|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:11-20 Those who believe that God is greatly to be praised, not only desire to praise him better themselves, but desire that others may join with them. There is a day coming, when it will appear that he has not forgotten the cry of the humble; neither the cry of their blood, or the cry of their prayers. We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. The overruling providence of God frequently so orders it, that persecutors and oppressors are brought to ruin by the projects they formed to destroy the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves; the contentious bring mischief upon themselves: thus men's sins may be read in their punishment, and it becomes plain to all, that the destruction of sinners is of themselves. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; and those who continue in sin, must go to that place of torment. The true state, both of nations and of individuals, may be correctly estimated by this one rule, whether in their doings they remember or forget God. David encourages the people of God to wait for his salvation, though it should be long deferred. God will make it appear that he never did forget them: it is not possible he should. Strange that man, dust in his and about him, should yet need some sharp affliction, some severe visitation from God, to bring him to the knowledge of himself, and make him feel who and what he is.
Verse 19. - Arise, O Lord (comp. Psalm 7:6, and the comment ad loc.). Let not man prevail; or, let not weak man prevail. The word used for "man," enosh, carries with it the idea of weakness. That "weak man" should prevail over God is preposterous. Let the heathen be judged in thy sight. If judged, then, as being wicked, condemned; if condemned, then punished - defeated, ruined, brought to nought (see ver. 5)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Arise, O Lord,.... To the destruction of thine enemies, and the salvation of thy people; See Gill on Psalm 7:6;
let not man prevail; the man of sin, antichrist, that is, let him not always prevail; he is the little horn that was to prevail against the saints, and has prevailed, Daniel 7:21; but he shall not always prevail; this petition will be heard and answered; for though he shall cast down many thousands, he shall not be "strengthened" by it, Daniel 11:12; where the same word is used as here; the Lamb at last shall overcome him and his ten kings, his supporters, and all that shall aid and assist him, Revelation 17:14;
let the Heathen be judged in thy sight; that is, the antichristian nations that adhere to the man of sin, let them be judged and punished in the sight of God, the Judge of all the earth, whose eyes are as a flame of fire; compare with this Joel 3:12.
The Treasury of David
19 Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
20 Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
Prayers are the believer's weapons of war. When the battle is too hard for us, we call in our great ally, who, as it were, lies in ambush until faith gives the signal by crying out, "Arise, O Lord." Although our cause be all but lost, it shall be soon won again if the Almighty doth but bestir himself. He will not suffer man to prevail over God, but with swift judgments will confound their gloryings. In the very sight of God the wicked will be punished, and he who is now all tenderness will have no bowels of compassion for them, since they had no tears of repentance while their day of grace endured.
One would think that men would not grow so vain as to deny themselves to be but men, but it appears to be a lesson which only a divine schoolmaster can teach to some proud spirits. Crowns leave their wearers but men, degrees of eminent learning make their owners not more than men, valour and conquest cannot elevate beyond the dead level of "but men;" and all the wealth of Croesus, the wisdom of Solon, the power of Alexander, the eloquence of Demosthenes, if added together, would leave the possessor but a man. May we ever remember this, lest like those in the text, we should be put in fear.
Before leaving this Psalm, it will be very profitable if the student will peruse it again as the triumphal hymn of the Redeemer, as he devoutly brings the glory of his victories and lays it down at his Father's feet. Let us joy in his joy, and our joy shall be full.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. Arise—(compare Ps 4:7).
let not man—(Ps 8:4).
let … be judged—and of course condemned.
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