Verse 10. The tenth and last verse sets forth very forcibly the contrast between the righteous and the ungodly, thus making the blessedness of the godly appear all the more remarkable. Usually we see Ebal and Gerizim, the blessing and the curse, set the one over against the other, to invest both with the greater solemnity.
The wicked shall see it, and be grieved. The ungodly shall first see the example of the saints to their own condemnation, and shall at last behold the happiness of the godly and to the increase of their eternal misery. The child of wrath shall be obliged to witness the blessedness of the righteous, though the sight shall make him gnaw his own heart. He shall fret and fume, lament and wax angry, but he shall not be able to prevent it, for God's blessing is sure and effectual.
He shall gnash with his teeth. Being very wrathful, and exceedingly envious, he would fain grind the righteous between his teeth; but as he cannot do that, he grinds his teeth against each other.
And melt away. The heat of his passion shall melt him like wax, and the sun of God's providence shall dissolve him like snow, and at the last the fire of divine vengeance shall consume him as the fat of rams. How horrible must that life be which like the snail melts as it proceeds, leaving a slimy trail behind. Those who are grieved at goodness deserve to be worn away by such an abominable sorrow.
The desire of the wicked shall perish. He shall not achieve his purpose, he shall die a disappointed man. By wickedness he hoped to accomplish his purpose -- that very wickedness shall be his defeat. While the righteous shall endure for ever, and their memory shall be always green; the ungodly man and his name shall rot from off the face of the earth. He desired to be the founder of a family, and to be remembered as some great one: he shall pass away and his name shall die with him. How wide is the gulf which separates the righteous from the wicked, and how different are the portions which the Lord deals out to them. O for grace to be blessed of the Lord! This will make us praise him with our whole heart.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. The wicked. The word [fr, the wicked, is used emphatically, by the Jews, to denote him who neither gives to the poor himself, nor can endure to see other people give; while he who deserves but one part of this character is only said to have an evil eye in regard of other people's substance, or in regard of his own. --Mishna.
Verse 10. The wicked shall see it and be grieved, etc. The sight of Christ in glory with his saints, will, in an inexpressible manner torment the crucifiers of the one, and the persecutors of the other; as it will show them the hopes and wishes of their adversaries all granted to the full, and all their own "desires" and designs for ever at an end; it will excite envy which must prey upon itself, produce a grief which can admit of no comfort, give birth to a worm which can never die, and blow up those fires which nothing can quench. - -George Horne.
Verse 10. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved, etc. It is the property of the Devil, not to mistake the nature of virtue, and esteem it criminal, but to hate it for this reason, because it is good, and therefore most opposite to his designs. The wicked, as his proper emissaries, resemble him in this, and grieve to have the foulness of their vices made conspicuous by being placed near the light of virtuous example ... They may, like the giants of ancient fable, attempt a romantic war with heaven; but all their preparations for that purpose must recoil with double force upon themselves, and cover them with shame and confusion ... If such be the effect of their malice in the present life, that, instead of injuring those they rage against, it usually turns to their own vexation, how much more, when the scene shall open in the life to come ... They shall continue then to gnash their teeth (the wretched amusement of that cursed state) as well in grief and anguish for their own torments, as in rage and envy at the abundant honour which is done the saints. --William Berriman.
Verse 10. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; that is, he shall have secret indignation in himself to see matters go so;
he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away. Gnashing of teeth is caused by vexing the heart; and therefore it follows,
he melts away; which notes (melting is from the heart) an extreme heat within. The sense is very suitable to that of Eliphaz ( Job 5:2 ) "wrath slayeth the foolish," or wrath makes him melt away, it melts his grease with chafing, as we say of a man furiously vexed. Hence that deplorable condition of the damned, who are cast out of the presence of God for ever, is described by "weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth"; which imports not only pain, but extreme vexing at, or in themselves. These finally impenitent ones shall be slain for ever with their own wrath, as well as with the wrath of God. -- Joseph Caryl.
Verse 10. The wicked shall see it. The psalm which speaks of the blessedness of the saints also bears solemn testimony to the doom of the wicked. Cowper sings as if this verse was before his eyes.
...The same word, that like the polished share
Ploughs up the roots of a believer's care,
Kills, too, the flowery weeds wherever they grow,
That bind the sinner's Bacchanalian brow.
Oh that unwelcome voice of heavenly love,
Sad messenger of mercy from above,
How does it grate upon his thankless ear,
Crippling his pleasures with the cramp of fear.
His will and judgment at continual strife,
That civil war embitters all his life;
In vain he points his powers against the skies,
In vain he closes or averts his eyes;
Truth will intrude.
Verse 10. He shall gnash with his teeth. An enraged man snaps his teeth together, as if about to bite the object of his anger. Thus in the book Ramyanum, the giant Ravanan is described as in his fury gnashing together his "thirty-two teeth!" Of angry men it is frequently said, "Look at the beast, how he gnashes his teeth!" "Go near that fellow! not I, indeed! he will only gnash his teeth." --Joseph Roberts.
Verse 10. He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away. The effect of envy, which consumes the envious. Thus the poet: "Envy is most hateful, but has some good in it, for it makes the eyes and the heart of the envious to pine away." --John Le Clerc, 1657-1736.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- What the wicked must see, and its effect upon them.
- What they shall never see (their desire), and the result of their disappointment.
WORK ON THE HUNDRED AND TWELFTH PSALM.
An Exposition upon the 112 Psalme. The high way to everlasting blessednesse. Written for the benefit of God's Church. By T. S. ... London, 1621. (8vo. This exposition is upon the first two verses of the Psalm only.)