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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 9

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 9:0.

David praiseth God for executing of judgment: he inciteth others to praise him: he prayeth that he may have cause to praise him.

To the chief musician upon Muth-labben.
A Psalm of David.

Title. Upon Muth-labben. לבן מות על al muth labben.

Upon the death of the champion. Thus also the Chaldee renders it: "To be sung on occasion of the death of the man who went forth from the camp." And accordingly many have supposed that the Psalm relates to that history of Goliath, which we have in 1 Samuel 17:0. However, all that we have certain about it is, that it was occasioned by some great distress, from which it pleased God to deliver David. Fenwick renders the title, "To him that giveth the victory, concerning things secret, to the Son:" and some of the versions are favourable to this interpretation. The LXX, Ethiopic, and Vulgate, read, "For the secret things, or mysteries of the Son." The Arabic intitles it, "Concerning the mysteries of the Son;" and then adds, "in relation to the glory of Christ, and his resurrection and kingdom, and the destruction of all the disobedient." St. Jerome says, that this Psalm points at the overthrow and final destruction of Antichrist.

Verse 3

Psalms 9:3. When mine enemies are turned back, &c.— Because mine enemies are turned back; they stumbled and perished at thy presence. Mudge and Houbigant.

Verse 6

Psalms 9:6. O thou enemy, &c.— As for the enemy, they are quite destroyed; everlasting desolations: their cities thou hast extirpated; their memory, as well as themselves, is annihilated. Mudge. There is more beauty in supposing David here to apostrophize his enemies: O thou enemy! the destructions which thou, boastingly, hast threatened to my people, are come to a perpetual end; upon which we may suppose him immediately to return to God in triumph, Yes, thou hast destroyed their cities; their memorial is perished with them.

Verse 12

Psalms 9:12. When he maketh inquisition for blood To make inquisition for blood, as we hinted on Psalms 5:0 is not to inquire after blood spilled, but to sit as inquisitor or judge on all capital crimes, where the blood of the offender is due to justice. Them, refers to the humble or afflicted, who follow after, and whose cry or supplication is contained in the two next verses.

Verse 14

Psalms 9:14. The daughter of Zion The word בת bath, daughter, applied to a city or nation, implies the inhabitants of it; the city being, as it were, the parent from whence they sprung. See Isaiah 37:22.

Verse 15

Psalms 9:15. The heathen are sunk down in the pit, &c.— This makes a fine break in the poem; and David so often uses this method, that it will be sufficient to have hinted it once. You see his imagination is warmed to that degree, that he seems already to behold the destruction of his foes, and, in a sort of prophetic rapture, proceeds to describe their destiny.

Verse 16

Psalms 9:16. Higgaion See the note on Psalms 3:2.

Verse 17

Psalms 9:17. Be turned into hell The word rendered hell in this verse, does not mean absolutely the state of the damned, but only the שׁאול sheol, or state of departed souls; the grave, or place of the dead. This we may learn in the place before us, from the following verse; for the wicked were to be turned into the grave for the deliverance of the poor. In this sense, the word is to be understood in the Apostles' Creed, and throughout the Psalms.

Verse 20

Psalms 9:20. To be but men Fenwick renders this verse:

Let them a guide and teacher have, O Lord! Their helpless state make thou the nations know: alluding to the future conversion of the Gentiles.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, David begins this Psalms 1:0. With praise and joy. His whole heart was engaged; if not in perfection, yet in sincerity, to shew forth God's marvellous works; and all of them, so far as his memory could reach; especially the many and signal assistances which the Most High had given him against his numerous foes. Note; (1.) In all our success, let God have the praise. (2.) While prosperity makes us thankful, our chief joy must still be in the God of our mercies. (3.) Since God has ever proved himself the Most High, no danger should distress, no enemies dismay us.

2. He ascribes the power to God. It was not his own arm, but the presence and power of the Lord which turned back with confusion his foes, and smote them to the ground. Thus the presence of Jesus, Joh 18:6 confounded the band who approached to seize him; and when he shall sit on the throne of judgment, before his presence the ungodly must fall and perish for ever.

3. God's righteousness was herein manifested. A righteous cause God then owned and vindicated; and on this throne of judgment still he sits, to rescue those who are oppressed with wrong. And here, under every unjust sentence of man, we may still appeal; and though now suffering innocence may find no advocate, and unbelief would suggest that the Lord has forsaken the earth, the day is at hand when every wrong shall be righted, and God appear just in his judgments. What a comfort to the sufferers in the cause of God and truth?
4. The triumphs of God over his enemies are recorded; over Goliath and the Philistines, whose ravages were stopped, their army routed, and their cities destroyed: and over his spiritual foes, Thou hast rebuked the heathen, by that Gospel which confounded the idolatry of the heathen; thou hast destroyed the wicked, the persecuting powers of pagan Rome; and, as what is purposed in the divine will may be regarded as already completed, the enemy, antichrist, and all his adherents, shall perish together; their ruin shall be complete and final, and their name be blotted out from under heaven.

5. He takes comfort from the views of the enduring kingdom and righteous government of God. When all his foes are fallen, the Lord shall endure for ever; he hath prepared his throne for judgment, the great white throne, on which he is ready to appear, and pronounce the eternal state of angels and men. He shall judge the world in righteousness, for all judgment is committed unto him. The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble, and many are the troubles of the righteous; within, from affliction and temptation; and without, from the ceaseless enmity of the world which lieth in wickedness. But, blessed be God, we have a refuge to fly to in the arms of Jesus, who is now our present help in every time of trouble; and, though he may for a time permit our enemy to oppress us, soon will he appear as our eternal refuge, to lodge us there where the wicked must cease from troubling. And they that know thy name, are acquainted experimentally with the gracious promises made in the word of truth by Jesus Christ, will put their trust in thee; though long or severely exercised with trials and troubles, will patiently wait to see the salvation of God; and such will never be disappointed of their hope, for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Happy, therefore, is the man who putteth his trust in thee.

2nd, David proceeds,
1. To engage others with him in the delightful work of praise. Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion, the place where the symbols of his constant presence rested: declare among the people his doings, his displays of grace, power, and love towards his church. When he maketh inquisition for blood, the blood of saints, spilt by the ungodly, and all the evils inflicted on them, he remembereth them; either his saints, who, notwithstanding all their sufferings, are not forgotten by him, nor a drop of their blood unnoticed: or the wicked; he remembereth their deeds, and will recompense them as they deserve. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble, who, under the chastising rod, bow down, and, renouncing every hope in themselves, look up to him; though he seem not sometimes to hear their cry, they are not forgotten of him, he will avenge them speedily. Having thus encouraged others to praise and trust him, David,

2. Offers his prayer for the continuance of the mercies that he had experienced. His troubles were many; sometimes he seemed brought to the very gates of death, while his enemies pursued him with implacable hatred. And thus sorely beset is sometimes the faithful soul. But he cries with David, have mercy upon me, and then experiences God's supporting hand; thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, hast done so from spiritual, and wilt from temporal and eternal death. And this is gloriously applicable to the great Redeemer, for whom God opened the gates of the grave, and lifted him triumphant from the bed of death, as he will also do for every faithful believer in the great resurrection-day.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 9". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-9.html. 1801-1803.
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