Verse 11. And they say, How doth God know? Thus dare the ungodly speak. They flatter themselves that their oppressions and persecutions are unobserved of heaven. If there be a God, is he not too much occupied with other matters to know what is going on upon this world? So they console themselves if judgments be threatened. Boasting of their own knowledge, they yet dare to ask,
Is there knowledge in the Most High? Well were they called foolish. A God, and not know? This is a solecism in language, a madness of thought. Such, however, is the acted insanity of the graceless theists of this age; theists in name, because avowed infidelity is disreputable, but atheists in practice beyond all question. I could not bring my mind to accept the rendering of many expositors by which this verse is referred to tried and perplexed saints. I am unable to conceive that such language could flow from their lips, even under the most depressing perplexities.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. How doth God know? etc. Men may not disbelieve a Godhead; nay, they may believe there is a God, and yet question the truth of his threatenings. Those conceits that men have of God, whereby they mould and frame him in their fancies, suitable to their humours, which is a thinking that he is such a one as ourselves (Psalm 1), are steams and vapours from this pit, and the "hearts of the sons of men are desperately set within them to do evil" upon these grounds; much more when they arise so high as in some who say: How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High? If men give way to this, what reason can be imagined to stand before them? All the comminations of Scripture are derided as so many theological scarecrows, and undervalued as so many pitiful contrivances to keep men in awe. Richard Gilpin.
Verse 11. Ovid thus speaks in one of his verses: "Sollicitor nullos esse putare deos;" I am tempted to think that there are no gods.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 11. The atheists open question; the oppressor's practical question; the careless man's secret question; and the fearful saint's fainting question. The reasons why it is ever asked, and the conclusive reasons which put the matter beyond question.