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17 O Lord! how long wilt thou look on?

Rescue my soul from their destructions,
My solitary one from the lions.

18 I will give thanks to thee in a great assembly;

Among a multitude of people will I praise thee.

19 Let them not rejoice over me who are my enemies wrongfully: They that hate me without cause, wink the eye.

20 For they speak not peaceably;

But against the quiet of the land, they devise deceitful things. 21 They open their mouths wide upon me : They say, Aha! aha! our eye beholds it! 22 Thou seest, O Jehovah! keep not silence: O Lord! be not far from me.

23 Arouse thyself, awake to the decision of my cause;

Of my cause, my God and my Lord!

24 Judge me, O Jehovah! my God, according to thy righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, Aha! it is as we wish!

We will swallow him up.


26 Let them be ashamed and confounded at once, who rejoice at my Let them be clothed with shame who magnify themselves against


27 Let those who favour my righteous cause shout and be glad ;
Let them say continually, May Jehovah be magnified,
Who favoureth the prosperity of his servant!
28 Then shall my tongue declare thy righteousness,
And thy praise, all the day long.

17. My solitary one.]-The same term occurs in Psalm xxii. 20, where, as here, the English Bible has "my darling;" but the more correct notion is, that of being alone and unprotected, except by divine and unseen power.

19. Wink the eye.]-An indication of the satisfaction which they drew from the success of their plans.

21. Open their mouths wide.] - Vide Psalm xxii. 13.

23. Arouse thyself.]-Vide Psalm vii. 6. We can scarcely avoid to remark the similitude between this part of the Psalm before us and some parts of the twentysecond; and to observe that, though the language may be descriptive of David's sorrows, it is, in a far completer and higher sense, applicable to the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, as they are narrated by the Evangelists.


THIS Psalm bears the name of David as its author, who is described in the title as being "the servant of Jehovah," which he was in an eminent degree. The contents of the Psalm fully bear up this description. On some occasion, which we have not the means of ascertaining, David was engaged in reflecting upon the crimes which he witnessed, probably in the court, and among the associates of Saul: and he expresses his deep persuasion that men so lost to truth, and piety, and virtue, were at least practical, if not speculative atheists : "who had no fear of God before their eyes." No conclusion to which we can come is, indeed, more certain, than that the habitual practice of wickedness is, notwithstanding all professions to the contrary, a proof that men support themselves in their lawless courses, by indulging the suggestions of infidelity, and flattering themselves that no retribution awaits them for their crimes, if they can but escape the animadversion of their fellow mortals. The history of men in all ages is replete with instances, in which they so far liberate themselves from the restraints which a belief of the justice and holiness of God would have imposed upon them, as to violate the most sacred obligations of truth, humanity, and justice, in order to gratify their own selfish, proud, ambitious, or cruel propensities. The Psalmist having given utterance to such musings of his bosom, proceeds to contrast with these impious suggestions and practices, the truth, rectitude, and diffusive benignity of the blessed God; and concludes his devout meditations by an earnest request that himself, and all good men, may be rescued from the unbelieving and unrighteous practices of the wicked. Amyrald, a well-known expositor of the Psalms, argues at considerable length to show, that this Psalm was written about the time when Saul gave his daughter Michal to David, with a secret hope that his marriage with her might, in some way or other, promote his revengeful and murderous designs against him. But there are no data on which to found such a hypothesis.


1 THE transgression of the wicked saith within my heart,

"There is no fear of God before his eyes."

2 For he flattereth himself in his own sight,
That his iniquity will not be found to be hateful.

1. The transgression, &c.]-There is some ambiguity in the expression of this clause, which may be removed by a paraphrase of the following kind: "The criminal conduct of wicked men affirms, when I attentively consider it, that they have no fear of God before their eyes." The reasoning is, wicked men live in

such a course, that we cannot fail to conclude respecting them, that the real source of their conduct is to be traced up to the absence of all fear and reverence for the omniscience and righteousness of God.

2. That his iniquity, &c.]—It may, I think, be objected, that the version of this clause in the English translation

3 The words of his mouth are impious and deceitful;

He hath left off to be wise and to do good.

4 He deviseth crimes upon his bed:


He setteth himself in a way that is not good, he abhorreth not

5 Thy mercy, O Jehovah! is in the heavens; Thy faithfulness in the clouds.

6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a deep abyss.

O Jehovah! thou preservest man and beast!

7 How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God!


And the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy 8 They are abundantly supplied with the delicacies of thy house; And thou permittest them to drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9 For with thee is the fountain of life:

In thy light we behold light.

10 O continue thy loving kindness to them that love thee;

And thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

11 Let not the foot of pride come against me; Let not the hand of the wicked remove me.

does not agree with the sentiment which the writer intended to assert. The wicked, it is said, "flattereth himself in his own eyes." Now the persons here intended were, at the very time when the Psalmist was writing, persisting in their impious and unjust conduct; nor did they, at that time, discover, or think that other persons discovered, the odiousness of their doings; they flattered themselves, and encouraged themselves in their wickedness, by the delusion which they put upon themselves, that their crimes would not be viewed as the hateful things which they really were. Their self-flattery acted, therefore, as an inducement to encourage them in the course which was most agreeable to their base passions and unjust inclinations. Vide Additional Notes.

5. Thy mercy is in the heavens.]-The divine benignity is so vast and diffusive, that it reaches to the utmost extent, and

spreads itself even to the clouds and to the heavens. So Psalm ciii. 11, 12.

6. Like the great mountains. Literally, mountains of God.]-So firm and unmovable is the divine righteousness based, upon omnipotence and infinite wisdom.

-Thy judgments.]-Thy dispensations and the events of thy providence are too profound to be fathomed or comprehended by feeble mortals.

8. With the delicacies of thy house.]— The connexion of these words makes it evident, that the "house" here intended is the world, which abounds with whatever may minister to the support or delight of the animal and rational creation.

9. In thy light we shall behold light.]— There is a double figure here used. In the first case, light is put for divine emanations of bountiful favour; and then it is used to signify prosperity or happiness. Sc. " In thy diffusive goodness we enjoy happiness."

12 Fallen are the workers of iniquity!

They are beaten down, and they have no power to rise.


THE unequal and apparently fortuitous distribution of good and evil in the world has always been regarded as a thing difficult to be reconciled with a belief of the superintendence of a wise, powerful, and righteous Governor. The wicked often prosper; while, in numerous instances, the righteous are the children of adversity and sorrow. During the existence of the Mosaic dispensation, which was sanctioned by promises of prosperity to the good, and by denunciations of adversity to be inflicted upon the bad, no small degree of deviation from these general rules was permitted to take place. Even then, we find language like the following, uttered by good men; 66 I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Psalm lxxiii. 3. That such a state of things becomes a source of trial to men, cannot be questioned. It tries the righteous, by putting to the test their faith in God, and their patient submission to his appointments; it also tries the wicked, by affording scope for the exercise of their evil propensities; for, as good men are confirmed by this discipline in habits of piety and virtue, bad men are established in their impiety, and encouraged, as they imagine, to proceed in their irregular courses, till they become altogether obdurate in the practice of unrighteousness, and yield themselves up without restraint to the domination of evil. Such, in a greater or smaller degree, has been, and continues to be, the condition of men upon earth; and to this cause we are to ascribe the origin of the Psalm which now comes under our review.

David witnessed the discouragements to which feeble faith and imperfect piety exposed his countrymen; and he engaged in the composition of this Psalm, which forms a didactic poem of great pathos and beauty, for the purpose of removing the false appearances which triumphant impiety and afflicted virtue cast over the dispensations of Providence. How well he has succeeded, the increase of faith and consolation, amidst the mysterious arrangements of the Most High, supplies the most satisfactory proof. Multitudes in every succeeding age have been instructed and supported by the sacred truths which are here pressed upon their attention; nor can any one peruse with serious regard these stanzas, without fervent thankfulness to the Father of lights, who disposed and enabled his servant to compose so wise and attractive a lesson. The structure of this Psalm, agreeably to the suggestions of Moses Amyrald,

12. Fallen are the workers of iniquity.]— The Hebrew particle which is translated "there," is significant of time as well as place. It is here emphatical, and might

have been translated "now;" but the expression here adopted has greater force, and predicts events to come as being so certain, that they may be said to have taken place.

is irregular: the poet binds himself to no strict order; no coherency of parts is to be looked for in it; yet the consecutive sentences, as they drop from the pen of the writer, are so arranged as to bear the same relation to each other as is seen in a collection of beauteous flowers, or in the gems or pearls which form a splendid collar, with no other relation than what arises from the position in which they are set, and the thread which pierces and forms them into a magnificent whole.


1 FRET not thyself on account of evil doers;
Neither be thou envious of the workers of iniquity:
2 For they will soon be cut down like grass,

And wither as the green herb.

3 Trust in Jehovah, and do good:

Thou shalt dwell in the land, and live in security.

4 Delight thyself also in Jehovah,

And he will give thee the desires of thy heart.

5 Commit thy way unto Jehovah ;

Trust also in him, and he will accomplish all:

6 For he will bring forth thy righteousness as the light, And thy rectitude as the noon-day.

7 Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him :

Fret not thyself on account of him who prospereth in his way, On account of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;

Fret not thyself, so as to do evil;

9 For evil doers will be cut off;

But they who wait for Jehovah will inherit the land.

10 For yet a little while, and the wicked will not be;

Thou shalt attentively consider his place, but he will not be;

11 For the meek will inherit the land,

And delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

3. And live in security.]—There is a greater departure from the English Bible here in appearance than in reality; "Verily thou shalt be fed." The Hebrew term which is here translated "Verily," is a noun, significant of truth, stedfastness,

or security; and the literal version is 'feed in security."


6. Thy rectitude.] - English translation, "thy judgment," is equivocal, and conveys no definite sense.

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