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Bible Commentaries

Utley's You Can Understand the Bible

Psalms 62

Psalms 62:0

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
God Alone A Refuge From Treachery MT Intro For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. A Calm Resolve to Wait for the Salvation of God Confidence in God's Protection Confidence in God's Protection Hope in God Alone
Psalms 62:1-2 Psalms 62:1-2 Psalms 62:1-2 Psalms 62:1-2 Psalms 62:1-2
Psalms 62:3-4 Psalms 62:3-4 Psalms 62:3-4 Psalms 62:3-4 Psalms 62:3-4
Psalms 62:5-8 Psalms 62:5-7 Psalms 62:5-7 Psalms 62:5-7 Psalms 62:5-7b
Psalms 62:7-8
Psalms 62:8 Psalms 62:8 Psalms 62:8
Psalms 62:9-10 Psalms 62:9-10 Psalms 62:9-10 Psalms 62:9-10 Psalms 62:9
Psalms 62:10
Psalms 62:11-12 Psalms 62:11-12 Psalms 62:11-12 Psalms 62:11-12 Psalms 62:11-12

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-2

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 62:1-2 1My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. 2He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalms 62:1-2 This strophe describes the God for whom the psalmist waits in silence (notice how Psalms 62:1-2 are almost the same as Psalms 62:5-6). He waits patiently for God to act on his behalf (cf. Psalms 131:2).

1. from God is his salvation (BDB 447), Psalms 62:1

2. God only is his rock (BDB 849), Psalms 62:2, Psalms 62:6, see note at Psalms 61:2

3. God only is his salvation, Psalms 62:2; Psalms 62:2, Psalms 62:6

4. God is his stronghold, Psalms 62:2

Because of this God, he shall not be shaken (BDB 556, KB 555, Niphal imperfect, cf. Psalms 62:6). The phrase in Psalms 62:1 is repeated in Psalms 62:6 but Psalms 62:1 has added the term “greatly.” The TEV, NRSV, and JPSOA translate it as “never.”

Psalms 62:1 “alone” This adverb (BDB 36) appears first in the MT in Psalms 62:1, Psalms 62:2, Psalms 62:4, Psalms 62:5, Psalms 62:6, Psalms 62:10 for emphasis and a literary way to tie the Psalm together. There is exclusivism in a faithful lifestyle and a sinful lifestyle (cf. Psalms 62:4, Psalms 62:9).

The JPSOA translates it as “truly.” NKJV translates only the first occurrence as “truly.”

“soul” This is nephesh (BDB 659) which denotes the whole person. See notes at Psalms 13:2; Psalms 16:9; and Genesis 35:18 online.

Verses 3-4

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 62:3-4 3How long will you assail a man, That you may murder him, all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 4They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; They delight in falsehood; They bless with their mouth, But inwardly they curse. Selah.

Psalms 62:3-4 This strophe describes the faithless adversaries.

1. they assail (lit. shout at) BDB 223, KB 243, Polel imperfect, plural; this verb is found only here in the OT and the meaning is derived from an Arabic root

2. they attempt to murder (lit. scatter) BDB 953, KB 1283, Pual imperfect; NET Bible thinks the verb should be Piel, “all of you are murderers” (p. 927)

3. they are like (several English translations have Psalms 62:3c refer to the psalmist; NRSV, TEV, NJB, JPSOA, REB)

a. a leaning wall BDB 639, KB 692, Qal passive participle

b. a tottering fence BDB 190, KB 218, Qal passive participle

4. they counsel (BDB 419, KB 421, Qal perfect) only to thrust another down from his high position BDB 632, KB 673, Hiphil infinitive construct

5. they delight in falsehood BDB 953, KB 1280, Qal imperfect

6. they bless (BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect) with their mouth but inwardly curse BDB 886, KB 1103, Piel imperfect; one wonders if James 3:10 comes from this Psalm

By their fruits (Matthew 7:16-20) and words (Matthew 12:34-37) you shall know them.

Verses 5-8

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 62:5-8 5My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. 6He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. 7On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. 8Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Psalms 62:5-8 Psalms 62:5 and 6 are almost exactly like Psalms 62:1-2. The psalmist describes his actions as a faithful follower as compared to the faithless followers.

1. he rests in God's salvation and glory (“honor,” BDB 458)

2. he rests (assumed) on God as his rock and strength

3. he makes God his refuge

Psalms 62:8 changes from an individual focus to a corporate focus (several English translations make it a separate strophe). It starts out with two imperatives addressing the community of faithful followers.

1. trust in Him at all times BDB 105, KB 120, Qal imperative, cf. Psalms 37:3, Psalms 37:5; Psalms 52:8; Isaiah 26:4. The hard part is the phrase, “at all times,” but it is the key to real peace and confidence (cf. Psalms 34:1).

2. pour out your heart before Him BDB 1049, KB 1629, Qal imperative, cf. 1 Samuel 1:15; Lamentations 2:19 (i.e., be honest about your feelings and problems when praying to God; this is quite different from “silence” of Psalms 62:1 and 5. Psalms 62:1 and 5 are waiting for God to act after prayer and Psalms 62:8 is a call to prayer.)

3. God is our refuge God is not only the individual's source/place of safety, He is the community of faith's source/place of safety!

“Selah” See note at Psalms 3:2; also Intro. to Psalms, VII.

Psalms 62:5 “for God” In Psalms 62:1 this translation is accurate but here there is an added initial lamed (not a preposition), which is emphatic, “God Himself.”

The imperative of “be silent” (BDB 198, KB 226, Qal imperative) is used here where the noun (BDB 189) is used in Psalms 62:1.

Verses 9-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 62:9-10 9Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. 10Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.

Psalms 62:9-10 This strophe addresses all humans from different levels of society (i.e., low degree. . .rank). Without faith/trust in God they are vanity (BDB 210 I) and lies (BDB 469). The MT has “sons of men” twice. The translations get “low degree” and “rank” from a similar phrase in Psalms 49:2. The JPSOA has “Men are mere breath; mortals (BDB 35), illusion,” which rejects the link to Psalms 49:2 as a parallel and interpret the “sons of Adam” (BDB 9) and “sons of Ish” as parallel and referring to all humans. To me it does seem that Psalms 62:10 refers to the exploitation of the poor and powerless by the socially elite of Israel, and Psalms 49:0 would be a good parallel.

The second statement uses the imagery of commercial scales. In Hebrew that which is heavy is honorable/valuable; that which is light (i.e., breath, BDB 210 I used twice) is dishonorable.

Psalms 62:10 has three jussives admonishing the faithless followers.

1. do not trust in oppression BDB 105, KB 120, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

2. do not vainly hope in robbery BDB 211, KB 236, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

3. do not set your heart on increasing wealth BDB 1011, KB 1483, Qal imperfect negated used in a jussive sense

Based on this strophe and Psalms 62:4, the people being addressed are members of Israel's elite class (i.e., civil, military, commerce).

Psalms 62:9 “vanity. . .breath” These are both translations of the Hebrew term (BDB 210 I). This is one of two key terms in Ecclesiastes. See my notes on the word at Ecclesiastes 1:2 online at www.freebiblecommentary.org.

Verses 11-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 62:11-12 11Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; 12And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord, For You recompense a man according to his work.

Psalms 62:11-12 This last strophe addresses the theological issue of how it is that the unrighteous prosper (cf. Job; Psalms 37:0 and 73). The Mosaic law attributed wealth, health, and success to covenant obedience (cf. Leviticus 26:0; Deuteronomy 27-30). The “two ways” (cf. Psalms 1:0; Deuteronomy 30:15, Deuteronomy 30:19) also asserts the same. However, in reality, often the wealthy are exploitative, greedy, ruthless, devious manipulators who embody the essence of the Fall: more and more for me at any cost!

We live in an unfair world. God has promised to set it straight. There is a judgment day. One day we will reap what we have sown (cf. Job 34:11; Psalms 28:4; Proverbs 24:12; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 32:19; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 2:6; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 6:7-10; 2 Timothy 4:14; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 22:12)! A book that has helped me in this area is Hannah Whithall Smith's The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life.

Psalms 62:11 This is an idiom for a well known, often expressed, truth in three parts (i.e., power, covenant loyalty, and recompense). Because of the Fall, some humans will experience YHWH's power; some His lovingkindness! Our actions show who our Father is!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. How are Psalms 62:1 and 5 different from Psalms 62:8?

2. Who is Psalms 62:3c referring to?

3. Why should Psalms 62:8 be a separate strophe?

4. Who does Psalms 62:9 address? How is it related to Psalms 49:2?

5. List the points of what God has spoken and the psalmist has heard several times.

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Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 62". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-62.html. 2021.