Psalm 10:10
He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
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(10) By his strong ones.—Possibly, by his strong claws, recurring to the metaphor of the lion. Some (Jerome, Perowne, and apparently Syriac), instead of “croucheth,” render “is crushed,” making the sufferer its subject. There is a various reading to the text, but in either case the image of the beast gathering himself together for a spring is admissible. Or, keeping the primary sense of darkness, render, he crouches and skulks, and lies darkly down in his strong places. This avoids the anomaly of taking the plural noun with a singular verb. For the adverbial use of the plural noun, see Isaiah 1:10; Psalm 139:14.

Psalm 10:10. He croucheth and humbleth himself — Like a lion (for he continues the same metaphor) which lies close upon the ground, partly that he may not be discovered, and partly that he may more suddenly and surely lay hold on his prey. “When the lion means to leap,” says the Jewish Arabic translator, “he first coucheth that he may gather himself together; then he rouseth himself, and puts out his strength, that he may tear his prey: therefore when he speaketh thee fair, beware of him: for this is but his deceit.” That the poor may fall — Or, taking the verb נפל, naphal, actively, (as Joshua 11:7; Job 1:15,) that he may fall upon the poor; that, having first couched and lain down, and then of a sudden rising, he may leap and fall upon his prey, like a lion. By his strong ones — His strong members, his teeth or paws.

10:1-11 God's withdrawings are very grievous to his people, especially in times of trouble. We stand afar off from God by our unbelief, and then complain that God stands afar off from us. Passionate words against bad men do more hurt than good; if we speak of their badness, let it be to the Lord in prayer; he can make them better. The sinner proudly glories in his power and success. Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects and devices, but think not of the Lord in any of them; they have no submission to his will, nor aim for his glory. The cause of this is pride. Men think it below them to be religious. They could not break all the laws of justice and goodness toward man, if they had not first shaken off all sense of religion.He croucheth - Margin, "breaketh himself." Coverdale, "Then smiteth he, then oppresseth he." Prof. Alexander, "And bruised he will sink." Horsley, "And the overpowered man submits." Luther, "He slays, and thrusts down, and presses to the earth the poor with power." This variety of interpretation arises from some ambiguity in regard to the meaning of the original. The word rendered "croucheth" - ודכה, in the Kethib (the text) - is in the Qeri' (margin), ידכה, "and crushed, he sinks down." There is some uncertainty about the form in which the word is used, but it is certain that it does not mean, as in our translation, "he croucheth." The word דכה dâkâh, properly means to be broken in pieces, to be crushed; and this idea runs through all the forms in which the word occurs. The true idea, it seems to me, is that this does not refer to the wicked man, but to his victim or victims, represented here by a word in the collective singular; and the meaning is that such a victim, crushed and broken down, sinks under the power of the persecutor and oppressor. "And the crushed one sinks down."

And humbleth himself - The word used here - ישׁח yāśoch - from שׁוּח śûch - means to sink down; to settle down. Here it means to sink down as one does who is overcome or oppressed, or who is smitten to the earth. The idea is, that he is crushed or smitten by the wicked, and sinks to the ground.

That the poor may fall - Rather, as in the original, "and the poor fall;" that is, they do fall. The idea is, that they do in fact fall by the arm of the persecutor and oppressor who treads them down.

By his strong ones - Margin, "Or, into his strong parts." The text here best expresses the sense. The reference is to the strong ones - the followers and abettors of the "wicked" here referred to - his train of followers. The allusion seems to be to this wicked man represented as the head or leader of a band of robbers or outlaws - strong, athletic men engaged under him in committing robbery on the unprotected. See Psalm 10:8-9. Under these strong men the poor and the unprotected fall, and are crushed to the earth. The meaning of the whole verse, therefore, may be thus expressed: "And the crushed one sinks down, and the poor fall under his mighty ones." The word rendered "poor" is in the plural, while the verb "fall" is in the singular; but this construction is not uncommon when the verb precedes. Nordheimer, Hebrew Grammar, Section 759, i., a. The word rendered "poor" means the wretched or the afflicted, and refers here to those who were unprotected - the victims of oppression and robbery.

The following account of the condition of Palestine at the present time will illustrate the passage here, and show how true the statements of the psalmist are to nature. It occurs in "The land and the Book," by W. M. Thomson, D. D., Missionary in Syria. He is speaking of the sandy beach, or the sand hills, in the neighborhood of Mount Carmel, and says, respecting these "sandy downs, with feathery reeds, running far inland, the chosen retreat of wild boars and wild Arabs," "The Arab robber larks like a wolf among these sand heaps, and often springs out suddenly upon the solitary traveler, robs him in a trice, and then plunges again into the wilderness of sand hills and reedy downs, where pursuit is fruitless. Our friends are careful not to allow us to straggle about or lag behind, and yet it seems absurd to fear a surprise here - Khaifa before, and Acre in the rear, and travelers in sight on both sides. Robberies, however, do often occur, just where we now are. Strange country! and it has always been so." And then quoting the passage before us Psalm 10:8-10, he adds, "A thousand rascals, the living originals of this picture, are this day crouching and lying in wait all over the country to catch poor helpless travelers. You observe that all these people we meet or pass are armed; nor would they venture to go from Acre to Khaifa without their musket, although the cannon of the castles seem to command every foot of the way." Vol. i., pp. 487, 488.

10. croucheth—as a lion gathers himself into as small compass as possible to make the greater spring.

fall by his strong ones—The figure of the lion is dropped, and this phrase means the accomplices of the chief or leading wicked man.

Like a lion, (for he continues the same metaphor,) which gathereth himself together, and lies close upon the ground, partly that he may not be discovered, and partly that he may more suddenly, and surely, and fiercely lay hold upon his prey. But for this translation, because this and is not in the Hebrew, and there is another and there prefixed to the first verb, some join that first verb to the end of the 10th verse, and render the place thus, he catcheth the poor by drawing him into his net, and breaks him to pieces, as that verb properly signifies. So there is only a detect of the pronoun, which is most frequent. And this makes the sense complete, which otherwise would be imperfect in that verse, and showeth us what he doth with his prey when he hath taken it. And this 10th verse begins very well with the next verb,

he humbleth himself; or, he stoops, or bends himself.

That the poor may fall; or, that he may fall (for this verb is sometimes taken actively, as Joshua 11:7 Job 1:15) upon the poor; that having first crouched and lain down, and then of a sudden rising, he may leap and fall upon his prey, like a lion.

By his strong ones, i.e. by his strong members, his teeth or paws. So it is an ellipsis of the noun substantive; whereof we have examples, as 2 Samuel 21:16, new for a new sword; and Psalm 73:10, full for a full cup; and Matthew 10:42, cold for cold water.

He croucheth and humbleth himself,.... As the lion before he leaps and seizes on his prey, and as the fowler creepeth upon the ground to draw the bird into his net and catch it; so the antichristian beast has two horns like a lamb; though he has the mouth of a lion, and speaks like a dragon, he would be thought to be like the Lamb of God, meek, and lowly, and humble, and therefore calls himself "servus servorum", "the servant of servants"; but his end is,

that the poor may fall by his strong ones; the word for "poor" is here used, as before observed on Psalm 10:8, in the plural number, and is read by the Masorites as two words, though it is written as one, and is by them and other Jewish writers (h) interpreted a multitude, company, or army of poor ones, whose strength is worn out; these weak and feeble ones antichrist causes to fall by his strong ones; either by his strong decrees, cruel edicts, and severe punishments, as by sword, by flame, by captivity and by spoils, Daniel 11:33; or by the kings of the earth and their armies, their mighty men of war, their soldiers, whom he instigates and influences to persecute their subjects, who will not receive his mark in their right hands or foreheads, Revelation 13:15. It is very observable, that those persecuted by antichrist are so often in this prophetic psalm called "poor"; and it is also remarkable, that there were a set of men in the darkest times of Popery, and who were persecuted by the Papists, called the "poor" men of Lyons: the whole verse may be rendered and paraphrased thus, "he tears in pieces", that is, the poor, whom he catches in his net; "he boweth himself", as the lion does, as before observed; "that he may fall", or rush upon; with his strong ones, his mighty armies, "upon the multitude of the poor".

(h) Jarchi, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc.

He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the {e} poor may fall by his strong ones.

(e) By the hypocrisy of them who have authority the poor are devoured.

10. We may render with R.V.

He croucheth, he boweth down,

And the helpless fall by his strong ones.

An obscure verse. According to the rendering of the R.V., which follows the traditional reading (Qrç), the figure of the lion is resumed. The word rendered boweth down is used of a lion couching in Job 38:40, the whole of which verse should be compared with Psalm 10:9-10. His strong ones is explained to mean his claws.

But it seems preferable to regard the poor as the subject, and, neglecting the Massoretic accents, to render: He is crushed, he boweth down and falleth; (yea) the helpless (fall) by his strong ones: i.e. the ruffians of the wicked man’s retinue. The R.V. marg., And being crushed, follows the reading of the text (Kthîbh), and gives the same sense.

Verse 10. - He croucheth, and humbleth himself; rather, crushed, he sinks down. The subject is changed, and the poor man's condition spoken cf. That the poor may fall by his strong ones; rather, and the helpless (comp. ver. 8)fall by his strong ones. The "strong ones" are the ruffians whom the wicked man employs to effect his purposes. Psalm 10:10The comparison to the lion is still in force here and the description recurs to its commencement in the second strophe, by tracing back the persecution of the ungodly to its final cause. Instead of the Chethb ודכה (ודכה perf. consec.), the Kerמ reads ידכּה more in accordance with the Hebrew use of the tenses. Job 38:40 is the rule for the interpretation. The two futures depict the settled and familiar lying in wait of the plunderer. True, the Kal דּכה in the signification "to crouch down" finds no support elsewhere; but the Arab. dakka to make even (cf. Arab. rṣd, firmiter inhaesit loco, of the crouching down of beasts of prey, of hunters, and of foes) and the Arab. dagga, compared by Hitzig, to move stealthily along, to creep, and dugjeh a hunter's hiding-place exhibit synonymous significations. The ταπεινώσει αὐτὸν of the lxx is not far out of the way. And one can still discern in it the assumption that the text is to be read ישׁח ודכה: and crushed he sinks (Aquila: ὁ δὲ λασθεὶς καμφθήσεται); but even דּכה is not found elsewhere, and if the poet meant that, why could he not have written דּכה? (cf. moreover Judges 5:27). If דּכה is taken in the sense of a position in which one is the least likely to be seen, then the first two verbs refer to the sculker, but the third according to the usual schema (as e.g., Psalm 124:5) is the predicate to חלכּאים (חלכּאים) going before it. Crouching down as low as possible he lies on the watch, and the feeble and defenceless fall into his strong ones, עצוּמיו, i.e., claws. Thus the ungodly slays the righteous, thinking within himself: God has forgotten, He has hidden His face, i.e., He does not concern Himself about these poor creatures and does not wish to know anything about them (the denial of the truth expressed in Psalm 9:13, Psalm 9:19); He has in fact never been one who sees, and never will be. These two thoughts are blended; עב with the perf. as in Job 21:3, and the addition of לנצח (cf. Psalm 94:7) denies the possibility of God seeing now any more than formerly, as being an absolute absurdity. The thought of a personal God would disturb the ungodly in his doings, he therefore prefers to deny His existence, and thinks: there is only fate and fate is blind, only an absolute and it has no eyes, only a notion and that cannot interfere in the affairs of men.
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