Verse 3. LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? Shall wrong for ever rule? Are slavery, robbery, tyranny, never to cease? Since there is certainly a just God in heaven, armed with almighty power, surely there must be sooner or later an end to the ascendancy of evil, innocence must one day find a defender. This "how long?" of the text is the bitter complaint of all the righteous in all ages, and expresses wonder caused by that great enigma of providence, the existence and predominance of evil. The sound "how long?" is very akin to howling, as if it were one of the saddest of all the utterances in which misery bemoans itself. Many a time has this bitter complaint been heard in the dungeons of the Inquisition, at the whipping posts of slavery, and in the prisons of oppression. In due time God will publish his reply, but the full end is not yet.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. How long shall the wicked, how long, etc. Twice he saith it, because the wicked boast day after day, with such insolence and outrage, as if they were above control. John Trapp.
Verse 3. How long shall the wicked triumph? For "triumph," the Hebrew word is wzl[y which signifies to exalt. That is, they give themselves vain applause on account of their prosperity, and declare their success both with words and with the gestures of their body, like peacocks spreading their feathers. How long shall they utter? etc. For "utter" the Hebrew is w[yby, they shall flow, they shall cast forth. The metaphor is taken from fountains springing out of the rock with a rush and abundance of water. Where the abundance of words is noted, their rashness, their waste and profusion, their sound and eagerness, their continuance and the difficulty of obstructing them. Le Blanc.
Verse 3. How long shall the wicked triumph? What answer shall we give, what date shall we put to this, "How long?" The answer is given in Psalms 94:23 , "He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness," etc. As if he had said, Except the Lord cut them off in their wickedness, they will never leave off doing wickedly. They are men of such a kind that there is no curing of them, they will never have done doing mischief until they be cut off by death, therefore God threatens death to deter men from sin. A godly man saith, "If God kill me, yet will I trust in him;" and some wicked men say (in effect, if not in the letter), Till God kills us we will sin against him. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 3-4. Triumph, utter and speak, boast. In the very terms wherein the Psalmist complains of the continued prevalence of the wicked, there is matter of comfort, for we have three (rather four, as in the authorised version) words to denote speaking, and only one, workers, to denote action, showing us that they are far more powerful with their tongues than with their hands. Hugo Cardinalis, quoted by Neale.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
The sweet potion of the wicked -- present triumph.