Psalm 17:14
From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.
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(14) Of the world.—Literally, of time. Heb., cheled, “that which creeps on,” an expression anticipating the New Testament use of world. (Comp. Job 21:7-14.)

Their portion in this life—contrasts with Psalm 16:5.

Thy hid treasure.That which thou hast stored up, which is sometimes in a good sense (Psalm 31:19; Proverbs 13:22), sometimes in a bad (Job 21:19). But ought we not to translate—

“With thy treasure thou fillest their womb:

They are full of children.”

These two lines are thus in close parallelism, while the last clause of the verse, “and leave,” &c, answers to “which have their portion in this life.”

Psalm 17:14. From men which are thy hand — Wherewith thou dost correct me. From men of the world — Who prosper in, and set their hearts upon, this vain and transitory world, and neither have, nor choose, nor desire, any other portion or felicity: who are actuated by the spirit of the world, walk according to the course of this world, are in love with the wealth and pleasure of this world, eager in the pursuits of it, making them their business; and at ease in the enjoyments of it, making them their happiness: such as, in our Lord’s language, have their reward here, and are to expect none hereafter. The Hebrew מתים מחלד, methim mecheled, means, properly, mortals of the world, a world cessans, instabilis, et transiens, perishing, unstable, and transient, as Buxtorff interprets the word — who, though dying men, in a world continually changing, and at last passing away, are content to have their portion in it; looking upon the reputed good things of it as the best things, and sufficient to make them happy; choosing them accordingly, placing their felicity in enjoying them, aiming at them as their chief good, and, if they attain them, resting satisfied therewith, and neither looking farther, nor taking care to provide for another world. Now, Lord, shall men of this character, men so unreasonable, so unwise, so sottish; men so earthly, so sensual, so grovelling, so like the beasts that perish; shall men of this sort be supported and countenanced against those that honour thee, by preferring thy favour, and the enjoyment of thee, before all the wealth, and honour, and pleasures of this world? Whose belly thou fillest — That is, whose mind or appetite thou satisfiest, with thy hid treasure, that is, not only with common mercies, such as food and raiment, but with the choicest of earthly things, such as men are wont to hide or keep in their treasures; with wealth, and glory, and all the delights and comforts of the present life: “whom thou permittest to enjoy thy temporal blessings in abundance, as if it were to convince us in what estimation we ought to hold the world when we see the largest shares of it dealt out to the most worthless of the sons of Adam.” They are full of children — While many of thy faithful servants are barren, these are blessed with a numerous posterity. Or, as ישׂבעו בניםjisbegnu banim, may be rendered, their children are filled up, or satisfied, namely, as well as themselves. There is abundantly enough, both for them and for their children, and even for their children’s children, for they leave the residue of their substance to their babes — “After living in plenty, perhaps to a good old age, they leave behind them a numerous and flourishing posterity, who inherit their estates, and go on, as their fathers did before them, without piety to God, or charity to the poor. From these men and their ways we have all reason to say with David, Good Lord, deliver us.” — Horne.

17:8-15 Being compassed with enemies, David prays to God to keep him in safety. This prayer is a prediction that Christ would be preserved, through all the hardships and difficulties of his humiliation, to the glories and joys of his exalted state, and is a pattern to Christians to commit the keeping of their souls to God, trusting him to preserve them to his heavenly kingdom. Those are our worst enemies, that are enemies to our souls. They are God's sword, which cannot move without him, and which he will sheathe when he has done his work with it. They are his hand, by which he chastises his people. There is no fleeing from God's hand, but by fleeing to it. It is very comfortable, when we are in fear of the power of man, to see it dependent upon, and in subjection to the power of God. Most men look on the things of this world as the best things; and they look no further, nor show any care to provide for another life. The things of this world are called treasures, they are so accounted; but to the soul, and when compared with eternal blessings, they are trash. The most afflicted Christian need not envy the most prosperous men of the world, who have their portion in this life. Clothed with Christ's righteousness, having through his grace a good heart and a good life, may we by faith behold God's face, and set him always before us. When we awake every morning, may we be satisfied with his likeness set before us in his word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace. Happiness in the other world is prepared only for those that are justified and sanctified: they shall be put in possession of it when the soul awakes, at death, out of its slumber in the body, and when the body awakes, at the resurrection, out of its slumber in the grave. There is no satisfaction for a soul but in God, and in his good will towards us, and his good work in us; yet that satisfaction will not be perfect till we come to heaven.From men which are thy hand - Margin, "From men by thy hand." Here the rendering in the common version would be still more harsh than in the previous verse, since it is at least unusual to call men "the hand" of God, in the sense that they are his instruments in accomplishing his purposes. The more obvious construction is to regard it as a prayer that God would deliver him by his own hand from "men" - from men that rose up against him. Compare 2 Samuel 24:14.

From men of the world - A better construction of this would be "from men; from the world." The psalmist prays first that he may be delivered from men by the hand of God. He then "repeats" the prayer, "from men, I say," and then adds, "from the world." He desires to be rescued entirely from such worldly plans, devices, purposes; from people among whom nothing but worldly principles prevail.

Which have their portion in this life - Their portion - their lot - is among "the living;" that is, they have nothing to look forward to - to hope for in the world to come. They are, therefore, governed wholly by worldly principles. They have no fear of God; they have no regard to the rights of others further than will be in accordance with their own worldly interest. People whose portion is wholly in this life will make everything subordinate to their worldly interests.

And whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure - The meaning of this portion of the verse is that, in respect to the object for which they lived, they were successful. They lived only for the world, and they obtained what the world had to bestow. They had prosperity in their purposes in life. The word "hid" here - "hid treasure" - means that which is hoarded, secreted, carefully guarded; and the word commonly refers to the practice of secreting from public view valuable treasures, as silver and gold. It is possible, however, that the reference here is to the fact that God has hidden these objects in the depths of the earth, and that it is necessary to "search" for them carefully if men would obtain them. Compare Job 28:1-11. The phrase "whose belly thou hast filled" means that their appetite or cravings in this respect were satisfied. They had what they wanted.

They are full of children - Margin, "their children are full." The margin probably expresses the sense of the Hebrew better than the text. The literal rendering would be, "satisfied are their sons;" that is, they have enough to satisfy the wants of their children. The expression "they are full of children" is harsh and unnatural, and is not demanded by the original, or by the main thought in the passage. The obvious signification is, that they have enough for themselves and for their children.

And leave the rest of their substance to their babes - That is, what remains after their own wants are supplied, they leave to their babes. They not only have enough for the supply of their own wants and the wants of their children during their own lives, but they also leave an inheritance to their children after they are dead. The word rendered "babes" properly means little children, though it seems here to be used as denoting children in general. The meaning is, that they are able to provide for their children after they themselves are dead. Compare the description of worldly prosperity in Job 21:7-11.

14. men … world—all men of this present time. They appear, by fulness of bread and large families, to be prosperous; but (Ps 17:15) he implies this will be transient, contrasting his better portion in a joyful union with God hereafter. Which are thy hand, wherewith thou dost correct me.

Men of the world, i. e. who prosper in and set their hearts upon this vain and transitory world, and neither have, nor choose, or desire any other portion or felicity, as it follows.

Whose belly, i.e. mind or appetite, as that word is used, Job 20:20 Proverbs 20:30.

With thy hid treasure, i.e. not only with common mercies, as food and raiment; but with thy choicest and most precious good things, such as men use to hide or keep in their treasures, with extraordinary wealth and glory, and all the delights and of the present life.

They are full of children; when many of the faithful servants are barren, these are blessed with a numerous posterity. Or, their children are filled or satisfied as well as their parents. There is abundantly enough, both for them and for their children, and to spare for their children’s children, as it follows.

From men which are thy hand, O Lord,.... Some understand these words, with what follows, as independent of the former, and of another set of men, even of good men; so the Targum,

"and the righteous who deliver their souls for thy sake, O Lord, unto death in the earth, their portion is in eternal life;''

so Jarchi gives the like sense of them: but the words are to be connected with the preceding, as they are by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech; and the sense is, deliver my soul from men, which are instruments in thine hand to chastise thy people: so even Satan himself, and the Sabeans and Chaldeans, whom he instigated to afflict Job, are called the "hand" of the Lord that touched him, because he suffered them to do what they did for the trial of him, Job 19:21. The words may be rendered, "the men of thy hand" (m); who are raised up by thine hand to the power and dignity they have; and who can easily be pulled down by it; and who are in thine hand, and at thy beck and control, and whose wrath and fury thou canst restrain. Or they may be rendered, "from men by thy hand" (n); that is, deliver me from them by thy strong hand and mighty power; as Israel of old was delivered from the Egyptians by the strong and mighty hand of God;

from men of the world: who are, as they were when they came into the world, in sin, in darkness, and in a carnal and unregenerate state; who are not only in the world, but of it, and belong to it, and to it only; and are under the influence of the god of the world, and are taken with the lusts and pleasures of it, and live in them and serve them: and are of worldly spirits, inordinately love the things of the world, mind earth and earthly things, and are unconcerned about the things of another world; see Luke 16:8;

which have their portion in this life; and in this only; have a large share of the good things of this life; and which is all their portion, Luke 16:25;

and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: earthly treasure, as gold and silver, which is called hid treasure, because it is first hid in the bowels of the earth, out of which it is dug, and afterwards hid in the coffers of worldly men; and oftentimes kept to the hurt of the owners of it. Or the phrase may denote the value and preciousness of it. And to have the belly filled with this is to have a very great affluence and plenty of it; though it is very rare, let it be ever so large, that men are fully satisfied with it;

they are full of children; which among the eastern nations was reckoned a considerable part of outward prosperity and happiness; see Job 21:7; or their "children are full", or "filled" (o) with hidden treasure also;

and leave the rest of their substance to their babes; their children's children; their grandchildren, as Kimchi explains it; and which is said, not by way of complaint, as an evil in them, since it is lawful and right for parents to lay up for their children, and leave it to them: unless the sense is, that they engross all to themselves, and to their posterity, in life and death; while they live, they indulge their sensual appetites and lusts, and fill themselves and theirs, but give nothing to the poor and hungry; nor part with anything for the interest of God and true religion; and when they die leave nothing for such use and service, but all to their posterity: but rather the phrase is expressive of their great plenty; that having lived in and enjoyed great fulness themselves, and given large portions to their children, yet have much left; which, at death, they bequeath to the young generation. Now from such men in power and dignity, and from being hurt by them, as well as from communion and conversation with them, the psalmist desires to be delivered; and expresses his satisfaction in other and better things than they enjoy, in the following words.

(m) "ab inimieis manus tuae", V. L. so Sept. "a viris manus tuae", Lutherus, Musculus. (n) "Manu tua", Montaus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus. (o) "saturantur vel satiantur filii", Munster, Muis, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; so Targ. Ar. Ainsworth.

From men which are thy {l} hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their {m} portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

(l) By your heavenly power.

(m) And not feel the pain that God's children often do.

14. from men of the world] Men whose aims and pleasures belong to the ‘world that passeth away’: those who in N.T. language are ‘of the world’ (John 15:19), ‘sons of this age’ (Luke 16:8; Luke 20:34-35), ‘who mind earthly things’ (Php 3:19). They are further described as those whose portion is in [this] life. Jehovah Himself is the portion of the godly (Psalm 16:5); these men are content with a portion of material and transitory things. See Psalm 49:6 ff.; Psalm 73:3 ff.; Wis 2:6 ff. The sense is still better given by the rendering of R.V. marg., From men whose portion in life is of the world. God deals with them according to their own base desires. They care only for the satisfaction of their lower appetites (Php 3:19), and so He “who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good” fills their belly with His store of blessings, gratifies the animal part of their nature (Job 22:18; Luke 16:25).

They are full of children] Better, They are satisfied with sons, the universal desire of men in Oriental countries being to see a family perpetuating their name (Job 21:8; Job 21:11); and leave their superabundance to their children; their prosperity continues through life, they have enough for themselves and to spare for their families.

Verse 14. - From men which are thy hand, O Lord; rather, from men, by thy hand, as in the margin of the Authorized Version, and in the text of the Revised Version. From men of the world; i.e. men who are altogether worldly, whose views, aspirations, hopes, longings, are bounded by this life - the "children of this world," as our Lord expressed it (Luke 16:8). Which have their portion in this life; i.e. who have here all that they will ever receive, and all that they care to receive. And whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure; rather, with thy stores - the good things that thou makest the earth to produce. There seems to be some allusion here to the frequent worldly prosperity of the ungodly (comp. Job 12:6; Job 21:7-13; Psalm 73:3-12). They are full of children (so Job 21:8, 11; Job 27:14). And leave the rest of their substance to their babes (comp. Psalm 49:10). No doubt this is often the case; but the ill-gotten gains handed on by the wicked to their children seldom prosper (see Job 27:14-17). Psalm 17:14The phrase קדּם פּני, antevertere faciem alicujus, means both to appear before any one with reverence, Psalm 95:2 (post-biblical: to pay one's respects to any one) and to meet any one as an enemy, rush on him. The foe springs like a lion upon David, may Jahve - so he prays - as his defence cross the path of the lion and intercept him, and cast him down so that he, being rendered harmless, shall lie there with bowed knees (כּרע, of the lion, Genesis 49:9; Numbers 24:9). He is to rescue his soul from the ungodly חרבּך. This חרבך, and also the ידך which follows, can be regarded as a permutative of the subject (Bצttcher, Hupfeld, and Hitzig), an explanation which is commended by Psalm 44:3 and other passages. But it is much more probable that more exact definitions of this kind are treated as accusatives, vid., on Psalm 3:5. At any rate "sword" and "hand" are meant as the instruments by which the פּלּט, rescuing, is effected. The force of פּלּטה extends into Psalm 17:14, and mimatiym (with a Chateph under the letter that is freed from reduplication, like ממכון, Psalm 33:14) corresponds to מרשׁע, as ידך to חרבּך. The word ממתים (plural of מת, men, Deuteronomy 2:34, whence מתם, each and every one), which of itself gives no complete sense, is repeated and made complete after the interruption cause by the insertion of ידך ה, - a remarkable manner of obstructing and then resuming the thought, which Hofmann (Schriftbeweis ii. 2. 495) seeks to get over by a change in the division of the verse and in the interpunction. חלד, either from חלד Syriac to creep, glide, slip away (whence חלדּה a weasel, a mole) or from חלד Talmudic to cover, hide, signifies: this temporal life which glides by unnoticed (distinct from the Arabic chald, chuld, an abiding stay, endless duration); and consequently חדל, limited existence, from חדל to have an end, alternates with חלד as a play upon the letters, comp. Psalm 49:2 with Isaiah 38:11. The combination מחלד מתים resembles Psalm 10:18; Psalm 16:4. What is meant, is: men who have no other home but the world, which passeth away with the lust thereof, men ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, or υίοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου. The meaning of the further description חלקם בּחיּים (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:9) becomes clear from the converse in Psalm 16:5. Jahve is the חלק of the godly man; and the sphere within which the worldling claims his חלק is החיּים, this temporal, visible, and material life. This is everything to him; whereas the godly man says: טּוב חסדּך מחיּים, Psalm 63:4. The contrast is not so much between this life and the life to come, as between the world (life) and God. Here we see into the inmost nature of the Old Testament faith. To the Old Testament believer, all the blessedness and glory of the future life, which the New Testament unfolds, is shut up in Jahve. Jahve is his highest good, and possessing Him he is raised above heaven and earth, above life and death. To yield implicitly to Him, without any explicit knowledge of a blessed future life, to be satisfied with Him, to rest in Him, to hide in Him in the face of death, is the characteristic of the Old Testament faith. חלקם בחיים expresses both the state of mind and the lot of the men of the world. Material things which are their highest good, fall also in abundance to their share. The words "whose belly Thou fillest with Thy treasure" (Chethb: וּצפינך the usual participial form, but as a participle an Aramaising form) do not sound as though the poet meant to say that God leads them to repentance by the riches of His goodness, but on the contrary that God, by satisfying their desires which are confined to the outward and sensuous only, absolutely deprives them of all claim to possessions that extend beyond the world and this present temporal life. Thus, then, צפוּן in this passage is used exactly as צפוּנים is used in Job 20:26 (from צפן to hold anything close to one, to hold back, to keep by one). Moreover, there is not the slightest alloy of murmur or envy in the words. The godly man who lacks these good things out of the treasury of God, has higher delights; he can exclaim, Psalm 31:20 : "how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up (צפנתּ) for those who fear Thee!" Among the good things with which God fills the belly and house of the ungodly (Job 22:17.) are also children in abundance; these are elsewhere a blessing upon piety (Psalm 127:3., Psalm 128:3.), but to those who do not acknowledge the Giver they are a snare to self-glorifying, Job 21:11 (cf. Wisdom Job 4:1). בּנים is not the subject, but an accusative, and has been so understood by all the old translators from the original text, just as in the phrase שׁבע ימים to be satisfied with, or weary of, life. On עוללים vid., on Psalm 8:3. יתר (from יתר to stretch out in length, then to be overhanging, towering above, projecting, superfluous, redundant) signifies here, as in Job 22:20, riches and the abundance of things possessed.
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