Psalm 83:16
Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek your name, O LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Thy name, O Lord.—Rather, thy name (which is) Jehovah. The nations were to seek Him not only as God, but as Jehovah God of Israel. This is proved by Psalm 83:18. No doubt the thought uppermost in the verse is the submission of the heathen to Jehovah’s power. But we may, looking back, read in it a nobler wish and a grander hope—the prophetic hope of a union of nations in a belief in the common fatherhood of God.

Psalm 83:16-18. Fill, &c., that they may seek thy name — That, being disappointed of their hopes, and discerning the impotence of their idols, they may own and worship thee as the only true God. Let them be put to shame and perish — But those of them that will not humble themselves before thee, let them be utterly destroyed. That men may know — Or, that they may know, namely, by dear-bought experience, even by their own ruin, what they would not know by information for their own good; that thou art the Most High — The most high God, and the God, not only of thy people Israel, as the heathen fancy, and as their gods are supposed to be confined to their particular and several territories, but the God and governor of all the nations and parts of the earth. 83:9-18 All who oppose the kingdom of Christ may here read their doom. God is the same still that ever he was; the same to his people, and the same against his and their enemies. God would make their enemies like a wheel; unsettled in all their counsels and resolves. Not only let them be driven away as stubble, but burnt as stubble. And this will be the end of wicked men. Let them be made to fear thy name, and perhaps that will bring them to seek thy name. We should desire no confusion to our enemies and persecutors but what may forward their conversion. The stormy tempest of Divine vengeance will overtake them, unless they repent and seek the pardoning mercy of their offended Lord. God's triumphs over his enemies, clearly prove that he is, according to his name JEHOVAH, an almighty Being, who has all power and perfection in himself. May we fear his wrath, and yield ourselves to be his willing servants. And let us seek deliverance by the destruction of our fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.Fill their faces with shame - As those who are disappointed and foiled in their plans - such disappointment and confusion commonly manifesting itself in the face. The prayer here is, that their enemies might be so baffled in their designs - that they might be made so to feel how vain and hopeless were all their plans - that there might be such a manifest interposition of God in the case, as that they should be led to see that Yahweh reigned; that it was in vain to contend with him, and that his people were under his protection.

That they may seek thy name, O Lord - That they may be led to seek thee. This explains the drift and design of the whole prayer in the psalm. It is not a malignant prayer for the destruction of their enemies; it is not a wish that they might be made to suffer; but it is a prayer that the divine dealing might be such as to lead them to the acknowledgment of the true God. It is a benevolent thing to desire that men may be brought to the knowledge of the true God, though it be through the discomfiture of their own plans, by defeat, or by suffering. Anything that leads people to an acquaintance with God, and results in securing his friendship and favor, is a gain, and will be cause of thankfulness in the end.

16. that they may seek—or as Ps 83:18, supply "men," since Ps 83:17, 18 amplify the sentiment of Ps 83:16, expressing more fully the measure of destruction, and the lesson of God's being and perfections (compare 2Ch 20:29) taught to all men. 16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.

17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

Psalm 83:16

"Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord." Shame has often weaned men from their idols, and set them upon seeking the Lord. If this was not the happy result, in the present instance, with the Lord's enemies, yet it would be so with his people who were so prone to err. They would be humbled by his mercy, and ashamed of themselves because of his grace; and then they would with sincerity return to the earnest worship of Jehovah their God, who had delivered them.

Psalm 83:17

Where no good result followed, and the men remained as fierce and obstinate as ever, justice was invoked to carry out the capital sentence. "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish." What else could be done with them? It was better that they perished than that Israel should be rooted up. What a terrible doom it will be to the enemies of God to be "confounded and troubled for ever," - to see all their schemes and hopes defeated, and their bodies and souls full of anguish without end: from such a shameful perishing may our souls be delivered.

Psalm 83:18

"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." Hearing of the Lord's marvellous deeds in defeating such a numerous confederacy, the very heathen would be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of Jehovah. We read in 2 Chronicles 20:30, that the fear of God was on all the neighbouring kingdoms when they heard that Jehovah fought against the enemies of Israel. Jehovah is essentially the Most High. He who is self-existent is infinitely above all creatures, all the earth is but his footstool. The godless race of man disregards this, and yet at times the wonderful works of the Lord compel the most unwilling to adore his majesty.

Thus has this soul-stirring lyric risen from the words of complaint to those of adoration; let us in our worship always seek to do the same. National trouble called out the nation's poet laureate, and well did he discourse at once of her sorrows, and prayers, and hopes. Sacred literature thus owes much to sorrow and distress. How enriching is the hand of adversity!

The following attempt to versify the Psalm, and tune it to gospel purposes, is submitted with great diffidence.

O God, be thou no longer still.

Thy foes are leagued against thy law;

Make bare thine arm on Zion's hill,

continued...

That being disappointed of their hopes, and discerning the impotency of their idols, they may own and worship thee as the only true God. Fill their faces with shame,.... For their sins, or rather through disappointment, not being able to put their desperate and deep laid schemes into execution: or "with lightness" (o); instead of a weight of honour and glory upon them, let them be despised. R. Joseph Kimchi renders it, "fill their faces with fire"; let their faces be as if they were on fire, as men's faces are, who are put to an exceeding great blush, or are most sadly confounded and ashamed:

that they may seek thy name, O Lord; not they themselves, who are filled with shame; for it is imprecated, that they be ashamed, and troubled for ever, and so as to perish, Psalm 83:17 but others; for the words may be supplied, as in Psalm 83:18 "that men may seek thy name, or that thy name may be sought": the judgments of God upon wicked men are sometimes the means of arousing others, and putting them upon seeking the Lord, his face, and his favour; that God would be merciful to them, pardon their iniquities, avert judgments from them, and preserve them from threatened calamities; and this is a good end, when answered; see Isaiah 26:9.

(o) Heb. "levitate", Piscator; so Ainsworth.

Fill their faces with shame; that they may {m} seek thy name, O LORD.

(m) That is, be compelled by your plagues to confess your power.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Fill their faces with shame] Or, disgrace. Let them be disgraced by defeat and disappointed in their project. But this is only as the means to the higher end, that they may seek Jehovah’s name, recognising in Israel’s God the God of revelation, and submitting themselves to His Will.Verse 16. - Fill their faces with shame; i.e. cause their enterprise to fail, and so bring them to shame and confusion of face. That they may seek thy Name, O Lord. A merciful purpose lies behind the greater number of Divine visitations. They are intended to scourge men into submission, and cause them to turn to God. The psalmist, being in full sympathy with God, desires that his merciful intentions may have effect. With כּמדין reference is made to Gideon's victory over the Midianites, which belongs to the most glorious recollections of Israel, and to which in other instances, too, national hopes are attached, Isaiah 9:3 [4], Isaiah 10:26, cf. Habakkuk 3:7; and with the asyndeton כּסיסרא כיבין (כּסיסרא, as Norzi states, who does not rightly understand the placing of the Metheg) to the victory of Barak and Deborah over Sisera and the Canaanitish king Jabin, whose general he was. The Beth of בּנחל is like the Beth of בּדּרך in Psalm 110:7 : according to Judges 5:21 the Kishon carried away the corpses of the slain army. ‛Endôr, near Tabor, and therefore situated not far distant from Taanach and Megiddo (Judges 5:19), belonged to the battle-field. אדמה, starting from the radical notion of that which flatly covers anything, which lies in דם, signifying the covering of earth lying flat over the globe, therefore humus (like ארץ, terra, and תבל, tellus), is here (cf. 2 Kings 9:37) in accord with דּמן (from דמן), which is in substance akin to it. In Psalm 83:12 we have a retrospective glance at Gideon's victory. ‛Oreb and Zeēb were שׂרים of the Midianites, Judges 7:25; Zebach and Tsalmunna‛, their kings, Judges 8:5.

(Note: The Syriac Hexapla has (Hosea 10:14) צלמנע instead of שׁלמן, a substitution which is accepted by Geiger, Deutsch. Morgenlnd. Zeitschr. 1862, S. 729f. Concerning the signification of the above names of Midianitish princes, vid., Nldeke, Ueber die Amalekiter, S. 9.)

The pronoun precedes the word itself in שׁיתמו, as in Exodus 2:6; the heaped-up suffixes ēmo (êmo) give to the imprecation a rhythm and sound as of rolling thunder. Concerning נסיך, vid., on Psalm 2:6. So far as the matter is concerned, 2 Chronicles 20:11 harmonizes with Psalm 83:13. Canaan, the land which is God's and which He has given to His people, is called נאות אלהים (cf. Psalm 74:20).

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