Verse 7. But ye shall die like men. What sarcasm it seems! Great as the office made the men, they were still but men, and must die. To every judge this verse is a memento mori! He must leave the bench to stand at the bar, and on the way must put off the ermine to put on the shroud.
And fall like one of the princes. Who were usually the first to die: for battle, sedition, and luxury, made greater havoc among the great than among any others. Even as princes have often been cut off by sudden and violent deaths, so should the judges be who forget to do justice. Men usually respect the office of a judge, and do not conspire to slay him, as they do to kill princes and kings; but injustice withdraws this protection, and puts the unjust magistrate in personal danger. How quickly death unrobes the great. What a leveller he is. He is no advocate for liberty, but in promoting equality and fraternity he is a masterly democrat. Great men die as common men do. As their blood is the same, so the stroke which lets out their life produces the same pains and throes. No places are too high for death's arrows: he brings down his birds from the tallest trees. It is time that all men considered this.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. Asaph, who has written so much in the previous Psalms of the coming of Christ in the flesh, now speaks of his second coming to judgment. Josephus Maria Thomasius. 1649-1713.
Verse 6-7. Ye are gods; See Psalms on "Psalms 82:7" for further information.
Verse 7. Ye shall die like men, etc. Even you which glisten like angels, whom all the world admires, and sues and bows to, which are called honourable, mighty and gracious lords, I will tell you to what your honour shall come: first, ye shall wax old like others, then ye shall fall sick, like others, then ye shall die like others, then ye shall be buried like others, then ye shall be consumed like others, then ye shall be judged like others, even like the beggars which cry at your gates: one sickens, the other sickens; one dies, the other dies; one rots, the other rots: look in the grave, and shew me which was Dives and which was Lazarus. This is some comfort to the poor, that once he shall be like the rich; one day he shall be as wealthy, and as glorious as a king: one hour of death will make all alike; they which crowed over others, and looked down upon them like oaks, others shall walk upon them like worms, and they shall be gone as if they had never been. Henry Smith.
Verse 7. Ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. The meditation of death would pull down the plumes of pride; thou art but dust animated; shall dust and ashes be proud? Thou hast a grassy body, and shall shortly be mowed down: I have said, ye are gods; but lest they should grow proud, he adds a corrective: ye shall die like men; ye are dying gods. Thomas Watson.
Verse 7. And fall like one of the princes. Tyrants seldom go to their graves in peace. Most of the Caesars fell by the hands of the people, q.d. If you be like tyrants in sin, expect to be like them in punishment; as I cast them out of their thrones for their insolence and violence, so will I cast you out, and you shall fall like one of these tyrannical princes. Thomas Hall.
- Ye shall fall from the highest pinnacle of honour and reputation. The place of magistracy, which knoweth you now, will know you no more. One of the ancients, standing by Caesars tomb, crieth out, Ubi nunc pulchritudo Caesaris? quo abiit magnificentia ejus? Where is now the beauty; what is become of the magnificence; where are the armies now; where the honours, the triumphs, the trophies of Caesar? All was gone when Caesar was gone. You honours and your worships, your power, and your places, all die with you, if not before you.
- Ye fall from your greatest treasures and possessions. As ye brought nothing into the world, so it is certain ye shall carry nothing out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:7 . Saladin, the mighty monarch of the east, is gone, and hath carried no more along with him than ye see -- i.e., a shirt hung up for that purpose -- said the priest that went before the bier.
- Ye fall from all your friends and relations; when ye die, they that were near and dear to you will leave you. George Swinnock.
Verse 7. Impressiveness is a leading characteristic of the "death" or "fall" of "princes:" such incidents, from a variety of causes, are most striking. But can the same remark be commonly made respecting the decease of the children of poverty? Regard being had to the startling effect which the demise of the potentate is calculated to produce, -- has the departure of the peasant, for example, in itself, the same tendency to beget solemnity and awe, so that, even under this point of view, the peasant might be justly affirmed to fall like one of the princes Indeed, if you think of the outward circumstances attending his last moments; and then, immediately afterwards, of those which belong to the close of the life of the dweller in regal or stately halls, there would seem to be hardly any ground here for instituting the slightest comparison: but I would have you to associate the man, as he lies on the eve of dissolution, not with others, his superiors in rank, in a similar case, but with himself, when, in the full vigour of existence, he walked to and fro, and performed his own humble but laborious share of this world's business; and, as you subsequently mark how the great Destroyer has crushed all his energies, and left but a corpse behind, you will surely admit that there is as wide a difference between the individual as he was and as he is, as there can possibly be between the scenes at the death beds, respectively, of princes and of the poor. Yes, and as impressive a difference too; so that you have only to allow the exhibition of the striking change to have its legitimate effect upon the mind, and then, so far as that effect will be concerned, you may declare of the rural labourer, that "he has fallen like one of the princes;" seeing that he has given a lesson every whit as awakening and as emphatic in its admonitions as could the other. Hugh B. Moffatt, 1861.
Verse 7-8. Your day is coming! The saints are raising the loud cry of Psalms 82:8 , inviting Messiah, the true God, the Son of the Most High ( John 10:34 ), the Mighty One, the Judge and Ruler, to arise and take his inheritance, for he is the heir of all things, and to be the true Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Samson, and Samuel, who will judge, or govern and rule, a mismanaged earth. We sing this song of Zion in his ears, urging him to come quickly; and we sing it to one another in joyful hope, while the foundations of earth seem out of course, because here we find Messiah the true Judge of a misgoverned world. Andrew A. Bonar.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS