Psalm 10:5
His ways are always grievous; your judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffs at them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) His ways are always grievous.—Better, his enterprises always succeed. This meaning is obtained from Job 20:21, “nothing escaped his covetousness, therefore his prospering shall not last,” and from the cognate of the verb “strength.” Perhaps, however, “his ways are always strong” implies only the bold and reckless course with which a tyrant pursues his end. (Comp. Psalm 73:12.)

Thy judgments . . . .—Literally, a height thy judgments far above him. (Comp. Psalm 36:6.)

Puffethi.e., in scorn. (Comp. Psalm 12:5.) South uses the word in this sense, “It is really to defy heaven to puff at damnation, and bid omnipotence do its work.” It is especially forcible after the description of the haughty attitude of the wicked, with his nose high in the air, snorting out contempt against his foes, disdaining God and man alike.

Psalm 10:5. His ways are always grievous — The whole course of his conduct is vexatious to all that are within his reach, but especially to the poor, who cannot defend themselves, and to just and good men, whom he hates and persecutes. Thy judgments — Either thy laws, which are often called judgments, or rather, thy threatenings denounced against, and punishments inflicted upon, sinners; are far above out of his sight — He neither discerns, nor regards, nor fears, nor thinks of them, but goes on securely and resolutely in his wicked courses. In other words, though all his actions tend to molest and injure his neighbours, and he is always bringing forth some mischief or other, yet that thou wilt judge him for it, is the furthest thing from his thoughts. As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them — He doth not regard or fear them; yea, he despises them, being confident that he can blow them away with a breath. This is an expression of contempt and disdain, both in Scripture and other authors.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.His ways are always grievous - His paths; his manner of life; his conduct toward God; his dealings with men. The word rendered "are grievious," יחילוּ yāchiylû - has been variously rendered. The Latin Vulgate renders it, "His ways are defiled." So the Septuagint. Coverdale renders it, "His ways are always filthy." Prof. Alexander, "His ways are firm." So DeWette, "Es gelingen seine Wege." Horsley, "His ways are confident." This variety in the interpretation arises from the ambiguity of the original word - חול chûl. The meaning of this word, as given by Genesius, is to turn round, to twist, to whirl; and hence:

(1) to dance;

(2) to be whirled, or twisted upon anything;

(3) to twist oneself with pain, or to be in pain;

(4) to bear or bring forth;

(5) to tremble, to quake;

(6) to be strong or stable, as things twisted are.

Hence, he translates this passage, "his ways are firm, or stable, that is, all his affairs prosper." But it seems to me plain that this is not the idea in the mind of the psalmist. He is not dwelling on the prosperity of the wicked, or on the result of his conduct, but on his character. In the previous verses he had stated some of the traits in his character, and the subsequent verses continue the description; hence, it is natural that we should expect to find some special feature of his character referred to here, and not that there should be an allusion to the stability of his affairs. It seems to me, therefore, that the exact idea here is, that his ways, or his modes of feelling and conduct were always perverse and forced, and hard; that there was always something tortuous and unnatural about him; that he was not straightforward and honest; that he did not see things as they are, and did not act in a plain and upright manner.

Thy judgments - Thy laws; or, the principles of thy govermnent.

Are far above out of his sight - They are out of the range of his vision. He does not see them. His thoughts grovel on the earth, and he is never elevated in his views so as to see the great principles of truth.

As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them - He treats them with contempt and scorn, as if he had no fear of them, or as if he were entirely confident of his own ability to overcome them. This is an illustration of his pride and self-confidence, for it is the characteristic of the proud and self-confident to boast in this manner. The word rendered "puffeth" means to breathe, to blow; and the idea here is, that he acted as though he could sweep them away with a breath.

5, 6. Such is his confidence in the permanence of his way or course of life, that he disregards God's providential government (out of sight, because he will not look, Isa 26:11), sneers at his enemies, and boasts perpetual freedom from evil. His ways are always grievous; his whole course and carriage is vexatious to all that are within his reach, but especially to the poor, who cannot right themselves; and to just and good men, whom he hateth and persecuteth. Or, His ways, i.e. his designs and enterprises, at all times are prosperous, or successful, or do bring forth; for this verb signifies, as the pains and trouble, so also the success and comfort, of child-bearing, or the bringing forth children, as Psalm 29:9 Isaiah 54:1 Jeremiah 4:31. And the accomplishment or disappointment of designs is frequently expressed by this metaphor; of which see 2 Kings 19:23 Psalm 7:14 Isaiah 59:4, &c. And this sense seems best to suit with the context.

Thy judgments; either,

1. Thy laws, which are oft called judgments. Or rather,

2. Thy threatenings denounced against and punishments inflicted upon sinners.

Are far above out of his sight; either,

1. He doth not feel them; thou removest them far from him; which indulgence of thine is the cause of his insolency. Or rather,

2. He doth not discern, nor regard, nor fear them, nor think of them, but goes on securely and resolvedly in his wicked courses. He hath not so much faith nor reason as to apprehend or consider them, but, like a brute beast, looks only downward to the earth, and minds not things above him. And thus it seems best to agree with the foregoing and following clauses. His devices succeed, and therefore he neither fears God’s judgments, nor the power of his enemies, but fancies his happiness to be unchangeable, as it follows, Psalm 10:6.

He puffeth at them, i.e. he despiseth them, being confident that he can blow them away with a breath. This is a gesture of contempt or disdain, both in Scripture, as Psalm 12:5 Malachi 1:13, and in other authors, as in Plautus; where one speaks thus to a proud and bragging captain, Thou hast blown away whole legions with thy breath, as leaves are blown away by a wind. His ways are always grievous,.... To God and to his people; or, "his ways cause terror" (a), so Aben Ezra; make men fear; as antichrist has made the whole world tremble at him, Revelation 13:4; or, "his ways are defiled", as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin render it; for to him is nothing pure, his mind and conscience being defiled, Titus 1:15; or, "his ways always remain" (b); they are always the same, there is no change in them for the better: or they "prosper" (c) as Jarchi interprets it; and this is sometimes stumbling to the saints, Jeremiah 12:1;

thy judgments are far above, out of his sight: meaning either the laws, statutes, and commandments of God, which are not taken notice of by him; but his own decrees or orders are set in the room of them; or the examples of punishment inflicted on wicked men, as on the old world, on Sodom and Gomorrah, the Egyptians, and other nations; these are not regarded, when they should be a terror to him;

as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them; who are the poor saints, and are looked upon by antichrist as feeble creatures, and all their efforts against him and his kingdom are treated with contempt: he blows upon them, and suggests that he can cause them to fall with the breath of his mouth, or strike them down with a straw or a feather; see Psalm 12:6.

(a) "terrent", Cocceius. (b) "Permanent sive perdurant", Lutherus, Gejerus. (c) "Prosperantur", Musculus, Calvin, Ainsworth, Piscator.

His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. His ways &c.] Rather, as R.V., His ways are firm at all times. His plans succeed: he is never harassed by vicissitudes of fortune. Cp. Psalm 55:19, Psalm 73:3-5; Jeremiah 12:1-2.

thy judgments &c.] God, he thinks, is too far away in heaven to interfere. The possibility of retribution does not enter into his calculations or disturb his equanimity. Cp. Job 22:12 ff.; and contrast the spirit of Psalm 18:22.

enemies] R.V. adversaries. Cp. Psalm 6:7, Psalm 7:4; Psalm 7:6, Psalm 8:2.

puffeth at them] Openly by his gestures expressing his scorn and contempt for them. Cp. ‘snuff,’ Malachi 1:13.

5, 6. The security of the wicked. He fears neither God nor man.Verse 5. - His ways are always grievous; lather, firm; i.e. steadfast and consistent, not wavering and uncertain. The thoroughly wicked person who "neither fears God nor regards man," pursues the course which he has set himself, without deviation, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left. There is nothing to hinder him - no qualm of conscience, no distrust of himself, no fear of other men's opposition. Thy judgments are far above out of his sight. They are held in reserve; he does not foresee them - he does not believe in them. As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. His human adversaries he wholly despises, believing that a breath from his month will bring them to nothing. (Heb.: 9:20-21) By reason of the act of judgment already witnessed the prayer now becomes all the more confident in respect of the state of things which is still continually threatened. From י the poet takes a leap to ק which, however, seems to be a substitute for the כ which one would expect to find, since the following Psalm begins with ל. David's קוּמה (Psalm 3:8; Psalm 7:7) is taken from the lips of Moses, Numbers 10:35. "Jahve arises, comes, appears" are kindred expressions in the Old Testament, all of which point to a final personal appearing of God to take part in human history from which He has now, as it were, retired into a state of repose becoming invisible to human eyes. Hupfeld and others wrongly translate "let not man become strong." The verb עזז does not only mean to be or become strong, but also to feel strong, powerful, possessed of power, and to act accordingly, therefore: to defy, Psalm 52:9, like עז defiant, impudent (post-biblical עזּוּת shamelessness). אנושׁ, as in 2 Chronicles 14:10, is man, impotent in comparison with God, and frail in himself. The enemies of the church of God are not unfrequently designated by this name, which indicates the impotence of their pretended power (Isaiah 51:7, Isaiah 51:12). David prays that God may repress the arrogance of these defiant ones, by arising and manifesting Himself in all the greatness of His omnipotence, after His forbearance with them so long has seemed to them to be the result of impotence. He is to arise as the Judge of the world, judging the heathen, while they are compelled to appear before Him, and, as it were, defile before Him (על־פּני), He is to lay מורה on them. If "razor" be the meaning it is equivocally expressed; and if, according to Isaiah 7:20, we associate with it the idea of an ignominious rasure, or of throat-cutting, it is a figure unworthy of the passage. The signification master (lxx, Syr., Vulg., and Luther) rests upon the reading אמת, which we do not with Thenius and others prefer to the traditional reading (even Jerome translates: pone, Domine, terrorem eis); for מורה rof , which according to the Masora is instead of מורא (like מכלה Habakkuk 3:17 for מכלא), is perfectly appropriate. Hitzig objects that fear is not a thing which one lays upon any one; but מורא means not merely fear, but an object, or as Hitzig himself explains it in Malachi 2:5 a "lever," of fear. It is not meant that God is to cause them to be overcome with terror (על), nor that He is to put terror into them (בּ), but that He is to make them (ל( m in no way differing from Psalm 31:4; Psalm 140:6; Job 14:13) an object of terror, from which to their dismay, as the wish is further expressed in Psalm 9:20, they shall come to know (Hosea 9:7) that they are mortal men. As in Psalm 10:12; Psalm 49:12; Psalm 50:21; Psalm 64:6; Genesis 12:13; Job 35:14; Amos 5:12; Hosea 7:2, ידּעוּ is followed by an only half indirect speech, without כּי or אשׁר. סּלה has Dag. forte conj. according to the rule of the אתי מרחיק (concerning which vid., on Psalm 52:5), because it is erroneously regarded as an essential part of the text.
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