Psalm 73:6
Therefore pride compasses them about as a chain; violence covers them as a garment.
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(6) Therefore.—Better,

“Therefore pride is their necklace,

And violence their mantle.”

The first metaphor might have been suggested either by the fact that the rich lavished large sums on jewellery, especially necklaces (see Note, Song of Solomon 1:10), or possibly from the usual description of the proud as “stiffnecked.”

73:1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain - Therefore they are proud, haughty, imperious. They put on the ornaments and trappings of pride; their clothing and their adorning all are indicative of a proud heart. They seem to imagine that they are better than others, and that they are treated in this manner "because" they are better than others. In the original it is a single word which is rendered "compasseth about as a chain." The word means "to adorn with a necklace or collar;" and the idea is, that pride surrounds them as with a neck-chain, or a collar for the neck. They wear it as an ornament. They make it conspicuous. It is apparent on a haughty neck - in an erect and stiff demeanour. Compare the notes at Isaiah 3:16 : "The daughters of Zion walk with stretched forth necks."

Violence covereth them as a garment - Injustice or cruelty seems to be their very clothing. It is manifest in their whole gait and demeanor that they are men of haughtiness and pride; that they are destitute of tenderness, sympathy, sensibility.

3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live, free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflated with unexpected success. With all this— Pride compasseth them about as a chain: this phrase notes both the extent of their pride, which appears on every side of them, in their countenances, discourses, gestures, &c, and their glorying in it. The like may be said of the next phrase. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain, Which was the sin of the devils, and of our first parents, and of Sodom, and is the sin of antichrist; and which, of all sins, is most hateful to God; this arises from, at least is increased by, outward prosperity. Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked; pride and fulness of bread went together in Sodom; and, where it is predominant, it binds as a chain; such who are under the power of it are slaves unto it, they are chained and fettered by it, and it possesses them wholly; it shows itself in the several members of their bodies, in their eyes and feet, their walk and gait, and in their conduct and behaviour, and in the several actions of their lives, and is rightly called "the pride of life"; or rather they bind it about themselves as a chain, fancying it to be an ornament to them, what sets them off, and makes them look great in the eyes of others; whereas the reverse is what is of great price, and in high esteem with God and good men; namely, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit:

violence covereth them as a garment; wicked men that are prosperous and proud are generally oppressive to others; and are very often open in their acts of violence, which are as openly done and to be seen of all men, as the clothes upon their backs; and frequently the clothes they wear are got by rapine and oppression, so that they may properly be called garments of violence; see Isaiah 59:6.

{c} Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

(c) They glory in their pride as some do in their chains, and in cruelty, as some do in apparel.

Verse 6. - Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; or, is as a chain about their neck (Revised Version) - makes them stiffen their neck, and hold their head aloft. Not being afflicted, they regard themselves as favourites of Heaven, and are therefore puffed up with pride, which they show in their gait and bearing. Violence covereth them as a garment. Pride and self-conceit naturally lead on to violence, which becomes so habitual to them that it seems like their ordinary apparel (comp. Psalm 109:18, 19). The violence of the great ones in Israel is continually denounced, both by psalmists and prophets (see Psalm 11:2; Psalm 55:9; Psalm 58:2; Psalm 72:14, etc.; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 59:3-7; Hosea 4:1, 2; Amos 3:10, etc.). Superscription of the primary collection. The origin of this superscription cannot be the same as that of the doxology, which is only inserted between it and the Psalm, because it was intended to be read with the Psalm at the reading in the course of the service (Symbolae, p. 19). כּלוּ equals כּלּוּ, like דּחוּ in Psalm 36:13, כּסּוּ, Psalm 80:11, all being Pual forms, as is manifest in the accented ultima. A parallel with this verse is the superscription "are ended the words of Job" in Job 31:40, which separates the controversial speeches and Job's monologue from the speeches of God. No one taking a survey of the whole Psalter, with the many Psalms of David that follow beyond Psalm 72, could possibly have placed this key-stone here. If, however, it is more ancient than the doxological division into five books, it is a significant indication in relation to the history of the rise of the collection. It proves that the collection of the whole as it now lies before us was at least preceded by one smaller collection, of which we may say that it extended to Psalm 72, without thereby meaning to maintain that it contained all the Psalms up to that one, since several of them may have been inserted into it when the redaction of the whole took place. But it is possible for it to have contained Psalm 72, wince at the earliest it was only compiled in the time of Solomon. The fact that the superscription following directly upon a Psalm of Solomon is thus worded, is based on the same ground as the fact that the whole Psalter is quoted in the New Testament as Davidic. David is the father of the שׁיר ה, 2 Chronicles 29:27, and hence all Psalms may be called Davidic, just as all משׁלים may be called Salomonic, without meaning thereby that they are all composed by David himself.
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