|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-8 The psalmist begs help of God, because there were none among men whom he durst trust. - This psalm furnishes good thoughts for bad times; a man may comfort himself with such meditations and prayers. Let us see what makes the times bad, and when they may be said to be so. Ask the children of this world, What makes the times bad? they will tell you, Scarcity of money, decay of trade, and the desolations of war, make the times bad: but the Scripture lays the badness of the times on causes of another nature, 2Ti 3:1, c.: perilous times shall come, for sin shall abound; and of this David complains. When piety decays times really are bad. He who made man's mouth will call him to an account for his proud, profane, dissembling, or even useless words. When the poor and needy are oppressed, then the times are very bad. God himself takes notice of the oppression of the poor, and the sighing of the needy. When wickedness abounds, and is countenanced by those in authority, then the times are very bad. See with what good things we are here furnished for such bad times; and we cannot tell what times we may be reserved for. 1. We have a God to go to, from whom we may ask and expect the redress of all our grievances. 2. God will certainly punish and restrain false and proud men. 3. God will work deliverance for his oppressed people. His help is given in the fittest time. Though men are false, God is faithful; though they are not to be trusted, God is. The preciousness of God's word is compared to silver refined to the highest degree. How many proofs have been given of its power and truth! God will secure his chosen remnant, however bad the times are. As long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men. But all God's people are put into the hands of Christ our Saviour; there they are in safety, for none can pluck them thence; being built on Him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding temptation or persecution come with ever so much force upon them.
Verse 4. - Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; or, through our tongues are we powerful; i.e. whatever we desire we can accomplish through our tongues - by persuasion, or by menaces, or by skill in argument. Success in pleading before courts of law is, perhaps, included. Our lips are our own; literally, are with us; i.e. are on our side, are our helpers ("Nobis auxilio et praesto sunt," Michaelis). Who is lord over us? Who, i.e., can interfere with us and impede our action? They do not believe in any righteous Judge and Controller of the world, who can step in to frustrate their plans, upset their designs, and bring them to ruin (see Psalm 10:4, 11; Psalm 14:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who have said, with our tongue will we prevail,.... Either through the eloquence of them, or the outward force and power with which they are backed. The sense is, as we say, so shall it be; our words are laws, and shall be obeyed, there is no standing against them; our edicts and decrees shall everywhere be regarded: or "we will make one to prevail", or "have the dominion" (g); meaning antichrist, the man of sin; for all this is true of the tongues of the antichristian party, and of their laws, edicts, and decrees and which have obtained everywhere, and by which the wicked one has been established in his tyrannical power and authority;
our lips are our own, or "with us" (h): we will say what we please, and make what laws and decrees we think fit, and impose them upon men; and so change times and laws without control, Daniel 7:25;
who is Lord over us? which is the very language and conduct of antichrist, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4; and is indeed the language of the hearts and lives of all wicked and ungodly men, sons of Belial, men without any yoke or restraint; who walk, and are resolved to walk, after the imagination of their own evil hearts; not knowing the Lord, and being unwilling to obey him, or to be restrained by him; see Exodus 5:2.
(g) "prevalere ac dominare, faciemus, scil. aliquem regem, dominum", Cocceius. (h) "nobiscum", Musculus, Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
12:4 Prevail - By raising and spreading evil reports concerning him. Our own - At our own disposal to speak what we please, who can control or restrain us?
Psalm 12:4 Parallel Commentaries
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