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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 94

Verses 1-23

Psalms 94:1-23.

V. 1- 7. The writer of this psalm is not known ; and though some parts of it answer very well to the conduct of Saul and his courtiers, especially in the slaughter, not only of the priests, but of their widows and fatherless children, and also that of the unoffending Gibeonites; (5, 6. Notes, 1 Samuel 22:17-19. 2 Samuel 21:1-3 ;) yet it might equally suit many other corrupt times of

the church of Israel, and of the Christian church also. Whatever persecutions, cruelties, and iniquities the Psalmist and his pious friends experienced or witnessed ; they did not consider themselves as allowed to execute vengeance : but they called on " the God of revenges," (to whom it belonged to punish criminals and defend his people,) to appear in glory and majesty, and to recompense the blasphemies and proud boastings of their haughty persecutors.

(Notes, Psalms 7:6-7. Deuteronomy 32:34-35. Is. 59. 16- 19; 63. 16. Romans 12:17-21. Hebrews 10:28-31. Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 18:20; Revelation 19:1-6.) They were grieved and distressed, and thought it long, while they were compelled to hear and witness the triumphs and revilings of ungodly men, and to learn how they encouraged themselves in their detestable cruelties by atheistically principles. (Notes, Ixxiv. 10, 11. Ixxix.) The last verses are future in the original, and in several versions, and may be thus paraphrased : ’ Unless thou appear to execute vengeance, they will entirely crush thy people, and. reduce thy heritage, the nation of Israel, to the deepest misery ; for they are direct Atheists, or at least they do not believe that God at all beholds or regards the actions of men, or will call them to account for any part of their conduct. " They say, JAH shall not " see." ’ (Note, Ixviii. 4.) ’ Seeing the church was then so ’ sore oppressed, it ought not to appear strange to us, if ’ we see it so now; and therefore we must call to God, ’ to take our cause in hand.’ (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 10:2-13; Psalms 59:7-8.)

V. 8, 9. (Marg. Ref. Notes,Psalms 49:10. Psalms 92:6-7.) ’ Shall ’ not he hear your blasphemies, who gave you the faculty ’ of hearing ? and shall not he see all you do, who gave ’ you the power of seeing ? Is it possible he should give ’ to others, what he wants himself? ’ Bp. Patrick. (Note, Proverbs 20:12.) ’ The Psalmist uses the word planted to ’ describe the situation of the ear ; and the word formed to denote the structure of the eye. . . .The mechanism of the ’ ear, like a root planted (ss:) in the earth, is sunk deep ’ into the head, and concealed from . . . view. Whereas the ’ ball of the eye ... is prominent on the face, and presented ’ to general observation.’ Hervey.

V. 10, 11. The word rendered "chastise" generally implies force, constraint, punishment, or even binding,; whereas that translated " correct " denotes milder and gentler discipline and instruction. ’ If God punish whole ’ nations for their sins, it is mere folly for any one man, ’ or else a few, to think that God will spare them.’ (Note, Psalms 9:17.) He first taught Adam in Paradise, and, since the fall, has in various ways taught his posterity, all the useful knowledge which they possess; even those of them who abuse their talents in rebellion against him : and -is not he himself omniscient, as well as omnipotent ? (Marg. Ref.) But he well knows the emptiness and presumption of the thoughts, reasonings, speculations, and imaginations of apostate men, even of the very wisest and most ingenious of them ; and how worthless, pernicious, and false they are.

(Notes, Psalms 2:1-3. Psalms 49:10-13. Romans 1:21-23. 1 Corinthians 3:18-23.)

V. 12-14. (Notes, Psalms 1:1-3. Psalms 32:1-2. Job 5:17. Matthew 5:3-12. Hebrews 12:4-13.) ’ Not he that prospers in his ’ wickedness is happy, but lie whom thou chastenest, O ’ LORD, when he doeth amiss ; and thereby teachest to ’ study and obey thy law with greater care and diligence : ’ which will quiet his mind under all his troubles, and at ’ last procure the removal of them ; when absolute de-

’ struction and ruin, mean time, are preparing for the un’ godly.’ Bp. Patrick. The sharpest correction, by which God leads men to search, believe, and obey his word, arc inestimable benefits ; persecutors and tyrants often are the instruments of this salutary correction to the chosen tribes of God ; the persecuted and oppressed, not the persecutors and oppressors, are the happy persons : they will have rest, when the day of vengeance overwhelms the wicked. (Marg. Ref. Notes, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.) God may indeed let his people endure sharp and tedious sufferings, but he " will never leave them, no nor ever forsake them." (Notes, Psalms 37:27-28. 1 Samuel 12:22. John 10:26-31.) " Therefore they may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, " and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Note, Hebrews 13:5-6.)

V. 15. When iniquity triumphs, judgment seems to decline from righteousness : but when the Lord executes vengeance on the wicked, and delivers his people, then " judgment returns to righteousness." This the upright in heart confidently expect ; and therefore they adhere to the cause of piety, and continue to wait upon God in the midst of all discouragements.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 37:5-8. James 5:7-11.)

V. 16- 18. It is probable, that the Psalmist had expected, that many would join him in withstanding the oppression to which he was exposed, and which was the common cause of the nation ; and that he called on them for that purpose.

(Notes, Exodus 2:11-15; Exodus 32:27-29. Acts 7:17-29.) But when he found himself disappointed, he was ready to give up all for lost ; and had not God been his Helper, he must soon have been laid in the silent grave. His experience, however, did not accord to his fears ; for when his foot slipped, and he seemed to himself about to fall without remedy, his merciful God upheld him. When our Lord entered on his last scene of sufferings, he called on his disciples to watch witli him one hour; but he called in vain. They first slept, and then they all forsook him and fled. (Notes, Matthew 26:40-56.) Yet he was carried through all, and advanced to the throne of glory : and David’s case was but a feeble shadow of Christ’s, either in his humiliation or exaltation. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 19. The thoughts, contrivances, anxieties, and perplexities of the Psalmist’s mind, seem to be here represented by the intricacies of a thicket, or labyrinth, from which there appears to be no way of escape : (for this is the import of the original word :) but communion with God, and the consolations of his Spirit, so filled his heart with joy and gladness, as entirely to raise him above them all, and to fill his soul with delight, and adoring, thankful joy. (Notes, Psalms 13:4-6; Psalms 73:3-13.)

V. 20, 21. The evident injustice, oppression, and fraud of persecuting rulers, who perhaps at the same time pretend zeal for the honour of God, form an encouragement to the persecuted : for it is certain that the righteous Lord will have ojellowship with such workers of iniquity, under the colour of law and justice, and will give no countenance to them ; however for a time he may permit them to escape with impunity. ’ Righteousness and innocence are ’ most atrocious crimes, in the eyes of wickedness and guilt. ’ For these crimes Cain slew his brother Abel, the Jews ’ crucified Christ, the pagans tortured and murdered his ’ disciples, and bad men in all ages have persecuted the ’ good. " Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate ’ " you." ’ Bp. Home. The narrative, in the New Testament, of the chief priests, scribes, elders and people of Israel, with Pilate and his soldiers, and the Roman power, all collected against the innocent and righteous Saviour, fully answers to this description : and it is hardly possible to think, that the Holy Spirit did not intend those events, whatever occasioned the Psalmist thus to express himself. (Note,Psalms 58:1-2.) The words righteous and innocent are in the singular number : and the Jews themselves allow, that this psalm relates to the Messiah’s kingdom. (Marg. Ref.}

V. 22, 23. (Notes, Psalms 7:8-11 . Psalms 27:13. 2 Timothy 4:16-18.) The nation of the Jews, speaking by their rulers, teachers, and priests, and the congregation assembled at Jerusalem to keep the passover, when demanding the crucifixion of Christ, vehemently exclaimed, " His blood be " on us and on our children : " and the destruction of Jerusalem with unexampled slaughter, and the state of the Jews ever since, form an instance of the manner in which God brings on persecutors " their own iniquity, and cuts " them off’ in their own wickedness : " indeed those events

seem to have been expressly foretold. (Note Psalms 9:15-16. Esther 7:10. Daniel 9:25-27. Matthew 27:24-25.") ’ Armed with the shield of faith, and the sword of the ’ Spirit, we rise superior to every effort of diabolical malice, " and secular power ; waiting in patience and hope for the coming of that day, when He who hateth unrighteousness, and with whom the throne of iniquity can have no fellowship, shall visit the wickedness of the wicked upon them ; when ... the righteous shall be glorified with their Lord and Saviour.’ Bp. Harm.


V. 1-11.

Those, who imagine that the exuberant goodness and mercy of God are inconsistent with the exercise of rigorous justice, and with the infliction of vengeance on the wicked, must certainly have formed very erroneous conceptions of his character : for he is indeed " a GOD of revenges." (marg.) " Vengeance belongs to him " alone, except as he delegates others to be his executioners of it : (Note, Romans 13:3-5:) and such as have seen his " glory in the face of " Jesus Christ," readily perceive the most perfect harmony between his justice and mercy; while others are " blinded " by the god of this world," whatever wisdom they seem to possess, or have the reputation of. (Notes, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6.) We should however remember, that vengeance does not belong to us ; and therefore we must " render to " no man evil for evil," but leave our cause with the Judge of the earth. Under oppression and persecution we should beseech him to " shine forth," and shew himself, and to render a reward to the proud and ungodly : not so much that we may be freed from suffering ; as that we may not be grieved by beholding the triumphs, and hearing the slanders, blasphemies, and boastings, of the workers of iniquity. It is most horrible wickedness in any case to " murder the widow, the stranger, and the " fatherless : " but when these are the Lord’s heritage, his chosen people, who are broken in pieces and butchered for his sake, the impiety becomes still more atrocious ; and the pious spectator must needs be filled with the deepest sorrow and indignation. Such wretches, as commit these daring crimes, cannot believe that there is a God, or that he sees, and will call them to an account for, their conduct: and indeed infidelity and atheism are the proper attendants on injustice and cruelty. But the Christian, while, in earnestly pleading for the deliverance of the church, he must request the ruin of all her enemies, if they continue implacable, would still be far more gratified by their conversion. He will therefore pray that this change may take place : and with boldness and meekness, as he has opportunity, he will expostulate with them on the brutish folly of their principles and conduct. It would not be credible, if it were not undeniable, that millions of rational creatures should live, move, speak, hear, understand, remember, will, and effect their purposes ; and yet iliscourse and behave, as if they verily believed, that the God, from whom they derive all these capacities, could neither see, nor hear, nor understand, and would never punish their rebellious abuse of them ! But they will find, that JBHOVAH is the Fountain of knowledge, wisdom, and power, as well as of goodness and justice : and he will shew them, that he was acquainted with the secret thoughts of their hearts ; which are equally unreasonable and wicked, and are sure to terminate in vexation, if not in destruction. We may therefore conclude, without hesitation, that the most afflicted believer is far happier than the most prosperous among ungodly men. (Notes and P. 0. Luke 16:19-26.)

V. 12-23.

Afflictions are frequently the means of bringing sinners to repentance, and faith in the Saviour : and every man should think himself happy, who, being chastened of the Lord, is under the correction taught his truths and will, from the sacred word, and by the Holy Spirit. For he will find rest to his soul under adversities, and at length rest from them ; and the wicked will harass him, only till the pit be prepared, into which they shall sink and rise no more for ever. Let not then the upright in heart fear, lest the Lord should cast off his people : let them still cleave to him and follow after righteousness ; and at length the just Judge will terminate the triumphs of his enemies, and the sorrows of his servants. We should, according to our station in the church or in society, endeavour to unite all around us, in attempting to stem the torrent of impiety; but we need not wonder, if we find the remnant of believers timid and inactive, in proportion as the wicked are daring and enterprizing. Yet we must bear our testimony to the truth, and use our endeavours to serve the cause of godliness, though we do it alone, and in sackcloth : and the Lord will help and protect us, till our testimony be finished; let who will attempt to silence us, by terror, or in a dungeon, or in the grave. But unless he uphold us, our feet will slip : and if we have been preserved from falling into sin, or shrinking from our duty, on trying occasions, we should give him the whole glory, and encourage our brethren. When urgent difficulties press upon our minds, respecting our own case and our peculiar temptations, conflicts, and trials, or about the cause of God, multitudes of thoughts, contrivances, and apprehensions will arise within us ; the indulgence of which only increases vexation, solicitude, or distrust, and renders our views more and more gloomy and desponding. Then should we retire, and spread the case before the Lord, and pour out our hearts in prayer unto him : thus we shall find light arise in the midst of our darkness ; and divine consolations will often, not only satisfy and calm, but even delight our souls. The believer needs not be anxious about the event, either to himself, or to the church : even though he should see those in authority, who frame mischief in enacting persecuting laws, and multitudes " gathering themselves together against the soul of the righteous " to condemn the innocent blood." The righteous Lord may indeed for a while bear with these things, but he will never patronize " the throne of iniquity : " and while he defends his cause, and is the Rock and Refuge of every saint, he will bring upon their haughtiest enemies " their " own iniquity, and cut them off in their own wickedness ; " yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off." May we then join and adhere to that party, which is sure at length to prevail and triumph over all opposition, and that for evermore.

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 94". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.