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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 94

Verses 1-23

This psalm was written under great oppression, in a time of war, but it bears no marks of being written in Babylon, for then they had no hope to rise against the wicked: Psalms 94:16.

Psalms 94:6 . They slay the widow, and the stranger, and the fatherless; that is, the rich and the landed interest, having frittered away the jubilee to little more than a name, would not allow the destitute more than half bread. Our land proprietors do the same, in many parts of this kingdom; they force the widow to dine and sup on a potato feast. This complaint is proof that this psalm was not written in Babylon, as the Arians plead, to get rid of it, and twenty other psalms, as uninspired, and merely moral odes.

Psalms 94:15 . Judgment shall return to righteousness. The Lord will give a double portion of blessings to his people, after complicated afflictions; light being sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.

Psalms 94:20 . Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee? This, it would seem, was written when some idolatrous prince filled the throne, and some delicacy is due to misguided monarchs.


This psalm describes the sentiments which should animate a pious prince, a zealous magistrate, and a faithful minister for the reformation of manners. It opens with prayer to God, to whom vengeance primarily belongs; and who has commissioned parents to use the rod, and magistrates to bear the sword.

A farther argument for reformation arises from the character and works of God. He made the eye, and must see; he planted the ear, and must hear the wicked speeches of men. This mode of answering brutish men is very conclusive, and covers with silence and shame the tongues of the impious. He that teacheth man knowledge by the dictates of natural religion, and by the superior glory of revelation, shall he not know the rebellious thoughts and secret sins of men? He chastises the heathen world, as the old testament everywhere teaches; and as St. Paul affirms that God left not himself without witness, how shall the Hebrew, and how shall the Christian church expect to be exempt? We abound with impiety, and the neglect of public worship. Blasphemy and sabbathbreaking are notorious in all the land. Drunkenness, whoredom, and uncleanness everywhere abound. Routes, theatres, and the haunts of infamy, reproach the nation; and yet, infidel in principle, they say the Lord neither sees nor regards our crimes.

The better to effectuate a national reformation, good men should associate against the wicked. We want associations in every town to embolden supine magistrates, to protect female virtue, and suppress vice.

Purposes of this nature are honoured from heaven by spiritual comforts. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul. Thus the divine approbation warming the heart, shall make one good man not afraid of a thousand evildoers.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 94". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.