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Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 112

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-3


Psalm 112 forms a unity with Psalm 111. We see this in the structure and length of both psalms. They are identical in structure, both are an ‘acrostic’, a special stylistic form in poetry. In this, the first word of each verse, part of a part or group of verses begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

In Psalm 111, the LORD is praised in His works and wonders. Psalm 112 describes the features of those who fear the LORD and their blessings. These features are those of the remnant, formed in the school of God, through which they now show the features of Christ. The life of Jacob is an illustration of this

Psalm 111 is about God – compare the first tablet of stone; Psalm 112 is about man – compare the second tablet of stone.

Great Delight in God’s Commandments

Like the previous psalm, this psalm begins with the exclamation “praise the LORD”, or “hallelujah”, which is at the same time a call (Psalms 112:1). The last verse of the previous psalm states that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalms 111:10). This psalm follows on from that and continues with it, for here the psalmist begins by pronouncing “blessed” on “the man who fears the LORD”. This is another indication that the two psalms belong together (see Introduction to this psalm). The Man Who fears the LORD is true of the Lord Jesus in an absolute sense, but it also applies to all who possess His attributes and live by them.

Psalm 1 also begins with “blessed is the man”, a description that is perfectly answered by Christ. Here in Psalm 112 we find the remnant adorned with the features of Christ. It is with them as with Rebecca who is adorned with the jewels of Isaac. This applies to us to the degree that Christ takes shape in us.

Next, the psalmist speaks of what characterizes that man who fears the LORD. His fear of the LORD is evident in the “great delight” he finds “in His commandments”. Fear is not anxiety, but awe. Attached to this fear is delight, even great delight, which makes it clear that there is no anxiety in this fear.

It is impossible to say that someone fears the LORD when His commandments mean nothing to him. Here these commandments are those of the law. The Old Testament believer who lives in a living relationship with God loves to read in God’s law, because there the will of God is written, in it he gets to know God better. The joy in God’s commandments consists not only in studying, but also in living by them.

We, New Testament believers, do not live under the law, but under grace. If we understand somewhat what grace is, our desire to know God’s will for our lives will be great. The expression of that desire is not to try to keep the law, but that we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God Who dwells in us. The Spirit teaches us to know God’s Word and gives the power to do what God’s Word teaches us.

The man who fears the LORD and finds great delight in His commandments will be richly blessed (Psalms 112:2). The blessings mentioned are typically Jewish and not typically Christian. That “his descendants will be mighty on earth” is a specifically Jewish blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-Numbers :). Now Israel is not yet mighty on earth, but will be in the realm of peace. This blessing will be enjoyed in the peace kingdom.

This also applies to the blessing with which “the generation of the upright will be blessed”. The remnant consists of those who fear the LORD. They are called here “the upright” (Psalms 111:1). They do what is right or just in the sight of the LORD (Exodus 15:26).

The blessing of the man who fears the LORD and delights in His commandments also concerns “his house” (Psalms 112:3). In it will be “wealth and riches”. He will have abundance of all earthly blessings (cf. Deuteronomy 28:1-2 Chronicles :). For us who belong to the church, God’s heavenly people, God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Job was a blessed man, but lost everything. This happened because of Satan, but under the permission of God because He had a purpose for it. This will not happen in the realm of peace because Satan will be bound.

In addition to earthly possessions, the righteous also has a spiritual feature and that is “his righteousness”. This points to his righteous actions. The Hebrew word for “give alms” is related to the word “righteous”. In some New Testament manuscripts, we find two Greek expressions in the first two verses of Matthew 6, namely, “to do righteousness” and “to do benevolence” or “to give alms” (Matthew 6:1-Exodus :). Both expressions may be a translation of one and the same Hebrew expression, namely tsadik. Its meaning is to do righteousness and to give alms. See Psalms 112:9 where these terms are used.

The righteous person shows in his life that he knows God by dealing with his children and his possessions in the way that God desires. This acting has not only temporary value, but “endures forever”. The previous psalm says this of God (Psalms 111:3). What is true of God is also true of the righteous.

Verses 4-5

Features of the Upright

The time of the realm of peace has not yet arrived. That the man who fears the LORD is blessed does not mean that there will not be dark days in his life (Psalms 112:4). We recognize this in the familiar saying: ‘God has not promised us an easy journey, but he has promised us a safe arrival.’

Darkness means that setbacks are coming. But when darkness comes, at the same time “the light arises in the darkness” (cf. 2 Peter 1:19). This is the light of God’s presence. And if the upright is killed because of his faithfulness to God, he will still have a share in the day when the Sun of Righteousness arises.

The upright possesses the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-Numbers :) and therefore has the attributes of God. He walks in the light, making it clear that he is “gracious and compassionate and righteous” (cf. Isaiah 58:10). These attributes of God become visible in his relationship with others. One who sees himself in the light of God acknowledges that God has been “gracious and compassionate and righteous” toward him. Therefore, he will be so toward others (Luke 6:36).

The features of God are especially manifested in the upright as a “man who is gracious and lends” (Psalms 112:5; cf. Deuteronomy 15:8; Leviticus 25:35). This is true wealth and the use of wealth in the right way (cf. 1 Timothy 6:17-Psalms :). Things are not going badly for that man, but “well” because of his compassion for someone in need. That he gracious toward his neighbor is shown by the fact that he lends him money. He thereby proves that he loves his neighbor. “He will maintain his cause in judgment.” He knows the law because he delights in God’s commandments (Psalms 112:1). As a result, he acts in accordance with Who God is.

Verses 6-9

The Upright Endures Forever

Because the wise man finds his delight in the commandments of God, it is certain that “he will never be shaken” (Psalms 112:6). This refers both to his life with its trials and tribulations and to the realm of peace in which every Old Testament believer will receive all the promised blessings. Because of his steadfast walk, “the righteous will be remembered forever”. He will be remembered with thankfulness (cf. Proverbs 10:7; Acts 9:39). This is especially true of the Lord Jesus, the Righteous (1 Peter 3:18).

That the realm of peace is not yet seen as having arrived here is also evident from the fact that “evil tidings” may be spread about the righteous (Psalms 112:7). But this evil tidings that circulates about him does not frighten him. This is not because of great self-confidence, but because “his heart is steadfast”, for it is “trusting in the LORD”. He who trusts in the Lord knows himself to be hidden in Him and does not become afraid of what people say about him or do to him.

His heart is steadfast because of his trust in the LORD, and by his trust in the LORD his heart is upheld (Psalms 112:8). Therefore, “he will not fear” no matter what comes his way, whether it is bad news that is told to him, or whether there are opponents who want to kill him. His opponents will not have the last word, but the LORD. It is a matter of time, but the time will come that “he looks [with satisfaction] on his adversaries”. Until that time, he must go his way quietly trusting in the LORD.

As he, surrounded by opponents, pursues his path, he gives “freely to the poor” (Psalms 112:9). ‘Giving feely to the poor’ are the pre-eminent features of the righteous. He is not concerned with himself and his own circumstances, but with those who lack. This is “his righteousness”, his just action, which involves giving others what they need. ‘Alms’ in Hebrew is the feminine form of ‘righteous’, tsedeka and tsedek respectively. Its value “endures forever”.

Paul quotes these two lines of this verse in connection with the believers’ giving to those who are poor (2 Corinthians 9:9). There he speaks of scattering abroad and giving to the poor and makes it clear that scattering abroad and giving is not a loss, but a righteous act of which the value lasts forever. The harvest of it is seen eternally.

Paul places ‘giving freely’ in the light of God as the great Giver (2 Corinthians 9:15). God has freely given the greatest gift ever given. An absolutely incomparable gift. God could give no greater evidence of being a Giver than in the gift of His Son. It is His own, only, beloved Son.

The “horn”, the symbol of strength, of the giver “will be exalted in honor”. It takes a great deal of spiritual strength to think not of oneself, but of the needs of others, in the face of all one’s own distress and prevailing selfishness. The way of self-denial is the way of victory over all opposition. The glory that is connected to it, comes. The Lord Jesus sees what has been done to others in His Name as done to Him (Matthew 25:34-:). For this He will openly express His appreciation and reward it with a position of honor in His kingdom. He who gives, can rule.

Verse 10

The Portion of the Wicked

The psalmist ends the psalm with the response of the wicked to the actions of the righteous and what will happen to the wicked. God will cause the wicked to see that He honors the righteous (cf. Esther 6:6-1 Kings :). This will make the wicked “vexed”.

Because he cannot express his vexation, he will “gnash his teeth and melt away”. He will forever, in never ending powerlessness, gnash his teeth (Matthew 8:12). Thus, he will continually melt away without having any support anywhere. Of “the desire of the wicked”, nothing is fulfilled. All his plans will perish.

This ending is a great contrast to the ending of Psalm 111 (Psalms 111:10) which sings of the fate of the righteous.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 112". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-112.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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