|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-11 God's withdrawings are very grievous to his people, especially in times of trouble. We stand afar off from God by our unbelief, and then complain that God stands afar off from us. Passionate words against bad men do more hurt than good; if we speak of their badness, let it be to the Lord in prayer; he can make them better. The sinner proudly glories in his power and success. Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects and devices, but think not of the Lord in any of them; they have no submission to his will, nor aim for his glory. The cause of this is pride. Men think it below them to be religious. They could not break all the laws of justice and goodness toward man, if they had not first shaken off all sense of religion.
Verse 1. - Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? Here is the key-note struck at once. Why does God stand aloof? Why, after delivering his people from their foreign foes, does he not interfere to protect his true people from their domestic oppressors? "Throughout the reign of David," as it has been truly observed, "Palestine was infested by brigands, and disturbed by a factious nobility" ('Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 4. p. 191). Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself," says Isaiah (Isaiah 45:15). And so Job complains, "He hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him" (Isaiah 23:9). He seems neither to see nor hear. The psalmist inquires - Why? It can only be answered, "In his wisdom; for his own purposes; because he knows it to be best."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Why standest thou afar off, O Lord?.... This psalm begins with a complaint which proceeds on two general heads; the one is with respect to God, his distance from his people, and desertion of them in times of trouble, in this verse; and the other is with respect to the wicked in some following ones. God by his infinite essence and power is everywhere, and is never far off from any of his creatures; and though his glorious presence is in heaven, which, with respect to us on earth, is a land afar off, yet this hinders not but that there is often great nearness between God and his people; and when he stands afar off from them in their apprehensions, it is when he withdraws his gracious presence from them, and defers help and assistance to them, and does not immediately and directly come and visit them: this they cannot bear, they complain; they wonder that, seeing they are the objects of his love, this should be his manner of conduct towards them; they expostulate with him, and inquire for what end and upon what account he should so use them, and most earnestly desire that he would haste and come unto them and help them; see Psalm 22:1;
why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? when God seems to take no notice of his people, does not look upon them, but turns a deaf ear to them, he is said to hide his face, his eyes and ears, from them: and this is sometimes the case of the best of saints, as it has been of Job, David, Heman, and others; and though this is done in a sovereign way by God, who comes and goes when he pleases; for sensible communion with him as much depends upon his sovereign pleasure as the gift of his grace itself does; yet, generally speaking, the denial or withdrawing of his gracious presence is by way of resentment for some disagreeable conduct and behaviour of his people; and is consistent with his everlasting and unchangeable love to them, but is what fills them with grief and sorrow; nor can they: forbear making mournful complaints upon it; and this is aggravated when it is a time of trouble with them, either of soul trouble, by reason of the prevalence of unbelief, and the force of Satan's temptations; or of bodily affliction; though times of trouble here seem to design times of persecution, as may be concluded from the connection of these words with the following; and antichristian times are times of persecution: during the reign of antichrist, in which he is suffered to make war with the saints and overcome them; and during the church's being in the wilderness the space of one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, God may seem to stand at a distance, and to hide himself from her.
The Treasury of David
1 Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
To the tearful eye of the sufferer the Lord seemed to stand still, as if he calmly looked on, and did not sympathize with his afflicted one. Nay, more, the Lord appeared to be afar off, no longer "a very present help in trouble," but an inaccessible mountain, into which no man would be able to climb. The presence of God is the joy of his people, but any suspicion of his absence is distracting beyond measure. Let us, then, ever remember that the Lord is nigh us. The refiner is never far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire, and the Son of God is always walking in the midst of the flames when his holy children are cast into them. Yet he that knows the frailty of man will little wonder that when we are sharply exercised, we find it hard to bear the apparent neglect of the Lord when he forbears to work our deliverance.
"Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?" It is not the trouble, but the hiding of our Father's face, which cuts us to the quick. When trial and desertion come together, we are in as perilous a plight as Paul, when his ship fell into a place where two seas met (Acts 27:41). It is but little wonder if we are like the vessel which ran aground, and the fore-part stuck fast, and remained unmovable, while the hinder part was broken by the violence of the waves. When our sun is eclipsed, it is dark indeed. If we need an answer to the question, "Why hidest thou thyself?" it is to be found in the fact that there is a "needs-be," not only for trial, but for heaviness of heart under trial (1 Peter 1:6); but how could this be the case, if the Lord should shine upon us while he is afflicting us? Should the parent comfort his child while he is correcting him, where would be the use of the chastening? A smiling face and a rod are not fit companions. God bares the back that the blow may be felt; for it is only felt affliction which can become blest affliction. If we are carried in the arms of God over every stream, where would be the trial, and where the experience, which trouble is meant to teach us?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 10:1-18. The Psalmist mourns God's apparent indifference to his troubles, which are aggravated by the successful malice, blasphemy, pride, deceit, and profanity of the wicked. On the just and discriminating providence of God he relies for the destruction of their false security, and the defense of the needy.
1. These are, of course, figurative terms (compare Ps 7:6; 13:1, &c.).
hidest—Supply "thine eyes" or "face."
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