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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 11

 

 

Verses 1-7

NOTES.

David, when advised to flee from his enemies, professes confidence in God, 1- 3. He shews the Lord"s abhorrence of the wicked, and his care of the righteous, 4-7.

Psalm 11:1-7.

V:1-3. It is probable, that this psalm was composed, when David first began to be in danger from the envy and malice of Saul; and that after David came to the throne, it was given to the chief musician for the service of the sanctuary. Many suppose these verses to be the language of enemies, who wanted to discourage David"s hope in God : but, as the unprincipled wickedness of his persecutors is fairly allowed, it is far more likely that they contain the prudent advice of his timid friends; who advised him, and his small party, to flee from court to their mountain, (the pronoun is plural,) to some place of safety pointed out to them, as the bird escapes from the fowler. They represented, that malice and treachery were combined against him; and that he would soon be slain, as by an arrow shot in the dark, from an unknown hand; that all foundations of religion and justice were subverted; that the most upright conduct would rather endanger him, than do him any service; and that there was no good to be done by the most righteous persons in such circumstances : or, " The righteous Prayer of Manasseh , what is he " doing," who expects safety in such a dangerous situation ?

But David considered the service of Saul and of Israel, as his post of duty; and, trusting in the Lord, he would not at present listen to any exhortations to desert it. (Notes, 1 Samuel 22:5; 1 Samuel 27:1-2.)

V:4 , 5. Tn the subsequent part of the Psalm , David shews the reasons of his confidence. JEHOVAH, as dwelling in his sanctuary, and manifesting his glory from the mercy-seat, was the God of Israel, the reconciled Friend of his people: but his throne was fixed in heaven, far above the power and machinations of all earthly potentates. (Notes, Psalm 115:3-7 - 1 Kings 8:27. Isaiah 461, 2.) His omniscience, perfectly viewing the character of every Prayer of Manasseh , and his impartial justice, concurred in detecting and punishing wicked persecutors and oppressors, who were the objects of his holy and most decided detestation : and though he tried and proved the righteous by sharp afflictions, yet the event would certainly be favourable to them. (Marg. Ref.)

V:6. The language of this verse is evidently taken from the awful judgment of God on Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven.

(Notes, Genesis 19:24-25. Deuteronomy 29:19-25.) Thus at last the wicked, ensnared in their own counsels, and driven away by the wrath of God as a tremendous tempest, will receive their portion in " the lake which burneth with fire " and brimstone." This is the cup of vengeance which will be given them to drink, seeing they have rejected " the cup of salvation." Snares.] Or, " burning-coals." Marg.

V:7 He who is in himself essential righteousness, " cannot but love his own resemblance, wrought in the " faithful by his good Spirit : with a countenance full of * paternal affection, he beholds and speaks peace and coin" fort to them, in the midst of their sorrows; until admit" ted, through mercy, to that glory, from which justice " excludes the wicked, and beholding that countenance " which has always beheld them, they shall enter on a life " of boundless and everlasting felicity." Bp. Home. (Notes, Revelation 21:22-27; Revelation 22:1-5.)

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

The servant of God should abide in his place and at his work, though it expose him to many dangers and difficulties : and the honour of God, the interests of his people, and regard to consistency of character, require eminent persons to expose themselves more, in times of persecution, than their inferiors are called to do. (Notes, Nehemiah 6:10-14. Daniel 6:10-11. Acts 8:1.) But the believer, though not terrified by the power and rage of his enemies, will frequently be tempted to desert his post, or to neglect his work, by the fears of his friends. They will clearly see his danger; but, through want or weakness of faith, they will not perceive his security; and they will often give him counsel, which savours of worldly policy, rather than of heavenly wisdom. But such dangerous temptations must be rejected with firmness ar.d decision. (Note, Matthew 16:21-23.) Let it not be thought, that, in times of prevailing iniquity, when all regard to the laws of God and man is discarded, the righteous can do no good. " All is not over, while there is a man left to reprove error, and bear testimony to the truth; and a Prayer of Manasseh , " who does it with becoming spirit, may stop a prince, or " senate, when in full career, and recover the day." " No " place on earth is out of the reach of care and trouble.

" Temptations are every where; and so is the grace of God." Up. Home. The upright and zealous servants of God are indeed peculiarly exposed to the malice of wicked persecutors, who commonly have power on their side; but let us not forget the almighty God. Upon his mercy-seat he hears the prayers, and defends the cause, of his people; but into that holy temple the daring sinner has no access. On his exalted throne he rules over all the kings of the earth; he notices all the devices of his enemies, and the perils of his friends : he will permit the persecutor to proceed just as far as is requisite, to prove and increase the faith and holiness of his servants. (Notes, Ixvi8- 10. Ixxvi10. Psalm 125:3.) But he abhors those, who delight in cruelty and violence, and will shortly assign them their horrible portion in the pit of destruction. He loves his own image in his people; he beholds them with complacency and paternal care; he protects their lives till their work be done, and then receives them to his heavenly kingdom. And what has he to fear, who has a rightecus cause, a rejoicing conscience, an almighty Friend, and a faithful promise on his side ? (Notes, 2 Samuel 22:29-33.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 11:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-11.html. 1804.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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