Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 112

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


As Psalms 111:0 spoke the praises of Jehovah in all his works, so this declares the blessedness of the man who truly fears and obeys God. In the former, God is praised; in the latter, the godly man. The two are pairs. The same artificial structure characterizes both. See more in introductory note of Psalms 111:0.The Vulgate inserts in the title “of the returning of Haggai and Zechariah,” which is not in the Hebrew, but may have been founded on some tradition that it was composed, or at least used, on occasion of the return of the exiles, to encourage the people to the continual service of God.

The argument is simple. The righteous man is blessed in his posterity, (Psalms 112:2;) in his wealth, (Psalms 112:3;) in being supported in trouble, (Psalms 112:4;) in the discreet management of his affairs, (Psalms 112:5;) in the establishment and perpetuity of his works, (Psalms 112:6;) in courage and confidence in persecution, (Psalms 112:7-8;) in his unswerving rectitude and charity, (Psalms 112:9;) in the perishing of the envious wicked who seek his ruin, (Psalms 112:10.) As a eulogium upon the faithful keeping of the law, the psalm is to be compared with Psalms 1, 15

Verse 1

1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord This is the theme of the psalm. On fearing “the Lord,” see on Psalms 111:10.

Delighteth greatly Is not only obedient in form, or from sense of duty, but from strong affection, supreme delight. Psalms 1:2. This pleasure in God’s commands is what prompts the truly pious soul to their study and observance. Psalms 111:2

Verse 2

2. His seed shall be mighty upon earth A characteristic blessing of the covenant, (Genesis 13:15-16; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:8,) and the characteristic passion of the Hebrew people. The Greek reading of the last clause of Numbers 23:10, is, “And let my seed be like his seed.” “Mighty,” in the text, is not to be taken in the sense of heroic, warlike, as often, but in the sense of powerful having dominion, swaying the forces of society, and this is God’s purpose in regard to his true Church.

Verse 3

3. His righteousness This same is ascribed to Jehovah, Psalms 111:3. It is here reproduced in the holy man.

Verse 4

4. Light in the darkness A figurative expression for health, and happiness in adversity. See Psalms 112:7, and compare Isaiah 60:2; Psalms 97:11; Romans 8:28.

Gracious, and full of compassion The terms are reproduced from Psalms 112:4 of the previous psalm, where they apply to God. Thus godliness is the reflected image of God. In the Hebrew of Exodus 34:6, exactly the same words are rendered “gracious and merciful,” where they are descriptive of the character of God. Compassion to the poor and needy, the sinful and unworthy, prompting to a charitable service and distribution of benefits, is honourable to God and his religion.

James 1:27. The idea is more fully brought out in the first line of the next verse.

Verse 5

5. He will guide his affairs with discretion He will sustain his matters in judgment. The word “discretion,” here, is commonly taken for judgment, in the judicial sense, and seems to denote that the plans and purposes of the good man, if called up for legal investigation, shall be sustained. They not only pass the ordeal of public opinion but of legal scrutiny. Hence neither law nor moral sentiment shall overthrow them. The thought is continued in the first line of the next verse. See on Proverbs 10:9; Daniel 6:4-5

Verse 6

6. He shall not be moved His conduct being just and true, his works are wrought in God, and cannot be overthrown. Psalms 90:17.

Everlasting remembrance See Proverbs 10:7. עולם , ( hholam,) “everlasting,” here and in the previous hemistich, must be taken in its sense of unlimited duration, the nature of the subject requiring it; while to “remembrance” must be attached the implied or adsignification of blessedness as the object or design, according to the idiomatic use of the word.

Verse 7

7. Evil tidings Scandalous or hurtful reports, or rumours of public alarm, (on which see Jeremiah 51:46; Ezekiel 7:26,) from which even a righteous man cannot always be exempt in such a world as this. But he is not afraid, because his acts and plans are founded in justice, truth, and prudence. “The epithets ‘established,’ ‘trusting,’ ‘upheld,’ are all strikingly descriptive of the true attitude of faith, as that which leans upon, and is supported by, God.” Perowne. See Isaiah 26:3

Verse 8

8. His enemies His persecutors.

Verse 9

9. He hath dispersed This scattering (see Proverbs 11:24) is explained by his “giving to the poor,” by all deeds of kindness and good will. See on Psalms 112:4-5.

For ever See Psalms 111:9, where the same is ascribed to God’s faithfulness.

Verse 10

10. The spirit of the world toward Christ and his Church is well set forth in this verse.

Grieved Properly, enraged.

Gnash with his teeth Expressive of a transport of impotent rage. See Psalms 35:16; Psalms 37:12; Acts 7:54.

Melt away Their combinations dissolve, their adherents lessen, and their hearts grow faint and feeble, as they behold the futility of all their schemes, and remember that God and public sentiment are against them. Psalms 68:2.

The desire of the wicked shall perish In Hebrew psychology this simply means the desire shall not be gratified. While the desire or passion itself remains namely, the envy, jealousy, hatred, rage, toward God and his holy people the gratification is precluded. As the thirsty man, when water is taken away, becomes a prey to his appetite, so these perish in the defeat and disappointment of their malice, which now returns upon the soul and becomes a fire that is unquenchable. See Proverbs 10:28; Proverbs 11:7.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 112". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/psalms-112.html. 1874-1909.
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