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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 94

Verse 1

Psalms 94:0.

The prophet, calling for justice, complaineth of tyranny and impiety: he teacheth God's providence: he sheweth the blessedness of affliction. God is the defender of the afflicted.

THE later Greeks ascribe this psalm to David; and indeed it is an exact description of the courtiers of Saul; who abused their authority to all manner of oppression and violence, especially against David, without any fear of God, or thoughts that he would call them to any account; as he complains in several other psalms, particularly the 57th, 58th, and 59th. Dr. Delaney is of opinion, that this psalm was composed by David on account of the battle fought between the Israelites and the allied armies of the Ammonites and Syrians, 2 Samuel 10:1; 1 Chronicles 19:01 Chronicles 19:0; 1 Chronicles 19:0.; and he thinks that the 5th and 6th verses particularly refer to the outrages which they committed, in wasting his country, and murdering his subjects. Life of David, book 3: chap. 6. See on Psalms 94:17.

Verse 8

Psalms 94:8. Ye brutish—and ye fools Ye foolish,—Ye thoughtless. Grotius observes on the next verse, that this is a most excellent way of arguing; for, whatever perfection there is in created beings, it is derived from God, and therefore must be in him in the most eminent manner.

Verse 10

Psalms 94:10. He that chastiseth the heathen, &c.— Or, He who instructs the nations, he who teacheth man knowledge, shall not he rebuke? Mudge renders this and the following verse thus: He that instructeth the nations, shall not he find them out? He that teacheth man knowledge, (Psalms 94:11.) The Lord knoweth the devices of man, &c. "He who instructeth the nations, and supplieth them with all the knowledge they have, can he want means of discovering what they are about, and of finding them out? Will not he be able to trace them out in all their machinations? Yes; he that teacheth man knowledge, knoweth, &c."

Verse 12

Psalms 94:12. Blessed is the man How happy the man whom thou instructest, O Lord, and teachest out of thy law, (Psalms 94:13.) to set him at ease from the days of evil, till the pit be digged for the wicked. "Out of the law of God a good man may set his heart at ease in the days of evil; in full assurance that the pit is digging for the wicked." See Mudge and Green.

Verse 15

Psalms 94:15. But judgment shall return unto righteousness For judgment shall come about again to justice, and in its train all the upright of heart. This expression seems figuratively to suppose that God has his rounds or circuits for judgment, when he will do full justice in the sight of all honest men: who are represented as attending the train, and assisting to the pomp of its execution.

Verses 16-17

Psalms 94:16-17. Who will rise up for me? &c.— Who will stand up for me against the evil-doers? Who will rank himself on my side against the dealers in vanity [the practisers of idolatry]?—Ver. 17. If the Lord be not my help, my soul in an instant will be lodged in silence. Mudge. Several of the versions render the word דומה dumah, which we read silence by Hades, the grave, or place of the departed. Dr. Delaney is of opinion, that David, reflecting upon the late danger of his army, added the seven last verses to this psalm. See Psalms 124:0.

Verse 18

Psalms 94:18. When I said, My foot slippeth The slipping or moving of the foot, is an expression which we often meet with, to signify any inevitable danger, as it does here; and it seems to be a metaphor taken from the sure consequence of such an accident, when two men are engaged at single combat; in which case, if one of them trips and falls, his adversary has him at his mercy.

Verse 19

Psalms 94:19. In the multitude of my thoughts When my solicitudes are multiplied within me. The word שׂרעפי sarappai, solicitudes, means the discursus, or branchings of the mind; a word which strongly expresses the action of the soul when it sends itself forth on all sides. "The old version renders it, In the multitude of the sorrows; which must be in some sort peculiar to the men of thought and reflection. That there are such sorrows, we learn from one who was a man of thought; Ecclesiastes 1:18. If we follow the train of thought which he has marked out, and view the life of man under all the various circumstances incident to it, every step we take will yield a proof of his proposition; every discovery will bring its torment, when we find that all the days of man are sorrows, and his travails grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. But there is no end of such enquiries; and indeed not much reason for it. We may sit still, and our own experience will bring this knowledge home to us, without giving us the trouble of looking abroad into the world to find it. Cares and anxieties will make their way to us, though our doors are guarded within and without. The distemper then is plain; but who is he who can cure it? One remedy there is, capable of administering pleasure and delight to our minds, amidst all the uncertainties and vexations which surround us. What this is, you may learn from the present passage; the plain meaning of which is, that religion, or a just sense of our relation to God, is our only real and solid support against the many evils of life. This is our sheet-anchor: with this, no state of life is insupportable; without it, no condition is tolerable. As we value, therefore, even the pleasures of this life, and our share in the good things of the world, which the providence of God has placed before us; let us keep ourselves in a capacity of enjoying them by holding fast the comforts of religion. These only can give us a true relish of our pleasures; these only can enable us to bear like men our share of evil and affliction: our heart will often be disquieted within us, and we shall in the multitude of our thoughts find a multitude of sorrows; let us therefore keep God our friend, whose comforts will refresh our souls." Thus far Bishop Sherlock in his excellent Discourse upon this verse; vol. 2: p. 271. Nor can I wish my reader a finer or more improving entertainment than the perusal of the whole.

Verse 20

Psalms 94:20. Shall the throne of iniquity, &c.— Shall the throne of iniquity be favoured by thee, which giveth a sanction to grievances by its edicts? that is, "Shall the tribunal which is erected by our invaders for the oppression of the people be patronized by thee? Shall tyrants be dignified with the name of gods, and be reputed thy associates in the government of the world?" Green. This and the following verses are easily applicable to Christ.

Verse 23

Psalms 94:23. Bring upon them Or, Render them.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, There is an Almighty Judge to whom the oppressed may appeal, and who will vindicate their cause.

The Psalmist lodges his appeal with God against his adversaries. O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, who hath the power to avenge the oppressed, and whose holiness engages him to exert it, shew thyself, or shine forth, appear in behalf of thy suffering people, and confound with the light of truth the works of darkness. Lift up thyself, thou Judge of the earth, that those who say the Lord hath forsaken the earth, and with confidence of impunity grow daring in wickedness, may be dismayed, and that God's people may be comforted by his appearing. Note; Under every present oppression it becomes God's people patiently to endure, and wait the day when he who judgeth righteously shall arise to avenge them speedily.

2nd, Verily there is a reward for the righteous; they shall be comforted in, and be delivered from, all their troubles.
1. God will bless them in all their sufferings; though their enemies for a time are permitted to prevail, they are but the rod in God's hand, and lifted up with the most gracious design for the good of the people of God. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest; every child of God may expect corrections in the course of the divine providence; they are absolutely necessary, and a proof of his adoption; and, so far from complaining of them as hard, he should regard them as some of the kindest instances of paternal tenderness: and teachest him out of thy law, afflictions being designed for our instruction and improvement; God by his word and Spirit teaching his children how to profit under his correcting hand; and we are then blessed indeed, when by our trials we gain a surer evidence of our sonship, and grow more conformed to the image of our crucified Master: that then mayst give him rest from the days of adversity, or evil; for this works peaceable fruits of righteousness to those who are exercised thereby: the Lord also sweetly supports the souls of his saints under their troubles, till the end for which they were sent is answered, and then he delivers them safely out of them; and he will shortly bring his faithful ones to his eternal rest, where their enemies shall for ever cease from troubling: until the pit be digged for the wicked, whose end is destruction, eternal torment their portion, and the abyss of hell their accursed abode. For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance; so that the faithful may confidently trust him, and wait in hope: But judgment shall return unto righteousness; the seeming disorders of providence shall be rectified, when in the last days all the antichristian persecutors of God's people shall have their plagues poured out upon them; and in the day of final retribution God will appear righteous in all his judgments: and all the upright in heart shall follow it; either the judgment of God with their praises, acknowledging the glory of his justice, Revelation 16:6-7; Rev 19:1-2 or righteousness, approving themselves before him in all holy conversation and godliness; or, as the words may be rendered, all the upright in heart shall be after him, as the flock of his pasture attending their shepherd, and following the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth, with their unceasing praises.

2. He will help and defend his faithful people, and make them at last more than conquerors. Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? The Psalmist speaks in the person of God's suffering church and people, describing the character of their enemies, evil-doers and workers of iniquity, who made no difficulty of committing all manner of abominations, and therefore the more to be feared; while the question put intimates the weakness of God's people to struggle with their mightier foes, unless God himself interpose; for indeed, when we consider our enemies spiritual and temporal, we shall find ourselves a very unequal match for them, and may well say, Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost, or must quickly have, dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth, I am sinking, help, Lord, I perish; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up; mercy which never fails toward those who sincerely seek it, and then appears most precious when extended to us in the time of need: let no afflicted child of God therefore despond, but look to him who glorifies his grace in delivering the souls appointed unto death. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, perplexed and distressed, as God's dearest people sometimes may be, thy comforts delight my soul; comforts arising from a sense of the transcendantly rich and free grace of God, derived from Jesus, and by his Spirit shed abroad in the heart; comforts, not like those poor pleasures that the world can minister to sooth the melancholy; which often are ineffectual to dispel the gloom; and when successful, are but like the momentary relief procured by an opiate, while the disease remains rooted as ever; but these comforts delight the soul, are solid, substantial, abiding, enjoyed independent of all that the world can give or take away, and the foretastes of eternal consolation. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee? No, that God abhors; and most abhors those, who, in his name, pretend authority for committing iniquity. But the Lord is my defence from every assault, and my God is the rock of my refuge, where the soul of the faithful is safe, founded on Christ who will protect his people, and punish their cruel enemies. He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, the just punishment of it; and, for the blood which they have shed, give them blood to drink, Rev 16:6 and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off; and then woe unto their souls, they must perish without hope; their wickedness will follow them to their graves, witness against them in judgment, and thrust them down into the belly of hell. Such is the end of the ungodly.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 94". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-94.html. 1801-1803.