Verse 8. Understand, ye brutish among the people. They said that God did not note, and now, using the same word in the original, the psalmist calls on the wicked to note, and have regard to the truth. He designates them as boors, boarish, swinish men, and well was the term deserved; and he bids them understand or consider, if they can. They thought themselves to be wise, and indeed the only men of wit in the world, but he calls them "boars among the people": wicked men are fools, and the more they know, the more foolish they become. "No fool like a learned fool" is a true proverb. When a man has done with God, he has done with his manhood, and has fallen to the level of the ox and the ass, yea, beneath them, for "the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib." Instead of being humbled in the presence of scientific infidels, we ought to pity them; they affect to look clown upon us, but we have far more cause to look down upon them.
And ye fools, when will ye be wise? Is it not high time? Ye know the ways of folly, what profit have ye in them? Have ye no relics of reason left? no shreds of sense? If as yet there lingers in your minds a gleam of intelligence, hearken to argument, and consider the questions now about to be proposed to you.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8-11. In these words the following particulars are to be observed.
- A certain spiritual disease charged on some persons, viz. darkness, and blindness of mind, appearing in their ignorance and folly.
- The great degree of this disease; so as to render the subjects of it fools. Ye fools, when will ye be wise? And so as to reduce them to a degree of brutishness. Ye brutish among the people. This ignorance and folly were to such a degree as to render men like beasts.
- The obstinacy of this disease; expressed in that interrogation, When will ye be wise? Their blindness and folly were not only very great, but deeply rooted and established, resisting all manner of cure.
- Of what nature this blindness is. It is especially in things pertaining to God. They were strangely ignorant of his perfections, like beasts: and had foolish notions of him, as though he did not see, nor know: and as though he would not execute justice, by chastising and punishing wicked men.
- The unreasonableness and sottishness of the notion they had of God, that he did not hear, did not observe their reproaches of him and his people, is shown by observing that he planted the ear. It is very unreasonable to suppose that he who gave power of perceiving words to others, should not perceive them himself. And the sottishness of their being insensible of God's all seeing eye, and particularly of his seeing their wicked actions, appears, in that God is the being who formed the eye, and gave others a power of seeing. The sottishness of their apprehension of God, as though he did not know what they did, is argued from his being the fountain and original of all knowledge. The unreasonableness of their expecting to escape God's just chastisement and judgments for sin, is set forth by his chastising even the heathen, who did not sin against that light, or against so great mercies, as the wicked in Israel did; nor had ever made such a profession as they.
- We may observe, that this dreadful disease is ascribed to mankind in general. The Lord knoweth the thoughts of MAN, that they are vanity. The psalmist had been setting forth the vanity and unreasonableness of the thoughts of some of the children of men; and immediately upon it he observes, that this vanity and foolishness of thought is common and natural to mankind. From these particulars we may fairly deduce the following doctrinal observation: That there is an extreme and brutish blindness in things of religion, which naturally possesses the hearts of mankind. Jonathan Edwards.
Verse 8-15. God hath ability, bowels, verity. Ability, He that made the eye, cannot he see? He that planted the ear, cannot he hear? Psalms 94:8-11 .
Bowels, He doth but chasten his, not cast them off, Psalms 94:12-14 . Verity, this is but until a pit be made for the wicked, Psalms 94:13 . Mordecai is frowned upon, but till a gallows be made for Haman, and then judgment returns unto righteousness. Nicholas Lockyer.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. The duration of the reign of evil.
- Till it has filled up its measure of guilt.
- Till it has proved its own folly.
- Till it has developed the graces and prayers of saints.
- Till it has emptied man of all human trust and driven us to look to the Lord alone, his Spirit, and his advent.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. Practical Atheists.
- Truly described.
- Wisely counselled. C.A.D.