I will praise you, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all your marvelous works.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Aleph.Psalm 9:1-2. I will praise thee with my whole heart — With a sincere, affectionate, and devout heart. I will show forth all thy marvellous works — I will discourse, in the general, of thy manifold wonders wrought for me, and for thy church and people formerly. The particle all is here, as it is often elsewhere, taken in a restrained sense. I will rejoice in thee — In thy favour and help vouchsafed to me.Psalm 9:7-12.
With my whole heart - Not with divided affection, or with partial gratitude. He meant that all his powers should be employed in this service; that he would give utterance to his feelings of gratitude and adoration in the loftiest and purest manner possible.
I will show forth - I will recount or narrate - to wit, in this song of praise.
All thy marvelous works - All his works or doings fitted to excite admiration or wonder. The reference here is particularly to what God had done which had given occasion to this psalm, but still the psalmist designs undoubtedly to connect with this the purpose to give a general expression of praise in view of all that God had done that was fitted to excite such feelings.
Ps 9:1-20. Upon Muthlabben, or, after the manner according to "death to the Son," by which some song was known, to whose air or melody the musician is directed to perform this Psalm. This mode of denoting a song by some prominent word or words is still common (compare Ps 22:1). The Psalmist praises God for deliverance from his enemies and celebrates the divine government, for providing security to God's people and punishment to the wicked. Thus encouraging himself, he prays for new occasions to recount God's mercies, and confident of His continued judgment on the wicked and vindication of the oppressed, he implores a prompt and efficient manifestation of the divine sovereignty.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
With a holy resolution the songster begins his hymn; I will praise the O Lord. It sometimes needs all our determination to face the foe and bless the Lord in the teeth of his enemies; vowing that whoever else may be silent we will bless his name; here, however, the overthrow of the foe is viewed as complete, and the song flows with sacred fulness of delight. It is our duty to praise the Lord; let us perform it as a privilege. Observe that David's praise is all given to the Lord. Praise is to be offered to God alone; we may be grateful to the intermediate agent, but our thanks must have long wings and mount aloft to heaven. With my whole heart. Half heart is no heart. I will show forth. There is true praise in the thankful telling forth to others of our heavenly Father's dealings with us; this is one of the themes upon which the godly should speak often to one another, and it will not be casting pearls before swine if we make even the ungodly hear of the loving-kindness of the Lord to us. All thy marvellous works. Gratitude for one mercy refreshes the memory as to thousands of others. One silver link in the chain draws up a long series of tender remembrances. Here is eternal work for us, for there can be no end to the showing forth of all his deeds of love. If we consider our own sinfulness and nothingness, we must feel that every work of preservation, forgiveness, conversion, deliverance, sanctification, &c., which the Lord has wrought for us, or in us is a marvellous work. Even in heaven, divine loving-kindness will doubtless be as much a theme of surprise as of rapture.
Gladness and joy are the appropriate spirit in which to praise the goodness of the Lord. Birds extol the Creator in notes of overflowing joy, the cattle low forth his praise with tumult of happiness, and the fish leap up in his worship with excess of delight. Moloch may be worshipped with shrieks of pain, and Juggernaut may be honoured by dying groans and inhuman yells, but he whose name is Love is best pleased with the holy mirth, and sanctified gladness of his people. Daily rejoicing is an ornament to the Christian character, and a suitable robe for God's choristers to wear. God loveth a cheerful giver, whether it be the gold of his purse or the gold of his mouth which he presents upon his altar. I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. Songs are the fitting expressions of inward thankfulness, and it were well if we indulged ourselves and honoured our Lord with more of them. Mr. B. P. Power has well said, "The sailors give a cheery cry as they weigh anchor, the ploughman whistles in the morning as he drives his team; the milkmaid sings her rustic song as she sets about her early task; when soldiers are leaving friends behind them, they do not march out to the tune of the Dead March in 'Saul,' but to the quick notes of some lively air. A praising spirit would do for us all that their songs and music do for them; and if only we could determine to praise the Lord, we should surmount many a difficulty which our low spirits never would have been equal to, and we should do double the work which can be done if the heart be languid in its beating, if we be crushed and trodden down in soul. As the evil spirit in Saul yielded in the olden time to the influence of the harp of the son of Jesse, so would the spirit of melancholy often take flight from us, if only we would take up the song of praise."
God's presence is evermore sufficient to work the defeat of our most furious foes, and their ruin is so complete when the Lord takes them in hand, that even flight cannot save them, they fall to rise no more when he pursues them. We must be careful, like David, to give all the glory to him whose presence gives the victory. If we have here the exultings of our conquering Captain, let us make the triumphs of the Redeemer the triumphs of the redeemed, and rejoice with him at the total discomfiture of all his foes.
One of our nobility has for his motto, "I will maintain it;" but the Christian has a better and more humble one, "Thou hast maintained it." "God and my right," are united by my faith: while God lives my right shall never be taken from me. If we seek to maintain the cause and honour of our Lord we may suffer reproach and misrepresentation, but it is a rich comfort to remember that he who sits in the throne knows our hearts, and will not leave us to the ignorant and ungenerous judgment of erring man.
continued...Muth-labben also seems to be another title of some song, or tune, or instrument; of which we must and may be content to be ignorant, as the Jewish doctors also are. Some render it, upon the death of his son, to wit, Absalom, or of one called Labben; or, of the middle man, or the man that stood between the two armies, to wit, Goliath, who is so called in the Hebrew text, 1 Samuel 17:4. But none of these suit with the design and matter of the Psalm, which is more general, and relates to his former manifold dangers, and the deliverance which God had graciously given him out of them. And that of Goliath agrees not with Psalm 9:14, where there is mention of praising God in Zion, which then and long after was in the hands of the Jebusites.
I will show forth all thy marvellous works; such as the creation of all things out of nothing, and the bringing them into the form and order in which they are by the word of God; and in which there is such a display of the power and wisdom of God; and particularly the formation of man out of the dust of the earth, in the image, and after the likeness of God; the sustentation of the whole world of creatures in their being, the providential care of them all, the preservation of man and beast; and especially the work of redemption: it is marvellous that God should think of redeeming sinful men; that he should fix the scheme of it in the way he has; that he should pick upon his own Son to be the Redeemer; that ungodly men, sinners, the chief of sinners, and enemies, should be the persons redeemed; and that not all the individuals of human nature, but some out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation: as also the work of grace, which is a new creation, and more marvellous than the old; a regeneration, or a being born again, which is astonishing to a natural man, who cannot conceive how this can be; a resurrection from the dead, or a causing dry bones to live; a call of men out of darkness into marvellous light; and it is as wondrous how this work is preserved amidst so many corruptions of the heart, temptations of Satan, and snares of the world, as that it is; to which may be added the wonderful works yet to be done, as the setting up of the kingdom of Christ, the destruction of antichrist, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the eternal glory and happiness of the saints; and doubtless the psalmist may have respect to the many victories which he, through the divine power, obtained over his enemies; and particularly the marvellous one which was given him over Goliath with a stone and sling: these the psalmist determined to make the subject of his song, to dwell and enlarge upon, to show forth unto others, and to point out the glories, beauties, and excellency of them: and when he says "all" of them, it must be understood of as many of them as were within the compass of his knowledge, and of as much of them as he was acquainted with; for otherwise the marvellous works of God are infinite and without number, Job 5:9.<
(a) God is not praised unless the whole glory is given to him alone.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. I will praise thee, O Lord] R.V., I will give thanks unto the Lord, as in Psalm 7:17.
with my whole heart] With the heart, not with the lips only (Isaiah 29:13): with the whole heart, acknowledging that all the honour is due to Jehovah. Cp. Deuteronomy 6:5. These conditions of true worship correspond to the divine attributes of omniscience (Psalm 7:9), and ‘jealousy’ (Exodus 34:14).
thy marvellous works] A special term for the singular and conspicuous works of God, both in nature (Job 5:9), and in His dealings with His people (Exodus 3:20), particularly in the great crises of their history (Psalm 78:4; Psalm 78:11; Psalm 78:32), which declare His power and love, and arouse the admiration of all who behold them. The word includes ‘miracles’ commonly so called, as one limited class of ‘the wonderful works of God,’ but is of much wider application. To recount and celebrate His marvellous works is the duty and delight of God’s saints.
1–4. The Psalmist’s purpose to praise Jehovah for the recent manifestation of His righteous judgement in the defeat of His enemies. Each of the four lines in Psalm 9:1-2 begins with Aleph, the first letter of the alphabet.Verse 1. - I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; rather, I will give thanks (Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version). The thanks are special for a great deliverance - a deliverance from some heathen enemy (vers. 5, 15), who has been signally defeated and almost exterminated (vers. 5, 6). It has been conjectured that the subjugation of Ammon (2 Samuel 12:26-31) is the occasion referred to ('Speaker's Commentary'); but the expectation of further attack (vers. 17-20) scarcely suits this period, when David's wars were well-nigh over. Perhaps the earlier victory over Ammon and Syria (2 Samuel 10:6-14), which was followed by the renewed invasion of the same nations in conjunction with "the Syrians beyond the river" (2 Samuel 10:16), is more likely to have drawn forth the composition. I will show forth all thy marvellous works; rather, I will tell forth, or I will recount all thy wondrous deeds. Not necessarily miracles, but any strange and unexpected deliverances, such as the recent one (comp. Psalm 40:5; Psalm 78:4). Psalm 8:5 (parallel are Psalm 8:2 a, 3), and consequently Psalm 8:4 is the protasis (par., Psalm 8:2), and כּי accordingly is equals quum, quando, in the sense of quoties. As often as he gazes at the heavens which bear upon themselves the name of God in characters of light (wherefore he says שׁמיך), the heavens with their boundless spaces (an idea which lies in the plur. שׁמים) extending beyond the reach of mortal eye, the moon (ירח, dialectic ורח, perhaps, as Maurer derives it, from ירח equals ירק subflavum esse), and beyond this the innumerable stars which are lost in infinite space (כּוכבים equals כּבכּבים prop. round, ball-shaped, spherical bodies) to which Jahve appointed their fixed place on the vault of heaven which He has formed with all the skill of His creative wisdom (כּונן to place and set up, in the sense of existence and duration): so often does the thought "what is mortal man...?" increase in power and intensity. The most natural thought would be: frail, puny man is as nothing before all this; but this thought is passed over in order to celebrate, with grateful emotion and astonished adoration, the divine love which appears in all the more glorious light, - a love which condescends to poor man, the dust of earth. Even if אנושׁ does not come from אנשׁ to be fragile, nevertheless, according to the usage of the language, it describes man from the side of his impotence, frailty, and mortality (vid., Psalm 103:15; Isaiah 51:12, and on Genesis 4:26). בּן־אדם, also, is not without a similar collateral reference. With retrospective reference to עוללים וינקים, בּן־אדם is equivalent to ילוּד־אשּׁה in Job 14:1 : man, who is not, like the stars, God's directly creative work, but comes into being through human agency born of woman. From both designations it follows that it is the existing generation of man that is spoken of. Man, as we see him in ourselves and others, this weak and dependent being is, nevertheless, not forgotten by God, God remembers him and looks about after him (פּקד of observing attentively, especially visitation, and with the accus. it is generally used of lovingly provident visitation, e.g., Jeremiah 15:15). He does not leave him to himself, but enters into personal intercourse with him, he is the special and favoured object whither His eye turns (cf. Psalm 144:3, and the parody of the tempted one in Job 7:17.).
It is not until Psalm 8:6 that the writer glances back at creation. ותּחסּרהוּ (differing from the fut. consec. Job 7:18) describes that which happened formerly. חסּר מן signifies to cause to be short of, wanting in something, to deprive any one of something (cf. Ecclesiastes 4:8). מן is here neither comparative (paullo inferiorem eum fecisti Deo), nor negative (paullum derogasti ei, ne esset Deus), but partitive (paullum derogasti ei divinae naturae); and, without אלהים being on that account an abstract plural, paullum Deorum, equals Dei (vid., Genesis S. 66f.), is equivalent to paullum numinis Deorum. According to Genesis 1:27 man is created בּצלם אלהים, he is a being in the image of God, and, therefore, nearly a divine being. But when God says: "let us make man in our image after our likeness," He there connects Himself with the angels. The translation of the lxx ἠλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρ ̓ ἀγγέλους, with which the Targum and the prevailing Jewish interpretations also harmonize, is, therefore, not unwarranted. Because in the biblical mode of conception the angels are so closely connected with God as the nearest creaturely effulgence of His nature, it is really possible that in מאלהים David may have thought of God including the angels. Since man is in the image of God, he is at the same time in the likeness of an angel, and since he is only a little less than divine, he is also only a little less than angelic. The position, somewhat exalted above the angels, which he occupies by being the bond between all created things, in so far as mind and matter are united in him, is here left out of consideration. The writer has only this one thing in his mind, that man is inferior to God, who is רוּח, and to the angels who are רוּחות (Isaiah 31:3; Hebrews 1:14) in this respect, that he is a material being, and on this very account a finite and mortal being; as Theodoret well and briefly observes: τῷ θνητῷ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἠλάττωται. This is the מעט in which whatever is wanting to him to make him a divine being is concentrated. But it is nothing more than מעט. The assertion in Psalm 8:6 refers to the fact of the nature of man being in the image of God, and especially to the spirit breathed into him from God; Psalm 8:6, to his godlike position as ruler in accordance with this his participation in the divine nature: honore ac decore coronasti eum. כּבוד is the manifestation of glory described from the side of its weightiness and fulness; הוד (cf. הד, הידד) from the side of its far resounding announcement of itself (vid., on Job 39:20); הדר from the side of its brilliancy, majesty, and beauty. הוד והדר, Psalm 96:6, or also הדר כּבור הוד ה, Psalm 145:5, is the appellation of the divine doxa, with the image of which man is adorned as with a regal crown. The preceding fut. consec. also stamps תּעטּרהוּ and תּמשׁילהוּ as historical retrospects. The next strophe unfolds the regal glory of man: he is the lord of all things, the lord of all earthly creatures.
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