Psalms 36

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD.

1 [a]I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:[b]There is no fear of God before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.
5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
10 Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!

Psalms 36 Commentary

Chapter 36

The bad state of the wicked. (1-4) The goodness of God. (5-12)

Verses 1-4 From this psalm our hearts should be duly affected with hatred of sin, and seek satisfaction in God's loving-kindness. Here is the root of bitterness, from which all the wickedness of wicked men comes. It takes rise from contempt of God, and the want of due regard to him. Also from the deceit they put upon their own souls. Let us daily beg of God to preserve us from self-flattery. Sin is very hurtful to the sinner himself, and therefore ought to be hateful; but it is not so. It is no marvel, if those that deceive themselves, seek to deceive all mankind; to whom will they be true, who are false to their own souls? It is bad to do mischief, but worse to devise it, to do it with plot and management. If we willingly banish holy meditations in our solitary hours, Satan will soon occupy our minds with sinful imaginations. Hardened sinners stand to what they have done, as though they could justify it before God himself.

Verses 5-12 Men may shut up their compassion, yet, with God we shall find mercy. This is great comfort to all believers, plainly to be seen, and not to be taken away. God does all wisely and well; but what he does we know not now, it is time enough to know hereafter. God's loving-kindness is precious to the saints. They put themselves under his protection, and then are safe and easy. Gracious souls, though still desiring more of God, never desire more than God. The gifts of Providence so far satisfy them, that they are content with such things as they have. The benefit of holy ordinances is sweet to a sanctified soul, and strengthening to the spiritual and Divine life. But full satisfaction is reserved for the future state. Their joys shall be constant. God not only works in them a gracious desire for these pleasures, but by his Spirit fills their souls with joy and peace in believing. He quickens whom he will; and whoever will, may come, and take from him of the waters of life freely. May we know, and love, and uprightly serve the Lord; then no proud enemy, on earth or from hell, shall separate us from his love. Faith calleth things that are not, as though they were. It carries us forward to the end of time; it shows us the Lord, on his throne of judgment; the empire of sin fallen to rise no more.

Cross References 29

  • 1. S Job 21:16
  • 2. Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 36:16,24
  • 3. S Job 23:15; Romans 3:18*
  • 4. Deuteronomy 29:19
  • 5. Psalms 10:7
  • 6. S Job 5:13; Psalms 5:6,9; Psalms 43:1; Psalms 144:8,11; Isaiah 44:20
  • 7. Psalms 94:8
  • 8. Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 13:23; Amos 3:10
  • 9. Proverbs 4:16; Micah 2:1
  • 10. Isaiah 65:2
  • 11. Psalms 52:3; Romans 12:9
  • 12. Psalms 89:1; Psalms 119:90
  • 13. Psalms 57:10; Psalms 71:19; Psalms 89:2; Psalms 103:11; Psalms 108:4
  • 14. Psalms 5:8
  • 15. Psalms 68:15
  • 16. S Genesis 1:2; S Genesis 7:11; Job 11:8; Psalms 77:19; Romans 11:33
  • 17. Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 104:14; Psalms 145:16
  • 18. Psalms 6:4
  • 19. S Ruth 2:12; S Psalms 17:8; Psalms 57:1; Psalms 91:4
  • 20. Psalms 65:4; Isaiah 25:6; Jeremiah 31:12,14
  • 21. Job 20:17; Revelation 22:1
  • 22. S Psalms 23:2; Psalms 63:5
  • 23. Psalms 87:7; Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 16:22; Jeremiah 2:13
  • 24. Psalms 4:6; Psalms 27:1; Psalms 76:4; Psalms 104:2; Isaiah 2:5; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:1,19; John 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9
  • 25. Jeremiah 31:3
  • 26. Jeremiah 9:24; Jeremiah 22:16
  • 27. Psalms 7:10; Psalms 11:2; Psalms 94:15; Psalms 125:4
  • 28. Psalms 71:4; Psalms 140:4
  • 29. S Psalms 18:38; Psalms 140:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 36:1-12 is numbered 36:2-13.
  • [b]. Or "A message from God: The transgression of the wicked" / "resides in their hearts."

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, [a Psalm] of David, the servant of the Lord. This title, which the psalmist takes to himself, regards him not only as a creature, every man being the servant of the Lord as such, of right, though not in fact; but as a king, he being a minister of God for good to good men, and for evil to evil men; and also may respect him as a renewed man; and it is here used in opposition to and distinction from the wicked, who are the servants of sin and Satan, of whom he speaks in this psalm. The Syriac and Arabic versions in their titles suggest that this psalm was written when David was persecuted by Saul, and which is the sense of some interpreters; but R. Obadiah thinks Ahithophel is designed by the wicked man in it; and so it was penned on account of Absalom's rebellion.

Psalms 36 Commentaries

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