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V. 1. JEHOVAH, who judges the principalities and powers of the invisible world, will call to account the greatest of those, who exercise dominion over their fellow-creatures on earth. " He judgeth in the " midst of gods." Rulers seem as gods to their subjects, and they indeed are the Lord’s appointed vicegerents: (Notes, 6, 7- Romans 13:1-7: ) but they are the subjects of his kingdom, even as other men ; and he is especially at all times present in their courts, to animadvert on the justice or injustice of their decisions; to receive appeals from their sentence, when unrighteous ; and to call them to a strict account if they abuse their power. (Marg. Ref.)
It is not known by whom, or when, this psalm was written : some date it in David’s time, and others in that of Hezekiah.
V. 2- 4. ’ Is it not time to leave off your partiality ; and no longer to favour a bad cause, because the man is rich and great ; and can either give you a large bribe, if you will judge it for him, or do you a mischief if you give sentence against him ? Your duty is to do equal justice to all men that come before you ; and to take a particular care, that the poor and the fatherless do not ’ suffer because they have no money to give, nor any friend to solicit.’ Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Iviii. I, 2. Exodus 23:6-9. 2 Chronicles 19:5-11.) ’Every upright judge will endeavour to resemble the Redeemer. For this purpose, he will be always willing to admit, diligent to discuss, solicitous to expedite the cause of a poor and injured person, and to afford such a one the speediest, the cheapest, and the most effectual redress, equally despising the offers of opulence, and the frowns of power.’ Bp. Home. (Notes,Psalms 72:1-7 2 Samuel 23:3-4.) Do justice, &c. (3) " Justify the afflicted, &c." (Note, Proverbs 17:5.)
V. 5. ’ They will not study the laws of God ; or if they do, will not think it their interest to be governed by them ; . . . insomuch, that the foundations of the kingdom, which ’ are justice and truth, are shaken ; all things are in con’ fusion, and in danger to come to utter ruin. Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Note, Ixxv. 3.)
V. 6, 7 The rulers of Israel, as immediately appointed by JEHOVAH to be his representatives, to judge according to his law, and to be types of his Anointed, were especially honoured with this high title, "Ye are gods;" in which other magistrates share, in proportion to their religious advantages. But though outwardly honoured as " gods," as " children of the most High," and as representing the Son of God himself; yet, seeing they in general abused these distinctions, the Lord would soon shew them their weakness, as mean mortal men ; and leave them to be cast down from their dignity, like one of the princes whom Israel crashed wheh they came up out of Egypt, or in their subsequent wars. (Psalms 83:6-11. Notes, John 10:32-39.)
V. 8. ’ Seeing none amendment, he desireth God to ’ undertake the matter, and execute justice himself.This verse, however, is evidently a prophetical prayer for the coming of the Messiah, and the conversion of the nations to him.
(Notes, Psalms 2:1-9
The authority of God should be acknowledged, honoured, and submitted to, in those governors whom his providence places over us. But they also must be reminded, that they arc only viceroys of the King of heaven, bound under the strictest obligations, and the most awful responsibility, to do his will, and copy his example; that he witnesses the use which they make of their authority, and will judge them for it; and that if, with present impunity, they " judge unjustly and accept the persons of the wicked," they will have a most terrible sentence denounced on them at last. These plain truths are too generally forgotten or discredited by those in authority : they know not, because they " will not understand ; " therefore they walk on still in darkness: (Note, John 3:19-21:) and the perversion of law and justice, through their impiety and iniquity, subverts the foundations of social felicity, and enhances exceedingly the miseries of mankind. (Notes, Psalms 11:1-3. Psalms 14:1-7 Micah 7:1-4.) God has indeed honoured rulers, (especially those placed over his people,) by entrusting to them, as it were, a share of his authority ; and favouring them, as children, with a portion of his inheritance : and honourable and happy are they, who, out of a regard to him, " defend the poor and father’ do justice to the afflicted and needy, and deliver them out of the hands of the wicked. But as for ungodly rulers, their disgrace and misery will equal their present abused distinctions ; and they will feel the insignificancy of that preeminence, which made them forget that they were men, when death shall arrest them and hurry them to judgment ; and they shall be condemned with those princes who made war against Israel of old. We should, however, be thankful for the blessings of civil government, which, with all its defects, is of immense advantage to mankind. And we should pray for our rulers, and leave such as misbehave to the judgment of God, and be thankful for our peculiar advantages in this respect. But, considering the state of affairs in the world, from the beginning hitherto, we have need even on that account, to pray most earnestly and constantly, that the Lord Jesus would arise and take possession of his inheritance, and rule over all nations, in truth, and righteousness, and peace.
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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 82". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany