, since the Hebrew letter he (h) often takes the place of the Hebrew letter 'aleph (')] admits the same rendering; but the latter, which is our Masoretic text, means usually 'a legislator,' or 'ruler.' So the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic. Jerome and Augustine understand Antichrist to be meant. Or, Satan (1 Timothy 1:20). 'Put (another, and an awful) master over them,' since they will not have the Lord to rule over them (Luke 19:14; John 5:43). Compare Psalms 109:6, "Set thou a wicked man over him, and let Lord to rule over them (Luke 19:14; John 5:43). Compare Psalms 109:6, "Set thou a wicked man over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand."

That the nations may know themselves to be but men - Hebrew, 'to be but weak, mortal man,' as in Psalms 9:19. The singular emphatically marks that, however numerous, wealthy, and warlike the God-opposed nations be, the nature remains the same: they are only dying man, not God!

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.