Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Upon Muthlabben, or, after the manner according to "death to
the Son," by which some song was known, to whose air or melody the
musician is directed to perform this Psalm. This mode of denoting a
song by some prominent word or words is still common (compare
The Psalmist praises God for deliverance from his enemies and
celebrates the divine government, for providing security to God's
people and punishment to the wicked. Thus encouraging himself, he
prays for new occasions to recount God's mercies, and confident of His
continued judgment on the wicked and vindication of the oppressed, he
implores a prompt and efficient manifestation of the divine
1. Heartfelt gratitude will find utterance.
3-5. When . . . are turned back--It is the result of God's power
alone. He, as a righteous Judge
vindicates His people. He rebukes by acts as well as words
(Ps 6:1; 18:15),
and so effectually as to destroy the names of nations as well as
6. Literally, "As to the enemy finished are his ruins for ever. Thou
[God] hast destroyed," &c.
(1Sa 15:3, 7; 27:8, 9).
The wicked are utterly undone. Their ruins shall never be repaired.
7, 8. God's eternal possession of a throne of justice is contrasted
with the ruin of the wicked.
9, 10. The oppressed, and all who know Him
(Ps 5:3; 7:1),
find Him a sure refuge.
Ps 2:6; 3:4).
12. for blood--that is, murders
including all the oppressions of His people.
He will avenge their cause.
13. gates--or, "regions."
of death--Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.
14. gates . . . Zion--The enclosure of the city (compare
or, church, as denoted by this phrase contrasted with that of death,
carries out the idea of exaltation as well as deliverance. Signal
favors should lead us to render signal and public thanks.
15, 16. The undesigned results of the devices of the wicked prove
them to be of God's overruling or ordering, especially when those
results are destructive to the wicked themselves.
16. Higgaion--means "meditation," and, combined with Selah, seems
to denote a pause of unusual solemnity and emphasis (compare
Though Selah occurs seventy-three times, this is the only case in
which Higgaion is found. In the view which is given here of the
retribution on the wicked as an instance of God's wise and holy
ordering, we may well pause in adoring wonder and faith.
17. shall be turned--or, "shall turn," retreating under God's
vengeance, and driven by Him to the extreme of destruction, even hell
itself. Those who forget God are classed with the depraved and openly
the needy--literally, "poor," as deprived of anything; hence miserable.
expectation of the poor--or, "meek," "humble," made so by affliction.
let not man--
let . . . be judged--and of course condemned.
20. By their effectual subjection, make them to realize their frail
and deter them from all conceit and future rebellion.