Psalm 10:4
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
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(4) The wicked.—The Authorised Version has quite missed the meaning of this verse. Translate, the wicked in his haughtiness (literally, height of his nostril. Comp. the common expression, ‘to turn up one’s nose at a person’) saith He will not requite it (i.e., punish; comp. Psalm 10:13). There is no God in all his thought. (Comp. Psalm 14:1; Psalm 53:1.)

Psalm 10:4. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance — By which he scorns to stoop to God, or to own any superior, but makes himself his last end, and his own will and lust his only rule; and is full of self-confidence and a conceit of his own self-sufficiency and permanent felicity. He says the pride of his countenance, because, though pride be properly seated in the heart, yet it is manifested in the countenance; will not seek after God —

Will not seek and inquire into the mind and will of God, that he may order his life according thereto, so as to please God; nor will he seek to him by prayer for his favour and blessing. The words, after God, however, are not in the Hebrew, and may be omitted, and then the sense will be, He will not search, or consider, namely, his actions; will not trouble himself to inquire whether they be just or unjust, pleasing or offensive to God; but, without any care or consideration, rushes into sin, and does whatever seems right in his own eyes. God is not in all his thoughts — He hath no serious thought of, nor regard to, God, or his word, which ought to govern him, nor his threats or judgments, which should keep him in awe. Or, as the Hebrew may be rendered, All his thoughts are, There is no God, namely, no such God as minds the affairs of the world and the actions of men, or that punishes sinners. “The psalmist hath here given us the true character of an ungodly man. By a long disuse of devotion, and open neglect of divine worship, he gradually forgets every duty he owes his Maker; and when he has for some time habituated himself to live without God in the world, he then begins to doubt his very existence; he then begins to forget that in him we live, and move, and have our being.” See Dodd and Delaney.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.The wicked, through the pride of his countenance - In consequence of his pride; or, his pride is the reason of what is here stated. The "pride of his countenance" is a phrase that is used because pride shows itself mainly in the countenance, or in a lofty air and manner. The design is to state the influence of pride in producing the effect here specified.

Will not seek after God - The phrase "after God," is supplied by our translators. Something clearly is to be supplied, and it is plainly something relating to God - either that the wicked man will not seek after God in prayer, or that he will not inquire after the proofs of his existence and attributes; or that he will not seek after his favor, or that he will not endeavor to know the divine will. All this would be implied in seeking after God, and this is undoubtedly the state of mind that is referred to here. The sinner is unwilling, in any appropriate way, to acknowledge God.

God is not in all his thoughts - Margin, "Or, all his thoughts are, There is no God," Psalm 14:1. The literal translation is: "No God (are) all his thoughts." The margin has undoubtedly expressed the meaning better than the translation in the text, since the spirit of the passage is not that the sinner had no thought of God, but that he thought wrong. The fact that he would not seek God, and that he had said that God had forgotten Psalm 10:11, shows that he had some thoughts of God. The language here is properly expressive of belief or desire; either that all his thoughts were that there is no God, i. e, that such was the result of all his meditations and reasonings on the subject; or that he wished that it might be found to be so. The language will admit of either construction, and in either sense it would express the thoughts of the wicked. Its both a matter of practical belief, and as a matter of desire, the language of the wicked is, "No God." The wicked wish that there were none; he practically believes that there is none. The entire verse, then, expresses the prevailing feelings of a sinner about God:

(a) That he wishes there were none, and practically believes that there is none; and

(b) that the reason or ground of these feelings is pride. Pride will prevent him from seeking God in the following ways:

(1) It makes him unwilling to recognize his dependence upon any being;

(2) it makes him unwilling to confess that he is a sinner;

(3) it makes him unwilling to pray;

(4) it makes him unwilling to seek aid of anyone, even God, in the business of life, in the prosecution of his plans, or in sickness and affliction;

(5) it makes him unwilling to accede to the terms of reconciliation and salvation proposed by God, unwilling to repent, to believe, to submit to His sovereignty, to acknowledge his indebtedness to mere grace for the hope of eternal life.

Pride is at the root of all the atheism, theoretical or practical, on the earth; at the root of all the reluctance which there is to seek the favor of God; at the root, therefore, of the misery and wretchedness of the world.

4. The face expresses the self-conceit, whose fruit is practical atheism (Ps 14:1). Through the pride; by which he scorns to stoop to God, or to own any superior, and makes himself and his own lusts his only rule, and his last end, and is full of self-confidence, and a conceit of his own self-sufficiency and unchangeable felicity, as is hated, Psalm 10:6.

Of his countenance; so called, because though pride be properly seated in the heart; whence it is called pride, or loftiness of heart, or spirit, as Psalm 131:1 Proverbs 16:18 Ecclesiastes 7:8, &c.; yet it is manifested in the countenance, and therefore is oft described by lofty looks, as Psalm 101:5 131:1 Proverbs 6:17 21:4 30:13, &c.; which possibly was done purposely to meet with the excuses of proud persons, who when they are charged with pride for their looks, or gestures, or apparel, or the like, use to make this apology for themselves, that pride lies in the heart, and not in these outward things.

Will not seek after God, i.e. not seek or inquire into the mind and will of God, to order his life by it so as to please God, nor seek to him by prayer for his favour and blessing. But the words

after God are not in the Hebrew, and it is thought by some too great boldness to add them here. And therefore others omit it, and render the Hebrew words, will not search, or consider, to wit, his actions, which seems to be a more natural and, easy supplement: he will not trouble himself to inquire whether his actions be just or unjust, pleasing or offensive to God; but without any care or consideration rusheth into sin, and doth whatsoever seemeth right in his own eyes. But these and the former words are and may be, and that very agreeably to the Hebrew, thus rendered without any supplement,

The wicked, through his pride, ( for so this Hebrew word by itself signifies, Isaiah 5:16 10:33) will not seek his (i.e. God’s, which is plain both from the foregoing and following words) face, which is a usual phrase in Scripture, as 2 Chronicles 7:14 Psalm 24:6 27:8 105:4, &c.

God is not in all his thoughts; he hath no serious thoughts of nor regard unto God, or his word, which ought to command him; or his threats and judgments, which should keep him in awe. Or,

all his thoughts are, There is no God, to wit, no such God as minds the affairs of the world, and the actions of men, and punisheth sinners. He was a deist, and owned a God, at least in words, but denied his providence. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God,.... We supply it, "after God"; as do the Targum and Kimchi on the place: the sense is, he will not seek to God for counsel or assistance, he will not pray unto him; which is the character of every unregenerate man, Romans 3:11; or, he will not inquire into the will of God, to know what is right or what is wrong, but will do what seems best in his own eyes: and this arises from the pride of his heart, which shows itself in his countenance, in his proud and haughty look. It is said of the little horn, who is antichrist, that he has a look more stout than his fellows, Daniel 7:20. The words may be rendered, "the wicked inquires not into the height of his anger"; so Ainsworth observes; that is, of God's anger; he is not concerned about it; he neither fears God nor regards men. Jarchi's sense of the words is,

"all his thoughts say unto him, God will not inquire into everything that I shall do, for there is no judgment.''

God is not in all his thoughts; nor in any of them, for they are evil continually; and if he does at any time think of him, his thoughts of him are wrong; he thinks he is altogether such an one as himself: or, "all his thoughts are, there is no God" (z): though he does not choose to say so, he thinks so; at least, he wishes it may be so; and he works himself into such impiety and atheism as to deny the providence of God, and thinks that he does not govern the world, nor concern himself with what is done below; that he takes no notice of men's actions, nor will call them to an account for them; and that there will be no future state or judgment, in which secret as well as open things will be made manifest: or, as the Chaldee paraphrase glosses it, "that all his thoughts are not manifest before the Lord".

(z) "non Deus, omnes cogitationes ejus", Montanus, Vatablus, Muis; "nullum esse Deum hae sunt omnes cogitationes ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth.

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
4. The A.V. follows the Ancient Versions in rendering, ‘the wicked … will not seek after God:’ but a comparison of Psalm 10:13, which clearly recapitulates Psalm 10:3-4, is decisive in favour of rendering as follows:

As for the wicked, according to the loftiness of his looks, he saith, He will not make requisition:

There is no God, is the sum of his devices.

The construction is abrupt and forcible. The wicked man’s scornful countenance is the index of his character (Psalm 101:5); all his devices (as Psalm 10:2) are planned on the assumption that God does not regard and punish (Psalm 9:12); upon a virtual atheism, for such an epicurean deity, “careless of mankind,” would be no ‘living and true God.’ Cp. Psalm 14:1.Verse 4. - The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. The construction is concise to abruptness, and it is hard to determine the ellipses. The passage in the original runs thus: "The wicked, in the height of his scorn - will not require - no God - all his thoughts.' Of the various attempts to supply the ellipses, and obtain a satisfactory sense, the following (that of the 'Speaker's Commentary') is probably the best: "As for the wicked in the height of his scorn - 'God will not require' - 'There is no God' - such are all his thoughts." (Compare the Revised Version, which is not very different.) The general sense is that his pride conducts the wicked man to absolute atheism, or at least to practiced atheism (comp. vers. 11, 13). (Heb.: 9:18-19) Just as in Psalm 9:8. the prospect of a final universal judgment was opened up by Jahve's act of judgment experienced in the present, so here the grateful retrospect of what has just happened passes over into a confident contemplation of the future, which is thereby guaranteed. The lxx translates ישׁוּבוּ by αποστραφήτωσαν, Jer. convertantur, a meaning which it may have (cf. e.g., 2 Chronicles 18:25); but why should it not be ἀναστραφήτωσαν, or rather: ἀναστραφήσονται, since Psalm 9:19 shows that Psalm 9:18 is not a wish but a prospect of that which is sure to come to pass? To be resolved into dust again, to sink away into nothing (redactio in pulverem, in nihilum) is man's return to his original condition, - man who was formed from the dust, who was called into being out of nothing. To die is to return to the dust, Psalm 104:29, cf. Genesis 3:19, and here it is called the return to Sheτl, as in Job 30:23 to death, and in Psalm 90:3 to atoms, inasmuch as the state of shadowy existence in Hades, the condition of worn out life, the state of decay is to a certain extent the renewal (Repristination) of that which man was before he came into being. As to outward form לשׁאולה may be compared with לישׁעתה in Psalm 80:3; the ל in both instances is that of the direction or aim, and might very well come before שׁאולה, because this form of the word may signify both ἐν ᾅδου and εἰς ᾅδου (cf. מבּבלה Jeremiah 27:16). R. Abba ben Zabda, in Genesis Rabba cap. 50, explains the double sign of the direction as giving intensity to it: in imum ambitum orci. The heathen receive the epithet of שׁכחי אלהים (which is more neuter than שׁכחי, Psalm 50:22); for God has not left them without a witness of Himself, that they could not know of Him, their alienation from God is a forgetfulness of Him, the guilt of which they have incurred themselves, and from which they are to turn to God (Isaiah 19:22). But because they do not do this, and even rise up in hostility against the nation and the God of the revelation that unfolds the plan of redemption, they will be obliged to return to the earth, and in fact to Hades, in order that the persecuted church may obtain its longed for peace and its promised dominion. Jahve will at last acknowledge this ecclesia pressa; and although its hope seems like to perish, inasmuch as it remains again and again unfulfilled, nevertheless it will not always continue thus. The strongly accented לא rules both members of Psalm 9:19, as in Psalm 35:19; Psalm 38:2, and also frequently elsewhere (Ewald 351, a). אביון, from אבה to wish, is one eager to obtain anything equals a needy person. The Arabic ‛bâ, which means the very opposite, and according to which it would mean "one who restrains himself," viz., because he is obliged to, must be left out of consideration.
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