Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 85:1-13. On the ground of former mercies, the Psalmist prays for renewed blessings, and, confidently expecting them, rejoices.
1. captivity—not necessarily the Babylonian, but any great evil (Ps 14:7).
Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
2, 3. (Compare Ps 32:1-5).
Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
3. To turn from the "fierceness," implies that He was reconcilable, though
Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
4-7. having still occasion for the anger which is deprecated.
Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
5. draw out—or, "prolong" (Ps 36:10).
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.
I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
8. He is confident God will favor His penitent people (Ps 51:17; 80:18).
saints—as in Ps 4:3, the "godly."
Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
9. They are here termed "them that fear him"; and grace produces glory (Ps 84:11).
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
10. God's promises of "mercy" will be verified by His "truth" (compare Ps 25:10; 40:10); and the "work of righteousness" in His holy government shall be "peace" (Isa 32:17). There is an implied contrast with a dispensation under which God's truth sustains His threatened wrath, and His righteousness inflicts misery on the wicked.
Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
11. Earth and heaven shall abound with the blessings of this government;
Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
12, 13. and, under this, the deserted land shall be productive, and men be "set," or guided in God's holy ways. Doubtless, in this description of God's returning favor, the writer had in view that more glorious period, when Christ shall establish His government on God's reconciled justice and abounding mercy.
Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.