Psalm 10:18
To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
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(18) Oppressed.—See Psalm 9:9. “God’s choice acquaintances are humble men.”—Leighton.

That the man.—Literally, that may not continue to terrify (or defy) mere man from the earth, which may mean that mere mortals may have to confess their weakness in comparison with God. But Psalm 9:20, where the same word is used, indicates that it is here used in a contemptuous sense of the “heathen.” “That the nations from the earth (i.e., spread over the earth) may know themselves to be but men, and no longer defy Israel and Israel’s God.”

10:12-18 The psalmist speaks with astonishment, at the wickedness of the wicked, and at the patience and forbearance of God. God prepares the heart for prayer, by kindling holy desires, and strengthening our most holy faith, fixing the thoughts, and raising the affections, and then he graciously accepts the prayer. The preparation of the heart is from the Lord, and we must seek unto him for it. Let the poor, afflicted, persecuted, or tempted believer recollect, that Satan is the prince of this world, and that he is the father of all the ungodly. The children of God cannot expect kindness, truth, or justice from such persons as crucified the Lord of glory. But this once suffering Jesus, now reigns as King over all the earth, and of his dominion there shall be no end. Let us commit ourselves unto him, humbly trusting in his mercy. He will rescue the believer from every temptation, and break the arm of every wicked oppressor, and bruise Satan under our feet shortly. But in heaven alone will all sin and temptation be shut out, though in this life the believer has a foretaste of deliverance.To judge the fatherless - That is, to vindicate the orphan; to rescue him from the hand of those who would oppress and wrong him. In other words, the psalmist prays that God would manifest himself in his real and proper character as the vindicator of the fatherless (see the note at Psalm 10:14), or of those who are represented by the fatherless - the feeble and the helpless.

And the oppressed - Those who are downtrodden, crushed, and wronged. See the note at Psalm 9:9.

That the man of the earth - literally, "the man from the earth;" that is, that man springing from the earth, or created of the dust Genesis 2:7 - man frail, short-lived, feeble - should no more set up an unjust authority, trample on the rights of his fellow-worms, or suppose that he is superior to his fellow-creatures.

May no more oppress - Margin, "terrify." The original word means properly to terrify, to make afraid; that is, in this place, to terrify by his harsh and oppressive conduct. It is to be observed here that the original word - ערץ ‛ârats - has a very close resemblance in sound to the word rendered earth - ארץ 'erets - and that this is commonly supposed to be an instance of the figure of speech called paronomasia, when the words have the same sound, but are of different significations. It is not certain, however, that there is in this case any designed resemblance, but it is rather to be supposed that it was accidental. In regard to the prayer in this verse, it may be proper to observe that there is always occasion to utter it, and will be until the Gospel shall pervade the hearts of all men. One of the most common forms of wickedness in our world is oppression - the oppression of the fatherless, of the poor, of the dependent - the oppression of the subjects of government, and the oppression of the slave. One of the most affecting things in regard to this is, that it is done by a man made "from the earth," - a child of dust - a creature composed of clay - of no better mould than others, and soon to return "to" the dust from which he was taken. Yet frail and weak man strives to feel that he is better than those clothed with a skin not colored like his own, or those born in a more bumble condition of life; and, in defiance of all the laws of God, and all the rights of his fellow-men, he crushes and grinds them to the earth. For such sins God will interpose, and he will yet show himself to be the helper of the fatherless and the oppressed. May He hasten the day when oppression and wrong shall cease in the world!

16-18. God reigns. The wicked, if for a time successful, shall be cut off. He hears and confirms the hearts of His suffering people (Ps 112:7), executes justice for the feeble, and represses the pride and violence of conceited, though frail, men (compare Ps 9:16). To judge, i.e. to defend them, and give sentence for them, and against their enemies, as this word is used, Deu 32:36 Psalm 7:8 135:14.

The man of the earth, i.e. earthly and mortal men, who are made of the dust, and must return to it, such as the oppressors of thy people are; who yet presume most audaciously and madly to contend with thee their Maker and Judge. Therefore it is time for thee to repress such insolency, and to show how unable they are to stand before thee.

May no more oppress, to wit, the fatherless last mentioned. To judge the fatherless and the oppressed,.... That is, God will cause his ear to hear the cries of his people, so as to avenge the wrongs done to the fatherless, and them that are oppressed by the man of sin; see Revelation 11:18;

that the man of the earth may no more oppress: or "terrify" (p), the dear children of God, and faithful witnesses of Christ, as he has done; for by "the man of the earth" is not meant carnal worldly men in general, "the wicked of the earth", as the Targum renders it; who are so called because their original is from the earth, and they dwell in earthly tabernacles, and shall return to the earth again, and are earthly minded men, and have much of this world's things; and are therefore sometimes called the men and children of this world, and who, generally speaking, are oppressors of the saints; and who shall cease to be so in the latter day, when the kingdom shall be given to the saints of the most High; but particularly the man of sin, the Romish antichrist, seems intended, who is the beast that is risen up out of the earth, Revelation 13:11; and so the words may be rendered here, "the man out of the earth" (q); whose kingdom and government is an earthly one, and is supported by the kings of the earth, and with earthly power and grandeur, and with earthly views and worldly ends: he has been the great oppressor and terrifier of the poor people of God; but when Christ comes to avenge them on him, he will no more oppress, he will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire; see Revelation 13:10. The words may be rendered according to the accents thus, "to judge the fatherless and the oppressed; he shall not add any more": for there is an "athnach" which makes a proposition "under" "any more": and the sense is, God shall so thoroughly avenge the injuries of the fatherless and the oppressed, that there will be no need to add thereunto or repeat the vengeance, it will be an utter destruction; and then follows another distinct end of causing his ear to hear, namely, "to shake terribly the man of the earth", or "to shake terribly man from off the earth" (r), the man of sin, as before; see Isaiah 2:19; or, as Jarchi interprets the words, "to beat and break in pieces"; that is, antichrist and his kingdom; so Montanus.

(p) "perterrefacere", Piscator; "terrere", Musculus, Vatablus; so Ainsworth. (q) "homines de terra", Pagninus, Montanus. (r) So Jarchi from Aben Ezra.

{l} To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.

(l) God helps when man's help ceases.

18. So justice will be done to the orphan (Psalm 10:14) and the downtrodden (Psalm 9:9); that mortal man which is of the earth may be terrible no more: may no more insolently defy God, and do violence to men. Cp. Psalm 9:19-20; Psalm 37:35, note.Verse 18. - To judge the fatherless (see ver. 14) and the oppressed; i.e. to vindicate them - to judge between them and their oppressors. That the man of the earth may no more oppress; or, that terrene man may no longer terrify. There is a play upon the two words in the original, which might thus be rendered. But it has been said, with truth, that this sort of rhetorical ornament "does not suit the genius of our language" (Erle).

The six strophes, in which the consecutive letters from מ to צ are wanting, are completed, and now the acrostic strophes begin again with ק. In contrast to those who have no God, or only a lifeless idol, the psalmist calls upon his God, the living God, to destroy the appearance that He is not an omniscient Being, by arising to action. We have more than one name of God used here; אל is a vocative just as in Psalm 16:1; Psalm 83:2; Psalm 139:17, Psalm 139:23. He is to lift up His hand in order to help and to punish (נשׂא יד, whence comes the imperat. נשׂא equals שׂא, cf. נסה Psalm 4:7, like שׁלח יד Psalm 138:7 and נטה יד Exodus 7:5 elsewhere). Forget not is equivalent to: fulfil the לא שׁכח of Psalm 9:13, put to shame the שׁכח אל of the ungodly, Psalm 10:11! Our translation follows the Kerמ ענוים. That which is complained of in Psalm 10:3, Psalm 10:4 is put in the form of a question to God in Psalm 10:13 : wherefore (על־מה, instead of which we find על־מה in Numbers 22:32; Jeremiah 9:11, because the following words begin with letters of a different class) does it come to pass, i.e., is it permitted to come to pass? On the perf. in this interrogative clause vid., Psalm 11:3. מדּוּע inquires the cause, למּה the aim, and על־מה the motive, or in general the reason: on what ground, since God's holiness can suffer no injury to His honour? On לא תדרשׁ with כּי, the oratio directa instead of obliqua, vid., on Psalm 9:21.
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