|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
53:1-6 The corruption of man by nature. - This psalm is almost the same as the 14th. The scope of it is to convince us of our sins. God, by the psalmist, here shows us how bad we are, and proves this by his own certain knowledge. He speaks terror to persecutors, the worst of sinners. He speaks encouragement to God's persecuted people. How comes it that men are so bad? Because there is no fear of God before their eyes. Men's bad practices flow from their bad principles; if they profess to know God, yet in works, because in thoughts, they deny him. See the folly of sin; he is a fool, in the account of God, whose judgment we are sure is right, that harbours such corrupt thoughts. And see the fruit of sin; to what it brings men, when their hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. See also the faith of the saints, and their hope and power as to the cure of this great evil. There will come a Saviour, a great salvation, a salvation from sin. God will save his church from its enemies. He will save all believers from their own sins, that they may not be led captive by them, which will be everlasting joy to them. From this work the Redeemer had his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins, Mt 1:21.
Verse 5. - There were they in great fear, where no fear was. So long a phrase as "where no fear was" (לא־היה כּחד) can scarcely have "fallen out," and must have been added intentionally to mark that, on the occasion in connection with which the revision was made, there had been no ground at all for the panic. For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee. This clause takes the place of the following in Psalm 14.: "For God is in the generation of the righteous" - a very considerable change, which must certainly have been intentional. On the second occasion whereto the psalm was made applicable, there must have been a very great catastrophe - some vast slaughter of an enemy who had been at open war with Israel. Sennacherib is suggested (Canon Cook). Thou hast put them to shams, because God hath despised them. The clause in Psalm 14. which this replaces runs as follows: "Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his Refuge." Here again, both the phrases used, and the whole tenor of the thought in either case, are different.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There were they in great, fear, where no fear was,.... Before; neither of God nor man, nor any dread of punishment, but the utmost security, Revelation 18:7; also See Gill on Psalm 14:5;
for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee; either against Christ, or against his church and people; who set themselves against the person, office, and grace of Christ, and seek to distress and destroy his interest: "the bones of such God will scatter": that is, he will destroy antichrist and his armies, which are his strength, as the bones are the strength of the human body; and make such a carnage of them, that the fowls of the air shall eat their flesh, and their bones shall be scattered here and there; see Revelation 19:17. So the Targum,
"for God scatters the strength of the armies of the wicked.''
Kimchi interprets it of the bones of the nations that shall encamp against Jerusalem, in the days of Gog; see Revelation 20:8; and Aben Ezra observes, that "thee" respects either God or the Messiah;
thou hast put them to shame; this is either an address of the psalmist unto God, declaring what he had done; or rather of God the Father to his Son Christ Jesus; and so Kimchi and Ben Melech say this refers to the Messiah: and it may be expressive of the shame and confusion that antichrist and his followers will be thrown into, when they shall make war with the Lamb, and he shall overcome them, Revelation 17:14;
because God hath despised them; or rejected them as reprobates; given them up to a reprobate mind; and being ungodly men, has before ordained them to this condemnation. The Targum is,
"for the Word of the Lord hath rejected them;''
as filthy, loathsome, and abominable, and cast them alive into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Instead of assurances of God's presence with the pious, and a complaint of the wicked, Ps 14:5, 6 portrays the ruin of the latter, whose "bones" even "are scattered" (compare Ps 141:7), and who are put to shame as contemptuously rejected of God.
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