Verse 7. Which executeth judgment for the oppressed. He is a swift and impartial administrator of justice. Our King surpasses all earthly princes because he pays no deference to rank or wealth, and is never the respecter of persons. He is the friend of the down trodden, the avenger of the persecuted, the champion of the helpless. Safely may we trust our cause with such a Judge if it be a just one: happy are we to be under such a Ruler. Are we "evil entreated"? Are our rights denied us? Are we slandered? Let this console us, that he who occupies the throne will not only think upon our case, but bestir himself to execute judgment on our behalf.
Which giveth food to the hungry. Glorious King art thou; O Jehovah! Thou dost not only mete out justice but thou dost dispense bounty! All food comes from God; but when we are reduced to hunger, and providence supplies our necessity, we are peculiarly struck with the fact. Let every hungry man lay hold on this statement, and plead it before the mercy seat, whether he suffer bodily hunger, or heart hunger. See how our God finds his special clients among the lowest of mankind: the oppressed and the starving find help in the God of Jacob.
The LORD looseth the prisoners. Thus he completes the triple blessing: justice, bread, and liberty. Jehovah loves not to see men pining in dungeons, or fretting in fetters: he brought up Joseph from the round house, and Israel from the house of bondage. Jesus is the Emancipator, spiritually, providentially, and nationally. Thy chains, O Africa! were broken by his hand. As faith in Jehovah shall become common among men freedom will advance in every form, especially will mental, moral, and spiritual bonds be loosed, and the slaves of error, sin, and death shall be set free. Well might the Psalmist praise Jehovah, who is so kind to men in bonds! Well may the loosened ones be loudest in the song!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. Giveth food to the hungry. We learn from this that he is not always so indulgent to his own as to load them with abundance, but occasionally withdraws his blessing, that he may succour them when reduced to hunger. Had the Psalmist said that God fed his people with abundance and pampered them, would not any of those under want, or in famine have immediately desponded? The goodness of God is therefore properly extended farther to the feeding of the hungry. --John Calvin.
Verse 7. Giveth food to the hungry. Now, that Jesus was that Lord of whom the Psalmist in this place, and in Psalms 145:16 , speaketh, was fully testified by the miracles which he wrought, in feeding many thousands with some few loaves and two small fishes, and in filling so many baskets with the fragments or relics of that small provision wherewith he bad filled thousands. From these miracles, the people which had seen him do them and tasted of his bounty, did rightly infer that he was the prophet which was to come into the world, as you may read, John 6:14 ; and being supposed to be the prophet, they consequently presumed that he was likewise to be the King of Israel; and out of this concert or presumption they would have enforced him to be their king, John 6:15 . -- Thomas Jackson, 1579-1640.
Verse 7. The Lord looseth the prisoners. As in that place of Isaiah 61:1 the phrase of "opening the prison to them that are bound", is by the learned thought to be a prophetic elegance, to signify the cure of those that are deaf and dumb, whose souls consequently were shut up from being able to express themselves, as language enables others to do; so here also it may be used poetically, and then it will be directly parallel to that part of Christ's answer, "the deaf hear" ( Matthew 11:5 ). At the curing of such, Christ's form of speech was, Ephphatha, "be opened", as to the door of a prison, when those which were under restraint therein were to be let loose out of it, their fetters being shaken off from them. But then, 'tis further manifest, that those that were under any sore disease or lameness, etc., are said to be "bound by Satan" ( Luke 13:16 ), and be "loosed" by Christ, when they were cured by him. So saith Christ ( Luke 13:12 ), "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity: and immediately she was made straight." Her being "made straight" was her being loosed out of her restraint, or bonds, or prison. And in this latitude of the poetic or prophetic expression, the Lord's loosing the prisoners here will comprehend the walking of the lame, the lepers being cleansed, the hearing of the deaf, yea, and the raising up of the dead; for those of all others are fastest bound, and so when they were raised, the style is as proper as to Lazarus in respect of the graveclothes, "loose them, and let him go." --Henry Hammond.
Verse 7-8. It ought not to pass without remark that the name Jehovah is repeated here five times in five lines, to intimate that it is an almighty power, that of Jehovah, that is engaged and exerted for the relief of the oppressed; and that it is as much to the glory of God to succour them that are in misery, as it is to ride on the heavens by his name JAH, Psalms 68:4 . - -Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 7. (last clause). -- See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 484: "The Lord -- the Liberator."
Verse 7. The People's Rights.
- Three rights of humanity. Justice, Bread, Freedom.
- God's interventions in their behalf. Revolutions, Reforms, Regenerations. Christ's war with Satan.
- The magnificent supply of the three blessings in Christ's kingdom.
- The men who are fashioned and trained under this regime. -- W.B.H.