Psalm 112:4
To the upright there rises light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
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(4) Ariseth . . .—The Hebrew verb is commonly used of the sunrise. (Comp. Psalm 97:11; Isaiah 58:8.) For the good man the darkest night of trouble and sorrow will have a dawn of hope.

He is gracious . . .—The Authorised Version is right in making this a description of the upright man’s character. The construction certainly at first appears strange, since “the upright” is in the plural, while the epithets in this clause resume the singular of Psalm 112:3. This may be best explained by treating the first clause of this verse as a familiar proverbial saying, which the poet introduces, as a quotation, without changing the number to suit his own construction.

Psalm 112:4-5. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness — Although he may be subject to many of the troubles and calamities of life, as others are, yet they will be far from making him unhappy, for God will give him all the needful support and comfort in the midst of them, sanctifying them to him, and causing them, in many ways, to work together for his good, and in due time will grant him a happy issue out of them; whereas the wicked sink under their burdens, and their present miseries usher in their eternal destruction. He is gracious, &c. — The good or upright man, of whom he speaks, both in the foregoing and following words: he exercises meekness, sweetness, and gentleness to those that provoke him; forgives offences, pities the instruments of his trouble, and shows mercy to persons in want and misery; while he acts justly and righteously toward all, and will not be prevailed upon, by any temptation, to do any thing dishonest, cruel, or unkind. A good man showeth favour, and lendeth — Gives freely to some, and kindly lends to others, as need, and the difference of men’s conditions, may require. He will guide his affairs — Will maintain and manage his property, or domestic affairs, with discretion — Hebrew, with judgment, so as it is meet and fit, and God requires that they should be managed; not getting his estate unjustly, nor casting it away prodigally, nor withholding it uncharitably from such as need it.112:1-10 The blessedness of the righteous. - We have to praise the Lord that there are a people in the world, who fear him and serve him, and that they are a happy people; which is owing entirely to his grace. Their fear is not that which love casts out, but that which love brings in. It follows and flows from love. It is a fear to offend. This is both fear and trust. The heart touched by the Spirit of God, as the needle touched with the loadstone, turns direct and speedily to God, yet still with trembling, being filled with this holy fear. Blessings are laid up for the faithful and their children's children; and true riches are bestowed on them, with as much of this world's possessions as is profitable for them. In the darkest hours of affliction and trial, the light of hope and peace will spring up within them, and seasonable relief shall turn mourning into joy. From their Lord's example they learn to be kind and full of compassion, as well as just in all their dealings; they use discretion, that they may be liberal in that manner which appears most likely to do good. Envy and slander may for a time hide their true characters here, but they shall be had in everlasting remembrance. They need not fear evil tidings. A good man shall have a settled spirit. And it is the endeavour of true believers to keep their minds stayed upon God, and so to keep them calm and undisturbed; and God has promised them both cause to do so, and grace to do so. Trusting in the Lord is the best and surest way of establishing the heart. The heart of man cannot fix any where with satisfaction, but in the truth of God, and there it finds firm footing. And those whose hearts are established by faith, will patiently wait till they gain their point. Compare all this with the vexation of sinners. The happiness of the saints is the envy of the wicked. The desire of the wicked shall perish; their desire was wholly to the world and the flesh, therefore when these perish, their joy is gone. But the blessings of the gospel are spiritual and eternal, and are conferred upon the members of the Christian church, through Christ their Head, who is the Pattern of all righteousness, and the Giver of all grace.Unto the upright - The just; the pious; the man who fears God.

There ariseth light in the darkness - This is a new form of the blessing which follows the fear of the Lord, or another of the benefits which spring from true religion, and by which the pious man is distinguished from other people. The distinction is not that days of darkness will not come upon him as well as upon others, for he may be sick as others are, he may be bereaved as others are, he may lose his property as others do - since there are general laws that affect mankind in these respects. God has not promised that he will interpose to save his people from these things, but that he will save them in them. The peculiarity in regard to those who fear God is, that these things will not always continue; that they shall not be overwhelmed by them; that it will not be uninterrupted and unmitigated gloom; that the sky shall not be always overcast. Compare Psalm 97:11, note; Job 11:17, note.

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous - These words are designed to be applied to the "upright" man, and are intended more fully to designate his character, and to show "why" light shall spring up to him when he is in darkness. It is because his character is "really" pure and holy, so that whatever cloud may come over it for a time, however it may be temporarily obscured, however he may be calumniated by men, or however God may for a time seem to forsake him and to treat him as if he were a bad man, yet ultimately his character will appear as it really is. Light will come in upon the darkness. The clouds will break away. The prejudices against him will be dispersed. Full justice will be done to his character both by man and by God, and the world will see that he is a just and pious man. See the notes at Psalm 37:5-6. Every man will ultimately be seen as he is; every man will attain the position, and have the reputation which he "ought" to have.

4. light—figurative for relief (Ps 27:1; 97:11).

the upright—are like God (Lu 6:36; Ps 111:4).

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness; and although he is subject to the troubles and calamities of this life, as others are, yet God will give him support and comfort in them, and a happy issue out of them, whereas the wicked sink under their burdens, and their present miseries usher in their eternal destruction.

He; either,

1. God. And so this is added as a reason why God causeth light to shine to the upright out of darkness, because the Lord is gracious, &c. Or rather,

2. The good or upright man, of whom he speaks both in the foregoing and following words. So this is either,

1. A reason why God dealeth thus with good men; it is not from a partial and fond affection to them, but because they are such persons to whom God hath engaged himself by promise and covenant to bless them, they are

gracious, & c. Or,

2. As an effect of their affliction and deliverance out of it; thereby they learn to be more merciful, and compassionate, and just, or bountiful to others in want and misery. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness,.... Upright ones are sometimes in the darkness of affliction, under divine desertions, without spiritual joy, and in an uncomfortable condition; when on a sudden light arises to them, like break of day, or the morning light: they have deliverance from affliction, and enjoy prosperity; the light of God's countenance is lifted up on them; the sun of righteousness arises upon them with healing in his wings; and spiritual joy and comfort are communicated unto them. It may denote the comforts the people of God have amidst their afflictions and troubles, even while they are in them; and the light they enjoy, while darkness is round about others, like the children of Israel in Egypt: or the suddenness of deliverance from adversity, temporal or spiritual; weeping endures for a night, joy comes in the morning, and at evening time it is light, Psalm 30:5.

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous; that is, the Lord is so. Thus the Arabic version,

"the Lord God is merciful and bountiful;''

and the Ethiopic version,

"merciful and compassionate is the Lord, and righteous is our King.''

And because God is the God of all grace, and is able to make it abound to his people, and is compassionate to them in distress, and is just and faithful to his promises; therefore he causes light to arise to them in darkness; and which, on such account, they may believe and expect; see Micah 7:8. Some understand this of the upright man and of his character; that he is "gracious", kind, and bountiful; that he is "full of compassion", tenderhearted, and shows mercy to distressed objects; and is righteous, through Christ, and lives soberly and righteously. This sense agrees both with what goes before, and follows after.

Unto the {c} upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

(c) The faithful in all their adversities know that all will go well with them for God will be merciful and just.

4. It is possible to understand this verse of Jehovah, He ariseth as a light in the darkness to the upright, being gracious, &c. But it seems clear from the general tenor of the Psalm that the epithets applied to God in Psalm 111:4 are here applied to the godly man. Cp. Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:36[71]. The verse may be rendered

[71] The LXX here has ἐλεήμων καὶ οἰκτίρμων, the words used in Matthew 5:7, Luke 6:36 : cp. Hebrews 2:17; James 5:11.

There ariseth a light in the darkness for the upright,

(For him that is) gracious, compassionate, and righteous.

Cp. Psalm 97:11; and the striking parallel in Isaiah 58:10, where the dawn of prosperity after the night of trouble is promised as the reward of merciful conduct. But ‘the upright’ is plural, while throughout the Psalm the godly man is spoken of in the singular (Psalm 112:2 is not an exception, for the plural there refers to his descendants), and the construction is harsh. It seems best therefore to render,

He ariseth as a light in the darkness for the upright,

Being gracious, compassionate, and righteous.

The ‘upright’ are the poor but godly whom he befriends in their need (Psalm 112:5; Psalm 112:9), reflecting the attributes of God in his dealings with his fellow-men.Verse 4. - Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. God's Word is "a lantern unto their feet, and a light unto their paths" (Psalm 119:105) - sufficient under most circumstances to guide their steps aright. When this is not enough, he vouchsafes an inward light to them (Psalm 27:1; Psalm 36:9; Isaiah 58:10; Isaiah 49:6, etc.). He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. It is a very forced interpretation to understand this as said of Jehovah. The entire subject of the psalm is the righteous, God-like man. In him are reflected shadows of all the Divine qualities. That which the poet purposes doing in Psalm 111:1, he puts into execution from Psalm 111:2 onwards. ועדה, according to Psalm 64:7; Psalm 118:14, is equivalent to ועדתם. According to Psalm 111:10, הפציהם in Psalm 111:2 apparently signifies those who find pleasure in them (the works of God); but חפצי equals חפצי (like שׂמחי, Isaiah 24:7 equals שׂמחי) is less natural than that it should be the construct form of the plural of חפץ, that occurs in three instances, and there was no need for saying that those who make the works of God the object of their research are such as interest themselves in them. We are led to the right meaning by לכל־חפצו in 1 Kings 9:11 in comparison with Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 46:10, cf. Isaiah 53:10, where חפץ signifies God's purpose in accordance with His counsel: constantly searched into, and therefore a worthy object of research (דרשׁ, root דר, to seek to know by rubbing, and in general experimentally, cf. Arab. drâ of knowledge empirically acquired) according to all their aims, i.e., in all phases of that which they have in view. In Psalm 111:4 זכר points to the festival which propagates the remembrance of the deeds of God in the Mosaic age; טרף, Psalm 111:5, therefore points to the food provided for the Exodus, and to the Passover meal, together with the feast of unleavened bread, this memorial (זכּרון, Exodus 12:14) of the exemption in faithfulness to the covenant which was experienced in Egypt. This Psalm, says Luther, looks to me as though it had been composed for the festival of Easter. Even from the time of Theodoret and Augustine the thought of the Eucharist has been connected with Psalm 111:5 in the New Testament mind; and it is not without good reason that Psalm 111:1-10 has become the Psalm of the church at the celebration of the Lord's Supper. In connection with הגּיד one is reminded of the Pesach-Haggada. The deed of redemption which it relates has a power that continues in operation; for to the church of Jahve is assigned the victory not only over the peoples of Canaan, but over the whole world. The power of Jahve's deeds, which He has made known to His people, and which they tell over again among themselves, aims at giving them the inheritance of the peoples. The works of His hands are truth and right, for they are the realization of that which is true and which lasts and verifies itself, and of that which is right, that triumphantly maintains its ground. His ordinances are נאמנים (occasionally pointed נאמנים), established, attested, in themselves and in their results authorizing a firm confidence in their salutariness (cf. Psalm 19:8). סמוּכים, supported, stayed, viz., not outwardly, but in themselves, therefore imperturbable (cf. סמוּך used of the state of mind, Psalm 112:8; Isaiah 26:3). עשׂוּים, moulded, arranged, viz., on the part of God, "in truth, and upright;" ישׂר is accusative of the predicate (cf. Psalm 119:37), but without its being clear why it is not pointed וישׁר. If we have understood Psalm 111:4-6 correctly, then פּדוּת glances back at the deliverance out of Egypt. Upon this followed the ratification of the covenant on Sinai, which still remains inviolable down to the present time of the poet, and has the holiness and terribleness of the divine Name for a guarantee of its inviolability. The fear of Jahve, this holy and terrible God, is the beginning of wisdom - the motto of the Chokma in Job (Job 28:28) and Proverbs (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10), the Books of the Chokma. Psalm 111:10 goes on in this Proverbs-like strain: the fear of God, which manifests itself in obedience, is to those who practise them (the divine precepts, פקודים) שׂכל טּוב (Proverbs 13:15; Proverbs 3:4, cf. 2 Chronicles 30:22), a fine sagacity, praiseworthy discernment - such a (dutiful) one partakes of everlasting praise. It is true, in glancing back to Psalm 111:3, תּהלּתו seems to refer to God, but a glance forward to Psalm 112:3 shows that the praise of him who fears God is meant. The old observation therefore holds good: ubi haec ode desinit, sequens incipit (Bakius).
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