William Kelly Major Works Commentary
A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.The first is "A psalm of Asaph." The opening utterance as usual gives the key-note. It is God good to "Israel," but only "to such as are pure in heart," - gracious to His people as a whole, and so known by those that honoured Him as a God of judgment. But the trial produced by the prosperity of the wicked, while judgment is not yet executed, is vividly expressed, and the secret only known in His presence which gave the clue and turned all for good. Why the Revised Version repeats the error of the Authorised in ver. 24 is hard to understand, if one knew not the force of habit. The mistranslation is probably due to christian prejudice overriding the correct Israelitish hope. Yet it overthrows our real privilege. For those put to sleep by Jesus will God bring with Him. Hence when Christ, our life, shall be manifested, then shall we also with Him be manifested in glory. Whereas it is after the glory that God will receive Israel. Compare Zechariah 2:8.
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.