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Monday, October 2nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 9

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2986. B.C. 1018.

Upon what particular occasion this Psalm was composed is not known. Dr. Horne, Henry, and some others, think it might probably be to celebrate the victories gained by David over the neighbouring nations, after God had exalted him to be king of Sion. With this the matter of the Psalm seems to agree, relating, it appears, to the manifold dangers he had been in, and the deliverance God had graciously given him out of them. Accordingly he praises God for giving him victory over his enemies, Psalms 9:1-6 . Triumphs in confidence that God would judge the world and protect his people, Psalms 9:7-10 . Calls others to praise him, Psalms 9:11 , Psalms 9:12 . Prays for help, and praises God, Psalms 9:13-20 .

Title of the Psalm. Upon Muth-labben, Hebrew words, which may be rendered, upon the death of the son, or of one called Labben, or of the man between, namely, Goliath, so called in the Hebrew text of 1 Samuel 17:4. Accordingly, Dr. Waterland renders this title, Upon the death of the champion. Very similar to which is the Chaldee, “To be sung on occasion of the death of the man who went forth from the camp.” Hence many have supposed that the Psalm relates to the victory obtained by David over Goliath. But this does not agree with Psalms 9:14, where mention is made of praising God in Zion, which then and long after was in the hands of the Jebusites. Perhaps, therefore, this term Muth-labben is only the name of some tune or instrument, of which we may be content to be ignorant, as the Jewish doctors also are.

Verses 1-2

Psalms 9:1-2. I will praise thee with my whole heart With a sincere, affectionate, and devout heart. I will show forth all thy marvellous works I will discourse, in the general, of thy manifold wonders wrought for me, and for thy church and people formerly. The particle all is here, as it is often elsewhere, taken in a restrained sense. I will rejoice in thee In thy favour and help vouchsafed to me.

Verse 3

Psalms 9:3. When mine enemies are turned back Discomfited and put to flight; they shall fall and perish They shall not save themselves by flight and so reserve themselves to do farther mischief but shall stumble, as it were, at the obstacles and impediments laid by thee in their way, and shall be pursued, overtaken, and cut off; at thy presence Upon thy appearing against them. One angry look of thine is sufficient to confound and destroy them. Hebrew, מפניךְ , mippaneicha, from thy face; they could not stand before thee, because thou didst march at the head of our armies against them. So he ascribes the honour of his victories to God only, and to his presence and assistance.

Verses 4-5

Psalms 9:4-5. My right and my cause That is, my righteous cause against thy and my enemies. Thou sattest in the throne, &c. Thou didst judge and give sentence for me. Thou hast rebuked That is, punished or destroyed, as it is explained in the next clause; the heathen Namely, the Philistines and other heathen nations who, from time to time, molested David and the people of Israel. Thou hast put out their name for ever Meaning either that fame and honour which they had gained by their former exploits, but had now utterly lost by their shameful defeats; or their very memorial, as it fared with Amalek.

Verse 6

Psalms 9:6. O thou enemy, &c. This is a sudden apostrophe to the enemies of God’s people, the Philistines, Amorites, or other nations which had formerly made great havoc and waste among them: Destructions are come to a perpetual end Thou hast formerly wasted and destroyed the people of God, but those destructions have now come to an end, and shall cease. Thy power to annoy Israel is now broken. Christians, when repeating those words, “may take a retrospect view of the successive fall of those empires, with their capital cities, in which the enemy had, from time to time, fixed his residence, and which had vexed and persecuted the people of God in different ages. Such were the Assyrian or Babylonian, the Persian and the Grecian monarchies. All these vanished away, and came to nothing. Nay, the very memorial of the stupendous Nineveh and Babylon is so perished with them that the place where they once stood is now no more to be found. The Roman empire was the last of the pagan persecuting powers; and when the church saw that under her feet, well might she cry out, The destructions of the enemy are completed to the uttermost! How lovely will this song be in the day when the last enemy shall be destroyed, and the world itself shall become what Babylon is at present.” Horne.

Verses 7-9

Psalms 9:7-9. But the Lord shall endure for ever Though cities and people may perish, yet the Lord abides for ever. Which is sufficient for the terror of his enemies, and the comfort of his church. He hath prepared his throne Or, established it by his immutable purpose and his irrevocable promise. And he shall judge the world Not you only, but all the enemies of his people and all the men in the world. The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed God will not only judge the world at the last day, and then give sentence for his people against their enemies, but even at present he will give them his protection.

Verse 10

Psalms 9:10. They that know That is, that thoroughly understand and duly consider thy name Thy infinite power and wisdom, and faithfulness and goodness. The name of God is frequently put for God. Will put their trust in thee The experience of thy faithfulness to thy people in all ages is a just ground for their confidence. Thou hast not forsaken them that seek thee That seek help and relief from thee by fervent prayer, mixed with faith or trust in thee, as is expressed in the former clause.

Verse 11

Psalms 9:11. Sing praises to the Lord Those who believe God is greatly to be praised not only desire to do that work better themselves, but desire that others also may join with them in it, and would gladly be instrumental to bring them to it. Which dwelleth in Zion As the special residence of his glory is in heaven, so the special residence of his grace is in his church, of which Zion was a type: there he meets his people with his promises and graces, and there he expects they should meet him with their praises and services. Declare among the people his doings Not only among the Israelites, but to the heathen nations, that they may also be brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God.

Verse 12

Psalms 9:12. When he maketh inquisition for blood The bloodshed of his innocent and holy ones: which though he may not seem to regard for a season, yet he will certainly call the authors of it to a severe account; he remembereth them The humble, as it follows, or the oppressed, (Psalms 9:9,) that trust in him, and seek to him, (Psalms 9:10,) whom he seemed to have forgotten. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble Or, meek, as the word עני , gnani, which occurs also Zechariah 9:9, is translated, Matthew 21:5. Who do not, cannot, and will not avenge themselves, but commit their cause to God, as the God to whom vengeance belongeth.

Verses 13-14

Psalms 9:13-14. Consider my trouble Namely, compassionately and effectually, so as to bring me out of it; thou that liftest me up from the gates of death From the brink or mouth of the grave, into which I was dropping, being as near death as a man is to the city who is come to the very gates of it. That I may show forth thy praise in the gates In the great assemblies which were usually held in the gates of cities; of the daughter of Zion Of the people who live in, or belong to, or meet together in Zion. These gates of Zion he elegantly opposes to the gates of death, and declares, if he be brought off from the latter, he will go into the former. Cities, it must be observed, are, as it were, mothers to their people, and people are commonly called their daughters. So the daughters of Egypt, Jeremiah 46:11; and of Edom, Lamentations 4:21; and of Tyre, Psalms 45:12; are put for the people of those places. I will rejoice in thy salvation Namely, with spiritual joy and thanksgiving; else it would be no fit motive to be used to God in prayer.

Verses 15-16

Psalms 9:15-16. The heathen are sunk in the pit they made Fallen into that destruction which they designed to bring upon others. “Faith beholds, as already executed, that righteous judgment whereby wicked men will fall into the perdition which they had prepared for others, either openly by persecution, or more covertly by temptation: see Psalms 7:15-16.” Horne. The Lord is known Or hath made himself known, or famous, even among his enemies; by the judgment which he executeth Upon the wicked. By this it is known, there is a God who judgeth in the earth: that he is a righteous God, and one that hates and will punish sin; by this the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. And therefore the psalmist adds here a note extraordinary, Higgaion, calling for special regard, as to a matter of the deepest importance, and which deserved and required deep and frequent consideration: for so the word signifies.

Verse 17

Psalms 9:17. The wicked shall be turned into hell Either, 1st, Into the grave, which is often called שׁאול , sheol, into which persons are said to be turned, or to return, because they were made of, or taken out of, the dust, Ecclesiastes 12:7; or, 2d, Into the place of eternal perdition, which also is sometimes called sheol, as Proverbs 15:24, and elsewhere. For he seems evidently to speak here of those punishments which are peculiar to the wicked, whereas the grave is common to the good and bad: and, as in Psalms 9:8, he appears to speak of the last and general judgment of all the world, so this verse may be understood of the general punishment of all wicked persons and nations consequent upon that judgment; and, into this place men may be said to be turned back, or to return, because it is their own proper place, (Acts 1:25,) to which they belong, and from which they have their wicked qualities, as being of their father the devil. For as “all wickedness,” says Dr. Horne, “came, originally, with the wicked one, from hell; thither it will be again remitted, and they who hold on its side must accompany it on its return to that place of torment, there to be shut up for ever.” And all the nations Whom neither their great numbers nor power can protect from God’s wrath; that forget God That do not consider nor regard him, nor his precepts, nor his threatenings and judgments; but go on securely and presumptuously in their wicked ways. Observe well, reader, forgetfulness of God is the primary cause of the wickedness of mankind, and there are whole nations, immense multitudes of persons, that forget him, though he is their Maker, Preserver, and Benefactor, and the Being on whom they are daily dependant for all things, and who live without him in the world; of all whom hell will at last be the portion, the pit of destruction in which they, and all their comforts, will be for ever lost and buried. Consider this well, and turn to the Lord with all thy heart.

Verse 18

Psalms 9:18. The needy shall not always be forgotten Though God, for a time, may seem to forget or neglect them, and suffer their enemies to triumph over them; The expectation of the poor Namely, of their receiving help from God, shall not perish for ever Though they may be tempted to think it shall. The vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak. He that believeth shall not make haste.

Verses 19-20

Psalms 9:19-20. Arise, O Lord Stir up thyself, exert thy power: let not man prevail Consult thine own honour and let not men, Hebrew, weak, miserable, and mortal men, prevail against the kingdom and interest of the almighty and immortal God: shall mortal man be too hard for God, too strong for his Maker? Let the heathen be judged in thy sight Let them be evidently called to an account for all the dishonour done to thee, and the mischief done to thy people. Impenitent sinners will be punished in God’s sight, and when their day of grace is over, the bowels even of infinite mercy will not relent toward them, Revelation 14:10. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men Subdue their proud and insolent spirits, strike a terror upon them, and make them afraid of thy judgments. God knows how to make the strongest and stoutest of men to tremble, and to flee when none pursues. That the nations may know themselves to be but men Weak, miserable, and mortal men, and therefore altogether unable to oppose the omnipotent and eternal God. He speaks thus because wicked men, when they are advanced to great power and majesty, are very prone to forget their own frailty, and to carry themselves as if they were gods: and because it is much for the glory of God, and the peace and welfare of the world, that all, even the highest and haughtiest, should know and consider themselves to be dependant, mutable, mortal, and accountable creatures.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 9". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/psalms-9.html. 1857.
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