Psalm 52:9
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.
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(9) Because thou hast done it.—Better, because thou workest, i.e., for thy works, but spoken in anticipation of future manifestations.

I will wait on thy name. . . .—Better, I will wait for thy glory; “name,” here, after the mention of God’s works in the last clause, being evidently, as so often, synonymous with “fame” and “reputation.”

For it is good before thy saints.—This may mean that such a trustful expectation in the presence of the saints is good, or that it is pleasant in the eyes of the saints thus to wait, or we may take “name” as the subject.

The mention of the “saints” (chasîdîm) is by some supposed to indicate the Asmonean period as that of the composition of the Psalm.

Psalm 52:9. I will praise thee because thou hast done it — Destroyed mine and thine implacable enemies, and established me in the throne, and in thy house, of which I am no less assured than if it were already done. And I will wait on thy name — I will continue in thy way, placing my whole trust and confidence in thy power, goodness, and faithfulness, all which are called God’s name; and I will not turn aside to any crooked path for my deliverance, as others do. For it is good before thy saints — That is, in the eyes of thy saints. They whose judgments only are to be valued approve of this practice of trusting in God, and keeping his way, as the wisest and safest course, and have ever found it so to be by their own experience.

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.I will praise thee forever, beause thou hast done it - Because thou art the source of my safety. The fact that I have been delivered from the designs of Saul, and saved from the efforts of Doeg to betray me, is to be traced wholly to thee. It has been ordered by thy providence that the purposes alike of Doeg and of Saul have been defeated, and I am still safe.

And I will wait on thy name - That is, I will wait on "thee;" the name being often put for the person himself: Psalm 20:1; Psalm 69:30; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 59:19. The language used here means that he would trust in God, or confide in him. All his expectation and hope would be in him. There are two ideas essentially in the language:

(1) the expression of a sense of "dependence" on God, as if the only ground of trust was in him;

(2) a willingness to "await" his interposition at all times; a belief that, however long such an interposition might be delayed, God "would" interfere at the proper time to bring deliverance; and a purpose calmly and patiently to look to him until the time of deliverance should come. Compare Psalm 25:3, Psalm 25:5,Psalm 25:21; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 37:7, Psalm 37:9,Psalm 37:34; Psalm 69:3; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 40:31.

For it is good before thy saints - God is good; and I will confess it before his "saints." His mercy has been so marked, that a public acknowledgment of it is proper; and before his assembled people I will declare what he has done for me. So signal an act of mercy, an interposition so suited to illustrate the character of God, demands more than a private acknowledgment, and I will render him public praise. The same idea occurs in Psalm 22:25; Psalm 35:18; Psalm 111:1; Isaiah 38:20. The general thought is, that for great and special mercies it is proper to render special praise to God before his assembled people. It is not that we are to obtrude our private affairs upon the public eye or the public ear; it is not that mercies shown to us have any particular claim to the attention of our fellow-men, but it is that such interpositions illustrate the character of God, and that they may constitute an argument before the world in favor of his benevolent and merciful character. Among the "saints" there is a common bond of union - a common interest in all that pertains to each other; and when special mercy is shown to anyone of the great brotherhood, it is proper that all should join in the thanksgiving, and render praise to God.

The importance of the subject considered in this psalm - the fact that it is not often referred to in books on moral science, or even in sermons, - and the fact that it involves many points of practical difficulty in the conversation between man and man in the various relations of life - may justify at the close of an exposition of this psalm a consideration of the general question about the morality of giving "information," or, in general, the character of the "informer." Such a departure from the usual method adopted in works designed to be expository would not be ordinarily proper, since it would swell such works beyond reasonable dimensions; but perhaps it may be admitted in a single instance.

In what cases is it our duty to give information which may be in our possession about the conduct of others; and in what cases does it become a moral wrong or a crime to do it?

This is a question of much importance in respect to our own conduct, and often of much difficulty in its solution. It may not be possible to answer all the inquiries which might be made on this subject, or to lay down principles of undoubted plainness which would be applicable to every case which might occur, but a few general principles may be suggested.

The question is one which may occur at any time, and in any situation of life - Is it never right to give such information? Are we never bound to do it? Are there no circumstances in which it is proper that it should be voluntary? Are there any situations in which we are exempt by established customs or laws from giving such information? Are there any in which we are bound, by the obligations of conscience, not to give such information, whatever may be the penalty? Where and when does guilt begin or end in our volunteering to give information of the conduct or the concealments of others?

These questions often come with much perplexity before the mind of an ingenuous schoolboy, who would desire to do right, and who yet has so much honor that he desires to escape the guilt and the reproach of being a "tell-tale." They are questions which occur to a lawyer (or, rather, which "did" occur before the general principle, which I will soon advert to, had been settled by the courts), in regard to the knowledge of which he has been put in possession under the confidential relation of advocate and client. They are questions which may occur to a clergyman, either in respect to the confidential disclosures made at the confessional of the Catholic priest, or in respect to the confidential statements of the true penitent made to a Protestant pastor, in order that spiritual counsel may be obtained to give relief to a burdened conscience. They are questions which it was necessary should be settled in regard to a fugitive from justice, who seeks protection under the roof of a friend or a stranger.

They are questions respecting refugees from oppression in foreign lands - suggesting the inquiry whether they shall be welcomed, or whether there shall be any law by which they shall, on demand, be restored to the dominion of a tyrant. They are questions which the conscience will ask, and does ask, about those who make their escape from slavery, who apply to us for aid in securing their liberty, and who seek an asylum beneath our roof; questions whether the law of God requires or permits us to render any active assistance in making known the place of their refuge, and returning them to bondage. When, and in what cases, if any, is a man bound to give information in such circumstances as these? It is to be admitted that cases may occur, in regard to these questions, in which there would be great difficulty in determining what are the exact limits of duty, and writers on the subject of morals have not laid down such clear rules as would leave the mind perfectly free from doubt, or be sufficient to guide us on all these points. It will be admitted, also, that some of them are questions of much difficulty, and where instruction would be desirable.

Much may be learned, in regard to the proper estimate of human conduct among people, from the "language" which they employ - language which, in its very structure, often conveys their sentiments from age to age. The ideas of people on many of the subjects of morals, in respect to that which is honorable or dishonorable, right or wrong, manly or mean, became thus "imbedded" - I might almost say "fossilized" - in their modes of speech. Language, in its very structure, thus carries down to future times the sentiments cherished in regard to the morality of actions - as the fossil remains that are beneath the surface of the earth, in the strata of the rocks, bring to us the forms of ancient types of animals, and ferns, and palms, of which there are now no living specimens on the globe. They who have studied Dean Trench's Treatise on "Words" will recollect how this idea is illustrated in that remarkable work; how, without any other information about the views of people in other times, the very "words" which they employed, and which have been transmitted to us, convey to us the estimate which was formed in past ages in regard to the moral quality of an action, as proper or improper - as honorable or dishonorable - as conformed to the noble principles of our nature, or the reverse.

As illustrating the general sentiments of mankind in this respect, I will select "two" words as specimens of many which might be selected, and as words which people have been agreed in applying to some of the acts referred to in the questions of difficulty that I have just mentioned, and which may enable us to do something in determining the morality of an action, so far as those words, in their just application to the subject, indicate the judgment of mankind.

One of these is the word "meanness" - a word which a schoolboy would be most "likely" to apply to the act of a tell-tale or an informer, and which we instinctively apply to numerous actions in more advanced periods of life, and which serves to mark the judgment of mankind in regard to certain kinds of conduct. The "idea" in such a case is not so much the "guilt" or the "criminality" of the act considered as a violation of law, as it is that of being opposed to just notions of "honor," or indicating a base, low, sordid, grovelling spirits - "lowness of mind, want of dignity and elevation; want of honor." (Webster)


9. hast done—that is, what the context supplies, "preserved me" (compare Ps 22:31).

wait … name—hope in Thy perfections, manifested for my good (Ps 5:11; 20:1).

for it is good—that is, Thy name, and the whole method or result of its manifestation (Ps 54:6; 69:16).

Because thou hast done it, i.e. destroyed Doeg, and all mine and thine implacable enemies, and established me in the throne, and in thy house; of which I am no less assured than if it were already done.

I will wait on thy name; I will continue in thy way, placing my whole trust and confidence in thy power, and goodness, and faithfulness, all which are called God’s name, and not turn aside to any crooked paths for my deliverance, as others do, Psalm 125:5.

Before thy saints, i.e. in the eyes of thy saints. They, whose judgments only are to be valued, approve of this practice, of trusting God and keeping his way, as the wisest and safest course, and have ever found it so to be by their own experience, however Doeg and his accomplices account it mere folly, and the ready way to ruin. But the last words of this clause may very conveniently be joined with the former clause, thus,

I will wait upon thy name before thy saints; which seems best to suit with the first clause, I will praise thee; which surely was meant of praising God publicly, or before the saints; and then it follows conveniently. And in the mean time

I will wait on thy name, in the presence of thy saints, who shall plainly see that I do so by the whole course of my life. And those words,

for it is good, may be enclosed within a parenthesis, as is very usual in Scripture, and may be referred, either to God’s name, for thy name is good; or to wait on it, for it is good to wait upon it.

I will praise thee for ever,.... Both in this world, as long as he lived, and had a being in it; and in the world to come, to all eternity. This is a resolution respecting what he would do, when he should be in the happy condition he was confident of;

because thou hast done it; the Targum interprets it, "the revenge of my judgment"; meaning the vengeance of God on Doeg; and to the same sense Aben Ezra and Kimchi: though it may refer to the comfortable and happy condition he should be in, Psalm 52:8; and which he wholly ascribes to the grace and goodness of God, and not to any merits of his own, and therefore determines to praise him for it;

and I will wait on thy name; on the Lord himself, in his house and ordinances, for his presence and fresh supplies of grace and strength, when he should be restored. Or the sense is, that in the mean while he would wait patiently on the Lord, until he had accomplished what he had promised, and David believed;

for it is good before thy saints; the sense is, either that it is good to wait upon the Lord and for him; which appears to be so to all the saints, by the comfortable experience they have had of it, Isaiah 40:31; or the name of the Lord is good unto them, pleasant, delightful, and comfortable, as proclaimed, Exodus 34:6; see Sol 1:3; and also Revelation 15:4.

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

(h) Executed his vengeance.

9. I will praise thee] R.V., I will give thee thanks, “the sacrifice of thanksgiving,” Psalm 50:23.

because thou hast done it] For this emphatic absolute use of the verb cp. Psalm 22:31; Psalm 37:5.

I will wait &c.] R.V., I will wait on thy name, for it is good, in the presence of thy saints. Cp. Isaiah 26:8. But ‘in the presence of thy saints’ implies some public act of praise (cp. Psalm 22:25; Psalm 54:6); and it is probable that for wait some word meaning proclaim should be read, thus: I will proclaim that thy name is good, In the presence of thy saints. God’s chasîdîm, ‘saints’ or ‘beloved ones,’ are those who are the object of His chĕsĕd or lovingkindness. Cp. Psalm 50:5; and Appendix, Note 1.

Verse 9. - I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it. So Dr. Kay, who explains the passage as meaning, "because thou hast worked out this deliverance.' The tense is "the preterite of pro. phetic certainty" (comp. Psalm 54:7). And I will wait on thy Name; for it is good before thy saints; rather, I will wait on thy Name in the presence of thy saints, because it is good; or perhaps, if we adopt Hupfeld's emendation (אֲחַוֶּה for אֲקַוֶּה), I will precision thy Name before thy saints that it is good (so Cheyne).

Psalm 52:9The gloomy song now brightens up, and in calmer tones draws rapidly to a close. The betrayer becomes like an uprooted tree; the betrayed, however, stands firm and is like to a green-foliaged olive (Jeremiah 11:16) which is planted in the house of Elohim (Psalm 90:14), that is to say, in sacred and inaccessible ground; cf. the promise in Isaiah 60:13. The weighty expression כּי עשׂית refers, as in Psalm 22:32, to the gracious and just carrying out of that which was aimed at in the election of David. If this be attained, then he will for ever give thanks and further wait on the Name, i.e., the self-attestation, of God, which is so gracious and kind, he will give thanks and "wait" in the presence of all the saints. This "waiting," ואקוּה, is open to suspicion, since what he intends to do in the presence of the saints must be something that is audible or visible to them. Also "hoping in the name of God" is, it is true, not an unbiblical notional combination (Isaiah 36:8); but in connection with שׁמך כי טוב which follows, one more readily looks for a verb expressing a thankful and laudatory proclamation (cf. Psalm 54:8). Hitzig's conjecture that we should read ואחוּה is therefore perfectly satisfactory. נגד חסידיך does not belong to טוב, which would be construed with בּעיני htiw deurtsnoc , and not נגד, but to the two votive words; cf. Psalm 22:26; Psalm 138:1, and other passages. The whole church (Psalm 22:23., Psalm 40:10.) shall be witness of his thankfulness to God, and of his proclamation of the proofs which God Himself has given of His love and favour.
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