Psalms 62

PSALM LXII

David, in imminent danger, flees to God for help and safety,

1, 2;

points out the designs of his adversaries, 3, 4;

encourages his soul to wait on God, 5-8;

shows the vanity of trusting in man, and of trusting in riches,

9, 10;

and concludes with asserting that power and mercy belong to

God, and that he will give to every man according to his works,

11, 12.

NOTES ON PSALM LXII

The title, "To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun," may mean that

the Psalm was sent to him who was the chief or leader of the band

of the family of Jeduthun. It appears that Asaph, Jeduthun, and

Heman, were chief singers in the time of David; that they, with

their families, presided over different departments of the vocal

and instrumental worship in the tabernacle, 1Ch 25:1, &c.; that

they were holy men, full of the Divine Spirit, (a thing very rare

among singers and performers in these latter days,) and that they

prophesied with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals; that

Jeduthun had six sons thus employed; that himself prophesied with

a harp to give thanks and praise to God, 1Ch 25:3; and that the

sons of Jeduthun were appointed by lot to the different courses.

The eighth course fell to his son Jeshaiah, 1Ch 25:15; the

twelfth, to Hashabiah, 1Ch 25:19; and the

fourteenth, to Mattithiah, 1Ch 25:21.

Will our modern performers on instruments of music in churches

and chapels, pretend to the prophetic influence? If they do not,

and cannot, how dare they quote such passages in vindication of

their practice, which can be no better than a dulcet noise without

its original meaning, and alien from its primary use? Do they

indeed prophesy with harps, and psalteries, and cymbals? or

with their play-house aggregate of fiddles and flutes, bass-viols

and bassoons, clarionets and kettle-drums? Away with such

trumpery and pollution from the worship and Church of Christ!

Though it is not very clear from the Psalm itself on what

occasion it was composed, yet it is most likely it was during the

rebellion of Absalom; and perhaps at the particular time when

David was obliged to flee from Jerusalem.

Verse 1. Truly my soul waiteth upon God] I do not think that the

original will warrant this translation, ak

el Elohim dumiyah naphshi, "Surely to God only is my soul dumb." I

am subject to God Almighty. He has a right to lay on me what he

pleases; and what he lays on me is much less than I deserve:

therefore am I dumb before God. The Vulgate, and almost all the

Versions, have understood it in this sense: Nonne Deo subjecta

erit anima mea? Shall not my soul be subject to God? In other

words, God alone has a right to dispose of my life as he pleases.

Verse 2. I shall not be greatly moved.] Having God for my

rock-strong fortified place, for my salvation-continual

safety, and my defence-my elevated tower, which places me out of

the reach of my enemies; I shall not be greatly moved-I may be

shaken, but cannot be cast down.

Verse 3. How long will ye imagine mischief] The original word,

tehothethu, has been translated variously; rush upon,

rage against, stir yourselves up, thrust against: the root is

hathath or hathah, to rush violently upon, to assault. It

points out the disorderly riotous manner in which this rebellion

was conducted.

As a bowing wall-a tottering fence.] Ye are just ready to fall

upon others, and destroy them; and in that fall yourselves shall

be destroyed: "Ye shall be slain the whole of you."

Verse 4. To cast him down from his excellency] They are

consulting to dethrone me, and use treachery and falsehood in

order to bring it about: "They delight in lies."

They bless with their mouth] Probably alluding to Absalom's

blandishments of the people. He flattered them in order to get the

sovereign rule. Or it may refer to the people of Jerusalem, whose

perfidy he saw, while they were full of professions of loyalty,

&c.; but he could not trust them, and therefore retired from

Jerusalem.

Verse 5. Wait thou only upon God] There is none but him in whom

thou canst safely trust; and to get his help, resign thyself into

his hands; be subject to him, and be silent before him; thou hast

what thou hast deserved. See on Ps 62:1.

Verse 7. In God is my salvation] al Elohim, "Upon

God is my salvation;" he has taken it upon himself. And my

glory-the preservation of my state, and the safety of my

kingdom.

Verse 8. Trust in him-ye people] All ye who are faithful to your

king, continue to trust in God. The usurper will soon be cast

down, and your rightful sovereign restored to his government. Fear

not the threatenings of my enemies, for God will be a refuge for

us.

Verse 9. Men of low degree are vanity] beney Adam,

which we here translate men of low degree, literally, sons of

Adam, are put in opposition to beney ish, men of high

degree, literally, the sons of substance, or children of

substantial men. Adam was the name of the first man when formed

out of the earth; Ish was his name when united to his wife, and

they became one flesh. Before, he was the incomplete man; after,

he was the complete man; for it seems, in the sight of God, it

requires the male and female to make one complete human being.

enosh is another name given to man, but this concerns him

in his low, fallen, wretched estate: it properly signifies weak,

poor, addicted, wretched man.

Common men can give no help. They are vanity, and it is folly to

trust in them; for although they may be willing, yet they have no

ability to help you: "Rich men are a lie." They promise much,

but perform nothing; they cause you to hope, but mock your

expectation.

To be laid to the balance] bemozenayim laaloth, In

the balances they ascend: exactly answerable to our phrase, they

kick the beam.

They are altogether lighter than vanity.] Literally, Both of

them united are vanity, hemmah mehebel yachad. Put

both together in one scale, and truth in the opposite, and both

will kick the beam. They weigh nothing, they avail nothing.

Verse 10. Trust not in oppression] Do not suppose that my

unnatural son and his partisans can succeed.

Become not vain in robbery] If ye have laid your hands on the

spoils of my house, do not imagine that these ill-gotten riches

will prosper. God will soon scatter them to all the winds of

heaven. All oppressors come to an untimely end; and all property

acquired by injustice has God's curse on it.

Verse 11. God hath spoken once] God has once addressed his

people in giving the law on Mount Sinai. The Chaldee translates

the whole passage thus: "God hath spoken one law, and twice have

we heard this from the mouth of Moses the great scribe, that

strength is before God: and it becomes thee, O God, to show mercy

to the righteous; for thou renderest to man according to his

works."

Twice have I heard this] Except some of the ancient Versions,

almost every version, translation, and commentary has missed the

sense and meaning of this verse. I shall set down the text:

achath dibber Elohim; shetayim zu

shamati; of which the true version is this: Once hath God spoken;

these two things have I heard. Now what are the two things he had

heard? 1. ki oz lelohim, "That strength is the

Lord's;" that is, He is the Origin of power. 2.

ulecha Adonai, chased; "and to thee, Lord, is mercy;" that is, He

is the Fountain of mercy. These, then, are the two grand truths

that the law, yea, the whole revelation of God, declares through

every page. He is the Almighty; he is the most merciful; and hence

the inference: The powerful, just, and holy God, the most merciful

and compassionate Lord, will by and by judge the world, and will

render to man according to his works. How this beautiful meaning

should have been unseen by almost every interpreter, is hard to

say: these verses contain one of the most instructive truths in

the Bible.

ANALYSIS OF THE SIXTY-SECOND PSALM

The intent of this Psalm is to teach men to trust in God; and

not to trust in wealth, or strength, nor in the power or promise

of men.

It may be divided into the five following parts:-

I. David's confidence in God, Ps 62:1, 2.

II. The mischievous but vain attempts of his enemies,

Ps 62:3, 4.

III. He encourages himself and others in the same confidence,

Ps 62:5-9.

IV. That no trust is to be put in men, nor riches, Ps 62:9, 10.

V. The grounds of our confidence in God, Ps 62:11, 12.

I. In the first verses David expresses, or rather labours to

express, as appears by his frequent repetition of the same thing

in divers words, his trust, hope, and confidence in God:-

1. "Truly, my soul waiteth upon God." I acquiesce in his will.

2. "From him comes my salvation." If I be safe in my greatest

troubles, it is from him.

3. "He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defence so

that I shall not greatly be moved." He is to me what a rock or

tower or defence is to such as flee to them.

II. And upon this he infers that the mischievous attempts of his

bitterest adversaries are but vain; with them he expostulates;

them he checks, and over them he insults.

1. "How long will ye imagine mischief against a man?" i.e., me.

He chides their obstinacy.

2. "Ye shall be slain all of you;" and their ruin he declares by

a double similitude; "Ye shall be as a bowing wall;" whence when

some stones begin to start out or fall, the rest follow: or as a

tottering fence, that is easily thrown down.

Next, by the description of their manners, he intimates the

cause of their ruin.

1. "They only consult to cast him down from his excellency;"

their counsel is to destroy David.

2. "They delight in lies;" invent lies and tales to destroy him.

3. Flatterers and dissemblers are they: "They bless with their

mouth but they curse inwardly;" no wonder then, if destined to the

slaughter, "if they be as a broken wall," &c.

III. And lest his heart faint and fail through the multitude of

temptations, he first encourages himself to be confident still.

Secondly, persuades others to do so.

1. He encourages himself, making use of the words of the first

and second verses for reasons: "My soul, wait thou only upon God;

for my expectation is from him: he only is my rock, and my

salvation; he is my defence, I shall not be moved. In God is my

salvation, and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge,

is in God."

2. He exhorts others to do the like: "Trust in him, ye people,"

which he amplifies:-

1. By assignation of the time: "Trust in him at all times:" in

prosperity, that he be not secure; in adversity, that he be not

heartless.

2. And in our saddest occasions he shows what is to be done,

that we bring our grievances and complaints before God, and with

an honest heart open them: "Pour out your heart (that is, the

griefs of your hearts) before him."

3. Adding this reason: "God is a refuge for us."

IV. So are not other things; whether, 1. Men. 2. Wealth,

especially unjustly got.

1. Not men; there is no credit or trust to be put in them of any

degree. 1. "Surely men of low degree are vanity," 2. "And men of

high degree are a lie." The low are not able; the high deceive

our hopes.

"Put them into the balance; they are altogether lighter than

vanity." Make trial of them, as of things in a scale, and you

shall find them so vain and light that they carry no proportion to

what is weighty, but ascend as an empty scale.

2. Nor wealth, nor riches; especially if unjustly heaped

together: "Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in

robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them."

V. In the close, he sets down the grounds of his confidence,

taken upon God's word: "God hath spoken; twice have I heard the

same;" or, "I have heard these two things:"-

1. "That power belongs to God;" and there fore he is to be

trusted.

2. "That mercy belongs to God;" and therefore, also, you may

have the utmost confidence in him.

The consequence of both is, "Thou renderest to every one

according to his works," bonis vera, malis mala: rely upon him.

Bad work cannot have good wages; good work cannot have bad

wages. "What a man soweth, that shall he also reap." "The

righteous shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of

fools." A man may deserve hell by a wicked life; but he cannot

merit heaven by a good life because he cannot do good but through

the grace of God, and the merit of the work belongs to the grace

by which it was wrought. Reader, hear God's sentence on this

subject: "The wages of sin is death." This is desert. "But the

gift of God is eternal life." Here is no desert, for it is "by

Jesus Christ our Lord." To him be glory for ever. Amen.

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