Psalm 52:6
The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
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(6) Fear . . . laugh.—The mingled feelings of awe at the tyrant’s terrible fall, and exultation at his overthrow, are finely caught and described.

Dwelling-place.—Better, tent.

Root thee out.—This word, suggestive of rooting up a corrupt tree, becomes more forcible from the contrast in the figure of Psalm 52:8.

Psalm 52:6-7. The righteous also shall see — Namely, thy remarkable downfall, and, consequently, shall survive thee, in spite of all thy malice and violence against them; and fear — Shall reverence God’s just judgment upon thee, and be afraid of provoking him. And shall laugh at him — Not taking pleasure in his ruin, considered in itself, but only in the glory of God’s justice vindicated thereby, (Revelation 18:20,) and deriding his vain and carnal confidence in his wicked courses. “The peculiar judgments of God, executed upon exemplary offenders, who have been guilty of treachery, rapine, and murder, good men will carefully observe; and observe, though with awe, yet thankfulness; not that they rejoice to see the punishments and miseries of mankind, separately considered; no person of humanity taking pleasure in the execution of criminals as such; but as the administration of justice is always a right, and, so far, a pleasant thing; as instances of God’s vengeance are sometimes necessary to keep men in tolerable order; and as the cutting off such kind of incorrigible offenders prevents them from doing further mischiefs, and is so far a public and common blessing to mankind. It was therefore impossible that any good man, who had seen the crimes of this treacherous and bloody Edomite retaliated on him by Divine Providence, should do otherwise than approve so righteous a retribution, and when he observed it, forbear to say, as in Psalm 52:7, Lo, this is the man, &c.” — The great and famous man, that made not God his strength — That trusted in and feared Saul more than God, and was willing to purchase Saul’s favour with God’s displeasure; but trusted in the abundance of his riches — Thought himself secure in his great and growing wealth without God’s protection or blessing. “Observe the fate of this haughty slanderer and murderer! Where now are all his boasted riches and prosperity?” He and they are separated for ever! See Dodd and Chandler.

52:6-9 Those wretchedly deceive themselves, who think to support themselves in power and wealth without God. The wicked man trusted in the abundance of his riches; he thought his wickedness would help him to keep his wealth. Right or wrong, he would get what he could, and keep what he had, and ruin any one that stood in his way; this he thought would strengthen him; but see what it comes to! Those who by faith and love dwell in the house of God, shall be like green olive-trees there. And that we may be as green olive-trees, we must live a life of faith and holy confidence in God and his grace. It adds much to the beauty of our profession, and to fruitfulness in every grace, to be much in praising God; and we never can want matter for praise. His name alone can be our refuge and strong tower. It is very good for us to wait on that saving name; there is nothing better to calm and quiet our spirits, when disturbed, and to keep us in the way of duty, when tempted to use any crooked courses for our relief, than to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. None ever followed his guidance but it ended well.The righteous also shaIl see - See the notes at Psalm 37:34.

And fear - The effect of such a judgment will be to produce reverence in the minds of good people - a solemn sense of the justice of God; to make them tremble at such fearful judgments; and to fear lest they should violate the law, and bring judgment on themselves.

And shall laugh at him - Compare the notes at Psalm 2:4. See also Psalm 58:10; Psalm 64:9-10; Proverbs 1:26. The idea here is not exultation in the "sufferings" of others, or joy that "calamity" has come upon them, or the gratification of selfish and revengeful feeling that an enemy is deservedly punished; it is that of approbation that punishment has come upon those who deserve it, and joy that wickedness is not allowed to triumph. It is not wrong for us to feel a sense of approbation and joy that the laws are maintained, and that justice is done, even though this does involve suffering, for we know that the guilty deserve it, and it is better that they should suffer than that the righteous should sutter through them. All this may be entirely free from any malignant, or any revengeful feeling. It may even be connected with the deepest pity, and with the purest benevolence toward the sufferers themselves.

6. shall … fear—regard with religious awe.

laugh at him—for his folly;

6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:

7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.

8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

Psalm 52:6

"The righteous" - the object of the tyrant's hatred - shall outlive his enmity, and "also shall see," before his own face, the end of the ungodly oppressor. God permits Mordecai to see Haman hanging on the gallows. David had brought to him the tokens of Saul's death on Gilboa. "And fear." Holy awe shall sober the mind of the good man; he shall reverently adore the God of providence. "And shall laugh at him." If not with righteous joy, yet with solemn contempt. Schemes so far-reaching all baffled, plans so deep, so politic, all thwarted. Mephistopheles outwitted, the old serpent taken in his own subtlety. This is a goodly theme for that deep-seated laughter which is more akin to solemnity than merriment.

Psalm 52:7

"Lo." Look ye here, and read the epitaph of a mighty man, who lorded it proudly during his little hour, and set his heel upon the necks of the Lord's chosen. "This is the man that made not God his strength." Behold the man! The great vainglorious man. He found a fortress, but not in God; he gloried in his might, but not in the Almighty. Where is he now? How has it fared with him in the hour of his need? Behold his ruin, and be instructed. "But trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness." The substance he had gathered, and the mischiefs he had wrought, were his boast and glory. Wealth and wickedness are dreadful companions; when combined they make a monster. When the devil is master of money bags, he is a devil indeed. Beelzebub and Mammon together heat the furnace seven times hotter got the child of God, but in the end they shall work out their own destruction. Wherever we see today a man great in sin and substance, we shall do well to anticipate his end and view this verse as the divine in memoriam.

Psalm 52:8

"But I," hunted and persecuted though I am, "am like a green olive tree." I am not plucked up or destroyed, but am like a flourishing olive, which out of the rock draws oil, and amid the drought still lives and grows. "In the house of God." He was one of the divine family, and could not be expelled from it; his place was near his God, and there was he safe and happy, despite all the machinations of his foes. He was bearing fruit, and would continue to do so when all his proud enemies were withered like branches lopped from the tree. "I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever." Eternal mercy is my present confidence. David knew God's mercy to be eternal and perpetual, and in that he trusted. What a rock to build on! What a fortress to fly to!

Psalm 52:9

"1 will praise thee for ever." Like thy mercy shall my thankfulness be. While others boast in their riches I will boast in my God; and when their glorying is silenced for ever in the tomb, my song shall continue to proclaim the lovingkindness of Jehovah. "Because thou hast done it." Thou hast vindicated the righteous, and punished the wicked. God's memorable acts of providence, both to saints and sinners, deserve and must have our gratitude. David views his prayers as already answered, the promises of God as already fulfilled, and therefore at once lifts up the sacred Psalm. "And I will wait on thy name." God shall still be the Psalmist's hope; he will not in future look elsewhere. He whose name has been so gloriously made known in truth and righteousness, is justly chosen as our expectation for years to come. "For it is good before thy saints." Before or among the saints David intended to wait, feeling it to be good both for him and them to look to the Lord alone, and wait for the manifestation of his character in due season. Men must not too much fluster us; our strength is to sit still. Let the mighty ones boast, we will wait on the Lord; and if their haste brings them present honour, our patience will have its turn by-and-by, and bring us the honour which excelleth.

The righteous shall see, to wit, thy remarkable downfall, and consequently shall survive thee in spite of all thy power and malice against them.

Fear; both reverence God’s just judgment upon thee, and be afraid of provoking God to send like judgment upon them.

Shall laugh at him; not taking pleasure in his ruin as such, but only in the glory of God’s justice vindicated thereby, Revelation 18:20, and deriding their vain and carnal confidence in their wicked courses.

The righteous also shall see,.... The Targum adds, "the punishment of the wicked"; particularly what is before predicted of Doeg. The judgments of God upon the ungodly, as they are certain, so they will be visible, either in this world, or in that to come, Revelation 15:4;

and fear; the Targum adds, "from before the Lord"; not with a slavish fear, with a dread of the same punishment, from which they are free, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, by which they are denominated righteous ones; though the judgments of God on others strike them with solemn awe and reverence, Psalm 119:120, but with a filial godly fear; with a fear of God for his goodness to them, in delivering them out of the hands of wicked men, which engages them more and more to fear the Lord, and to serve and worship him; see Revelation 15:4;

and shall laugh at him; at Doeg; and so at any other wicked man, when they see the vengeance of God upon him, Psalm 58:10; not that they rejoice at that, barely considered in itself, or as it is an evil and mischief to wicked men; for that does not become them, Proverbs 24:17; but as it is expressive of the care of God over them, and love to them, in avenging their enemies; and more especially as the glory of divine justice is displayed therein; see Revelation 18:20; for all this will be eminently fulfilled in the destruction of antichrist.

The {e} righteous also shall see, {f} and fear, and shall laugh at him:

(e) For the eyes of the reprobate are shut at God's judgments.

(f) With joyful reverence, seeing that he takes their part against the wicked.

6, 7. And the righteous shall see, and fear,

And shall laugh at him, (saying),

Lo, &c.

The first impression produced by the sight is that of fear; not alarm, but awe; a deeper reverence for God and His government of the world: the next impression that of scorn and derision (Psalm 2:4) for the braggart who trusted in his wealth. Such rejoicing is no mere vindictive triumph at the wicked man’s ruin. Malicious satisfaction at the calamity of the wicked is condemned in the O.T.; see Job 31:29; Proverbs 24:17. But inasmuch as the judgement of the wicked is an illustration and proof of the government of God, it must be welcomed with joy by the righteous. Cp. Revelation 18:20; Revelation 19:1 ff. It must be remembered moreover that the apparently unchecked prosperity of the wicked was a sore trial of faith to those whose view of God’s working was limited to this world. They naturally and rightly desired a vindication of His righteousness, and rejoiced when they saw it. See further Introd. pp. lxxxviii ff, and cp. Psalm 58:10 f; Psalm 64:7 ff; Psalm 5:11, note.

6–9. The sight of his fall inspires the righteous with awe, and gives occasion for rejoicing at this proof of God’s just government of the world, for trustful hope, and grateful thanksgiving.

Verse 6. - The righteous also shall see, and fear. Every manifestation of the Divine power and justice produces in the righteous man a feeling of awe. And shall laugh at him; literally, over him. This awe does not, however, prevent him from indulging in something like derision of his fallen enemy - or, at least, it did not under the old covenant, when men had not yet been taught that they ought to "love" their enemies. Psalm 52:6The announcement of the divine retribution begins with גּם as in Isaiah 66:4; Ezekiel 16:43; Malachi 2:9. The אהל is not, as one might suppose, the holy tent or tabernacle, that he has desecrated by making it the lurking-place of the betrayer (1 Samuel 21:7), which would have been expressed by מאהלו, but his own dwelling. God will pull him, the lofty and imperious one, down (נתץ, like a tower perhaps, Judges 8:9; Ezekiel 26:9) from his position of honour and his prosperity, and drag him forth out of his habitation, much as one rakes a coal from the hearth (חתה Biblical and Talmudic in this sense), and tear him out of this his home (נסח, cf. נתק, Job 18:14) and remove him far away (Deuteronomy 28:63), because he has betrayed the homeless fugitive; and will root him out of the land of the living, because he has destroyed the priests of God (1 Samuel 22:18). It then proceeds in Psalm 52:8 very much like Psalm 40:4, Psalm 40:5, just as the figure of the razor also coincides with Psalms belonging to exactly the same period (Psalm 51:8; Psalm 57:5, cf. לטשׁ, Psalm 7:13). The excitement and indignant anger against one's foes which expresses itself in the rhythm and the choice of words, has been already recognised by us since Psalm 7 as a characteristic of these Psalms. The hope which David, in Psalm 52:8, attaches to God's judicial interposition is the same as e.g., in Psalm 64:10. The righteous will be strengthened in the fear of God (for the play of sounds cf. Psalm 40:4) and laugh at him whom God has overthrown, saying: Behold there the man, etc. According to Psalm 58:11, the laughing is joy at the ultimate breaking through of justice long hidden and not discerned; for even the moral teaching of the Old Testament (Proverbs 24:17) reprobates the low malignant joy that glories at the overthrow of one's enemy. By ויּבטח the former trust in mammon on the part of the man who is overtaken by punishment is set forth as a consequence of his refusal to put trust in God, in Him who is the true מעוז equals Arab. m‛âḏ, hiding-place or place of protection (vid., on 31;3, Psalm 37:39, cf. Psalm 17:7; Psalm 22:33). הוּה is here the passion for earthly things which rushes at and falls upon them (animo fertur).
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