Psalm 64:9
And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
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(9) For they shall wisely consider.—Rather, And they understand his work.

64:7-10 When God brings upon men the mischiefs they have desired on others, it is weight enough to sink a man to the lowest hell. Those who love cursing, it shall come upon them. Those who behold this shall understand, and observe God's hand in all; unless we do so, we are not likely to profit by the dispensations of Providence. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord; not glad of the misery and ruin of their fellow-creatures, but glad that God is glorified, and his word fulfilled, and the cause of injured innocence pleaded effectually. They rejoice not in men, nor in themselves, nor in any creature, or creature enjoyments, nor in their wisdom, strength, riches, or righteousness; but in Christ, in whom all the seed of Israel are justified and glory, and in what he is to them, and has done for them.And all men shall fear - That is, a deep impression would be made, not only on the associates and companions of the wicked, but on all that should hear of what was done. People, in view of the just punishment of the wicked, would learn to reverence God, and to stand in awe of One so powerful and so just. Judgments, punishment, wrath, are adapted and designed to make a deep impression on mankind. On this principle, the final punishment of the wicked will make a deep and salutary impression on the universe forever.

And shall declare the work of God - Shall make it known to others. It will become a subject of conversation, or they will talk about it, as illustrating the divine perfections and character. Such should always be the effect of the judgments of God, for they illustrate his true character; they make known his attributes; they convey to the world lessons of the utmost importance. Nothing is more proper than to talk about the judgments of God, and to endeavor to derive from them the instructions which they are adapted to convey about the divine nature, and the principles of the administration under which the universe is placed. Wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, conflagrations, inundations, diseases, all teach important lessons about God; and each one bears its own special message to mankind.

For they shall wisely consider of his doing - They shall attentively and carefully consider it; they shall endeavor to derive such lessons from his dealings as they are suited to convey. In other words, an attentive consideration of his doings will contribute to maintain a just knowledge of world in subjection to him. God is thus always speaking to human beings; and nothing is more proper for human beings than to give their minds to a careful consideration of what is really intended to be taught us by the events which are occurring in his providential dealings.

9, 10. Men, generally, will acknowledge God's work, and the righteous, rejoicing in it, shall be encouraged to trust Him (Ps 58:10). All men, i.e. the greater number of those who shall see these events.

The work of God, i.e. this admirable work of Divine power, and wisdom, and faithfulness.

Wisely consider of his doing; learning wisdom by their folly and misery, and avoiding those evil courses which brought them to ruin.

And all men shall fear,.... Either God himself, or his judgments: they shall be frightened at them, learn righteousness by them, worship God, and give glory to him; they shall fear him as King of saints, his judgments being made manifest; not with a slavish fear, but with reverence and godly fear; see Revelation 11:13;

and shall declare the work of God; the punishments inflicted on wicked men; his work of justice and judgment, which is his work, his strange work; for there is no evil of punishment but the Lord has done it, Isaiah 28:21;

for they shall wisely consider of his doings; consider that it is done by him, and done well and wisely, after the counsel of his own will; and so consider it as to be admonished, and take warning and caution by it. This is the use men in general should make of such dispensations of Providence; the use the righteous in particular make of them follows:

And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
9. all men] Upon men in general (cp. Psalm 58:11) this judgement produces an impression of wholesome fear, in contrast to the profane fearlessness of the ungodly (Psalm 64:4).

And they declare the work of God,

And understand his operation:

publicly acknowledging that He rules in the world, and interpreting for themselves the meaning of the judgement. For ‘work,’ ‘operation,’ cp. Psalm 28:5; for ‘understand,’ Psalm 106:7; and generally, Hosea 14:9.

The P.B.V. all men that see it presumes a slightly different and inferior reading.

Verse 9. - And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God. The fate of David's enemies shall cause widespread fear and alarm. Men shall perceive God's hand in it, and shall be led, in consequence, to declare "God's work." The tragic ends of Ahithophel and Absalom were certainly well calculated to impress the minds of men generally, and to strike awe into the hearts of those who had looked with indifference, or even, perhaps, with satisfaction, on the political troubles. For they shall wisely consider of his doing; rather, for they shall understand his operation. They shall understand, i.e., that God is on the side of the righteous, and, when danger presses, will interpose on their behalf, to the terrible discomfiture of the wicked. Psalm 64:9Deep is man's heart and inward part, but not too deep for God, who knoweth the heart (Jeremiah 17:9.). And He will just as suddenly surprise the enemies of His anointed with their death-blow, as they had plotted it for him. The futt. consec. that follow represent that which is future, with all the certainty of an historical fact as a retribution springing from the malicious craftiness of the enemies. According to the accentuation, Psalm 64:8 is to be rendered: "then will Elohim shoot them, a sudden arrow become their wounds." Thus at length Hupfeld renders it; but how extremely puzzling is the meaning hidden behind this sentence! The Targum and the Jewish expositors have construed it differently: "Then will Elohim shoot them with arrows suddenly;" in this case, however, because Psalm 64:8 then becomes too blunt and bald, פּתאם has to be repeated in thought with this member of the verse, and this is in itself an objection to it. We interpunctuate with Ewald and Hitzig thus: then does Elohim shoot them with an arrow, suddenly arise (become a reality) their wounds (cf. Micah 7:4), namely, of those who had on their part aimed the murderous weapon against the upright for a sudden and sure shot. Psalm 64:9 is still more difficult. Kimchi's interpretation, which accords with the accents: et corruere facient eam super se, linguam suam, is intolerable; the proleptic suffix, having reference to לשׁונם (Exodus 3:6; Job 33:20), ought to have been feminine (vid., on Psalm 22:16), and "to make their own tongue fall upon themselves" is an odd fancy. The objective suffix will therefore refer per enallagen to the enemy. But not thus (as Hitzig, who now seeks to get out of the difficulty by an alteration of the text, formerly rendered it): "and they cause those to fall whom they have slandered [lit. upon whom their tongue came]." This form of retribution does not accord with the context; and moreover the gravely earnest עלימו, like the הוּ-, refers more probably to the enemies than to the objects of their hostility. The interpretation of Ewald and Hengstenberg is better: "and one overthrows him, inasmuch as their tongue, i.e., the sin of their tongue with which they sought to destroy others, comes upon themselves." The subject to ויּכשׁילהוּ, as in Psalm 63:11; Job 4:19; Job 7:3; Luke 12:20, is the powers which are at the service of God, and which are not mentioned at all; and the thought עלימו לשׁונם (a circumstantial clause) is like Psalm 140:10, where in a similar connection the very same singularly rugged lapidary, or terse, style is found. In Psalm 64:9 we must proceed on the assumption that ראה ב in such a connection signifies the gratification of looking upon those who are justly punished and rendered harmless. But he who tarries to look upon such a scene is certainly not the person to flee from it; התנודד does not here mean "to betake one's self to flight" (Ewald, Hitzig), but to shake one's self, as in Jeremiah 48:27, viz., to shake the head (Psalm 44:15; Jeremiah 18:16) - the recognised (vid., Psalm 22:8) gesture of malignant, mocking astonishment. The approbation is awarded, according to Psalm 64:10, to God, the just One. And with the joy at His righteous interposition, - viz. of Him who has been called upon to interpose, - is combined a fear of the like punishment. The divine act of judicial retribution now set forth becomes a blessing to mankind. From mouth to mouth it is passed on, and becomes an admonitory nota bene. To the righteous in particular it becomes a consolatory and joyous strengthening of his faith. The judgment of Jahve is the redemption of the righteous. Thus, then, does he rejoice in his God, who by thus judging and redeeming makes history into the history of redemption, and hide himself the more confidingly in Him; and all the upright boast themselves, viz., in God, who looks into the heart and practically acknowledges them whose heart is directed unswervingly towards Him, and conformed entirely to Him. In place of the futt. consec., which have a prophetic reference, simple futt. come in here, and between these a perf. consec. as expressive of that which will then happen when that which is prophetically certain has taken place.
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