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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 10

Psalm 10 continues as an acrostic where Psalm 9 ends. Psalm 9 ends with the letter kaph and Psalm 10 continues in Psa 10:1 with the letter lamedh. Just as in Psalm 9, where we read about the wicked (Psa 9:5), after which a letter is skipped, daleth, here we also read about the wicked and six letters are skipped. Psalm 10 does not continue with the next letter, qoph, until in Psa 10:12 and then continues with the acrostic.

Psa 10:2-11 are not part of the acrostic. As mentioned, six letters are skipped. The number 6 is the number of man; 666 is the number of the man of sin, the antichrist (Rev 13:18). The antichrist is a person. He is the future, false king of Israel. He is wicked in the sense that he declares of himself that he is God. He is not an atheist, someone who denies the existence of God. On the contrary. The word anti means both instead of and against. The name antichrist means instead of Christ and against Christ.

He is the masterpiece of satan through whom satan tempts man to trust not in God but in him. At first he succeeds. He manages to enchant the mass of unbelieving Jews through signs and false wonders. This brings great trials to the believing remnant. Just as Cain could not endure Abel, the wicked does not endure the God-fearing.

Psalm 10 writes of the believer’s difficulty with God’s governmental ways when he sees that the wicked are seemingly doing well (cf. Psa 73:2-3; 16-17). The question receives no theological answer, but is answered by pointing to God’s care for His own (Psa 10:14).

Verse 1

Why Does God Not Intervene?

The psalm begins with a cry of anguish to God. The psalmist is in distress; he cries out to the LORD. Where is He, now that he needs Him so much? He exists, the psalmist knows that, but He is not near him, he does not experience His presence. The LORD stands afar off and makes no move to come to his aid (cf. Isa 49:14).

He asks the LORD why He hides Himself, just when he needs Him so much, when he is “in times of trouble”. In the next few verses he describes why he is in distress. There he describes a relentless enemy who pursues him relentlessly. Yet that enemy is not his real need; his major need is that God hides Himself.

Verses 2-11

What the Wicked Thinks, Does, and Says

In these verses, the psalmist tells why he cries out to the LORD in his troubles in Psa 10:1. He is wrestles with his faith, his faith is in conflict with what he sees. In these verses he gives a detailed description of the wicked in whom we again clearly recognize the antichrist. The antichrist is the wicked who has no regard for God. He lives in pure pride in rebellion against Him.

The wicked shows his hatred of God by “hotly” pursuing the God-fearing “afflicted” (Psa 10:2). “Hotly” means burning, a burning zeal to kill the God-fearing. He is helped in this by his followers. This is evident from the second line of Psa 10:2. The psalmist cries out to God “to let them be caught in the plots which they have devised”. The followers of the antichrist are animated by the same demonic spirit and devise the same demonic plans. Further on, in Psa 10:8-10, the execution of those cunning plans is vividly described.

His murderous and predatory ways are “his heart’s desire” (Psa 10:3). He behaves as if he were God (2Thes 2:4b). Without any shame, he boasts of his sins. He “blesses the greedy man” as it also can be translated. The greedy man is the one who behaves like him. In contrast, he “curses [and] spurns the LORD”. He not only does not care about God, but deliberately turns against Him and deliberately speaks evil of Him. In the eyes of people he may be a good ruler, someone who does his best to make people’s lives more pleasant, but it is all pretense.

The wicked is very much pleased with himself. In the haughtiness of his countenance and in his arrogance he believes that any seeking of God or any examination of what is good is unnecessary (Psa 10:4). He himself determines what is good. He is his own standard. In his thoughts, “all his thoughts”, there is no room for God. He blasphemes God and banishes Him from his thinking.

That there is no room for God in his thoughts, seems to bring success on his ways, because they prosper at all times (Psa 10:5). But those who live without God, those who do not involve Him in their lives, can only cause pain and sorrow for others. There is no thought of the well-being of others.

The wicked denies that he is accountable to God. As a result, he claims, he has a free pass to force his neighbor to accept his scheme. If his neighbor does not, he will remove him, as Cain did to Abel. God’s judgment is far above him, far from him, and it does not interest him at all. He puts it off (cf. Amos 6:3). “He snorts” at “all his adversaries”, those who disagree with him, he does not tolerate them in his presence and gets rid of them.

There is not the slightest modesty or uncertainty with him about his actions. In his heart resides the greatest prideful self-assurance that he will not be moved (Psa 10:6). Here, in his haughtiness, he appropriates a privilege that God has purposed for the righteous (Psa 15:5; Psa 16:8; Psa 21:7; Psa 112:6). He sees himself surviving the generations and living on in prosperity, untouchable from misfortune. In his conceit and pride, he thinks: “I will not be in adversity.”

The language his mouth spews out reflects what is in his heart and in his mind (Psa 10:7). He does not curse, deceive and oppress just once in a while and is not crafty in his speaking just once in a while, but his mouth is full of it. There is no room for anything else. The smallest bit of truth is foreign to him. “Under his tongue”, which is also his weapon, “is mischief and wickedness”. His words conceal his real intentions. There is nothing sincere in him.

In Psa 10:8-10, the psalmist describes the wicked as a lion lying in ambush to ambush and devour his prey. His prey is called “the innocent”, “the unfortunate” (Psa 10:8), “the afflicted” (Psa 10:9 [2x]) and again “the unfortunate” (Psa 10:10). They are no match for the mighty lion with his strong claws. The wicked targets those who live righteously before God and therefore brings his hatred upon them.

Because God does not intervene directly, the wicked believes he can continue to do evil (Psa 10:11; cf. Ecc 8:11). He sees God’s patience as impotence. In his foolishness, he believes that God is forgetful and acts as if He does not care, that He even “will never see” evil.

Verses 12-15

Request for Action From God

The question of Psa 10:1 “why …, O LORD?” turns into an urgent call for immediate intervention in Psa 10:12 and Psa 10:15. In between these two verses, the psalmist passes on his reflections and soul-exercises in Psa 10:13-14.

Although it seems that the wicked is right and God does not care about evil, the psalmist calls to the “LORD” (Psa 10:12). To whom else should he go? After all, there is no one who can deal adequately with evil but Him, there is no one else who can stand up for “the afflicted” (plural here!). He is the Only One. Let Him stand up and raise His hand to strike down the wicked. Then it will be clear that He does not forget the afflicted, which now seems to be so.

The psalmist does not understand why God allows the wicked to spurn Him (Psa 10:13). If He then forgets the afflicted, surely He cannot remain passive in hearing the blasphemies the wicked utter about Him? The wicked can apparently say with impunity in his heart that God will not require accountability. Why does God not intervene?

Then the psalmist suddenly comes to a halt in the expressions of his incomprehension of God’s silence (Psa 10:14). It is different. God is not absent and unmoved, nor has He hidden Himself. This is how the afflicted has experienced it for a while because of the fierce and haughty pursuit by the wicked (Psa 10:2). But suddenly he realizes that God really does see what the wicked does to the afflicted!

Now that dawns on him, it is also suddenly clear to him: God wants to take into His hand “mischief and vexation” that are done to the afflicted. This is a tremendously comforting and calming discovery after all the despairing questions. Always, before and also now, it has been shown that the unfortunate (or: poor) relies on Him, and that He is a Helper of the orphan. The orphan is one who is without any natural support in life, but who can count on God’s help.

Now that the light has broken through in his heart and mind, the afflicted continues his request to God to intervene (Psa 10:15). He prays that God will break the arm – a picture of strength – of the wicked and evildoer, that is, make it powerless. It is not a desperate, in despair prayed prayer, but a prayer prayed in conviction.

The wicked may say in his heart that God does not demand an account (Psa 10:11; 13), but God will certainly demand an account from him “for his wickedness”. God will judge that wickedness, so that there will be nothing left of it and the afflicted will not be plagued by it any more. Judgment on the wickedness of the wicked means the final deliverance of the afflicted.

Verses 16-18

The LORD Vindicates

All doubt is gone. The wicked will be judged. Confidence in God is back. The false king, the antichrist, is dead; long live the great King, the LORD! The psalmist sings it out that “the LORD is King forever and ever” (Psa 10:16). This is fully true in the realm of peace. Then the nations will be gone from His land. All evil will have been judged and satan bound for a thousand years.

In that time it will be seen that He has “heard the desire of the humble” (Psa 10:17). They will possess the land from which all the lawless have been removed (Mt 5:5; Mt 13:41-42). With that prospect, God strengthens the hearts of the humble. He listens to them when they make known to Him their distress in which they are now. That His ear will heed them is an encouraging statement that shows that He is attentive to their cries for help.

The LORD will vindicate the defenseless orphan and the disenfranchised oppressed (Psa 10:18). He will stand up for them and cause them to inherit the blessing. He has the last word and not “that man who is of the earth” who still causes so much terror. That the wicked is referred to as “that man who is of the earth” – “man” is enosh, that is weak, mortal man – makes it clear how incredibly insignificant he is and that the sphere of his life is limited to the earth.

Time and again in the book of Revelation such people are spoken of as “those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10; Rev 6:10; Rev 8:13; Rev 11:10; Rev 13:8; 14; Rev 14:6; Rev 17:8). The wicked is an “earthling”, one who sticks to the earth with heart and soul and has no connections to heaven whatsoever. After God’s intervention, it is over and done with him and his violence.

What is true for the believing psalmist and the believing remnant of Israel in the end time and in the realm of peace, is also true for faith now. The believer may know that the Lord reigns, even if it is not yet publicly visible. He does not forget His own even now and is the Helper of the defenseless who are connected with Him through faith. Although there is no outward peace yet, the believer can go his way on earth with the peace of God in his heart knowing that the Lord reigns.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.