Psalm 146:9
The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
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(9) The stranger, the widow, and the orphan are constantly presented in the Law as objects of compassion and beneficence. The orphan and widow are mentioned as under God’s care (Psalm 68:5).

Relieveth.—Or rather, restoreth, by taking up their cause and seeing justice done. Certain forms of the verb are used of bearing witness, and possibly here there is allusion to a court of justice, in which God appears as witnessing on the side of the weak and defenceless.

Turneth upside down.—Rather, bends aside. The same word in Psalm 119:78 is rendered” dealt perversely.” The idea seems in both cases to be that of interference, to thwart and impede a course of action. In Psalms 119 it is an evil-disposed person who interferes with the righteous. Here it is the Divine providence which, when the wicked man has laid out his plans, and looks as it were along a plain and level road of prosperity, bends the prosperous course aside; makes the path crooked, instead of straight; full of trouble and calamity, instead of prosperous and sure.

146:5-10 The psalmist encourages us to put confidence in God. We must hope in the providence of God for all we need as to this life, and in the grace of God for that which is to come. The God of heaven became a man that he might become our salvation. Though he died on the cross for our sins, and was laid in the grave, yet his thoughts of love to us did not perish; he rose again to fulfil them. When on earth, his miracles were examples of what he is still doing every day. He grants deliverance to captives bound in the chains of sin and Satan. He opens the eyes of the understanding. He feeds with the bread of life those who hunger for salvation; and he is the constant Friend of the poor in spirit, the helpless: with him poor sinners, that are as fatherless, find mercy; and his kingdom shall continue for ever. Then let sinners flee to him, and believers rejoice in him. And as the Lord shall reign for ever, let us stir up each other to praise his holy name.The Lord preserveth the strangers - He regards them with interest; he defends and guides them. This is the ninth reason why those who trust in the Lord are happy. The stranger - away from home and friends; with no one to feel an interest in him or sympathy for him; with the feeling that he is forsaken; with no one on whom he can call for sympathy in distress - may find in God one who will regard his condition; who will sympathize with him; who is able to protect and befriend him. Compare Exodus 12:49; Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; Deuteronomy 1:16; Deuteronomy 10:18-19; Isaiah 56:3, Isaiah 56:6.

He relieveth the fatherless and widow - He is their friend. This is the tenth reason why those who put their trust in the Lord are happy. It is that God is the Friend of those who have no earthly protector. See the notes at Psalm 68:5 : "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation."

But the way of the wicked he turneth upside down - He overturns their plans; defeats their schemes; makes their purposes accomplish what they did not intend they should accomplish. The Hebrew word here means to bend, to curve, to make crooked, to distort; then, to overturn, to turn upside down. The same word is applied to the conduct of the wicked, in Psalm 119:78 : "They dealt perversely with me." The idea here is, that their path is not a straight path; that God makes it a crooked way; that they are diverted from their design; that through them he accomplishes purposes which they did not intend; that he prevents their accomplishing their own designs; and that he will make their plans subservient to a higher and better purpose than their own. This is the eleventh reason why those who put their trust in God are happy. It is that God is worthy of confidence and love, because he has all the plans of wicked men entirely under his control.


Ps 146:1-10. An exhortation to praise God, who, by the gracious and faithful exercise of His power in goodness to the needy, is alone worthy of implicit trust.

He overthroweth their goings, as the phrase is, Psalm 140:4. He maketh them to lose their way; he not only frustrateth their plots and enterprises but turneth them against themselves. This and all the foregoing sentences are so many arguments to encourage all good men to trust in God in all their straits and afflictions.

The Lord preserveth the strangers,.... The life of them, as he did the daughter of: the Greek, a Syrophenician woman, and a Samaritan, by healing them of their diseases, Mark 7:26; and in a spiritual sense he preserves the lives and saves the souls of his people among the Gentiles, who are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise; for these he laid down his life a ransom, and became the propitiation for their sins; to these he sends his Gospel, which is the power of God to salvation unto them;

he relieveth the fatherless and widow; in their distresses and troubles, who have no helper; a wonderful instance of his relieving a widow, in the most disconsolate circumstances, we have in raising the widow of Nain's son to life, and restoring him to his mother, Luke 7:12; in him "the fatherless", and all that in a spiritual sense are destitute of help in the creatures, and see they are so, "find mercy"; nor will he leave his people comfortless, or as orphans and fatherless ones, but will and does come and visit them, relieve and supply them with everything convenient for them; though his church here on earth may seem to be as a widow, he being in heaven at the right hand of God, yet he cares for her in the wilderness, and provides for her support, where she is nourished with the word and ordinances, and will be until he comes again; see Hosea 14:3;

but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down; so that they cannot find it; nor their hands perform their enterprise; their schemes and counsels are all confounded and blasted by him, and all their policy and power are not able to prevail against his church and people; see Psalm 1:6.

The LORD preserveth the {g} strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

(g) Meaning, all who are destitute of worldly means and help.

9. As in Psalm 94:6 the sojourners[89] or resident aliens who had no rights of citizenship, orphans, and widows are typical examples of defencelessness. They are therefore specially under Jehovah’s protection, and are commended in the Law to the care of the Israelites.

[89] The LXX regularly renders gçr, ‘sojourner,’ by προσήλυτος; but this does not mean ‘proselyte’ in the later technical sense of “a Gentile who through circumcision and observance of the law had been admitted into full religious fellowship with Israel,” but, as the Vulg. renders it here, ‘advena.’ See Schürer’s Hist. of Jewish People, § 31, E.T. ii. ii. 315.

relieveth] R.V. upholdeth.

turneth upside dawn] Lit. as R.V. marg., maketh crooked; turns aside from its goal, so that it leads to destruction. Cp. Psalm 1:6. That which they would fain do to innocent men (Psalm 119:78) He does to them.

Verse 9. - The Lord preserveth the strangers. God's goodness leads him not only to protect the righteous, but also to lend his special help to the weak and afflicted classes. "The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow" are constantly mentioned in the Old Testament as peculiar objects of the Divine care (Exodus 22:21, 22; Leviticus 19:33, 34; Deuteronomy 10:18; Job 29:12; Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 1:28; Jeremiah 7:6, etc.). He relieveth the fatherless and widow; or, "upholdeth" (see the Revised Version). But the way of the wicked he turneth upside down (comp. Psalm 145:20). His merciful protection of his saints leads him to overthrow the goings of the wicked, who are their enemies. Psalm 146:9The five lines beginning with Jahve belong together. Each consists of three words, which in the main is also the favourite measure of the lines in the Book of Job. The expression is as brief as possible. התּיר is transferred from the yoke and chains to the person himself who is bound, and פּקח is transferred from the eyes of the blind to the person himself. The five lines celebrate the God of the five-divisioned Tra, which furnishes abundant examples for these celebrations, and is directed with most considerate tenderness towards the strangers, orphans, and widows in particular. The orphan and the widow, says the sixth line, doth He recover, strengthen (with reference to עודד see Psalm 20:9; Psalm 31:12). Valde gratus mihi est hic Psalmus, Bakius observes, ob Trifolium illud Dei: Advenas, Pupillos, et Viduas, versu uno luculentissime depictum, id quod in toto Psalterio nullibi fit. Whilst Jahve, however, makes the manifold sorrows of His saints to have a blessed issue, He bends (יאוּת) the way of the wicked, so that it leads into error and ends in the abyss (Psalm 1:6). This judicial manifestation of Jahve has only one line devoted to it. For He rules in love and in wrath, but delights most of all to rule in love. Jahve is, however, the God of Zion. The eternal duration of His kingdom is also the guarantee for its future glorious completion, for the victory of love. Hallelujah!
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