|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
83:9-18 All who oppose the kingdom of Christ may here read their doom. God is the same still that ever he was; the same to his people, and the same against his and their enemies. God would make their enemies like a wheel; unsettled in all their counsels and resolves. Not only let them be driven away as stubble, but burnt as stubble. And this will be the end of wicked men. Let them be made to fear thy name, and perhaps that will bring them to seek thy name. We should desire no confusion to our enemies and persecutors but what may forward their conversion. The stormy tempest of Divine vengeance will overtake them, unless they repent and seek the pardoning mercy of their offended Lord. God's triumphs over his enemies, clearly prove that he is, according to his name JEHOVAH, an almighty Being, who has all power and perfection in himself. May we fear his wrath, and yield ourselves to be his willing servants. And let us seek deliverance by the destruction of our fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
Verse 16. - Fill their faces with shame; i.e. cause their enterprise to fail, and so bring them to shame and confusion of face. That they may seek thy Name, O Lord. A merciful purpose lies behind the greater number of Divine visitations. They are intended to scourge men into submission, and cause them to turn to God. The psalmist, being in full sympathy with God, desires that his merciful intentions may have effect.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Fill their faces with shame,.... For their sins, or rather through disappointment, not being able to put their desperate and deep laid schemes into execution: or "with lightness" (o); instead of a weight of honour and glory upon them, let them be despised. R. Joseph Kimchi renders it, "fill their faces with fire"; let their faces be as if they were on fire, as men's faces are, who are put to an exceeding great blush, or are most sadly confounded and ashamed:
that they may seek thy name, O Lord; not they themselves, who are filled with shame; for it is imprecated, that they be ashamed, and troubled for ever, and so as to perish, Psalm 83:17 but others; for the words may be supplied, as in Psalm 83:18 "that men may seek thy name, or that thy name may be sought": the judgments of God upon wicked men are sometimes the means of arousing others, and putting them upon seeking the Lord, his face, and his favour; that God would be merciful to them, pardon their iniquities, avert judgments from them, and preserve them from threatened calamities; and this is a good end, when answered; see Isaiah 26:9.
(o) Heb. "levitate", Piscator; so Ainsworth.
The Treasury of David
16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.
17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
"Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord." Shame has often weaned men from their idols, and set them upon seeking the Lord. If this was not the happy result, in the present instance, with the Lord's enemies, yet it would be so with his people who were so prone to err. They would be humbled by his mercy, and ashamed of themselves because of his grace; and then they would with sincerity return to the earnest worship of Jehovah their God, who had delivered them.
Where no good result followed, and the men remained as fierce and obstinate as ever, justice was invoked to carry out the capital sentence. "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish." What else could be done with them? It was better that they perished than that Israel should be rooted up. What a terrible doom it will be to the enemies of God to be "confounded and troubled for ever," - to see all their schemes and hopes defeated, and their bodies and souls full of anguish without end: from such a shameful perishing may our souls be delivered.
"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." Hearing of the Lord's marvellous deeds in defeating such a numerous confederacy, the very heathen would be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of Jehovah. We read in 2 Chronicles 20:30, that the fear of God was on all the neighbouring kingdoms when they heard that Jehovah fought against the enemies of Israel. Jehovah is essentially the Most High. He who is self-existent is infinitely above all creatures, all the earth is but his footstool. The godless race of man disregards this, and yet at times the wonderful works of the Lord compel the most unwilling to adore his majesty.
Thus has this soul-stirring lyric risen from the words of complaint to those of adoration; let us in our worship always seek to do the same. National trouble called out the nation's poet laureate, and well did he discourse at once of her sorrows, and prayers, and hopes. Sacred literature thus owes much to sorrow and distress. How enriching is the hand of adversity!
The following attempt to versify the Psalm, and tune it to gospel purposes, is submitted with great diffidence.
O God, be thou no longer still.
Thy foes are leagued against thy law;
Make bare thine arm on Zion's hill,
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. that they may seek—or as Ps 83:18, supply "men," since Ps 83:17, 18 amplify the sentiment of Ps 83:16, expressing more fully the measure of destruction, and the lesson of God's being and perfections (compare 2Ch 20:29) taught to all men.
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