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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 9



Verses 1-20

This Psalm has a dedication which is very difficult to understand: “To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben. A Psalm of David.” Either “Muthlabben” is the tune to which the Psalm was to be sung, or some musical instrument that is now forgotten, or else it alludes to Ben, who was one of the Levitical singers mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:18. In all probability, however, the true translation of the title is, “A Psalm on the death of the son,” or “on the death of the champion,” and it is thought by some that it was composed by David after the death of giant Goliath. If it be so, I think you will see, as we read the Psalm, that it well proclaims the victory which God had wrought.

Psalms 9:1. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

It will be well if we also resolve that we will praise the Lord. Most people have something or someone to praise, so let us select the Lord, even Jehovah, as the subject of our song. Let us resolve that we will praise him continually, for it may be difficult sometimes to do it. The heart may be very heavy; it may even be inclined to rebellion and murmuring, but let us make this strong resolution, in the power of God’s grace: “I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.” Here is room for great variety of praise, and here are abundant topics for praise, for there is no work of God which is not marvellous, and worthy of being praised with our whole heart. So, Lord I will not be dumb. Thou hast given me a tongue, I am not like the brute beasts that cannot speak; my tongue is the glory of my frame, so with it I will show forth all thy marvellous works.

Psalms 9:2. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Get thee up, then, my soul, out of the dark places of thy despondency. Rise, my drooping spirit, to something higher and better. If thou canst not be glad in anything else, be glad in thy God, — be glad that thou hast a God, and such a God, and that he is thy God still. Whatever else thou mayest have lost, thou hast not lost him. “I will be glad and rejoice.” The reduplication of the words indicates a double joy, — a double gladness, as the apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Be glad twice over, for you have double cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

Psalms 9:3. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.

As much as to say, “The presence of God is quite enough to make my adversaries flee, — yea, and utterly to cut them off.” As John Wesley said, “The best of all is, God is with us;” and if God be with us, it matters little to us who are against us.

Psalms 9:4. For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

One of our noblemen has this for his motto, “I will maintain it;” but the Christian has a far better one: “Thou hast maintained my right.” If David sang thus after he had hurled the stone from his sling into Goliath’s skull, he might well magnify the name of the Lord, who had maintained the rights of his people, and put the uncircumcised champion of the Philistines to confusion and death.

Psalms 9:5-6. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. O thou enemy, —

You can conceive of David, standing on the prostrate form of his fallen foe, and looking on that gigantic countenance and those mighty limbs, crying out, “O thou enemy,” —

Psalms 9:6-7. Destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities, their memorial is perished with them. But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

“Thou hast destroyed cities,” but thou couldst not destroy God. When thou didst defy the armies of other nations, thou couldst easily put them to rout, but when thou didst defy the living God, then there was an end of thee, for thou couldst not overcome him, nor overcome his people. Blessed be God for this, our faith is founded upon a rock that never shall be removed, and our confidence is fixed upon One who can never fail us, and whose truth must stand fast for ever.

Psalms 9:8-10. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:

The basis of faith is knowledge, and there is no knowledge like that which comes from experience. If you know the name of God as Jehovah, — the self-existent and ever-living God, — you will have good reason for trusting him; and then, if you know his many precious names, — such as Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my banner; Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide, Jehovah-Shalom, the peace-giving God, and Jehovah-Shammah, the God who is there where his people are — yea, if any one name of God be fully understood by you, you will put your trust in him.

Psalms 9:10-12. For thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them:

When the great Coroner’s inquest shall be held upon all who have wrongly suffered, the commission will open by an enquiry concerning the blood of the martyrs: “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them.” His suffering ones, who laid down their lives for the truth’s sake, shall find that their blood was precious in his sight.

Psalms 9:12. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

Is there not consolation in these words for some of you? You have been humbled, and brought down from your high place; now then, is your time to cry; and when you do so, you will prove that “he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” There are many, who give heed to the petitions of their needy fellow-creatures, and feel their force, for a time; but they are engaged in business, or occupied in other ways, and they soon forget. Other things crowd out the needy one’s petition, and so he is left unhelped. But it is never so with God: “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” Notice, in the next verse, how David avails himself of that truth. He seems to say, “Is it true that God does not forget the cry of the humble? Then I will cry unto him, and my humble cry shall go up to his ear, and to his heart.”

Psalms 9:13. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; —

What a blessed prayer that is, — a prayer useful on all occasions, — under a sense of sin, or under a load of sorrow, — burdened with labour, or crushed with despondency. It is a prayer which is like the cherubim’s sword, which turned every way; you may use it as you will: “Have mercy upon me, O Lord;” —

Psalms 9:13. Consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that lifted me up from the gates of death:

What a lift that is, — lifted up from the gates of death into life, and ultimately into heaven! What an almighty God our Lord proves himself to be at a dead lift! When every other arm is paralyzed, he comes to us, and lifts us up from the gates of death.

Psalms 9:14. That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion:

From the gates of death to the gates of Zion, is the lift which God gives to his poor suffering people.

Psalms 9:14-15. I will rejoice in thy salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made:

If you picture David with the carcase of the giant before him, the Philistines put to ignominious flight, and the Israelites in full pursuit after them, you can understand his saying, “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made.”

Psalms 9:15-16. In the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

The probable meaning of these words is, “Consider and pause.” They are musical rests, perhaps; but they also suggest to us how well it is, in our reading of the Scriptures, sometimes to stop a while, and inwardly digest the words that we have read.

Psalms 9:17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Even if they are not outwardly as wicked as other men are, yet their forgetfulness of God is the highest form of injustice to him; it is treason against the majesty of heaven; it is robbing God of what is his right; it is a combination of everything that is evil.

Psalms 9:18-20. For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. Arise, O LORD, let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.

They boast that they are men, and that they quit themselves like men. Yet let them know that, although they are men, they are only men, with all the infirmities and imperfections of men, and that there is a God who will, in due time, let men know that they are but men, and that the best of men are but men at their best.

Psalms 9:20. Selah.

Pause again, think over what we have been reading, and lift up your heart in prayer to God, seeking the aid of the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to your soul.


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 9:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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