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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 36

 

 

Verses 1-12

Psalm 36

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD

1 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart,

That there is no fear of God before his eyes.

2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes.

Until his iniquity be found to be hateful.

3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit:

He hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed;

He setteth himself in a way that is not good;

He abhorreth not evil.

5 Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;

And thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;

Thy judgments are a great deep:

O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

7 How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house;

And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

9 For with thee is the fountain of life:

In thy light shall we see light.

10 O continue thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee,

And thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

11 Let not the foot of pride come against me,

And let not the hand of the wicked remove me.

12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen:

They are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Title. Respecting the designation of David as servant of Jehovah vid. Psalm 18. By this reference to the position of the speaker as well towards God as the congregation, the reader’s attention is directly called to the meaning of this song as one to be well pondered. It is certainly not a Psalm of lamentation (De Wette), but a didactic Psalm (Luther). First there is a striking description of the wicked Prayer of Manasseh, in which all moral relations and regulations have been perverted into their opposites ( Psalm 36:1-4): then follows in the tone of a hymn ( Psalm 36:5-9) the praise of the immeasurable grace, faithfulness and righteousness of God; and the Psalm concludes with a prayer ( Psalm 36:10-11), for further exhibitions of these attributes towards all upright servants of God and towards the Psalmist with a reference to the ruin of the wicked ( Psalm 36:12). It is uncertain whether the preterites in this closing clause refer to historical facts which have recently transpired (Hitzig), or are to be taken as prophetical (most interpreters). In favor of the latter view is the absence of any other historical references. The house of God ( Psalm 36:8) certainly is not used figuratively in order to designate God as a father of a family (De Wette), but refers to the places of worship, yet without giving any reason to suppose that the author was a priest (Paulus). It is moreover entirely unnecessary to think of the temple of Solomon and descend to the period immediately before the exile (Ewald, Olsh, Hitzig). The conjecture of those who put the origin of this Psalm in the period in which Saul still pretended to be the friend of David (Amyrald, et al.), is likewise groundless. We have before us in this and similar Psalm, “reflections from the circumstances of the time and not from particular events” (Delitzsch). This Psalm has its present position in the order of Psalm from the use of “servant of Jehovah” comp. Psalm 35:27, the rare word dachah Psalm 36:12, comp. Psalm 35:5, and many correspondences with Psalm 37.

Str. I. Psalm 36:1. The wicked (hath) a prompting of ungodliness within his heart.—All attempts to retain the tex. recept.לִבִּי (my heart) have hitherto failed. For the turn which has been given to the clause by Gesen, De Wette, Stier, Von Hofm, after Symmach, and Luther, in taking the first line as a kind of title as an announcement of the contents, although only of the next verse (=A saying concerning the wickedness of the wicked is in my heart), is inadmissible, because on the one side there follows, not a saying respecting wickedness, but a description of it, on the other side usage does not admit of connecting נְאֻם (stat. const. of the part. pass. of נָאוּם = inspiratum, oraculum) with a gen. obj. The following genitive always designates the person which either imparts the prompting, or utters it as a prophet ( Numbers 24:3), or as an inspired poet ( 2 Samuel 23:1; Proverbs 30:1). That it is entirely different with מַשָּׂא makes no difference. If this is admitted, then the attempt might be made to regard the wicked man himself as speaking, as he in ironical imitation of the well-known tone of the prophet, sounds forth the “Divine word of wickedness to the wicked man.” If then, in order to get the contents of this word, the words “in the interior of my heart” are connected with the following line (Venema), there arises a clause, whose absurdity can be removed only by inadmissible explanations. If this is not done (Hengst.), the following details do not agree with the expectations awakened by such an announcement; and the thought, very proper in itself, that the wicked listen to the promptings of sin as Divine utterances, would be clothed in such an obscure and misleading form, that it could not be understood at all without explanation, as then even Hengst. can not but insert for this purpose the personal pronoun in his translation, “to me the wicked man.” All these difficulties however are set aside by the simple change of לִבִּי into לִבּוֹ, which is likewise in the ancient versions, and even in some manuscripts. The personification of sin is not strange either to the Old Testament or the New Testament ( Genesis 4:7; Romans 7.); and the unusual idea of an inspiring power is meditated by the wicked spirit which takes the place of the Spirit of God, 1 Kings 22:21 sq. and by the lying spirit which inspired the false prophets, Isaiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23; Micah 2:11 (Hupfeld. Hitzig. Delitzsch, now likewise Böttcher). There is therefore no occasion for the conjecture נָעֵם in order to get the sense: Vice is pleasant (Diestel). And the proposition to transpose the נאם to the proper title after, “by David” (Maurer, formerly likewise Böttcher in part, Tholuck, G. Baur, Thenius), does not agree with the grammatical construction and the place of the word in the syntax, which elsewhere prevail. The Vulgate has literally after the Sept. dixit injustus ut delinquat in semet ipso, which is explained by Schegg: The ungodly speaks to himself, persuades himself to sin.

Psalm 36:2. For he flattereth himself in his eyes with reference to the finding of his guilt,—literally he has made smooth towards himself. The אֵלָיו is reflexive, as Genesis 8:9; 1 Samuel 14:52. For the subject is not ungodliness (the Rabbins, Olsh, Camph, Delitzsch), but the wicked Prayer of Manasseh, because the entire section speaks of him and the translation “towards him” would lead to a flattery towards God (most ancient versions, Köster, Maurer, Tholuck), which explanation again would give an entirely different meaning to the clause from that allowed by the following words. For “finding of sin” never denotes the theoretical knowledge of it. Consequently the thought cannot be here, that the wicked man merely lied to God, that he possessed knowledge and hatred of his sins, and that he imagined that he could deceive God. No more does that expression denote the accomplishment of sin, as if the wicked man esteemed himself highly on account of his sins and his hatred of God and Divine things (Kimchi, Geier, J. H. Mich, Köster, Stier) in his flattering imagination against God and in contrast with his guilty fear of God (Rosenm.). It designates only the finding of sin by the avenger, who pursues and reaches it with the design of punishing it, Genesis 44:16; Hosea 12:9; comp. 1 Samuel 29:3-6; Psalm 17:3. This design of punishing cannot be lost sight of. Accordingly, although the original meaning may be given by assequi, yet the interpretation, that ungodliness directs flattering words to the wicked man in his eyes ( = well pleasing to him) in order to accomplish his guilt, that is in order to obtain, that he may become guilty and hate God and man instead of loving (Delitzsch), is indeed ingenious but not entirely in harmony with usage, according to which the discovery, that is the disclosing of the guilt of another’s sin, has the design of punishment, which in this interpretation disappears entirely behind that of being guilty. For it cannot be said that it is taught here, that personified ungodliness has in view, with its suggestions, the attainment of the purpose, that the wicked man shall constantly become more guilty in order that he may more certainly meet his punishment. Still less can any one be authorized to make Elohim the subject of the entire clause [Perowne]. For first, the interpretation “God has made it smooth, acted softly towards him in his eyes, that is according to his fancy,” gives indeed a good sense and is correct according to the language; but it makes the following clause still more difficult of comprehension. For the translation “to find the corrupt things of the unrighteous so that he must hate them” (find worthy of hatred) (Hofm.), corresponds neither with usage nor the context. And the proposition to put ver2b in a parenthesis as an explanation of the fancy (Hupf.), is as much a desperate expedient as the ingenious conjecture of Hupfeld, that perhaps the חדל (he has left off), which precedes the two infinitives with ל in the following verse, has here fallen away. Under these circumstances it is most advisable to find the thought expressed, that the wicked man flatters himself with the foolish imagination that he will escape punishment. That it is an imagination or fancy is expressed by the words “in his eyes.” A corresponding expression in the previous line makes it necessary to think of the eyes of the wicked, not those of God, in connection with which interpretation many more ancient interpreters thought of a merely external service, works lying before the eyes, which the wicked man performed hypocritically, without internal reverence of God. But such an interpretation, not to speak of other objections, is not at all suitable to the mention of the eyes of God, which designate above all His Omniscience and Infallibility. Psalm 36:2 b refers (Hengst.) to the sphere, in which this self-deception of the audacious villain moves (comp. Deuteronomy 29:18; Isaiah 28:15). Yet it must be conceded, that even this interpretation is not free from the objection that the expression is yet somewhat hard, forced and unusual, especially when it is compared with the other verses, which with all their sublimity and meaning, yet have a clear and flowing style. It is very natural therefore to think of a corruption of the text (Olsh, Hupf.). But although only a slight change in the text would be necessary in order to the ingenious conjecture mentioned above, of a verb which has been omitted (Hupf.), or to gain the sense; it flatters him in his eyes (it tickles his pride), to discover missteps in others and to make them suffer for them (Thenius), these proposals have partly objections in themselves, partly they lead to the unbounded field of mere conjecture. The ancient translators already differed, partly from the Hebrew text, partly from one another, and rendered it in a way which is in part unintelligible. The interpretation of Symmachus has been renewed in part by Clauss, in the interpretation: he acts slippery towards God in his eyes, in order to slip away from the finding out of his misdeed. Here the “making smooth” is changed into a meaning which cannot be proved for the word in question. On the other hand it might be taken in the sense of “coquetting towards God,” and כי be used in the sense of ἐάν, so that Psalm 36:3, forms the conclusion. (Hitzig). But if then this coquetting is taken as the hypocritical confession, he has found=become sensible of his sin and hates it, this meaning cannot be regarded as proved by the remark, that where as here the guilty man himself finds the guilt, מצא means knowing, becoming sensible of what was previously obscure or uncertain. The passages cited in favor of this, Ecclesiastes 7:29; 24:27; Job 32:13, have not this connection of “finding” with “sin” on which all depends. Moreover the entire description is not that of the sanctimonious hypocrite, but the real villain (Sachs) who comforts himself by his experience in sinning (Hengst.).—The impersonal interpretation: “it flatters him” (Ewald, Thenius) is likewise contrary to the usual use of the verb. Böttcher maintains (Neue exeget. krit. Æhrenlese Nr. 1092) his previous (Theol. Stud, und Krit. 1850. § 609) interpretation: for he flattereth himself, when he directs his eyes upon himself; to discover his guilt must be odious to him.[FN1]

[Str. II. Psalm 36:3-4. Perowne: “ Psalm 36:1-4 describe generally the character of the ungodly: first the sin of his heart ( Psalm 36:1-2); then the sin of his lips ( Psalm 36:3); lastly the sin of his hands, the evil schemes which he devises and executes ( Psalm 36:4). As there is a climax in the whole description of the evil Prayer of Manasseh, so especially is there a progress from bad to worse in Psalm 36:3-4. (1) He hath left off to do good; (2) on his bed he meditates evil ( Psalm 4:4; Micah 2:1); (3) he resolutely sets himself to do evil; (4) his very conscience is hardened, so that he does evil without repugnance or misgiving”—C. A. B.]

Str. III. [ Psalm 36:5.[FN2]Thy mercy Jehovah (reacheth) to the heavens; Thy faithfulness unto the skies.—Most interpreters regard ב in the first clause as equivalent to עַד and interpret it by supplying as in the second clause “reacheth.” In favor of this is the parallel passage, Psalm 57:11, comp. Psalm 71:19; Psalm 103:11; Job 11:8; Job 22:12; Job 35:5. Hengstenberg refers to the pillar of cloud and of fire reaching from earth to heaven and yet prefers the rendering in the heavens which includes the reaching to the heavens. The idea of the passage is to measure the mercy and faithfulness of God as in the passages cited above, and therefore it is better to regard the clauses as parallel as in Psalm 57:11. The mercy of God is heaven-high. In the second clause שְׁחָקִים is the vault of heaven, the expanse beaten out like fine dust, best rendered in English by the sky, or plural skies.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 36:6. Mountains of God.—These are not as it were the highest mountains, because all that is best in nature or of its kind is distinguished by the addition of the words, “of God” (the Rabbins, Calvin, Geier, J. H. Mich. et al.). This supposition does not accord with the sharp distinction between the natural and the Divine, which prevails in the Biblical view of the world. This designation is used not only where there is an emphatic reference to that which has been produced by God (Hupf.), but likewise that which testifies to the glory of God (His power, goodness, and holiness) and serves to reveal Him. Thus the prophets are frequently called men of God, and Mount Sinai and Zion, mountains of God; so likewise Paradise is called the garden of God, Genesis 13:10, comp. Psalm 2:8, and the rain in contrast to artificial irrigation is called the brook of God, Psalm 65:9; and the cedars of Lebanon are called cedars of God, Psalm 80:10; and trees of God, Psalm 104:16, not only because He planted them as the aloes ( Numbers 24:6), but because they testify to His creative power, and their consideration gives occasion to worship Him. The tert. compar. in the comparison of righteousness with the mountains of God is therefore, their firmness and unmoveableness (Luther and most interpreters], whether with or without the subordinate idea of the safety of those who seek refuge in them (Stier), rather than their greatness and height (Hengst, Hupf.).—Thy judgments a great flood.—The effects of righteousness, the judgments of God are directly compared with the great flood, not with reference to their depth as contrasted with the height of the mountains (Hupf.), or on account of their unfathomableness and unsearchableness (Aben Ezra Geier, Rosenm, Stier, Delitzsch), or with respect to their unmeasurableness (Hengst.) and comprehensive extent (Calvin), but with reference to their power which none can escape and the certainty with which they reach their ends. For the expression תחום רבה occurs only in Genesis 7:11, and therefore points, not to the unfathomable depth or the unmeasurable ocean, but to the flood which overflows all things, which pours over the world judging and delivering according to God’s will. Accordingly the allusion to the deliverance of the animal kingdom with Noah’s family (Venema, Hengst.) in the following clause is not a strange historical reference mixed with the general clause (Hupf.), although it is correct, that the cattle, that Isaiah, the animal kingdom, in their needs appear frequently as an object of Divine care and mercy in connection with men. It is likewise to be noticed, that the reference is not directly historical; but is merely an allusion to that historical event, in which the judgments of God actually presented themselves as a great flood ( Psalm 29:10). So much the easier is the idea of Divine judgments or indeed of severe afflictions in general, from which God delivers the pious, explained under the figure of great overflowings, ( Psalm 32:6), which yet would have otherwise been far from the mind of the Hebrew owing to the physical character of his land.—There is not the least reference in this Psalm to a victorious war in which men and beasts were delivered from the danger incurred by the inroad of heathen nations (Hitzig), which had broken treaties ( Habakkuk 2:17; Habakkuk 3:17).

Psalm 36:7. Shadow of Thy wings.—It follows from Psalm 61:4, that the shelter under the shadow of the wings of God is connected with dwelling in the tent. It is more natural here to think not of the cherubim but of the hen or the eagle, as Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 63:7; Psalm 91:4; Psalm 91:2.

Psalm 36:8. Fatness of Thy house.—This is not the gift of the paternal goodness of God abundantly bestowed in the world (De Wette), but first of all the sacrificial meals ( Isaiah 43:24; Jeremiah 31:14), and if we may understand by them thank offerings and peace offerings, the reference is to reconciliation with God, and not to victory over earthly enemies ( Psalm 65:4). Since however there is no reference to the use of sacrifices as such, but these serve as figurative designations of the enjoyment which those have, who are placed near to God in communion with Him, as Jeremiah 31:14, we may likewise, yet always only on this foundation, think of “rich goods” (Luther) in a wider sense, the spiritual joy and blessings of the entire sphere of the Divine grace.Stream of Thy pleasures.—In this connection the Hebrew word for pleasures reminds us of Paradise (Eden), but the stream (literally brook) is merely the usual figure of fulness and of blessing. (Hupf.). Further references to the common source of the four arms of that stream or to the stream going forth from Eden to water the garden Genesis 2:10 (Hengst, Delitzsch), are not in the text. The figure of receiving drink from a flowing water originates from the idea, that God is the fountain of life and light ( Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; Proverbs 16:22).

Psalm 36:9. For with Thee is the fountain of life, and in Thy light we see light.—The frequent connection of life and light ( Psalm 56:14; Job 3:20; Proverbs 16:15) and the entire context of the present passage show, that here the reference is not to a knowledge of religious truth in the light of revelation (most interpreters), but to an experience which joyously shines through men, when they retain the light of grace ( Psalm 4:6; Psalm 44:3), the light of life proceeding from the face of God; and with this the light of success and of salvation, which threatened to be put out, rises again. Comp. Böttcher de inferis § 96.

[Str. IV. Psalm 36:10. Loving-kindness.—Perowne: “For the third time he dwells on this attribute of God, and again associates it as in Psalm 36:5-6, with the “righteousness” of God,—loving-kindness (or mercy) and righteousness.”

Psalm 36:11. Neither let the hand of the wicked drive me away.—Hupfeld: “Foot and hand are the instruments and figures of violence: the former of treading under foot, of crushing; the latter of thrusting away, hunting away, driving away, namely from the possession of land, thus of banishment.”—C. A. B.]

Str. V. Psalm 36:12. There have the evildoers fallen.—Some interpret the preterites in this verse as future and translate, then will fall: this is to be entirely rejected. שׁם does not refer to time, but to place=there; and there is no more reference to a promise than to a prayer (Luther). The thought is most natural, that David here refers to a well known historical example (Venema, Clericus, Olsh, Hitzig, Hupf.) as Psalm 14:5, in order to instruct and to comfort, or indeed to strengthen the confidence in the certainty of the Divine judgment. This would be expressed by translating them as perfects (Sept, Chald, Jerome). Yet it is admissible to use the present (Syr, Symmach.) and to take the preterite as prophetic (Calvin, Hengst, Delitzsch), because in the prophetic view that which is mentioned previously as sure, may be treated as something that has already happened.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. If a man hardens himself in his sins by impenitence, so that he becomes a wanton and a villain, it goes so far with him, that the entire interior of his heart is taken possession of by wickedness, and a total perversion of true relations occurs. The place of the voice of God in the conscience is taken by wickedness with its suggestions, as the supernatural power determining the man in his religious and moral relations, and it blinds him to such an extent that God has for him “no objectivity inspiring respect” (Delitzsch); and no thought at all of Divine punishment, especially with reference to himself, comes into his conceited soul, but rather defiance of God’s variance with him is so closely connected with the flattering imaginations of his own security from punishment that he not only speaks wickedly, and devises mischief, but he consciously has departed from rational and good actions, and in bold opposition to the Divine commands, with fearful resoluteness, has taken his position in the way which is not good, because he has killed at once all love to the good with a dead conscience and recognises no longer the blamableness of evil.

2. But if the wicked man is no longer to be terrified by Divine judgments and can be prevented by terror from no wicked Acts, yet the pious man is not utterly lost. God provides still that the trees should not grow into the heavens. Thither the grace of the Eternal extends, as it comes from thence and the acts of His faithfulness correspond with it. Therefore as the heavens cannot be stormed by the ungodly, no more can they make Him inaccessible to the pious, or prevent the coming of the kingdom of heaven. And still less can they cast down the Divine ordinances in the world. The righteousness of God is as inviolable as the mountains established by Him and His judgments are executed as inevitably as the great flood. But the same God who takes away the wicked in His time, shows Himself to be the Saviour in such a comprehensive sense, that even the irrational beasts, how much more men, stand under His care and Providence.

3. But if the goodness of God is such a precious possession, worth more than all the treasures of the world, the members of the congregation particularly have reason to celebrate it; for although they are indeed poor children of Adam, yet they are not only objects of His care, as all creatures, but they have access to the good things, blessings and joys of His house. The God, who takes His children everywhere with paternal love into the truest protection, and spreads wings over them, the shadow of which protects them against the heat of affliction, here takes His people of priests to His table and provides them with all that they need, not only according to their necessities, but richly and beyond all their prayer and understanding. For in communion with God alone is the true and inexhaustible fountain of life and light. God has not only both in Himself alone in inseparable union, but He alone is at the same time life and light in the highest sense and in everlasting perfection; and from free grace He imparts both in holy interchange in the most blissful perfection ( John 1:4).

4. Hebrews, therefore who desires that the joyful light of everlasting redemption, and a blissful life should rise for him and never be put out, and still further craves that he may be filled more and more with this life and its light, and that it may shine through him to such an extent that he may be glorified by it, must take and keep such a position, that the gracious light of the Divine countenance may shine upon him and the work of grace in imparting life to him from God may be a constant one. The believer may and must pray constantly for the continuance of this work of grace. For it is certain that to be estranged from God is like the darkness of death, and includes loss of salvation and ruin of life. But he who knows God, doubts not of the readiness of God to continue to extend His grace; and he who is of upright heart and just mind, relies upon the work of the Divine righteousness. He may reckon upon it with the confidence of faith, that proud wicked men are yet not supreme and cannot crush him or drive him from the kingdom, house, and inheritance given him by God. But the righteous man with prophetic glance sees them already as lost people, and beholds in spirit their irreparable ruin. They are changed into a “field of corpses without the hope of resurrection” (Delitzsch) Isaiah 26:14.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The defiance of the ungodly: 1) whence it originates; 2) in what it asserts itself; 3) how it ends.—God’s judgments may be denied but not avoided; it is well for those who have no reason to fear them.—Ungodliness a) in its power, b) in its enormity, c) in its weakness.—What the righteous have to expect from the ungodly and what they have to expect from God.—He who would not fear the defiance of the ungodly must be able a) to conceal himself in the love of God; b) to trust in God’s faithfulness; c) to reckon upon God’s righteousness.—The ungodly may threaten to perplex and overturn the whole world by their doings, but he who knows God, traces in the whole world the testimonies of the Divine government.—The wicked are ruined forever on account of their wickedness, but the pious have in God an inexhaustible fountain of life, whose light never expires.—The refreshments in the house and at the table of God help the pious to overcome all need and anguish in the world.—The wicked doings of the ungodly and the blessed gracious condition of the pious.

Starke: Since believers are servants of God on account of their common and their special calling, they should be the more cheerful and willing to faithfully fulfil their duties; the reward of grace will surely follow.—The purer and more tender the love to God and His honor, the more sensitive the pain where they must see and hear that which is opposed to this.—When men are first brought by the devil to such a state that they put away from them the fear of God; there is no blasphemy too great but that they should be drawn into it.—The two employments which worldlings have learned are to do evil, and speak evil and scorn those who do good.—No sin is too horrid for a godless mind, that he should abhor it—it is all sport to him.—Many men are so hardened, that, although others give them good advice, yet they from evil custom reject the best and choose the worst. We should oppose the wrath of Satan and the enmity of the world with the goodness of God, just as we use God’s truth against Satan’s lies.—Wherever we may be, we are yet surrounded by the goodness of God, as the heavens encompass us.—There is nothing more precious and valuable to the Christian in heaven or on earth, than the goodness and grace of God, whence all his salvation in time and eternity springs.—True Christianity is not a disagreeable thing, but has more joy in it, than can be found in the whole world, although this joy is concealed from the eyes of the world.—God can lift up again the poor man who has been cast down to the ground by the proud man; but who can help that man up again, whom God has cast down into the abyss?—If we are in the way of life, the hand of God must keep us there, and for this, constant prayer is necessary.

Osiander: As we should pray for our adversaries, as long as there is any hope that they may be brought to repentance, so likewise we may pray against them when they give good evidence that they are entirely and utterly hardened and will never come to repentance and conversion; we should yet take care lest we judge too rashly and too soon and not regard our own revengeful feelings as a holy zeal.—Schnepf: The mercy of God is greater than all his works:—Menzel: When God’s word is let go, there is no fear of God left.—Dauderstadt: Not only the ungodly have falls, but likewise the pious; but the latter arise again, the former not.—Bake: When a man leaves off to fear God; no sin is too great for him.—Dietelmair: If God is the fountain whence all our joy springs, nothing can prevent our joy.—Arndt: In all troubles however high or deep or broad or long they may be, God’s grace and truth are still greater and higher.—Tholuck: How gracious must the wing of Divine care be since it includes not only men but even irrational beasts in its broad shadow.—Since all good things which men enjoy come from God, the children of God may in fact be sure that they will not be the last to receive them when they are distributed.—No one has ever found God except through God.—Guenther: When wickedness seems to prevail everywhere, it is only appearance. God’s love and righteousness will rule forever.—Diedrich: Those are the true servants of God, to whom God gives the experience of the mysteries of His kingdom, that they may be able to impart them to others.—He who has known his treasure in God, has no fear of ever losing it.—Taube: The fourfold condition and advance of sin: 1) servitude to sin, 2) security in sin, 3) lying and hypocrisy, 4) hardness and obduracy of heart.

[Matth. Henry: Omissions make way for commissions. When men leave off doing good, leave off praying, leave off their attendance on God’s ordinances, and their duty to Him, the devil easily makes them his agents, his instruments to draw those that will be drawn into sin, and those that will not, to draw them into trouble.—If sinners did not steel their hearts, and brazen their faces with obstinacy and impudence, they could not go on in their evil ways, in such a direct opposition to all that is just and good.—If God’s mercies were not in the heavens, that Isaiah, infinitely above the mercies of any creature, He would long ere this have drowned the world again.—Let us not wonder that God gives food to bad men, for He feeds the brute creatures; and let us not fear but that He will provide well for good men.—A gracious soul, though still desiring more of God, never desires more than God.—The pleasures of sense are stinking puddle water; those of faith are pure and pleasant, clear as crystal, Revelation 22:1.—Barnes: All away from God is dark; all near Him is light. If therefore we desire light on the subjects which pertain to our salvation, it must be sought by a direct and near approach to Him; and the more we can lose ourselves in the splendors of His throne, the more we shall understand of truth.—Faith often converts the promises into reality; and in the bright anticipations and the certain hopes of heaven sings and rejoices as if it were already in our possession,—anticipating only by a few short days, weeks, or years, what will certainly be ours.—Spurgeon: He hath the devil for his bed-fellow who lies abed and schemes how to sin.—Faith derives both light and life from God, and hence she neither dies nor darkens.—C. A. B.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - It is better to regard personified ungodliness as the subject of this clause, yet not with the explanation of Delitzsch with regard to the finding, but combined rather with the author’s view of the force of ‎ל and מצא. The translation would then be: He (ungodliness suggesting to him and prompting him) flatters him in his eyes with reference to finding his guilt, to hating (it). That Isaiah, ungodliness flatters him that his guilt will not be detected, hated and visited upon him.—C. A. B.]

FN#2 - Perowne: “The transition from this description of the wicked to the praise of God’s goodness and faithfulness, is certainly very abrupt; and we can feel no surprise that Hupfeld should be inclined to doubt an original connection between the two portions of the Psalm. Yet may we not account for the abruptness by a very natural recoil of feeling? No good man can ever delight to portray the workings of a heart al enated from God. If the evil he sees around him force him for a time to trace it to its hidden source or watch its outward development, with the more joy and thankfulness will he find refuge (see Psalm 36:7), from its hideous shadow in the faithfulness and goodness of God.”—C. A. B.]

 


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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 36:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-36.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, January 26th, 2020
the Third Sunday after Epiphany
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