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Psalms 9:1 « To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David. » I will praise [thee], O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
Upon Muth-labben ] This was the name of a certain instrument, say some; the beginning of a song, say others, to the tune whereof this psalm was to be sung. Montanus and many more hold it to be an anagrammatism, and render it, For the death of Nabal, viz. by a covert intimation, and inversion of the letters. So in the title of Psalms 7:1 , Cush Beniemini for Kish the Benjamite. That is,
Parcere nominibus, dicere de vitiis.
Ver. 1. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart This is a gratulatory psalm, wherein David shows his thankfulness, which a very heathen calleth Maximam imo matrem omnium virtutmn reliquarum, the mother of all the rest of the virtues (Cicero). True thankfulness, as one well observeth, is here and in the next verse described, 1. By the matter of it. 2. By the manner. First, for matter, the psalmist delivereth it in four parts. 1. The acknowledging of God in all. 2. A ciphering and summing up of special mercies (of ספר seems to come Cipher). 3. An expression of spiritual joy in God, as well as in his gifts. 4. A dedication of our songs and selves to his name.
Secondly, for the manner, he presseth, 1. Integrity for the subject and object, Psalms 9:12 . Sincerity for affection and end, Psalms 9:2 .
Psa 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
Ver. 2. I will be glad and rejoice in thee ] Spiritual cheerfulness is the mother of thankfulness, James 5:13 . Birds, when got in the air, or on the top of trees, and have taken up a stand to their mind, sing most sweetly.
O thou most High ] God was so first called by Melchizedek, upon a like occasion as here by David, Genesis 14:19-20 . The Greeks might have their ηλιος , for the sun, which they worshipped, from this Hebrew Helion , most High.
Psa 9:3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
Ver. 3. When mine enemies ] This, Tremellius maketh to be the form of praise which the psalmist professeth that he will sing to God, and rendereth it thus, That mine enemies returning back are fallen, &c.
And perish at thy presence ] The victory is of God, and to him alone to be ascribed. The Romans in their triumphs presented a palm to Jupiter. The Grecians also thankfully ascribed to Jupiter their deliverance from the Persians, wrought by Themistocles, and there hence called him ελευθεριος , that is, deliverer.
Psa 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
Ver. 4. For thou hast maintained my right ] Heb. Thou hast done me judgment. Locus hic insignis est, saith Polanus. This is an excellent place, and maketh much to the comfort of God’s poor people that are oppressed by the world; the righteous Judge will not fail to right them. See Luke 18:7-8 .
Psa 9:5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
Ver. 5. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, &c. ] God first chideth the Church’s enemies by lighter judgments; if these be not improved, he destroyeth them, Psalms 119:21 ; and, because they sought to obscure and extirpate his name from among men, therefore he puts out their name, that is, their fame and reputation, for ever and yet, or for ever and a day, as we use to say: Ingloria vita recedit, they go out in a snuff, as did the primitive and modern persecutors, of abhorred memory.
Psa 9:6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
Ver. 6. O thou enemy ] The same whom he called wicked one in the former verse; where the word wicked is of the singular number: q.d. O thou implacable wretch, that wouldst never be reconciled till thou wast ruined; which now thou art, &c. Some read it interrogatively, and with it ironically, O enemy, are destructions come to an end? and cities so wasted that they can never be repaired? q.d. So indeed thou hast designed it, but art fairly disappointed. And the like befell Antiochus, Nero, Dioclesian, Philip II of Spain, Charles IX of France, and other bloody persecutors, with tbeir devilish thoughts and threats; which they could never effect and accomplish.
Their memorial is perished with them ] Heb. Of them, of them (twice), for more vehemency. The Vulgate (alter the Greek) hath it cum sonitu, with a humming noise, so that the sound thereof ringeth all the world over. R. David rendereth it, Memoria eorum periit; suntne illi? Their memorial is perished; have they yet a being anywhere?
Psa 9:7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
Ver. 7. But the Lord shall endure for ever ] Vivit Christus regnatque; alioqui lotus desperassem, said that good Dutch divine, upon the view of the Church’s enemies; i.e. Christ liveth and reigneth for ever, setting one foot on the earth and the other on the sea, as Lord of both; otherwise I should have been altogether hopeless. "Blessed be God that he is God," was a learned divine’s motto.
Psa 9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
Ver. 8. And he shall judge the world, &c. ] See on Psalms 9:4 .
Psa 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Ver. 9. The Lord also will be a refuge, &c. ] Heb. a high tower, edita, arx, wherein men are secured, and escape the impressions of an enemy. The very lame and blind, those most shiftless creatures, when they had gotten stronghold of Zion over their heads, thought that then they might securely scorn David and his host, 2 Samuel 5:6-7 ; yet their hold failed them. So did the tower of Shechem those that ran into it. Not so the Almighty his poor oppressed. Universal experience sealeth to this truth; neither can one instance be given of the contrary. Higgaion. Selah. It is reported of the Egyptians, that, living in the fens, and being vexed with gnats, they use to sleep in high towers, whereby, those creatures not being able to soar so high they are delivered from the biting of them (Herod. lib. 2); so would it be with us, when bitten with cares and fears, did we but run to God for refuge, and rest confident in his help.
Psa 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Ver. 10. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee ] They can do no otherwise that savingly know God’s sweet attributes and noble acts for his people. We never trust a man till we know him, and bad men are better known than trusted. Not so the Lord, for where his name is poured out as an ointment, there the virgins love him, fear him, rejoice in him, repose upon him.
Them that seek thee ] So they do it seriously, seasonably, constantly.
Psa 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
Ver. 11. Sing praises to the Lord, &c. ] This is the guise of godly people, to provoke others to praise God, as being unsatisfiable in their desires of doing him that service, and as deeming that others see him as they do totum totum desiderabilem, worthy to be praised, Psalms 18:3 , highly to be admired, Psa 9:1 of this psalm.
Psa 9:12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
Ver. 12. When he maketh inquisition for blood ] For innocent blood unjustly spilled; as he did for the blood of Abel, Genesis 4:10 , of Naboth, (2 Kings 9:26 , "Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth." Murder ever bleeds fresh in the eyes of God) of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, 2 Chronicles 24:22 ; those ungrateful guests, who slew those that came to call them: "And when the king heard it" (for blood cries aloud), "he was wroth, and destroyed those murderers," Matthew 22:6-7 . These shall have blood to drink, for they are worthy, Revelation 16:6 . God draws articles of inquiry in this case as strict and as critical as ever the Inquisition of Spain doth; the proceedings whereof are with greatest secresy and severity.
He forgetteth not the cry of the humble ] Heb. of the poor, lowly, meek, afflicted. Humility and meekness are collactaneae, twin-sisters, as Bernard hath it.
Psa 9:13 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble [which I suffer] of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
Ver. 13. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, &c. ] These are the words (say some) of those humble ones whom God forgetteth not; they were God’s remembrancers, see Isaiah 62:6 : or it is a prayer of David for further deliverances, according to that, "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised," Psalms 18:3 . Between praising and praying he divided his time, and drove a holy trade between heaven and earth.
Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death ] i.e. Ex praesentissimo et certissimo interitu, from desperate and deadly dangers, such as threaten present destruction; and show a man the grave even gaping for him. David was oft at this pass; and God delivered Paul from so great a death, 2 Corinthians 1:10 : he commonly reserveth his hand for a dead lift, and rescueth those who were even talking of their graves.
Psa 9:14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
Ver. 14. That I may show forth all thy praise ] i.e. All that I can compass or attain unto. Aliter omnes laudes Dei diei non possunt, quia plures ignorat homo quam novit, saith R. David here; for all the praises of God cannot be shown forth, since those we know not are more than those we know.
In the gates of the daughter of Zion ] These are opposed to the gates of death, as Aben Ezra here noteth; and betoken the most public places, and best frequented.
Psa 9:15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit [that] they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
Ver. 15. The heathen are sunk down, &c. ] Hoc est initium cantici Sanctorum, Thi is the beginning of the sacred songs, saith AbenEzra. This is the beginning of the saints’ song, knit to the former verse thus: saying, The heathen, &c.
In the net which they hid, &c. ] To hunters they are compared for cruelty, and to fowlers for craft. But see their success: they are sunk down in their own pit, caught in their own net. Thus it befell Pharaoh, Exodus 15:9-10 , Jabin and Sisera, Judges 4:15 ; Judges 4:22-23 , Sennacherib, 2 Chronicles 32:21 , Antiochus Epiphanes, Maxentius the tyrant, who fell into the river Tiber, from his own false bridge laid for Constantine (Euseb. lib. 9, rap. 9), the Spanish Armada, our gunpowder Papists, &c. See Trapp on " Psa 7:15 "
Psa 9:16 The LORD is known [by] the judgment [which] he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
Ver. 16. The Lord is known by the judgment, &c. ] The heathen historian Herodotus oberved, that the ruin of Troy served to teach men that God punisheth great sinners with heavy plagues. "Go up to Shiloh," &c
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands ] Heb. palms, hollows, noting the close conveyance of his wicked plots and practices, but for his own mischief.
Higgaion. Selah ] Ainsworth rendereth it Meditation Selah; meaning that this is a matter of deep meditation, worthy to be well minded, and spoken or sung with earnest consideration always. The word is found only here and Psalms 92:3 , where also the wonderful works of God are discoursed. R. Solomon’s note here is, Ultimum iudicium debet esse continua meditatio, The last judgment should be continually thought upon.
Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.
Ver. 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell ] Heb. into into hell (twice), that is, into the nethermost hell, the lowest dungeon of hell. The word lesheolah hath a vehement inforcement from ח local, as grammarians call it, and importeth that they shall be cast into outer darkness, In tenebras ex tenebris infeliciter exclusi, infelicius excludendi (August.). R. Solomon’s note here is, they shall be carried away from hell to judgment, and from judgment they shall be returned to the deepest pit of hell. This, if men did but believe, they durst not do as they do, as once Cato said to Caesar.
And all the nations ] The wicked, be they never so many of them, they may not think to escape for their multitudes, as among mutineers in an army, the tenth man sometimes is punished, the rest go free.
Psa 9:18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall [not] perish for ever.
Ver. 18. For the needy shall not always be forgotten ] Because he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. The Lord is at hand to help those that are forsaken in their hopes. Julian Lining was apprehended by Dale the promoter (in Queen Mary’s days), who said unto him, You hope and hope, but your hope shall be aslope. For though the queen fail, she that you hope for shall never come at it; for there is my Lord Cardinal’s grace and many others between her and it, &c. But the cardinal died soon after the queen, and (according to father Latimer’s prayer) Elizabeth was crowned, and England yet once more looked upon (Acts and Mon. 1871).
Psa 9:19 Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
Ver. 19. Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail ] Prayers are the Church’s weapons, her bombardae et instrumenta bellica (Luther), whereby she is terrible as an army with banners; she prays down her enemies.
Psa 9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD: [that] the nations may know themselves [to be but] men. Selah.
Ver. 20. Put them in fear, O Lord ] Strike them with a panic terror, as once the Canaanites, Philistines, 1 Samuel 5:1-12 ; Syrians, 2 Kings 7:6-7 ; Germans, in the war against the Hussites, &c. Some read it, Put a law upon them, bridle them, bound them, as thou hast done the sea, Job 38:11 . The Greek and Syriac favour this reading.
That the nations may know themselves to be but men ] And not gods, as that proud prince of Tyrus, Ezekiel 27:1-36 , and Antiochus, who would needs be styled Yεος , to such a height of pride will persecutors grow, if they prosper, and he not taken a link lower, as we say. Homo, id est fracti, saith R. Obad. on this text; men, that is, broken, cracked creatures, morbis mortiquo obnoxii, woeful wights, sorry and sickly captives. This to know savingly is the beginning of true humility, saith Augustine here.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30