Psalm 85:11
Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Truth, or “faithfulness,” is here depicted as springing out of the earth, because the renewal of fertility has re-established the conviction of the faithfulness of Jehovah towards His people, which had been shaken.

Look down.—Used of bending forwards as from a window or battlement (Song of Solomon 6:10, Note).

This “righteousness” (here in direct parallelism with faithfulness) had, as it were, been hidden like the sun behind a cloud, but now is seen showing its benign face once more in the skies.

Psalm 85:11. Truth shall spring out of the earth — Either, 1st, Truth among men, which shall be as common among all men as if it sprung out of the earth. Or rather, 2d, The truth or faithfulness of God, which may be truly said to spring out of the earth, partly because it had long been as if it were hid, and buried like a root in a dry ground, without any hopes of a reviving; from whence, yet God made it to grow, as is signified Isaiah 53:2; and partly, because Christ, who is the truth, John 14:6, and a minister of the circumcision, (that is, of the circumcised, or of the Jews,) for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, was born on the earth of a virgin. And righteousness looked down from heaven — Even God’s righteousness, or justice, which had been offended with men, shall then be satisfied, and shall, through Christ, look down upon sinful men with a reconciled and smiling countenance. “When Christ appeared in our nature,” says Dr. Horne, “this promise was fulfilled, and Truth sprung out of the earth. And now Righteousness, looking down from heaven, beheld in him every thing she required; an undefiled birth, a holy life, an innocent death; a spirit and mouth without guile, a soul and body without sin. She saw and was satisfied, and returned to earth. Thus all the four parties met again in perfect harmony; Truth ran to Mercy, and embraced her; Righteousness to Peace, and kissed her. And this could only happen at the birth of Jesus, in whom the tender mercy of our God visited us, and who is the Truth; who is made unto us Righteousness, and who is our Peace. Those that are thus joined, as attributes in Christ, ought not, as virtues, to be separated in a Christian, who may learn how to resemble his blessed Lord and Master, by observing that short, but complete rule of life, comprehended in the few following words: show mercy, and speak truth; do righteousness, and follow peace.”85:8-13 Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following himTruth shall spring out of the earth - As plants do - for this is the meaning of the word. The blessings of truth and righteousness would be like the grass, the shrubs, the flowers, which spring up from the ground - and like the, rain and the sunbeams which come from heaven. Truth would spring up everywhere, and abound in all lands, as plants, and shrubs, and grass spring up all over the earth. There is not an intended contrast between the two clauses of this verse, as if truth came from the earth, and righteousness from heaven; but the idea is that they would come in a manner that might be compared with the way in which God's other abundant blessings are bestowed, as springing, on the one hand, from the fertility of the earth, and on the other, from the rain, the dew, and the sunbeam.

And righteousness shall look down from heaven - Shall descend from heaven; or shall come from above - as if the rain, and the sun looked down from heaven, and saw the needs of man. The original word here rendered "look down" - שׁקף shâqaph - means to lay upon, or over; then, to project, lie over, look forward; then, to overhang; and the idea here is that it bent over, or leaned forward to look at the necessities of than - as one does who is desirous of gazing at an object. There was an anxiety, so to speak, to come to the earth - to meet the human need. As the rain and the sunbeams seem anxious to bestow their blessings on man, so God seems anxious to bestow on man the blessings of salvation.

11. Earth and heaven shall abound with the blessings of this government; Truth shall spring out of the earth; either,

1. Truth among men, which shall be so common amongst all men, as if it grew out of the earth. Or rather,

2. The truth or faithfulness of God; which is most truly and fitly said to spring out of the earth, partly because it had long been hid and buried, like

a root in a dry ground, without any hopes of a reviving; from whence yet God made it to grow, as is noted, Isaiah 53:2; and partly because Christ, who is the truth, John 14:6, and a minister of the circumcision (i.e. of the circumcised, or of the Jews)

for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, was born upon the earth of a virgin’s womb.

Righteousness shall look down from heaven; even God’s justice, which was offended with men, shall then be satisfied, and shall through Christ look down upon sinful men with a reconciled and smiling countenance. Truth shall spring out of the earth,.... Either the Gospel, the word of truth, which sprung up at once in the land of Judea, as if it came out of the earth; and from Zion and Jerusalem it came forth into the Gentile world: or else the truth of grace God desires in the inward parts, and which springs up in such who are like cultivated earth, or good ground, being made so by the Spirit and grace of God, particularly the grace of "faith"; by which some render the word (q) here, which springs up in the heart, and, with it, man believes to righteousness: or rather Christ himself, "who is the way, the truth, and the life"; who, though he is the Lord from heaven, yet may be said, with respect to his incarnation, to spring out of the earth, he taking flesh of the virgin: hence his human nature is said to be "curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth"; and "that new thing created in the earth", Psalm 139:15.

and righteousness shall look down from heaven: the justice of God, or the righteous God, shall look down from heaven on Christ, the truth, in our nature on earth, with pleasure beholding his obedience, sufferings and death, sacrifice and righteousness; being well pleased with him, and with all he did and suffered, and with all his people, considered in him: these upright and righteous ones his countenance beholds with delight, as they are clothed with Christ's righteousness, washed in his blood, and their sins expiated by his sacrifice, and as they are hoping in his mercy, and trusting in his Son.

(q) fides. Tigurine version, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius.

{g} Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

(g) Though for a time God thus exercises them with his rods, yet under the kingdom of Christ they should have peace and joy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Truth springeth out of the earth;

And righteousness hath looked down from heaven. (R.V.)

Truth springs up as a natural growth in response to God’s manifestation of His saving righteousness. Harmony between earth and heaven is perfected. Cp. Hosea 2:21 ff.; Isaiah 45:8. Milton must have had this passage in his mind in the Ode on the Nativity:

Yea, truth and justice then

Will down return to men,

Orb’d in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,

Mercy will sit between,

Throned in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;

And heaven, as at some festival,

Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.Verse 11. - Truth shall spring out of the earth (comp. Isaiah 45:8). One result of the reconciliation of God's mercy and truth shall be a growth of righteousness among men. The pardoned people of God shall bring forth much fruit. And righteousness shall look down from heaven. God's righteousness "looks down from heaven" (like the sun), to draw up and mature the feeble plant of man's righteousness, which, without it, would come to nothing. The poet now prays God to manifest anew the loving-kindness He has shown formerly. In the sense of "restore us again," שׁוּבנוּ does not form any bond of connection between this and the preceding strophe; but it does it, according to Ges. 121, 4, it is intended in the sense of (אלינוּ) שׁוּב לנוּ, turn again to us. The poet prays that God would manifest Himself anew to His people as He has done in former days. Thus the transition from the retrospective perfects to the petition is, in the presence of the existing extremity, adequately brought about. Assuming the post-exilic origin of the Psalm, we see from this strophe that it was composed at a period in which the distance between the temporal and spiritual condition of Israel and the national restoration, promised together with the termination of the Exile, made itself distinctly felt. On עמּנוּ (in relation to and bearing towards us) beside כּעסך, cf. Job 10:17, and also on הפר, Psalm 89:34. In the question in Psalm 89:6 reminding God of His love and of His promise, משׁך has the signification of constant endless continuing or pursuing, as in Psalm 36:11. The expression in Psalm 85:7 is like Psalm 71:20, cf. Psalm 80:19; שׁוּב is here the representative of rursus, Ges. 142. ישׁעך from ישׁע, like קצפּך in Psalm 38:2, has ĕ (cf. the inflexion of פּרי and חק) instead of the ı̆ in אלהי ישׁענוּ. Here at the close of the strophe the prayer turns back inferentially to this attribute of God.
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