Verse 17. The justice which has punished the wicked, and preserved the righteous, remains the same, and therefore in days to come, retribution will surely be meted out. How solemn is Psalms 9:17 , especially in its warning to forgetters of God. The moral who are not devout, the honest who are not prayerful, the benevolent who are not believing, the amiable who are not converted, these must all have their own portion with the openly wicked in the hell which is prepared for the devil and his angels. There are whole nations of such; the forgetters of God are far more numerous than the profane or profligate, and according to the very forceful expression of the Hebrew, the nethermost hell will be the place into which all of them shall be hurled headlong. Forgetfulness seems a small sin, but it brings eternal wrath upon the man who lives and dies in it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 15-17. See Psalms on "Psalms 9:15" for further information.
Verse 17. The ungodly at death must undergo God's fury and indignation. The wicked shall be turned into hell. I have read of a lodestone in Ethiopia which hath two corners, with one it draws the iron to it, with the other it puts the iron from it: so God hath two hands, of mercy and justice; with the one he will draw the godly to heaven, with the other he will thrust the sinner to hell; and oh, how dreadful is that place! It is called a fiery lake ( Revelation 20:15 ); a lake, to denote the plenty of torments in hell; a fiery lake, to show the fierceness of them: fire is the most torturing element. Strabo in his geography mentions a lake in Galilee of such a pestiferous nature that it scalds off the skin of whatsoever is cast into it; but, alas! that lake is cool compared with this fiery lake into which the damned are thrown. To demonstrate this fire terrible, there are two most pernicious qualities in it.
- It is sulphurous, it is mixed with brimstone ( Revelation 21:8 ), which is unsavoury and suffocating.
- It is inextinguishable; though the wicked shall be choked in the flames, yet not consumed ( Revelation 20:10 ); "And the devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." Behold the deplorable condition of all ungodly ones in the other world, they shall have a life that always dies, and a death that always lives: may not this affright men out of their sins, and make them become godly? unless they are resolved to try how hot the hell fire is. Thomas Watson.
Verse 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, etc. By "the wicked" here we must understand unregenerate persons, whoever they are that are in a state of unregeneracy... That person is here spoken of as a "wicked" man that forgets God, who does not think of him frequently, and with affection, with fear and delight, and those affections that are suitable to serious thoughts of God... To forget God and to be a wicked person is all one. And these two things will abundantly evince the truth of this assertion: namely, that this forgetfulness of God excludes the prime and main essentials of religion, and also includes in it the highest and most heinous pieces of wickedness, and therefore must needs denominate the subject, a wicked person... Forgetfulness of God excludes the principal and essential parts of religion. It implies that a man doth neither esteem nor value the all sufficiency and holiness of God, as his happiness and portion, as his strength and support; nor doth he fear him, nor live in subjection to his laws and commands, as his rule; nor doth he aim at the glory of God as his end: therefore every one who thus forgets God, must certainly be a wicked person... To exclude God out of our thoughts and not to let him have a place there, not to mind, nor think upon God, is the greatest wickedness of the thoughts that can be. And, therefore, though you cannot say of such a one, he will be drunk, or he will swear, cozen, or oppress; yet if you can say he will forget God, or that he lives all his days never minding nor thinking upon God, you say enough to speak him under wrath, and to turn him into hell without remedy. John Howe, 1630-1705.
Verse 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell. (hlwafl); Lisholah -- headlong into hell, down into hell. The original is very emphatic. Adam Clarke.
Verse 17. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; thither it will again be remitted, and they who hold on its side must accompany it on its return to that place of torment, there to be shut up for ever. The true state of "nations," and the individuals of which they are composed, is to be estimated from one single circumstance; namely, whether in their doings they remember, or "forget God." Remembrance of him is the well spring of virtue; forgetfulness of him, the fountain of vice. George Horne, D.D.
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain. John Milton, 1608-1674.
Will without power, the element of hell, Abortive all its acts returning still Upon itself;... Oh, anguish terrible! Meet guerdon of self love, its proper ill! Malice would scowl upon the foe he fears; And he with lip of scorn would seek to kill; But neither sees the other, neither hears -- For darkness each in his own dungeon bars, Lust pines for dearth, and grief drinks its own tears -- Each in its solitude apart. Hate wars Against himself, and feeds upon his chain, Whose iron penetrates the soul it scars, A dreadful solitude each mind insane, Each its own place, its prison all alone, And finds no sympathy to soften pain.
J. A. Heraud.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 17. A warning to forgetters of God.