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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 10

 

 

Verses 1-18

NOTES.

Psalm 10:1-18.

V:1 . David"s name is not prefixed to this Psalm; yet it is probable that it was composed by him, with reference to the persecution, which he and the church of God suffered during the reign of Saul : but it is applicable to similar cases in every age. While the trial continues, and comfort and deliverance are withheld, the Lord seems to " hide himself," or to " stand at a distance," as if regardless of the event : (Notes, Psalm 13:1-4. Psalm 22:1 :) but lie only waits to be called upon by importunate prayer to come and deliver his people.

V:2- 11. Several of the psalms seem intentionally to have been written in general terms, that they might serve to direct the devotions of the church in persecution, and those of every believer in his personal troubles and afflictions. Pride and ambition caused Saul to envy and hate David, as one who had eclipsed his glory, and who was appointed by God to the kingdom, as " the man after his " own heart; " and therefore he persecuted him. (Notes, 1 Samuel 18:6-11; 1 Samuel 20:31.) The Jewish priests, scribes, and rulers hated Christ and his apostles, because their ignorance and hypocrisy were exposed, and their authority endangered, by his clear and convincing instructions, his answers to their objections, and his holy example : and the same general principle has made way for the persecution of the humble and zealous servants of God in all ages. But the Psalmist predicted, (for the original is in the future tense, " They shall be taken, &c.; ") that his enemies would ruin themselves, instead of him. Saul at length avowed and boasted of his desire of murdering David, which at first he concealed : and he " blessed the covet" ous," who courted favour by betraying him. But God abhorred such men; as indeed they resembled Judas who sold his Lord. Saul, with evident haughtiness, refused to submit to the decree of God made known by Samuel, or to seek his favour; and in his subsequent conduct, he acted as an infidel or an atheist. He became grievously cruel and oppressive in his government, especially when he murdered the priests. (Notes, 1 Samuel 22:14-19.) God"s judgments were out of his sight : he believed nothing about them; and, growing more presumptuous by impunity, he scorned all those as enemies, who opposed his rage. His conversation became a mixture of profaneness, perjury, violent imprecations, and deceit; and he was continually avowing his base and mischievous purposes. (Notes, 1 Samuel 20:30-33.) Personally, and by his agents, he watched for David in every place where he was likely to surprise him; being bent on murdering a poor fugitive who had never injured him, as much as a hungry lion is of seizing his prey. Nay, he even seemed to pay court, and bumble himself, to David and others, as well as to stoop to the meanest practices, that he might get him within his reach, and murder him by one of his captains. This deliberate plan of virulent opposition to one whom God had expressly marked out as the object of his special favour, could be the result of nothing but contempt of God, and practical atheism. (Notes, Psalm 36:1-4.)

Wham the Lord abhorreth. (3And thus also in the13th verse. y:, in pihel, generally means, to provoke, or greatly to despise. The clause may either mean, " the Lord abhorreth, or despiseth, the " covetous man; " or, " the covetous man despiseth, or " provoketh, the Lord." ( Zechariah 11:8.)

V:12 , 13. The honour of God required, that such impious persons, who despised him and defied his wrath, should be openly rebuked; and his oppressed servants, who entrusted their cause with him, as openly delivered. (Marg. Ref.) < What is it, but thy long-suffering, . . . that makes " the wicked thus insolently despise thee ? He concludes, " thou wilt never punish him, because thou art so patient " with him." Bp. Patrick.

V:14 , 15. Though the Lord did not immediately appear to punish the persecutors, the Psalmist was fully assured, that he observed with strict attention all their mischief and malice; and would by his power openly requite his enemies. In confidence of this, his poor and persecuted servants " left themselves " in his hands, as destitute orphans who had no other helper, but who were assured of his compassionate protection. They also prayed against their oppressor, that God would " break his arm," (or deprive him of power,) and search out, in order to terminate, his wickedness, that none of it might remain. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 58:6-9. Exodus 30:20-26. Zechariah 11:15-17.)

V:16. The Canaanites had been destroyed out of the land by the power of JEHOVAH, the eternal King of Israel; ?nd Saul and his adherents were in reality no less heathens than they : David, therefore, in faith expected their extirpation from among the people of God. (Note, Revelation 11:1-2.) The original"words, (15; otty) rendered " for ever and " ever," appear always strictly to denote eternity.

V:17 , 18. The encouragement to be derived from the readiness, which God had ever shewn, to answer the prayers of the humble; the reason of this condescension to them in particular, because their prayers sprang from hearts prepared by his special grace;

(Notes, Romans 8:24-27. James 5:16-18. Jude 1:20-21;) the pleasure, so to speak, which he took in listening to them; and the deliverance in consequence granted to his church by crushing worldly oppressors; are circumstances replete with instruction and encouragement.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

As every believer, and the whole church, in conformity to Christ, must have seasons of trial and humiliation, the tempter and his party for a time succeed; (Note, Genesis 3:14-15;) and the Lord will sometimes seem to stand at a distance when his help is most wanted. But this will lead the believer to humble faith and prayer, and conduce to his good; and he should remember that even the Saviour once exclaimed, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken " me ? " (Notes, Matthew 27:46-50.) For it is far better to be a tempted, persecuted, and deserted saint, than a prosperous persecutor. It is a sad mark of a reprobate mind, when men glory in those desires, principles, and practices, which are really shameful. (Note, Philippians 3:17-19.) Nothing is more hateful to God, more contrary to true religion, or more prolifick of other crimes, than covetousness. Yet many who are severe against sins of inferior malignity, favour and speak well of the covetous; too often, it is to be feared, from covetousness in themselves. But persecutors are most liable to this; for the tools which they employ, are generally those who sell their souls, and would, if they had the opportunity, sell Christ himself, " for filthy lucre"s sake." (Notes, Matthew 26:14-16; Matthew 26:57-62. Acts 6:9-14. 1 Timothy 6:6-10.) Pride, however, is especially the image of Satan and the root of apostasy; and where it greatly prevails, it will appear even in a man"s looks. The proud man scorns dependence, or subjection to any Lord; he feels no want of a Teacher, a Priest, or a Saviour; he excuses or vindicates his transgressions of God"s law; he abhors the humbling truths of his gospel; and he is more disposed to rival God, or rob him of his glory, than to render him the worship and obedience which he demands. (Note, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.) He therefore banishes from his mind all thoughts of him, as much as he can. From such ungodliness, iniquity and fraud must spring of course; except as restrained by the fear of man or by contrary lusts. And when a person of this character obtains power and authority, he is formed for a tyrant and a persecutor. The judgments-of God are not feared or thought of; human opposition is disdained and derided. Grievous oppressions conducted with perjuries, deceit, lies, and all kind of abominable words and actions, may be expected, as circumstances arise and occasion requires. (Notes, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. 2 Peter 2:15-19. Jude 1:11-13.) From this source, no doubt, originates a great part of that enmity and contempt, which infidels express against the inoffensive disciples of Christ. Full of self-conceit, they affect to be thought wiser, and are ambitious of being greater, than other men. They consider Christianity and its zealous friends as standing in their way; and in opposing them, they bring ruin on themselves.

Alas, how many in all ages have answered this character !

and more have shewn the disposition, who could not or dared not indulge it. Indeed, all our deliberate sins spring from unbelief, forgetful ness, or contempt of God; and our hearts are prone to atheism itself. But the Lord beholds, and will requite, the spite and malice of his enemies, and all those crimes, which elude or out-brave human justice : he will judge in behalf of the fatherless and oppressed, against the worldly oppressor. Let then the poor, afflicted, persecuted, or tempted believer recollect, that Satan Isaiah , by usurpation and human choice, the prince of this world, and the father of all wicked men : and the children of God cannot reasonably expect much kindness, truth, or justice, from such persons as formerly " cruci" fied the Lord of glory." But this once-suffering Jesus, now reigns as King over all the earth, for the benefit of his church; and of his dominion there shall be no end.

Let us then commit ourselves unto him. Let us humbly trust in his mercy, and beg of him to prepare our hearts for himself; for the desires which he imparts, he will regard and answer. He will rescue the believer from every temptation, and break the arm of every oppressor, and " bruise Satan under our feet shortly." When that enemy shall be chained, and cast into the bottomless pit, every antichrist shall be destroyed, oppression and persecution shall cease, and the nations shall learn war no more; for they shall become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus, the Prince of peace. But from heaven alone will all sin and temptation be excluded : no Canaanite shall find entrance there; no lust shall then remain in the heart of any inhabitant; no imperfection will be known; but all shall be complete in love, purity, and joy.

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 10:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-10.html. 1804.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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