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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Psalms 10

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? [why] hidest thou [thyself] in times of trouble?

Ver. 1. Why standest thou afar off, O Lord?] As if thou hadst forgotten what thou hadst promised thy people in the formed psalm; which the Greek and Latin versions make to be one and the same with this, as having no title, and tending almost to the same purpose. Hence the difference in numbers, which holdeth almost to the end of the psalter, viz. to Psalms 148:1-14.

Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?] So God seemeth to do when he helpeth not presently; neither doth anything more trouble the saints in affliction than the want of God’s gracious presence. This maketh them thus to expostulate and lament after the Lord; not quarrel, as those hypocrites did, Isaiah 58:3, or revile, as Caligula did his Jupiter, taking up that verse in Homer, Zευ πατερ ουτις σειο Yεων ολοωτερος αλλος, or with him (little better) in the holy history, who said, "Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any lenger?" 2 Kings 6:33. The good soul knows that God waiteth to be gracious; and as he seldom cometh at our time, so at his own (which is ever the best) time he never faileth.


Verse 2

Psalms 10:2 The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

Ver. 2. The wicked in his pride doth persecute, &c.] Heb. hotly pursueth ( εμπυριζεται. Chrysost.), and that out of his pride, the true cause of persecution, whatever else is pretended. And this is fitly here alleged, and urged as an argument to move God to make haste. See Deuteronomy 32:27 : The saints fare the better for the insolence and outrage of their enemies, whose ruin is thereby accelerated, and somewhat God will do the sooner for his people, lest the enemy exalt himself, Psalms 140:8, and say, Our hand is high, the Lord hath not done this.

Let them be taken in the devices, &c.] As all persecutors are sure to be in which regard Tertullian well adviseth Scapula, Si nobis non parcis, tibi parce; si non tibi, Carthagini: If thou wilt not spare us Christians, yet spare thyself; or if not thyself, yet thy city Carthage, which else will smart and smoke for thy cruelty.


Verse 3

Psalms 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, [whom] the LORD abhorreth.

Ver. 3. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire] Though the soul of the wicked desire evil, Proverbs 21:10, yet he glorieth in it, as did that thrasonical Lamech, Genesis 4:23-24, and that pyrgopolynices Nebuchadnezzar, Isaiah 10:9-12, Daniel 4:30-31. See Psalms 52:1, Philippians 3:19. This the just and jealous God cannot bear, as neither that which followeth.

And blesseth the covetous] Ut sapientem et providum, as a wise man and good husband. So they in Malachi, who said, "And now we count the proud happy," &c. Felix scelus virtus vocatur (Seneca).

Whom the Lord abhorreth] Smiting his hands with indignation at his dishonest gain, Ezekiel 22:13, like as Balak did at Balsam, with whom he was deeply displeased, Numbers 24:10.


Verse 4

Psalms 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.

Ver. 4. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance] That is, of his heart, appearing in his countenance, as a master pock in his forehead. For pride buddeth, Ezekiel 7:10; the pride of Israel testifieth to his face, Hosea 5:5; the thoughts are oft seen in the countenance; and the heart is printed upon the face, Isaiah 3:9. It is a hard thing, saith one, to have a brazen face and a broken heart.

Will not seek] He thinks it not necessary or worth the while; and his practice is agreeable, that is, naught all over. Pride in the soul is like a great swelling in the body, which, besides that it is a dangerous symptom, unfits it for any good service; and is apt to putrefy and to break, and to run with loathsome and foul matter. So doth pride disable the soul from doing duty, and at last breaketh forth into odious deeds, abominable to God and men. It is observed, that the ground whereon the peacock useth to sit is by that occasion made exceeding barren; so where pride roosteth and reigneth, no good groweth.

God is not in all his thoughts] God is neither in his head, as here, nor in his heart, Psalms 14:1, nor in his words, Psalms 12:4, nor in his ways, Titus 1:16; he is wholly without God in the world, Ephesians 2:1-3, he studies atheism, and all his thoughts are, There is no God, so this text may be read, he would fain so persuade himself.


Verse 5

Psalms 10:5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments [are] far above out of his sight: [as for] all his enemies, he puffeth at them.

Ver. 5. His ways are always grievous] As he pleaseth not God, so he is contrary and vexatious to men, Viae eius semper terrent, so Aben Ezra. The psalmist here noteth him for such a one as the Cyclopes are set forth to have been by the poets.

Thy judgments are far above out of his sight] He looketh not so high, but reckoneth that quae supra nos nihil ad nos. If he read them at any time, he regardeth them as little as he doth the story of foreign wars, wherein he is not concerned.

As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them] He holdeth himself man good enough to make his party good with them, and that he can overthrow them all with a puff. He defieth them and domineereth over them, as the Greek renders it, κατακυριενει (Sept.), εκφυσα (Chrysost.).


Verse 6

Psalms 10:6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for [I shall] never [be] in adversity.

Ver. 6. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved] So said a better man once, Psalms 30:6, but he was quickly confuted. If a believer conclude, by the force of his faith, that he shall never be moved from that good estate in which Christ hath set him, this is the triumph of trust, and not the vain vaunt of presumption.

For I shall never be in adversity] The Chaldee hath it, Quoniam non sum in malo; and understandeth it as the evil of sin, as Exodus 32:22, and then the sense is, because the wicked man suffereth not the punishment of sin, therefore he conceiveth that he is innocent, and without sin. See Hosea 12:8, {See Trapp on "Hosea 12:8"}


Verse 7

Psalms 10:7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue [is] mischief and vanity.

Ver. 7. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit] Such cursing men are cursed men; and for such slippery and deceitful persons the Lord is the avenger of all such, 1 Thessalonians 4:8.

Under his tongue is mischief] That is, in his heart, which is by nature placed beneath the tongue, making its use of it for much mischief, Matthew 12:34, James 3:8. The word Toch, here rendered fraud, signifieth, properly, the middle of anything, Quoniam fraus in medio cordis est, saith R. David, because fraud is in the middle of the heart, and therehence sent into the mouth.


Verse 8

Psalms 10:8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.

Ver. 8. He sitteth in the lurking places, &c.] A. description of a highway robber, saith Diodati, under which name are meant all violent and fraudulent men, and their actions.


Verse 9

Psalms 10:9 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.

Ver. 9. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den] See Job 38:40, {See Trapp on "Job 38:40"}

When he draweth him into his net] That is, into his bonds, debts, mortgages, saith Chrysostom. When a poor man is once gotten into these nets, wicked oppressors do not only rob but ravish them; coining their money upon poor men’s skins, and wringing the sponges of poor people into their own purses. David compareth them to cannibals, Psalms 14:4, to greedy lions here. Another saith they are like the fish polypus, that lying in wait for other fishes upon the rock, assimilateth to the rock and taketh them in his net, which he hath naturally behind his head, and can spread at his pleasure, before they find themselves in danger (Sir Richard Berkley’s Summum Bonum).


Verse 10

Psalms 10:10 He croucheth, [and] humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.

Ver. 10. He croucheth (or crusheth), and humbleth himself] Lion like, Job 38:40. He can sow the fox’s skin to the lion’s hide for a need, and to compass his design. As proud as he is, yet in subtlety he can abase himself; and, with glavering speeches and fawning behaviour, indirectly endeavour the overthrow of the innocent and distressed. To which purpose he can put himself to pain, feign himself sick and in a dying condition (as those do that stand for the popedom), counterfeit and pretend humility, but all is hypocrisy, Seipsum aegrum, et attritum fingit (of David).

That the poor may fall by his strong ones] Whether teeth or paws. Per impia decreta, saith R. Obadiah, by his wicked decrees, by the hands of his privados, desperate assassinates, saith another expositor.


Verse 11

Psalms 10:11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see [it].

Ver. 11. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten] That is, he knoweth it not, regardeth it not. To learn is nothing else but to remember, said Socrates; and what a man hath utterly forgotten it is all one as if he had never known it; 2 Peter 1:9, he "hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins," that is, he was never purged. See Psalms 10:4.


Verse 12

Psalms 10:12 Arise, O LORD O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.

Ver. 12. Arise, O Lord] Surge, age, summe Pater, said Mantuan to the pope, stirring him up against the Turks; may we better say to the Almighty God, against his people’s enemies,

O God, lift up thine hand Lift it up on high, that it may fall down the more heavily. In the first verse of this psalm the prophet complained that God stood afar off, and hid himself in time of trouble, Here he is entreated to arise, to come near, to put forth his hand for his people’s help, &c.


Verse 13

Psalms 10:13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require [it].

Ver. 13. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God?] q.d. It is time for thee, Lord, to arise and bestir thyself; for otherwise what will become of thy great name? The saints cannot endure that God should be slighted.

He hath said in his heart] Psalms 10:3-4. This sticks in David’s stomach, and draws this prayer from him, who was now blessedly blown up with a holy zeal for God; as was also good Zuinglius, when he said, In aliis mansnetus ero, in blasphemiis in Christum non ita, In other matters I can be mild and patient, but not so in case of blasphemy against Christ.


Verse 14

Psalms 10:14 Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.

Ver. 14. Thou hast seen it] For thou art All-eye, whatever the wicked conceiteth to the contrary, making thee a God of clouts, as they say, or a heathen idol, which is nothing in the world.

To requite it with thy hand] Reponendo in manu tua, by taking it in thy hand, so some render it, sc. ut propius intuearis, certius consideres, diiudices et vindices, that thou mayest take a more near and narrow view of it, and duly punish it (Aben-Ezra).

The poor committeth himself unto thee] Heb. leaveth, relinquit seipsum, et currit ad te, he relinquisheth himself, and runneth unto thee, Relinquit in te onus suum (R. Solomon). Now, whosoever committeth himself and his affairs to God shall be sure to find him a faithful depositary.

Thou art the helper of the fatherless] The world’s refuge, as the Grand Seignior is called; The poor man’s king, as James V, of Scotland. In God "the fatherless findeth mercy," Hosea 14:3. And these arguments David useth in his prayer, not to move God to hear and help, but to work upon his own heart thereby, and to persuade himself to more faith, love, obedience, humility, thankfulness, whereby we are the better fitted for mercy. When a man in a ship plucks a rock it seemeth as if he plucketh the rock nearer the ship, when as, indeed, the ship is plucked nearer the reck. So is it in this case: we seem to persuade God by our arguments, when as, indeed, the change is not wrought in him, but only in ourselves; our arguments are curarum nostrarum levamenta, et fiduciae impetrandi augmenta, the cure of our cares, and props to our faith of obtaining.


Verse 15

Psalms 10:15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil [man]: seek out his wickedness [till] thou find none.

Ver. 15. Break thou the arm of the wicked] That arm that hath been lifted up against the godly. See Psalms 3:8; Psalms 58:7.

Seek out his wickedness till thou find none] Ad alios vel inficiendos, vel infestandos, Ezekiel 23:48. Or, leave no sin of his unpunished. The Franciscans, to prove that Francis, the founder of their order, was without sin, foolishly allege this text, Quaeretur peccatum illius et non invenietur; wherein (according to the sense of the psalmist) what do they else but wish that God would trace him quite through the course and trade of his iniquities, even to the uttermost end of them, and punish him accordingly; which is done, no doubt, long since.


Verse 16

Psalms 10:16 The LORD [is] King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.

Ver. 16. The Lord is King for ever and ever] Therefore he will doubtless do whatsoever hath been before desired, and much more than we can ask or think. Many kings have been long lived, as was Artaxerxes Mnemon, who reigned 62 years; Augustus Caesar, 56; Queen Elizabeth, 44, &c.; but died at length, to the great grief of their subjects and servants, who are ready to wish (as once the Romans did concerning Augustus) that either they had never been or never died. But God is the King immortal, invisible, &c.

The heathen are perished out of his land] The enemies, whether Jews or Gentiles, are rid out of his Church; for that is God’s land by a specialty, his peculiar portion.


Verse 17

Psalms 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Ver. 17. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble] The whole life of a good Christian is a holy desire, saith Austin. And the desires of the righteous shall be satisfied, Proverbs 10:24, because they are framed by the Holy Spirit, according to the will of God, Romans 8:27, and they bare the mind of Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:16, who knoweth the mind of the Spirit, Romans 8:27, though their desires be not uttered, Romans 8:26.

Thou wilt prepare their heart] In removendis ab illo mundi negotiis, saith R. David, and by putting them into a praying frame, and so fitting them for mercy. Where God giveth a praying heart it is sure that he will show a pitying heart. If he prepare the heart, he will also bend his ear; like as when we bid our children ask us for this or that, we mean to give it them; and as when we open a purse as wide as we can pull it, it is a sign we intend to fill it to the top.

Thou wilt cause thine ear to hear] Even while they are preparing, and before they can speak, many times, Isaiah 65:24; or while they are praying, as Daniel 9:20, Acts 4:31, or not long after; they shall be sure to have out their prayers, either in money or in money’s worth, as they say.


Verse 18

Psalms 10:18 To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.

Ver. 18. To judge the fatherless, &c] The Vulgate hath it, to judge for the fatherless and for the oppressed. It is one thing (saith Austin) to judge the fatherless and another thing to judge for him; this latter is to pass sentence on his side; which God, the righteous Judge, will be sure to do without writhing or warping; for he hath all that is required of a judge originally and eminently, viz. wisdom, justice, courage, constance, and power.

That the man of the earth may no more oppress] Or, terrify, daunt with terror, as Philippians 1:28. {See Trapp on "Philippians 1:28"} Why should one man be terrible to another, since we are all mortales e terra, worms of the earth, clods of clay, and shall shortly return to the dust whence we were taken? unde superbit homo? "I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?" Isaiah 51:12-13. Some observe that the close of this psalm is much like that of the former. How they have been taken (by the Greek Fathers especially) for one entire psalm. {See Trapp on "Psalms 10:1"}

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-10.html. 1865-1868.

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Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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