Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 9:1-20. Upon Muthlabben, or, after the manner according to "death to the Son," by which some song was known, to whose air or melody the musician is directed to perform this Psalm. This mode of denoting a song by some prominent word or words is still common (compare Ps 22:1). The Psalmist praises God for deliverance from his enemies and celebrates the divine government, for providing security to God's people and punishment to the wicked. Thus encouraging himself, he prays for new occasions to recount God's mercies, and confident of His continued judgment on the wicked and vindication of the oppressed, he implores a prompt and efficient manifestation of the divine sovereignty.
1. Heartfelt gratitude will find utterance.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
3-5. When … are turned back—It is the result of God's power alone. He, as a righteous Judge (Ps 7:11), vindicates His people. He rebukes by acts as well as words (Ps 6:1; 18:15), and so effectually as to destroy the names of nations as well as persons.
For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
6. Literally, "As to the enemy finished are his ruins for ever. Thou [God] hast destroyed," &c. (1Sa 15:3, 7; 27:8, 9). The wicked are utterly undone. Their ruins shall never be repaired.
But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
7, 8. God's eternal possession of a throne of justice is contrasted with the ruin of the wicked.
And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
9, 10. The oppressed, and all who know Him (Ps 5:3; 7:1), find Him a sure refuge.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
11. (Compare Ps 2:6; 3:4).
When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
12. for blood—that is, murders (Ps 5:6), including all the oppressions of His people.
maketh inquisition—(compare Ge 9:5). He will avenge their cause.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
13. gates—or, "regions."
of death—Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.
That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
14. gates … Zion—The enclosure of the city (compare Ps 48:12; Isa 23:12), or, church, as denoted by this phrase contrasted with that of death, carries out the idea of exaltation as well as deliverance. Signal favors should lead us to render signal and public thanks.
The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
15, 16. The undesigned results of the devices of the wicked prove them to be of God's overruling or ordering, especially when those results are destructive to the wicked themselves.
The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
16. Higgaion—means "meditation," and, combined with Selah, seems to denote a pause of unusual solemnity and emphasis (compare Ps 3:2). Though Selah occurs seventy-three times, this is the only case in which Higgaion is found. In the view which is given here of the retribution on the wicked as an instance of God's wise and holy ordering, we may well pause in adoring wonder and faith.
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
17. shall be turned—or, "shall turn," retreating under God's vengeance, and driven by Him to the extreme of destruction, even hell itself. Those who forget God are classed with the depraved and openly profane.
For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
18. (Compare Ps 13:1-6).
the needy—literally, "poor," as deprived of anything; hence miserable.
expectation of the poor—or, "meek," "humble," made so by affliction.
Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
19. Arise—(compare Ps 4:7).
let not man—(Ps 8:4).
let … be judged—and of course condemned.
Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
20. By their effectual subjection, make them to realize their frail nature (Ps 8:4), and deter them from all conceit and future rebellion.