Psalms 112

PSALM CXII

The blessedness of the man that fears the Lord, both as it

regards himself and his family, 1-3;

his conduct to his family, his neighbours, and the poor, 4-9;

the envy of the wicked at his prosperity, 10.

NOTES ON PSALM CXII

This is another of the acrostic or alphabetical Psalms, under

the title Hallelujah. It is formed exactly as the preceding in the

division of its verses. It has ten verses in the whole: the first

eight contain each two hemistichs, beginning with a consecutive

letter of the alphabet; the ninth and tenth verses, three each,

making twenty-two in the whole. It is understood to have been

written after the captivity, and probably by Zechariah and Haggai:

to them it is ascribed by the Vulgate.

Verse 1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord] This seems

to be the continuation of the preceding Psalm: there it was

asserted that the beginning of wisdom was the fear of the Lord;

and here the blessedness of the man who thus fears is stated.

That delighteth greatly] It is not enough to fear God, we must

also love him: fear will deter us from evil; love will lead us to

obedience. And the more a man fears and loves God, the more

obedient will he be; till at last he will delight greatly in the

commandments of his Maker.

Verse 2. His seed shall be mighty] zaro, his posterity.

So the word should always be understood in this connection.

Verse 3. Wealth and riches shall be in his house] This is often

the case: a godly man must save both time and money. Before he was

converted he lost much time, and squandered his money. All this he

now saves, and therefore wealth and riches must be in his house;

and if he does not distribute to the necessities of the poor, they

will continue to accumulate till they be his curse; or God will,

by his providence, sweep them away. Both tsedakah and

δικαιοσυνη are often used to signify, not only justice and

righteousness, but also beneficence and almsgiving; and this is

most probably the meaning here. See Ps 112:9.

Verse 4. There ariseth light in the darkness] The upright are

always happy; and when tribulations come, God lifts up the light

of his countenance upon him, and causes all occurences to work

together for his good.

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.] He

enjoys the favour of God; that grace makes him compassionate;

and in the general tenor of his conduct he is righteous. From

these principles he shows favour (Ps 112:5) to him that

needs it; that is, to the real poor he gives of his substance;

and others he obliges by lending, they not being utterly in want,

but standing in need only of a little present help. But he takes

heed to whom he gives and to whom he lends; that in the

first case his bounty may be well applied, and in the second he

may not oblige the person who only seeks, under the notion of a

loan, to appropriate the money borrowed. To prevent evils of this

kind he acts prudently, and guides his affairs with discretion,

Ps 112:5.

Verse 7. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings] He knows that

God governs the world, therefore he fears not for futurity. And as

to the calumnies of men, he fears them not, because his heart is

fixed-determined to walk in the path of duty, whatever

persecutions he may suffer, for he trusts in the Lord.

Verse 8. His heart is established] samuch libbo,

"his heart is propped up;" he is buttressed up by the strength of

his Maker.

Verse 9. He hath dispersed] He has scattered abroad his

munificence; he has given particularly to the poor; his

righteousness-his almsgiving, his charity, remaineth for ever.

See on Ps 112:3.

His horn] His power and authority shall be exalted with honour.

He shall rise to influence only through his own worth, and not by

extortion or flattery.

Verse 10. The wicked shall see it] rasha, the wicked

one. Some think Satan is meant. It is distinguished from

reshaim, wicked men, in the conclusion of the verse.

Shall gnash with his teeth] Through spite and ill will.

And melt away] Through envy and hopeless expectation of similar

good; for his desire in reference to himself, and in reference to

him who is the object of his envy, shall perish-shall come to

nothing.

ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND TWELFTH PSALM

The psalmist, having put it down for an infallible maxim, in the

close of the former Psalm, "that the fear of the Lord is the

beginning of wisdom," in this sets down the felicity of that man

who fears God, in several particulars.

There are two parts in this Psalm:-

I. A general proposition, that he is blessed.

II. An enumeration of particulars in which that blessedness

consists, Ps 112:2-10.

I. To the first part he prefixes a hallelujah, "praise the

Lord," which is the intent and scope of the Psalm; that he be

praised for those rewards of piety he bestows on such as fear him.

He delivers this one general proposition to persuade them to

piety: "Blessed is the man," &c., that believes, honours, and

serves him.

For fear a man should mistake, supposing he fears the Lord when

he really does not, he adds these three restrictions to his

proposition:-

1. "Keep his commandments." An obedient fear.

2. "He delights in them," &c. Is pleased with their equity, and

loves them.

3. "He delights greatly," &c. It must be a thankful and ready

fear, performed with alacrity and earnestness, done with all the

heart.

II. In the rest of the Psalm he insists on what this blessedness

consists in:-

1. That the righteous shall have temporal goods, and that they

shall be blessings.

2. That though they shall enjoy them, they are not exempted from

crosses, 2Ti 3:12.

3. That God distributes these temporal blessings not equally,

but most profitably for him.

This being premised, he enumerates the blessings here promised:-

1. "His seed shall be mighty," &c. Which was verified in Abraham

and his posterity: "I will show mercy to thousands," &c.

2. "Wealth and riches," &c. That is, abundance of all things

shall be in his house, and remain in it for his just dealing;

and contentment preserves his well obtained goods to his

posterity.

3. "Unto the upright there ariseth light," &c. The light of

counsel and consolation, in the midst of doubts, tribulations, and

afflictions, which the prophet ascribes to God's mercy and

goodness.

4. He hath bowels of compassion, of which he shows two effects:

1. "A good man showeth favour," &c. Easily forgives an injury. 2.

Imagines he is not born for himself, but to do good to others.

5. "He will guide his affairs with discretion." Discern between

truth and falsehood; be no accepter of persons, but in all things

just and upright.

6. He is patient and constant. Troubles and dangers may

increase; but in the midst of all he looks to heaven, and remains

firm in his principles.

7. "The righteous shall be had," &c. His name is written in the

book of life, and it is precious in the Church, such as those of

the martyrs; while the wicked are detested, such as Judas, Cain,

Pilate. At the last day the one shall have "Come, ye blessed;" the

other, "Go, ye cursed."

8. "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings." Scandals may arise;

but he remembers "the servant is not above his lord," therefore he

bears all patiently, and for these reasons: 1. "Because his heart

is fixed," &c. He has a sure rock; God will clear his innocency.

2. "His heart is established," &c. He knows God will take care of

him.

9. The ninth felicity to the righteous is, God has given him a

charitable heart. 1. "He hath dispersed," acts liberally, that

others as well as himself may reap. 2. He does it freely, without

looking for any thing again: "He gives." 3. "He hath given to the

poor." To those who need his kindness.

For this liberality he is a great gainer in two respects:-

1. "The good work he hath done," &c. His charity and piety are

increased by it.

2. "His horn," &c. His power, honour, dignity, and glory.

His last felicity is,

1. "The wicked shall see it," and be grieved at his felicity.

2. "He shall gnash his teeth" as a mad dog, and seek his ruin.

3. But shall not be able to harm him: "The desire of the wicked

shall perish." He that fears God is a happy man; he that fears him

not, most unhappy. Reader, in what state art thou? Happy or

unhappy?

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