|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
73:1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.
Verse 3. - For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (comp. Psalm 37:1). To envy the wicked because they prosper is to make more account of the good things of this life than of God's favour - to prefer physical good to moral. It is also to doubt that God governs the universe by the strict rule of justice. The word translated "foolish" means rather, "vain arrogant boasters." Such the wicked commonly become when they prosper (comp. Psalm 5:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I was envious at the foolish,.... The atheists, as in Psalm 14:1, who deny the creation, as Arama; the wicked, as after explained, as all wicked men are, how wise soever they may be in things natural and civil, yet in religious things, in things of a spiritual nature, they have no understanding; they are proud boasters, glory in themselves, and in their outward attainments, as the word (d) here used signifies; the external happiness of these, their riches, health, and ease, were envied by the psalmist; see Psalm 37:1,
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked, or "the peace of the wicked" (e); with an evil eye. This was the occasion of his slip and fall, this was the temptation he was left unto for a while.
(d) "in arrogantes", Gejerus; "stolide gloriosos", Michaelis; "at vain glorious fools", Ainsworth. (e) "pacem", Pagninus, Musculus, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live, free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflated with unexpected success. With all this—
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