The danger and folly of persecutors. (1-11) Comfort and peace to the persecuted. (12-23)
Verses 1-11 We may with boldness appeal to God; for he is the almighty Judge by whom every man is judged. Let this encourage those who suffer wrong, to bear it with silence, committing themselves to Him who judges righteously. These prayers are prophecies, which speak terror to the sons of violence. There will come a day of reckoning for all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against God, his truths, and ways, and people. It would hardly be believed, if we did not witness it, that millions of rational creatures should live, move, speak, hear, understand, and do what they purpose, yet act as if they believed that God would not punish the abuse of his gifts. As all knowledge is from God, no doubt he knows all the thoughts of the children of men, and knows that the imaginations of the thoughts of men's hearts are only evil, and that continually. Even in good thoughts there is a want of being fixed, which may be called vanity. It concerns us to keep a strict watch over our thoughts, because God takes particular notice of them. Thoughts are words to God.
Verses 12-23 That man is blessed, who, under the chastening of the Lord, is taught his will and his truths, from his holy word, and by the Holy Spirit. He should see mercy through his sufferings. There is a rest remaining for the people of God after the days of their adversity, which shall not last always. He that sends the trouble, will send the rest. The psalmist found succour and relief only in the Lord, when all earthly friends failed. We are beholden, not only to God's power, but to his pity, for spiritual supports; and if we have been kept from falling into sin, or shrinking from our duty, we should give him the glory, and encourage our brethren. The psalmist had many troubled thoughts concerning the case he was in, concerning the course he should take, and what was likely to be the end of it. The indulgence of such contrivances and fears, adds to care and distrust, and renders our views more gloomy and confused. Good men sometimes have perplexed and distressed thoughts concerning God. But let them look to the great and precious promises of the gospel. The world's comforts give little delight to the soul, when hurried with melancholy thoughts; but God's comforts bring that peace and pleasure which the smiles of the world cannot give, and which the frowns of the world cannot take away. God is his people's Refuge, to whom they may flee, in whom they are safe, and may be secure. And he will reckon with the wicked. A man cannot be more miserable than his own wickedness will make him, if the Lord visit it upon him.
Some, as Jarchi and others, think this psalm was written by Moses; others, with greater probability, assign it to David; as do the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and which all but the Syriac version say it was composed to be sung on the fourth day of the week, on which day the Talmudists say it was sung; see the argument of the preceding psalm. This psalm and others, that go before and follow, are without any title in the Hebrew Bible: the title of it in the Syriac version is,
``a Psalm of David, concerning the company of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; but spiritually, concerning the persecution against the church;''
not of the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, as some; nor of the Jews in their present exile, as Kimchi; but rather of the people of God under the tyranny of antichrist; who are represented as complaining of his insults and cruelty, and as comforting themselves in the hopes of deliverance, and in the view of his destruction.