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21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again;
But the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth. 22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth, And they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The 'steps of a good man are 'ordered by the LORD, And he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old;
Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth ; And his seed is blessed.
They are preserved forever;
But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The P righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell therein forever.
The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, And his tongue talketh of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart,
None of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous,
And seeketh to slay him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand,
Nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way,
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
Yea, I sought him-but he could not be found! 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; For the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together,
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD,
10 Or, a green tree that groweth in his own soil.
DURING THE CAPTIVITY, BEFORE THE JEWS WERE ANIMATED WITH AN IMMEDIATE PROSPECT OF EMANCIPATION.
The grievous state of the wicked, 1-4; the excellence of God's mercy, 5-9; the Psalmist prayeth for favour to God's children, 10-12.
T To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.
The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart,
That there is no fear of God before his 2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, 'Until his iniquity be found to be hateful. 3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit; He hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
4 Heb deviseth mischief upon his bed;
He setteth himself in a way that is not good;
a Rom. 8. 18. 1 Heb. to find his iniquity to hate.
b Prov. 4. 16. Micah 2. 1.
2 Or, vanity.
5 Thy mercy, O LORD! is in the heavens;
And thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. 6 Thy righteousness is like 'the great mountains;
Thy judgments are a great deep;
O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.
7 How 'excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God!
8 They shall be 'abundantly satisfied With the fatness of thy house;
And thou shalt make them drink
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Of the river of thy pleasures.
9 For with thee is the fountain of life,
In thy light shall we see light.
(0 O continue thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee,
And thy righteousness to the upright in heart. 11 Let not the foot of pride come against me,
And let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
Heb. the mountains of God. e Job 11. 8. Psa, 77. 19.Rom. 11. 33.
d Job 7. 20. Psa. 145. 9.
e Ruth 2. 12. Psa. 17. 8.
f Job 20. 17. Rev. 22. 1.
Jer. 2. 13. John 4. 10, 14. h 1 Pet. 2. 9.
• Heb. draw out at length.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS CII, L, LXVII, CXXX, AND XXV.
PSALMS OF ASAPH AND OTHERS.
The period of the captivity had been foretold, by Jeremiah, to be seventy years. Jeremiah xxv, 11-14. It had also been foretold, by Jeremiah, Isaiah, and other prophets, that severe political judgments were to fall upon the Babylonian empire at the time of the deliverance of the Jewish captives. These facts were well understood by the intelligent and pious portion of the Hebrew people. Particularly had the faithful prophet Daniel kept his eye upon the political state of the times on the one hand, and the truthful records of prophecy on the other. The providence of God works in harmony with the laws of the material world, and those principles which govern human society; bringing about its wise and beneficent results by such natural agencies as faith alone can distinguish from the common course and constitution of things. Miracles alone are an exception to this rule; and, from their nature, they cannot and were never designed to be perpetuated, and can never, therefore, become the characteristic order of Divine providence.
For twenty years war had existed between the Babylonians and the united provinces of Media and Persia. The army of the latter, under their generalissimo Cyrus, the accomplished prince of Persia, had carried their victorious arms through the ancient province of Assyria, and westward to the Hellespont and the Ægean Sea, and southward through Syria and Arabia. The Babylonians were thus stripped at length of all their territory; and Cyrus now marched to the city of Babylon itself, to complete his triumphs by the capture of that great metropolis. Babylon was furnished with twenty years' provision. Its walls were impregnable; and the citizens and soldiers laughed at the folly and impotence of the Persian army, as they patiently drew their lines of circumvallation around the city and sat down for a regular siege.
Cyrus had been mentioned by name in prophecy one hundred and seventy years before this event, and one hundred and eleven years before he was born, and there designated as the person whom God had chosen to overthrow the Babylonian monarchy, and to liberate and restore his people. (Isaiah xlv, 1-4.) The circumstances of the downfal of Babylon had also been accurately foretold. It does not belong to these pages to trace minutely the history of this most memorable event. It is sufficient to state a few points. Babylon lay on both sides the Euphrates, and by digging a broad ditch completely round the city, Cyrus was enabled to divert the upper waters of the river from their proper course, conducting them through these artificial channels to unite again below the city. The bed of the river through the city was thus laid dry, affording an easy passage for the Persian army into the heart of the capital. Cyrus had completed these preparations, and waited only a favorable moment for carrying his bold scheme into effect. The night chosen for the execution of his plan was the same that Belshazzar had appointed, in honour of the gods of Babylon, for the universal feasting and debauch, both of the court and city. In consequence of the general revelry, the great gates of the walls which lined the river banks were left unbarred and unguarded. The army of Cyrus, marching up the dry river bed, and entering these gates, took possession of the city before the careless Babylonians were apprised of their danger. It was on that memorable night that Belshazzar saw the handwriting upon the wall, which he called Daniel to interpret. Daniel v. On that night he died, and with him terminated the Babylonian monarchy, which had lasted about eighty-four years.
Upon the capture of Babylon, Cyaxares the Second, called in Scripture Darius, king of the Medes, and uncle to Cyrus, "took the kingdom," and thus commenced the Medo-Persian Empire. Daniel v, 30, 31. These revolutions of empires were, to the common people, little more than a simple change of masters, or of the ruling dynasty, in which they had little to lose. It was the policy of Darius to occasion as little shock as possible to the popular order of things, in this new transfer of government, and to attach the Babylonians firmly to the Medo-Persian dominion. It was this latter circumstance which gave success to the adroit flattery of the Babylonian courtiers, when they