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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 9

 

 

Verses 1-20

NOTES. Psalm 9:1-20

David praises God for punishing his enemies, and maintaining his cause, 1- 6. He shews that God will preserve his servants, and calls on them to praise his name, 7- 12. He prays for deliverance from present trials, that he may still praise the Lord; and predicts the ruin of the wicked, 13- 20.

Psalm 9:1-20. Title. Mitth-labben."] The import of this title, is very doubtful. " Muth" signifies death: and some imagine that " labben " the Song of Solomon , may denote Goliath, either in respect of his eminence, or his coming forth as the champion between the Philistines and Israel. Goliath is called by a name something like this, and which is rendered " a "champion." a man who comes between. 1 Samuel 17:4.) If, however, this be the meaning, it is very obscurely expressed : and, as Zion was not the place of Israel"s assembling for publick worship, till David had for some time been king over all Israel, the Psalm must have been composed long after Goliath"s death. (11- 14.) Others therefore suppose " Muth-labben " to mean, the death of his Song of Solomon , and refer the occasion of the Psalm to the death of Absalom. The Psalmist might have some reference to the various deliverances of his past life; but he was also lead, while praising God for them, to speak, as the type of Christ, concerning his conflicts and victories, and those of his church; and to celebrate her triumphs over every heathen and Anti-christian persecutor, while he included also the trials and deliverances of every believer.

V:1- 3. The Psalmist determined, on occasion of some recent deliverance, to " praise JEHOVAH with his whole " heart; " not feignedly, not as ascribing any share of the honour to himself, not in a cold and languid manner, but fervently and zealously. He would make the works, which God had wrought for him, known to all around : and thus rejoice in ascribing glory to his name, and in reflecting what a powerful and faithful Patron and Friend he had, and what an honour and benefit this was to him. His enemies hitherto had been turned back, and had stumbled and perished, not by his valour, but by the presence and power of God; and this made him confident of continued victories and final triumph. (Notes, Psalm 27:1-3. 2 Samuel 22:37-42.) This admits of the most obvious application to the works of God for his church, and for every believer; and no doubt was intended by the Holy Spirit, to be thus used in our worship and meditations. O thou most

High. (2) " God is in the loftiest and most exalted preeminence, and sovereignty, over the whole creation } and in essence and glory, surpassing all comprehension." (Marg. Ref. e.)

V:4- 6. God had pleaded David"s righteous cause against the wicked persecution of Saul, and had advanced him to the throne of all Israel, with the destruction of almost the whole family of Saul. He had given his king the victory over the surrounding heathen nations, who perished in great Numbers , and had finally lost the reputation of their former successes. So that every enemy which had before destroyed the cities of Israel, was deprived perpetually of power to continue these desolations; and most of them soon became so insignificant, that the memorial of them, and of their former greatness, perished with them. ^Thus the skth verse must be understood, if we adhere to the translation in the text; but the marginal reading here seems to give the proper sense. The destructions caused by the enemy were terminated; God had destroyed their cities; and the remembrance of them had failed from among men. Thus likewise the renowned monarchies, that successively made havock on earth, and oppressed Israel, are now destroyed and almost forgotten; the first opposers of Christ and Christianity have shared the same fate; and all these divine interpositions are earnests of the final ruin of all the enemies of the cause of Christ. (Notes, Daniel 2:38-45.)

V:7- 12. The reflection on the transient glory of earthly kingdoms, and illustrious conquerors, led the Psalmist to reflect on the eternity of JEHOVAH, and of his universal kingdom. This eternal Sovereign did not, indeed, immediately inflict vengeance on his enemies; but he was preparing his " throne for judgment." He would soon judge the whole human race in righteousness; and uprightly, or according to his declarations and promises, decide on the cause of each individual belonging to the people of Israel, and all other nations . In the mean while, he would

prove a Refuge for the protection and comfort of such, as were oppressed or persecuted for his sake, to which they should resort in times of trouble or danger.

Notes, Psalm 62:8-10. 2 Samuel 22:2-3. Proverbs 18:10-11. Isaiah 32:1-2

Indeed all who, by believing his word and experiencing his faithfulness and mercy, had obtained the knowledge of his name, or perfections, would trust in him entirely and exclusively; for it had never been known, that the Lord had forsaken any that sought him, because of their weakness, or the power of their enemies. But it was only as dwelling in Zion, on the mercy-seat, above the ark of the covenant, through the sacrifices and ordinances which typified the promised Saviour, that he could be sought by sinful men with acceptance; and therefore his people should abound in praising him, as the God of salvation; and making known his works, that others might learn to seek and serve him. He sometimes indeed permitted his servants to be tried by persecution; but there would be a season of inquisition for blood, when the prayers of the humble would be remembered, and completely answered. (Marg. Ref100: Notes, Isaiah 26:20-21.)

V:13 , 14. David, after all his triumphs, still had enemies, conflicts, and trials : the church, though victorious over all former opposers, is still " militant here on earth : " and the believer, though rescued from " the gates of death " and hell, and enabled to bless God for many deliverances, must still encounter troubles and temptations, and mingle prayers with his thanksgivings. The expression, " the " daughter of Zion," seems to denote the inhabitants of Zion, with all those who came to worship at the sanctuary, (which was placed there when this Psalm was written,)

considered as one collective body, the visible church, the type of the true church, which God our Saviour has espoused to himself, and which, in the true mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, shall shew forth all the praises of him, who has lifted her up from the gates of death, and raised her to that glorious felicity. (Notes, Psalm 22:22-25. Psalm 118:19-24. Isaiah 12:4-6. Hebrews 12:22-25. Revelation 14:15.) The contrast between " the gates of death," and " the gates " of the daughter of Zion," is remarkable. (Marg. Ref.) I will rejoice, & amp;c. (14) Notes, Psalm 13:5-6. 1 Samuel 2:1. Habakkuk 3:17-19. Luke 1:46-55.)

V:15 , 16. The several nations, who had engaged in war against David, had only brought destruction on themselves, by all their combinations and stratagems; and given JEHOVAH the occasion of manifesting his power and justice,in the judgments which he executed upon them. To this reflection the Psalmist adds, " Higgaion Selah; " a thing to be meditated on with the greatest attention: (" res meditanda summe," Junius;) probably, this is the true meaning of the two words thus connected. (Marg.) The example was very instructive, and ought to be deeply considered by the enemies of God for their warning, and by his servants for their encouragement in seasons of trouble and danger.

V:17. " All wickedness came originally with the wicked " one from hell; thither it will be again remitted; and they " who hold on its side must accompany it on its return to " that place of torment, there to be shut up for ever." Bp. Home.

This will be the case even with whole nations who forget God, and their obligation to him, and that worship and obedience which they owe him : for this forgetfulness is the effect of ingratitude, contempt, and aversion, it deserves his wrath, and is the source of all other crimes. (Note, Romans 1:28-32.) The future condemnation of the wicked seems to be intended; for as all men go down to the grave, the word, rendered hell, must in this connexion have a more awful meaning. (Notes, Psalm 16:8-11 . Revelation 20:11-15.)

V:18- 20. Many princes have claimed and received divine honours : the arrogant titles of infallibility and of his holiness, which one chief antichrist has assumed, are well known : and the proud and impious conduct of multitudes too evidently proves, not only that they forget God, but that they forget themselves to be men; sinful, weak, and dying creatures, who will soon be called to give an account of themselves to God. David therefore prayed that these haughty enemies of the Lord and his people, might be so terrified, as to recollect their own weakness, and submit to omnipotence. The LXX translate the first clause, " Place a lawgiver over them; " and the original word, by varying a vowel point, means a Teaclier; and in this sense the prayer is for their instruction and conversion.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

All our mercies should be acknowledged before God, in fervent praises : the whole glory of every success or deliverance belongs to him; our whole heart should be lifted up in rendering him this tribute; we should delight in shewing forth publickly his marvellous works, to us and to his church; and our joy must not rest in any of the gifts of our God, but ascend to him, and centre in him as our all-sufficient Portion. The enemies of Christ and of his people for a time may stand their ground, and prevail : but in due season, they will be dismayed, and fall and " perish " at his presence." He who advanced David, and maintained his righteous cause; who exalted the Saviour " to " his own right hand in heavenly places," in defiance of all his enemies; will shortly bring to an end the wickedness of persecuting tyrants, and cover them with eternal infamy.

This almighty Lord will help the Christian also in all his conflicts and temptations, and support and comfort him in all his troubles, till he is finally delivered from the body of sin; and till " Satan is bruised under his feet," and death itself is " swallowed up in victory." The eternal God has already prepared his throne for judgment : he will certainly execute judgment in ighteousness and in faithfulness; and then every iniquitous sentence will be reversed, and every oppressor punished. In the mean while, all " who know his name, will trust in him " for temporal protection and eternal salvation; and their experience will daily increase their knowledge and confirm their faith : for the Lord never did, and never will, forsake or reject any, who seek his favour according to his word. He is " in " Christ reconciling the world unto himself;" he may be found on a mercy-seat : let saints then sing praises to him, and (-all upon sinners to come and trust in him. The blood of many martyrs has been shed, and their persecutors have supposed that no inquisition would be made for it : but from time to time the Lord anticipates that day, when " the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more " cover her slain." He is ever mindful of the cry of the humble. His consolations more than counterbalance outward afflictions, and if any are cut off by martyrdom, their souls are forwarded to heaven. There the church is triumphant; here it must be militant. Satan, who hates us, will stir up opposition and excite our depravity by his suggestions : but the Lord, who has lifted us up from the gates of death and hell, considers all our conflicts and temptations; he will give us merciful deliverances on earth, that we may praise him with his people; and in a little time will completely rescue our souls; that, in his temple above, we may rejoice in his salvation and triumph in his praise. Then the wicked of every description will sink into the pit of destruction : their own crimes will fall upon them, and they will be caught in their own snare : then especially will the power and justice of God be made known to all the world, by " the judgments that he exe" cuteth; " and even whole nations of those, who forgot and despised him, shall be turned into hell, and for ever shut up in that region of darkness and despair. Many of his people are here permitted to be poor and afflicted, and seem to be forgotten; and they are all " poor in spirit," and have nothing to trust to but his mercy and grace. But they shall not always be forgotten : their expectation of help and salvation from God shall not perish in disappointment for ever. Often it has seemed, as if man would prevail against the cause of God; but the church has prayed, her Advocate has pleaded, and the arm of the Lord has been extended; some of her enemies have been judged and have perished; many have been intimidated, and others humbled in cordial submission; so that the cause of God yet maintains its ground. Still we have abundant reason to unite in prayer, and to say, " Arise, O Lord, let not Satan or man prevail to confine thy church within such narrow limits, to corrupt it by so many heresies and scandals, or to distract it with so many divisions and disputes : put those in fear and to shame, who arrogate more to themselves, than can belong to falliole, sinful, mortal man; humble and convert every opposer, and destroy every system of superstition and delusion; that all the inhabitants of the earth may know themselves to be lost, sinful men; that they may gladly welcome the Saviour, and become his willing subjects. Higgaion. Selah. Amen."

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 9:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-9.html. 1804.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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