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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 62

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-12

Psalms 62:0

To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David

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

2     He only is my rock and my salvation;

He is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

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.

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.

5     My soul, wait thou only upon God;

For my expectation is from him.

6     He only is my rock and my salvation:

He is my defence; I shall not be moved.

7     In God is my salvation and my glory:

The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

8     Trust in him at all times; ye people,

Pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

9     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.

10     Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery:

If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

11     God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this;

That power belongeth unto God.

12     Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy:

For thou renderest to every man according to his work.


Its Contents and Composition.—For the Title comp. Introd. § 12, No. 8. There are no historical statements or decisive references to known events in the life of David; yet the relationships with Psalms 39:0 on the one side, and with Psalms 4:0 on the other, point to the time of his persecution by Absalom. This relationship with Psalms 39:0 makes it advisable to translate the characteristic אַךְ which is repeated [Psalms 62:1-2; Psalms 62:4-6; Psalms 62:9] not by: yea, surely (Flamin., Geier, et al.) but by: only (Kimchi, et al.) In the former sense the subjective side of the assertion is emphasized, in the latter more the objective side. In both cases it bears the emphasis of reliability, whilst the Hebrew word embraces both sides, and the individual passages demand now more this, then more that reference in the narrower sense; but in order to allow the designed repetition of the same word to be clearly manifest in the translation, it is better to retain the translation given above [only] the more as this is appropriate throughout. For the assertion, that only with God is the soul entirely quieted (Psalms 62:1), because God only is the rock (Psalms 62:2), upon which, when the singer is established, he can designate as vain (Psalms 62:3), the attacks of those, who only desire to cast him down from his high place (Psalms 62:4);—this assertion is at once the foundation for the exhortation of his soul, to turn to God alone in confident submission (Psalms 62:5), because God only is the reliable helper (Psalms 62:6). This repetition forms not only the transition to the renewal of the appropriate personal confession (Psalms 62:7), but likewise to the exhortation of the people to constant trust in God (Psalms 62:8), because men are only breath one and all (Psalms 62:9), the trust in temporal possessions, whether goods or powers, is vain (Psalms 62:10), but God has spoken the word, which has been frequently heard, and is valid once for all, that the power is His, (Psalms 62:11). Therefore the petitioner, moved by the assurance of the government of God, which recompenses justly, turns to the grace of God which is equally essential with His power (Psalms 62:12).5

[Str. I Psa 62:1. My soul (is) silence to God.—Some regard דּוּמִיָה as an adjective (Gesenius, Stier, et al.), but most interpreters, as a substantive either as an accus. abs. (Hupfeld) = in silence, in quiet resignation to God, or better as a simple predicate (Delitzsch, Riehm, Perowne, et al.) “It is,” says Calvin, “that settled submission, when the faithful rest in the promises of God, give place to His word, obey His rule, and keep down every murmur of passion in their hearts.”

Psalms 62:2. My salvation, etc.—Delitzsch; “His salvation comes from God, yes, God Himself is His salvation, so that, God being his, he possesses already salvation, and by this stands immovably firm.” For the figures which are here heaped up, comp Psalms 9:9; Psalms 18:2.—I shall not be greatly shaken.—Delitzsch: “What the poet means by רַכַּה is clear from Psalms 37:24. He shall not totter greatly, much, especially, that is, not so as to fall or to remain upon the ground.”—C. A. B.]

Str. II. Psa 62:3. Rush again * a man.—This word, which occurs only here, is not to be changed into another similar word (Nahum 2:5; Jeremiah 46:0.) = to rave, storm (Hupf.) or (Psalms 102:8) = rage. Nor does it mean: to fall upon (Sept.) pursue (Aquil., Jerome) exhaust one’s-self in vain (Symm.), devise ruin (Rabbin [A.V. imagine mischief]) slander (most recent interpreters), but in accordance with an expression still current in Syria (Delitzsch): to rush upon one with outcry and lifted fist, in order to browbeat.—All of you break (him) down, as a wall inclined, a fence overthrown?—The interpretation of this clause in accordance with the Tiberian reading [followed by the Western Jews]: may ye all be ruined (or likewise = murdered) (Chald., Rabbin, Geier, [similarly A. V.]) is less in accordance with the context than the Babylonian reading, which with the ancient versions and most interpreters, is followed by us in our translation above.6

[Psalms 62:5. Only to God, be silent, my soul.—Perowne: “The first strophe opens with the expression of his resignation; this, with the exhortation to resignation. But this is no contradiction. The life of man’s spirit cannot always preserve the same even tenor. The heart of man is like the sea; however calm and smooth it may seem, a light air will ruffle its surface. The resignation, the trust in God, the peace, the rest which have come after long struggle and much prayer, may too easily be broken. And hence when these have been attained, we need to exhort ourselves to them in renewed measure.”—C. A. B.]

Str. III. [Psalms 62:7. Upon God (resteth) my salvation,etc.—Comp. Psalms 7:10. All depends upon Him, and is founded on Him.—C. A. B.]

Psalms 62:8. Trust in Him at all times, O people.—Since a̓m = people, is used in the text, and not a̓mmi = my people, we are not to think of the people of Israel (Chald., Aben Ezra, Calvin), or of men in general (Hupfeld) = dear people (Luther), but of that portion of the people that remained with David, of the retinue which was in his service, Jdg 3:18; 1 Kings 19:21; 2 Kings 4:42 (Delitzsch).

Psalms 62:9. Only a breath are men of low degree,etc.—Respecting the contrast between בְּנֵי־אָדָם and בְנֵי־אִישׁvid.Psalms 4:2; Psalms 49:2. [There seems to be no other way of rendering this distinction than that of the A. V. The German language distinguishes very nicely between Menschensöhne and Mannessöhne—C. A. B.] —Men of high degree a lie, ascending upon balances—they (are) of breath altogether.—Since the infinitive with ל as the ablative of the gerund, does not precede the principal clause, but always follows (Ewald, § 280 d), the first half of the clause is not to be attached to the second half (most interpreters), but to the preceding clause (Delitzsch) so that the sense is, that the supposed weight of the men of high degree is shown by trial to be a lie. In the second half of this clause it is better to regard the מִן as partitive, than comparative (comp. Isaiah 40:17; Isaiah 41:24; Isaiah 44:11).

Str. IV. Psalms 62:11-12. It is not said here that God’s revelation has taken place once, twice, that is to say, often, and has been heard by the Psalmist just as often (De Wette, Hupf.), or that God has spoken a word, which consists of the two things heard by the Psalmist and expressed in the following clauses, that with God is power, and with Him also is grace (Grotius, Delitzsch, Hitzig). The expressions do not agree with the first supposition; against the latter are the change of construction in Psalms 62:12, and the mention of the retributive justice of God in the closing clause, which would have been a third member of the word of revelation. It is rather stated as the subject of the word of revelation once spoken; that God is almighty. Even on this account the Psalmist addresses Him directly as adonai, and expresses in an independent clause (Hengst.), yet not in the sense of an explanatory supplement (De Wette, Hupfeld), but moved by his circumstances and feelings, his truthful confession of the grace of the Almighty, which is based upon his experience of the Providence of God recompensing the actions, that is to say the conduct and behaviour of men. The expression is in form entirely in general terms, but in contents it applies to the pious in concreto. This passage is used in this sense by the Apostle Paul, Romans 2:6, after the Sept. It does not follow from this that we are to explain Psalms 62:11 a, thus: it is twice that I heard (Ewald), Job 40:5; 2 Kings 6:10. The hearing of the one or once spoken word of revelation has been repeated.


1. There is a silence which is not that of fright, of pain, of despair, of defiance, but as that of the soul in prayer, and of the heart trusting God, means simply the silence of lamentation, yet in accordance with its nature is the quiet of resignation and the depth of peace in a soul directed towards God, relying upon God and quieted in God. Such a condition of soul, however, arises only from an unconditional, entire, and exclusive submission to God; and this is not only the single act of yielding to God, but the uninterrupted giving of oneself in order to be in entire safety in God. In order to such an experience in life amid manifold temptations, there is necessary on the one side the help of prayer, in order to be more deeply rooted in God, and constantly renewed in submission to Him, on the other side, the comforting, refreshing, warning promises, in order to keep our own souls awake. “For if we put God out of view, and do not turn to prayer, the sea is not so tempestuous in the storm as the human heart and soul,” (Joh. Arndt). He however who truly not only expects and implores his salvation and help from God, but finds and has them with God and in God, feels that he has been delivered as upon a rock, and is lifted up as well above the feeling of his own weakness and frailty, as above fear of the assaults of numerous, powerful, and lying enemies.

2. The man who has resigned himself to God, relies upon God for the deliverance of his life as well as the defence of his honor and the protection of his position. This condition of soul is especially strengthened by emphatically holding before it the portion that it has in God and the constant appropriation of what God says of Himself, and bestows upon them. This strengthens the personal faith, and encourages others to do likewise. The diligent consideration and right use of the word of revelation is of especial importance and influence in this respect; for it testifies that the God whose grace has been so often experienced by the pious in His providence, which recompenses every man justly, is the Almighty, upon whom, as the only true Lord, we should rely alone, and may rely truly, whilst all human devices, powers, undertakings, are as windy, that is to say, powerless and perishable as the riches which have been acquired thereby, and indeed to some extent with deceit and violence.


God alone gives true peace to the soul that trusts in Him, but He gives it really.—Resignation to God is not without the giving up of oneself, but it makes no real loss, but effects true and abiding gain.—Prayer is not opposed to the quiet of a heart resigned to God.—He who resigns himself trustingly to God, will be accepted by God; and he who accepts what God speaks, does, and sends, is established in his resignation to God.—When we feel ourselves to be weak, and our enemies treat us as if we were shaking, God the Almighty remains our strength, as long as we trust in His grace.—God can screen believers against their enemies with as many shields as He has names.—Only God is reliable in all respects, the world in no respect.—He who would rely upon the grace of the Almighty, must not forget, that the Lord recompenses justly.—When men are weighed by God, many are found too light.—Hear often what God has spoken once, but judge yourselves by it, and not by other men to whom you preach it.

Starke: Trust in God never deceives; for even if we are forsaken by the entire world, God remains faithful.—Craft and power are the weapons of the ungodly; if the one is not enough, they seize the other, and not unfrequently make their attacks with both at once.—Riches are to many snares by which they are plunged into ruin.

Osiander: The pious have many assaults, but they are not ruined.—Franke: What God speaks once we should frequently repeat, and always carry it about in our hearts.—Frisch: An honest prayer is nothing but a pouring out of the heart before God.—Tholuck: This is the course of the world, the richer God’s gifts, the more do men trust in the gifts instead of the rich Giver.—Diedrich: God is enough; but He alone.—Guenther: To be silent to God—a precious jewel and a fruit of the Spirit.—Deichert: What it means to follow our Saviour with the cross. 1). He was still as a lamb, be ye likewise; 2) His enemies have not overcome Him, take shelter under His wings; 3) He trusted God, who helped him out, therefore put all your confidence in Him.

[Matt. Henry: The good we do we should stir up ourselves to continue doing, and to do yet more and more, as those that have through grace experienced the comfort and benefit of it.—The more faith is acted, the more active it is. It is a smiling world that is most likely to draw the heart away from God, on whom only it should be set.—Barnes: All these combined—power, mercy, equity—constitute a reason why men should confide in God.—If these things do exist in God, unlimited confidence may be placed in Him as having all needful power to save; as being so merciful that sinful men may trust in Him; and as being so just and equal in His dealings that all may feel that it is right to repose confidence in a Being by whom all the interests of the universe will be secured.—Perowne: Power without Love is brutality, and Love without Power is weakness. Power is the strong foundation of Love, and Love is the beauty and the crown of Power.—Spurgeon: No eloquence in the world is half so full of meaning as the patient silence of a child of God. It is an eminent work of grace to bring down the will and subdue the affections to such a degree, that the whole mind lies before the Lord like the sea beneath the wind, ready to be moved by every breath of His mouth.—We cannot too often hear the toll of that great bell only; let it ring the death knell of all carnal reliances, and lead us to cast ourselves on the bare arm of God.—Our meditative soul should hear the echo of God’s voice again and again. What He speaks once in revelation, we should be always hearing. Creation and Providence are evermore echoing the voice of God—C. A. B.]


[5][It is better with Hupfeld, et al. to regard this Psalm as composed of three strophes with four verses each. The two first thus have a refrain at the beginning embracing a pair of verses, instead of at the close, as Moll, and besides they conclude with a Selah. The third strophe would then begin with the characteristic אֵךְ and with contents in contrasted parallelism with the two other strophes. Hupfeld translates אךְ each time by ja, but Moll’s translation, only in preferable—C A. B.]

[6][Hupfeld prefers the usual sense of רצח, and translates murder. and regards the metaphors as very much mixed, but It seems better with Ewald, Delitzsch, Moll, Perowne, et al., to translate in accordance with the original meaning: to break down.—C. A. B.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 62". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/psalms-62.html. 1857-84.
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