Psalm 109:31

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 31. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor. God will not be absent when his people are on their trial; he will hold a brief for them and stand in court as their advocate, prepared to plead on their behalf. How different is this from the doom of the ungodly who has Satan at his right hand ( Psalms 109:6 ).

To save him from those that condemn his soul. The court only met as a matter of form, the malicious had made up their minds to the verdict, they judged him guilty, for their hate condemned him, yea, they pronounced sentence of damnation upon the very soul of their victim: but what mattered it? The great King was in court, and their sentence was turned against themselves. Nothing can more sweetly sustain the heart of a slandered believer than the firm conviction that God is near to all who are wronged, and is sure to work out their salvation.

O Lord, save us from the severe trial of slander: deal in thy righteousness with all those who spitefully assail the characters of holy men, and cause all who are smarting under calumny and reproach to come forth unsullied from the affliction, even as did thine only begotten Son. Amen.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 31. He shall stand at the right hated of the poor. This expression implies, first, that he appears there as a friend. How cheering, how comforting it is to have a friend to stand by us when we are in trouble! Such a friend is Jesus. In the hour of necessity he comes as a friend to stand by the right hand of the poor creature whose soul is condemned by guilt and accusation. But he stands in a far higher relation than that of a friend; he stands, too, as surety and a deliverer. He goes, as it were, into the court; and when the prisoner stands at the bar, he comes forward and stands at his right hand as his surety and bondsman; he brings out of his bosom the acquittance of the debt, signed and sealed with his own blood, he produces it to the eyes of the court, and claims and demands the acquittal and absolution of the prisoner at whose right hand he stands. He stands there, then, that the prisoner may be freely pardoned, and completely justified from those accusations that condemn his soul. O sweet standing! O blessed appearance! --Joseph C. Philpot (1802-1869).

Verse 31. He shall stand at the right hand of the poor. One of the oldest Rabbinical commentaries has a very beautiful gloss on this passage. "Whenever a poor man stands at thy door, the Holy One, blessed be His Name, stands at his right hand. If thou givest him alms, know that thou shalt receive a reward from Him who standeth at his right hand." -- Alfred Edersheim, in "Sketches of the Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ", 1876.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 31.

  1. The character to whom the promise is made -- the poor.
  2. The danger to which he is exposed -- those that condemn his soul.
  3. The deliverance which is promised to him -- divine, opportune, efficient, complete, everlasting.

WORKS ON THE HUNDRED AND NINTH PSALM.

In "The Expositor", vol. 2. (1875), edited by the Rev. Samuel Cox, there is "An Apology for the Vindictive Psalm" ( Psalms 109:1-31 ), by Joseph Hammond, L.L.B. In volume 3 of the same magazine are four articles from the pen of the same writer, on "The Vindictive Psalms vindicated." "The Imprecatory Psalms." Six Lectures. By the Rev. R.A. Bertram. 1867. (12 mo.)

In Dr. Thomas Randolph's Works, entitled "A View of our Blessed Saviour's Ministry ... together with a Charge, Dissertations, Sermons, and Theological Lectures", 2 vols., 8vo., Oxford, 1784, there is a comment on Psalms 109:1-31 , vol. 2, p. 315.

The Sermons of Charles Peters, A.M., 8vo., London, 1776, contain "The Curses of Psalm the 109th explained, with practical instructions", pp. 348-378.

W. Keate's Sermon, entitled, "The 109th, commonly called the Imprecating Psalm, considered, on a principle by which the Psalm explains itself." 4to., London, 1794.

F.H. Dunwell. A Tract on the Commination Service of the Church of England. 12 mo. 1853.

In the "Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review", vol. 1., 1844, pp. 97-110, there is an article on "The Imprecations in the Scriptures", by B.B. Edwards, Professor in the Theological Seminary, Andover.

There is also an article on "The Imprecatory Psalms", in "Bibliotheca Sacra and American Biblical Repository", for July, 1856, pp. 551-563, by John J. Owen, D.D., Professor in the Free Academy, New York.