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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 62

 

 

Verse 1

1. Truly—The word occurs six times in this psalm, and is translated truly, Psalms 62:1; only, Psalms 62:2; Psalms 62:4-6; and surely, Psalms 62:9. In every instance truly, or verily, would give the sense, and it is better to adhere to a uniform rendering. In this verse, and in Psalms 62:2; Psalms 62:5-6, it has a kindred significance to amen, verily, in the New Testament, and is the language of faith and solemn asseveration. The psalm must be supposed to have been written immediately before the battle described 2 Samuel 18, and is a specimen throughout of sage counsel and calm faith.

Waiteth—Is stilltrusts calmly. It is a description of perfect submission, or soul-rest in God. So Psalms 62:5, and Psalms 4:4; Psalms 37:7. In Psalms 131:2, it is rendered quieted myself.


Verse 2

2. My rock—See on Psalms 61:1.

My defence—My high place, an allusion to the high, rocky fortress, as 2 Samuel 5:6-9, the strongest defence known to ancient military life.

Greatly moved—The insurrection will disturb, and for the time disarrange, many surface elements, but will not overthrow or unsettle my kingdom. Thus far he had received answer to prayer.


Verse 3

3. How long will ye imagine mischief—He addresses the leaders of the rebellion. The Hebrew word translated “imagine mischief” occurs nowhere else, and its derivation has been variously understood. The sense most in accordance with the imagery of the context, and sustained by modern oriental usage and the ancient Versions, is, to storm against, to break in upon, and hence to persecute, assail. “How long will ye storm against, or break in upon, a man?”

Ye shall be slain—Ye will crush, all of you. The verb is to be taken in Piel, not passive, as describing what they would do, not what should be done to them; and the metaphor requires the radical sense as above, not the secondary sense as in the common Version.

As a bowing wall… and… tottering fenceAs a leaning wall, a wall thrust at, or thrust down. The idea of the latter, which is in the form of climax, is that of a wall which, from a violent shock, is thrown out of line and is ready to fall, or is already falling. Such was the contemptuous idea which the conspirators held of David. Perowne translates the passage:

How long will ye rush against a man.

Will ye all of you break [him] down,

As [though he were] a bowing wall, a tottering fence?


Verse 4

4. They only consult to cast him down—On only, truly, see Psalms 62:1. The object of the conspiracy was to cast David down from the height of his kingly power and honour, to which God had exalted him; and he here submits the issue between them and God.

They delight in lies—As their object is unjust and dishonourable, so they do not scruple to adopt the basest hypocrisy and falsehood in order to accomplish it.

They bless with their mouth—Literally, they bless each one with his mouth. They profess openly to the people that they are doing all for the public good.


Verse 5

5. Wait thou only upon God—David renews and reaffirms his trust as in Psalms 62:1, exhorting his soul to quiet submission and hope in God.


Verse 6

6. A repetition of Psalms 62:2. In this and Psalms 62:7 he expresses in various forms, and the strongest imagery, his sole trust and perfect security in God. This is characteristic of the psalms written on this occasion. See Psalms 4:3-5; Psalms 5:5-8; Psalms 62:3-7


Verse 8

8. Ye people—The address here is to his loyal subjects, who had been faint hearted. See Psalms 4:6. He exhorts them to trust only and fully in God. As a military order it was worthy this unequalled theocratic sovereign, and was more effective, morally, at this hour, than the loudest preaching.

Pour out your heart before him—He had already done it on this same occasion, (see Psalms 42:4,) and at an earlier day when in distress, Psalms 142:2. The pouring out of the heart is an expression borrowed from an ancient custom of taking an oath by pouring water on the ground. The water was “poured out before the Lord,” to signify that their words and promises had gone forth and could not be recalled, being “as water spilt upon the ground which cannot be gathered up again.”Roberts. See 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Samuel 14:14; Lamentations 2:19


Verse 9

9. Men of low degree… high degree—Men of all degrees, as Psalms 49:2. The first designation denotes in the Hebrew the masses of our race as descendants of Adam; the second, those classes which have attained distinction on account of rank, wealth, or other circumstances. These all, apart from God, and of themselves considered as sources of help or objects of trust, are, the first class, vanity, the second, a lie.

To be laid in the balance—Literally, going up, or ascending in the balance, as being the lighter scale.

Altogether lighter than vanity—The meaning is: Put every one of them together in one scale of the balance, and vanity, or a breath, in the other, and they would mount up, as less than a breath. This estimate is not of man as God made him, but of man as sin and selfishness have corrupted him. It is man apart from God, and fighting against God, and fitly applies to Absalom with his accomplices, and the thoughtless multitude that follow them.


Verse 10

10. Oppression… robbery—The two words differ more in the manner of acquiring than in the thing acquired. The former denotes that which is acquired by deceit and guile, the latter that which is gotten by force or violence. In either case the psalmist admonishes his enemies not to be elated by sudden success, nor put confidence in wealth or power thus gained, for both they and their works are subject to the judgment of God.


Verse 11-12

11, 12. God hath spoken—Here is a formal affirmation of a direct revelation from God.

Once, twice, have I heard—A Hebraism for many times; as if he would say, It is a familiar doctrine of the old dispensation that I am about to declare. See Job 33:14; Job 40:5. The Septuagint reads it “Once God hath spoken; I have heard these two things.”

Power… mercy—This is the matter of the revelation, that God is a God both of power and love. Wherefore let offenders tremble at the power that will dash in pieces all their schemes of iniquity and punish all their sin, and let humble and contrite hearts take courage and trust in his love.

For thou renderest—So that thou renderest. That is, the consequence of this power and love of God is, that he will render to every man according to his work. His attributes, his mercy, no less than his power and justice, compel to this juridical distinction and judgment. See Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 62:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-62.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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