David praises God for protecting his people. (1-10) And for cause to praise him. (11-20)
Verses 1-10 If we would praise God acceptably, we must praise him in sincerity, with our whole heart. When we give thanks for some one particular mercy, we should remember former mercies. Our joy must not be in the gift, so much as in the Giver. The triumphs of the Redeemer ought to be the triumphs of the redeemed. The almighty power of God is that which the strongest and stoutest of his enemies are no way able to stand before. We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth, and that with him there is no unrighteousness. His people may, by faith, flee to him as their Refuge, and may depend on his power and promise for their safety, so that no real hurt shall be done to them. Those who know him to be a God of truth and faithfulness, will rejoice in his word of promise, and rest upon that. Those who know him to be an everlasting Father, will trust him with their souls as their main care, and trust in him at all times, even to the end; and by constant care seek to approve themselves to him in the whole course of their lives. Who is there that would not seek him, who never hath forsaken those that seek Him?
Verses 11-20 Those who believe that God is greatly to be praised, not only desire to praise him better themselves, but desire that others may join with them. There is a day coming, when it will appear that he has not forgotten the cry of the humble; neither the cry of their blood, or the cry of their prayers. We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. The overruling providence of God frequently so orders it, that persecutors and oppressors are brought to ruin by the projects they formed to destroy the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves; the contentious bring mischief upon themselves: thus men's sins may be read in their punishment, and it becomes plain to all, that the destruction of sinners is of themselves. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; and those who continue in sin, must go to that place of torment. The true state, both of nations and of individuals, may be correctly estimated by this one rule, whether in their doings they remember or forget God. David encourages the people of God to wait for his salvation, though it should be long deferred. God will make it appear that he never did forget them: it is not possible he should. Strange that man, dust in his and about him, should yet need some sharp affliction, some severe visitation from God, to bring him to the knowledge of himself, and make him feel who and what he is.
Psalms 9:1-20 . Upon Muthlabben, or, after the manner according to "death to the Son," by which some song was known, to whose air or melody the musician is directed to perform this Psalm. This mode of denoting a song by some prominent word or words is still common (compare Psalms 22:1 ). The Psalmist praises God for deliverance from his enemies and celebrates the divine government, for providing security to God's people and punishment to the wicked. Thus encouraging himself, he prays for new occasions to recount God's mercies, and confident of His continued judgment on the wicked and vindication of the oppressed, he implores a prompt and efficient manifestation of the divine sovereignty.
1. Heartfelt gratitude will find utterance.
3-5. When . . . are turned back--It is the result of God's power alone. He, as a righteous Judge ( Psalms 7:11 ), vindicates His people. He rebukes by acts as well as words ( Psalms 6:1 , 18:15 ), and so effectually as to destroy the names of nations as well as persons.
6. Literally, "As to the enemy finished are his ruins for ever. Thou [God] hast destroyed," &c. ( 1 Samuel 15:3 1 Samuel 15:7 , 1 Samuel 27:8 1 Samuel 27:9 ). The wicked are utterly undone. Their ruins shall never be repaired.
7, 8. God's eternal possession of a throne of justice is contrasted with the ruin of the wicked.
9, 10. The oppressed, and all who know Him ( Psalms 5:3 , 7:1 ), find Him a sure refuge.
11. (Compare Psalms 2:6 , 3:4 ).
12. for blood--that is, murders ( Psalms 5:6 ), including all the oppressions of His people.
maketh inquisition--(compare Genesis 9:5 ). He will avenge their cause.
13. gates--or, "regions."
of death-- Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.
14. gates . . . Zion--The enclosure of the city (compare Psalms 48:12 , Isaiah 23:12 ), or, church, as denoted by this phrase contrasted with that of death, carries out the idea of exaltation as well as deliverance. Signal favors should lead us to render signal and public thanks.
15, 16. The undesigned results of the devices of the wicked prove them to be of God's overruling or ordering, especially when those results are destructive to the wicked themselves.
16. Higgaion--means "meditation," and, combined with Selah, seems to denote a pause of unusual solemnity and emphasis (compare Psalms 3:2 ). Though Selah occurs seventy-three times, this is the only case in which Higgaion is found. In the view which is given here of the retribution on the wicked as an instance of God's wise and holy ordering, we may well pause in adoring wonder and faith.
17. shall be turned--or, "shall turn," retreating under God's vengeance, and driven by Him to the extreme of destruction, even hell itself. Those who forget God are classed with the depraved and openly profane.
18. (Compare Psalms 13:1-6 ).
the needy--literally, "poor," as deprived of anything; hence miserable.
expectation of the poor--or, "meek," "humble," made so by affliction.
19. Arise--(compare Psalms 4:7 ).
let not man--( Psalms 8:4 ).
let . . . be judged--and of course condemned.
20. By their effectual subjection, make them to realize their frail nature ( Psalms 8:4 ), and deter them from all conceit and future rebellion.