Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 30th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 62

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.

The historic background of this psalm answers to the preceding, and the occasion of both is the same. The king’s mind has attained a dignified repose in “the Rock that is higher” than he, (Psalms 61:2, comp. Psalms 62:2,) and he now more calmly surveys the scene and circumstances of the hour. The machinations of his enemies, his own firm expectation of deliverance, and the vanity of human pride and ambition, are the prolific themes of his muse. The selah divides the psalm into three equal strophes of nine lines. The first, vers. 1-4, is divided into two parts: Psalms 62:1-2, a declaration of his sole trust in God; Psalms 62:3-4, a survey of the schemes and objects of his enemies. The second, Psalms 62:5-8, of which Psalms 62:5-7 are a strong expression of his assured hope in God, and Psalms 62:8 an exhortation to the people to trust only in the same source of help: the third, Psalms 62:9-12, a warning address to his enemies; Psalms 62:9, describes the utter vanity of human ambition, even though it, for the time, succeed; Psalms 62:10, the short-lived glitter of ill-gotten wealth and power; Psalms 62:11-12, the admonition that all power belongs to God who will righteously judge every man.


To Jeduthun Here and in Psalms 77:0, title, it is upon “Jeduthun;” but in Psalms 39:0, title, to “Jeduthun.” Taking the preposition על , ( al,) in the sense of by or to, “Jeduthun” may here be understood as the proper name of one of the precentors of David’s choirs. 1 Chronicles 25:1; 1 Chronicles 25:3; 1 Chronicles 25:6. But the more common rendering would be upon “Jeduthun,” which would require us to understand “Jeduthun” here as the name of a choir, (so Furst,) or of an instrument.

Verse 1

1. Truly The word occurs six times in this psalm, and is translated truly, Psalms 62:1; only, Psalms 62:2; Psalms 62:4-6; and surely, Psalms 62:9. In every instance truly, or verily, would give the sense, and it is better to adhere to a uniform rendering. In this verse, and in Psalms 62:2; Psalms 62:5-6, it has a kindred significance to amen, verily, in the New Testament, and is the language of faith and solemn asseveration. The psalm must be supposed to have been written immediately before the battle described 2 Samuel 18:0, and is a specimen throughout of sage counsel and calm faith.

Waiteth Is still trusts calmly. It is a description of perfect submission, or soul-rest in God. So Psalms 62:5, and Psalms 4:4; Psalms 37:7. In Psalms 131:2, it is rendered quieted myself.

Verse 2

2. My rock See on Psalms 61:1.

My defence My high place, an allusion to the high, rocky fortress, as 2 Samuel 5:6-9, the strongest defence known to ancient military life.

Greatly moved The insurrection will disturb, and for the time disarrange, many surface elements, but will not overthrow or unsettle my kingdom. Thus far he had received answer to prayer.

Verse 3

3. How long will ye imagine mischief He addresses the leaders of the rebellion. The Hebrew word translated “imagine mischief” occurs nowhere else, and its derivation has been variously understood. The sense most in accordance with the imagery of the context, and sustained by modern oriental usage and the ancient Versions, is, to storm against, to break in upon, and hence to persecute, assail. “How long will ye storm against, or break in upon, a man?”

Ye shall be slain Ye will crush, all of you. The verb is to be taken in Piel, not passive, as describing what they would do, not what should be done to them; and the metaphor requires the radical sense as above, not the secondary sense as in the common Version.

As a bowing wall… and… tottering fence As a leaning wall, a wall thrust at, or thrust down. The idea of the latter, which is in the form of climax, is that of a wall which, from a violent shock, is thrown out of line and is ready to fall, or is already falling. Such was the contemptuous idea which the conspirators held of David. Perowne translates the passage:

How long will ye rush against a man.

Will ye all of you break [him] down,

As [though he were] a bowing wall, a tottering fence?

Verse 4

4. They only consult to cast him down On only, truly, see Psalms 62:1. The object of the conspiracy was to cast David down from the height of his kingly power and honour, to which God had exalted him; and he here submits the issue between them and God.

They delight in lies As their object is unjust and dishonourable, so they do not scruple to adopt the basest hypocrisy and falsehood in order to accomplish it.

They bless with their mouth Literally, they bless each one with his mouth. They profess openly to the people that they are doing all for the public good.

Verse 5

5. Wait thou only upon God David renews and reaffirms his trust as in Psalms 62:1, exhorting his soul to quiet submission and hope in God.

Verse 6

6. A repetition of Psalms 62:2. In this and Psalms 62:7 he expresses in various forms, and the strongest imagery, his sole trust and perfect security in God. This is characteristic of the psalms written on this occasion. See Psalms 4:3-5; Psalms 5:5-8; Psalms 62:3-7

Verse 8

8. Ye people The address here is to his loyal subjects, who had been faint hearted. See Psalms 4:6. He exhorts them to trust only and fully in God. As a military order it was worthy this unequalled theocratic sovereign, and was more effective, morally, at this hour, than the loudest preaching.

Pour out your heart before him He had already done it on this same occasion, (see Psalms 42:4,) and at an earlier day when in distress, Psalms 142:2. The pouring out of the heart is an expression borrowed from an ancient custom of taking an oath by pouring water on the ground. The water was “poured out before the Lord,” to signify that their words and promises had gone forth and could not be recalled, being “as water spilt upon the ground which cannot be gathered up again.” Roberts. See 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Samuel 14:14; Lamentations 2:19

Verse 9

9. Men of low degree… high degree Men of all degrees, as Psalms 49:2. The first designation denotes in the Hebrew the masses of our race as descendants of Adam; the second, those classes which have attained distinction on account of rank, wealth, or other circumstances. These all, apart from God, and of themselves considered as sources of help or objects of trust, are, the first class, vanity, the second, a lie.

To be laid in the balance Literally, going up, or ascending in the balance, as being the lighter scale.

Altogether lighter than vanity The meaning is: Put every one of them together in one scale of the balance, and vanity, or a breath, in the other, and they would mount up, as less than a breath. This estimate is not of man as God made him, but of man as sin and selfishness have corrupted him. It is man apart from God, and fighting against God, and fitly applies to Absalom with his accomplices, and the thoughtless multitude that follow them.

Verse 10

10. Oppression… robbery The two words differ more in the manner of acquiring than in the thing acquired. The former denotes that which is acquired by deceit and guile, the latter that which is gotten by force or violence. In either case the psalmist admonishes his enemies not to be elated by sudden success, nor put confidence in wealth or power thus gained, for both they and their works are subject to the judgment of God.

Verses 11-12

11, 12. God hath spoken Here is a formal affirmation of a direct revelation from God.

Once, twice, have I heard A Hebraism for many times; as if he would say, It is a familiar doctrine of the old dispensation that I am about to declare. See Job 33:14; Job 40:5. The Septuagint reads it “ Once God hath spoken; I have heard these two things.”

Power… mercy This is the matter of the revelation, that God is a God both of power and love. Wherefore let offenders tremble at the power that will dash in pieces all their schemes of iniquity and punish all their sin, and let humble and contrite hearts take courage and trust in his love.

For thou renderest So that thou renderest. That is, the consequence of this power and love of God is, that he will render to every man according to his work. His attributes, his mercy, no less than his power and justice, compel to this juridical distinction and judgment. See Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 62". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/psalms-62.html. 1874-1909.
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