O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Taste.—Comp. Hebrews 6:4 ; 1Peter 2:3.Psalm 34:8. O taste and see that the Lord is good — That is, kind, merciful, and gracious, namely, to all his people. The goodness of God, here spoken of, includes both the amiableness and benevolence of his nature, and the bounty and beneficence of his providence and grace; and, in calling us to taste and see this, the psalmist means that we should seriously, thoroughly, and affectionately consider it, and make trial of it by our own experience; which is opposed to those slight and vanishing thoughts that men usually have of the divine goodness. It is not sufficient that we find him to be a bountiful benefactor to us, but we must relish and take delight in his goodness manifested in and by his gifts, and in the contemplation of his infinite perfections and boundless love; and must be so convinced and persuaded of his goodness, as thereby to be encouraged, in the worst of times, to trust in him, and cast our care upon him.Job 12:11; to eat a little so as to ascertain what a thing is, 1 Samuel 14:24, 1 Samuel 14:29, 1 Samuel 14:43; Jonah 3:7; and then to perceive by the mind, to try, to experience, Proverbs 31:18.
It is used here in the sense of making a trial of, or testing by experience. The idea is, that by putting trust in God - by testing the comforts of religion - one would so thoroughly see or perceive the blessings of it - would have so much happiness in it - that he would be led to seek his happiness there altogether. In other words, if we could but get men to make a trial of religion; to enter upon it so as really to understand and experience it, we may be certain that they would have the same appreciation of it which we have, and that they would engage truly in the service of God. If those who are in danger would look to him; if sinners would believe in him; if the afflicted would seek him; if the wretched would cast their cares on him; if they who have sought in vain for happiness in the world, would seek happiness in him - they would, one and all, so surely find what they need that they would renounce all else, and put their trust alone in God. Of this the psalmist was certain; of this all are sure who have sought for happiness in religion and in God.
"Oh make but trial of His love;
Experience will decide
How bless'd are they - and only they -
Who in His truth confide."
Blessed is the man that trusteth in him - Compare the notes at Psalm 2:12.
9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
"O taste and see." Make a trial, an inward, experimental trial of the goodness of God. You cannot see except by tasting for yourself; but if you taste you shall see, for this, like Jonathan's honey, enlightens the eyes. "That the Lord is good." You can only know this really and personally by experience. There is the banquet with its oxen and fatlings; its fat things full of marrow, and wines on the lees well refined; but their sweetness will be all unknown to you except you make the blessings of grace your own, by a living, inward, vital participation in them. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Faith is the soul's taste; they who test the Lord by their confidence always find him good, and they become themselves blessed. The second clause of the verse, is the argument in support of the exhortation contained in the first sentence.
"O fear the Lord, lie his saints." Pay to him humble childlike reverence, walk in his laws, have respect to his will, tremble to offend him, hasten to serve him. Fear not the wrath of men, neither be tempted to sin through the virulence of their threats; fear God and fear nothing else. "For there is no want to them that fear him." Jehovah will not allow his faithful servants to starve. He may not give luxuries, but the promise binds him to supply necessaries, and he will not run back from his word. Many whims and wishes may remain ungratified, but real wants the Lord will supply. The fear of the Lord or true piety is not only the duty of those who avow themselves to be saints, that is, persons set apart and consecrated for holy duties, but it is also their path of safety and comfort. Godliness hath the promise of the life which now is. If we were to die like dogs, and there were no hereafter, yet were it well for our own happiness' sake to fear the Lord. Men seek a patron and hope to prosper; he prospers surely who hath the Lord of Hosts to be his friend and defender.
"The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger." They are fierce, cunning, strong, in all the rigour of youth, and yet they sometimes howl in their ravenous hunger, and even so crafty, designing, and oppressing men, with all their sagacity and unscrupulousness, often come to want; yet simple-minded believers, who dare not act as the greedy lions of earth, are fed with food convenient for them. To trust God is better policy than the craftiest politicians can teach or practise. "But they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." No really good thing shall be denied to those whose first and main end in life is to seek the Lord. Men may call them fools, but the Lord will prove them wise. They shall win where the world's wiseacres lose their all, and God shall have the glory of it.Taste, i.e. consider it seriously, and thoroughly, and affectionately; make trial of it by your own and others’ experiences. This is opposed to those slight and vanishing thoughts which men have of it.
Good, i.e. merciful and gracious, to wit, to all his people. Psalm 119:103. While unregenerate, their taste is vitiated, and remains unchanged, and sin is what they feed upon with pleasure, and so detest everything that is good; but in conversion a new taste is given, so as to have a saving experimental knowledge of the grace and goodness of God in Christ, an application of it to them; and in such manner as to live upon it, and be nourished by it; and though this is not a superficial taste of things, like that of hypocrites, nor a single one only, being frequently repeated; yet it is but a taste in comparison of the enjoyment of it in the heavenly state; and every taste now influences and engages trust in the Lord, as follows;
blessed is the man that trusteth in him; See Gill on Psalm 2:12; the Targum renders it, "that trust in his word".O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. O taste &c.] Make but trial, and you will perceive what His goodness is toward them who fear Him. Cp. Psalm 27:13. The adaptation of the words in 1 Peter 2:3 follows the rendering of the LXX, ὅτι χρηστὸς ὁ Κύριος. It is significant that the words are there applied to Christ. See Bp. Westcott’s Hebrews, pp. 89ff.
blessed &c.] Or, happy is the man that taketh refuge in him. Cp. Psalm 2:12; and Psalm 1:1; Psalm 32:2; but the word for man here is a different one. It means properly a strong man, and suggests the thought that be he never so strong in himself, man’s only true happiness is in dependence on Jehovah.Verse 8. - O taste and see that the Lord is good; i.e. put the matter to the test of experience (comp. 1 Peter 2:3). There is no other way of really knowing how good God is. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him (comp. Psalm 2:12; Psalm 84:12; Proverbs 16:20; Isaiah 30:18; Jeremiah 17:7). Trust in God is a feeling which is blessed in itself. God also showers blessings on such as trust in him. Psalm 34:2, is intended to have just as much the force of a cohortative as the verbal clause Psalm 34:2. אברכה, like ויגרשׁהו, is to be written with Chateph-Pathach in the middle syllable. In distinction from עניּים, afflicti, ענוים signifies submissi, those who have learnt endurance or patience in the school of affliction. The praise of the psalmist will greatly help to strengthen and encourage such; for it applies to the Deliverer of the oppressed. But in order that this praise may sound forth with strength and fulness of tone, he courts the assistance of companions in Psalm 34:4. To acknowledge the divine greatness with the utterance of praise is expressed by גּדּל with an accusative in Psalm 69:31; in this instance with ל: to offer גּדלּה unto Him, cf. Psalm 29:2. Even רומם has this subjective meaning: with the heart and in word and deed, to place the exalted Name of God as high as it really is in itself. In accordance with the rule, that when in any word two of the same letters follow one another and the first has a Sheb, this Sheb must be an audible one, and in fact Chateph Pathach preceded by Gaja (Metheg), we must write וּנרוממה.
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