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David encourageth himself in God against his enemies. The providence and justice of God.
To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.
Title.— לדוד למנצח lamnatseach ledavid. This Psalm was probably composed by David, when his friends advised him to avoid the evil designs of Saul and his other enemies, by sheltering himself in the mountains of Judea. In answer to this advice, contained in the three first verses, he is determined to put his trust in God, whose eyes were open upon what was doing; who would protect the good, and confound the wicked man. The dialogue form in which the Psalm is written, gives it great spirit and beauty.
Psalms 11:3. If the foundations be destroyed, &c.— When the foundations are pulled up, what hath the righteous man to expect? i.e. What is the work or reward of the righteous man? What has he to do or expect, when the very foundations of justice and government are turned upside down? See Psalms 82:5.Isaiah 24:18; Isaiah 24:18. It was on this account, because the foundations were overthrown, and no regard was had to law or right, that David's distrustful friends advised him to flee to the hills, as to places of strength and safety; since otherwise, however righteous himself, however good his cause, he would soon be seized upon and ruined. The rest of the Psalm contains his reply.
Psalms 11:4. The Lord is in his holy temple— As much as to say, "Though all human hope and assistance should fail me, yet I have the strongest confidence in the interposition and protection of that Almighty, who, though his throne is heaven, yet beholds and protects with providential care those who trust in him."
Psalms 11:5. The Lord trieth the righteous, &c.— The Lord exploreth the righteous and the wicked; and him that loveth false-dealing his soul hateth. Mudge.
Psalms 11:6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, &c.— He shall rain hot burning coals upon the wicked; fire and brimstone and black tempest. See Lowth's Prelections, p. 80. Others read the verse thus, Upon the wicked he shall rain snares; fire and brimstone and a tempestuous wind shall be the portion of their cup. The Psalmist there alludes to the fire and brimstone which fell upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The portion of their cup, is a proverbial phrase in Scripture: a cup or very disagreeable potion, is often used as an emblem of God's judgments. See Psalms 60:3; Psalms 75:8. God's gifts and dispensations, whether good or bad, are ordinarily expressed by a cup poured out, and given men to drink. The heathens had the same expression concerning their gods, as we read in Homer particularly: "There are two cups," says he, "of the gods; the one of good things, the other of bad."
Psalms 11:7. His countenance doth behold the upright— His countenance beholds equity; i.e. with approbation and favour. Houb.
REFLECTIONS.—Temptation and prayer brighten the true believer's soul; none, perhaps, were ever more exercised with the one, or abundant in the other, than the son of Jesse. We have him here,
1. Expressing his confidence in God, as an answer to the temptation suggested to him. In the Lord put I my trust, not in any human contrivances, or human help, but solely in him, whose faithfulness and truth shall be my shield and buckler. Note; Fixed and abiding faith in God, like an anchor, sure and steadfast, keeps the soul unmoved in every storm.
2. Repelling the temptation suggested to him by his fearful friends. How say ye to my soul, flee as a bird to your mountain. Note; Uprightness is no protection from persecution; the most blameless characters must expect in the world to meet the greatest malignity. No marvel: they testify of the world, that its deeds are evil.
3. He suggests the solid grounds on which his trust was founded, in opposition to all unbelieving fears.
The Lord is in his holy temple, high and lifted up, able to see and to defeat the counsels of the wicked: the Lord's throne is in heaven, a throne of grace for all the needy supplicants: a throne of justice, for all who are oppressed with wrong; a throne of judgment, to condemn and sentence the wicked to his deserved punishment. His eyes behold, he is acquainted with all the difficulties and distresses of his suffering people; his eyelids try the children of men, piercing the secret recesses of their bosoms, and beholding every device conceived against the faithful; and therefore, having such a guardian, they may contentedly trust him. For the Lord trieth the righteous, putteth them in the furnace of affliction, not to consume, but purify them, to strengthen their faith, exercise their patience, and make his great love more known to them. But the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth; although at present they may seem prosperous, and not plagued like other men, there is a louring cloud over their head, ready to burst in an eternal storm. The day is near, even at the door, when upon the wicked, those who persist in their iniquities, and die as they live, servants of corruption, he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; sudden as a snare it shall seize them, and horrible, yea infinitely more horrible than that storm of vengeance which broke upon the devoted cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, shall this tempest of Divine wrath overtake them; the scorching fire consuming the body, curst only with immortality to be tormented, and furious blasts of his displeasure beating upon the guilty soul, with anguish unutterable and eternal. Read, sinner, and tremble, for this is the portion of thy cup. The sweet droughts of sin which now intoxicate thee will put into thy hand this cup of trembling, to be thy portion for ever and for ever. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and will certainly manifest it by such exemplary punishment on the sinner, and protection of those who, from a divine principle of faith and love, walk in holiness before him. His countenance doth behold the upright; he regards them with the tokens of his favour, lifts up now the light of his countenance to comfort and support them, and will bring them to that beatific vision, where in glory they shall see him face to face. Happy the people who are in such a case!
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28