Psalm 9:12
When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
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(12) When.—Better, for he maketh inquisition; literally, the seeker of bloods: i.e., “the avenger of blood.” The allusion is to the goel, the nearest relative of the murdered man, who must, according to Oriental custom, avenge him. The verbs are better in the past, “remembered,” “forgot not.”

Themi.e., the sufferers to be mentioned now.

Humble.—This follows the Hebrew margin. Better here, the afflicted. In the Hebrew the two readings give two forms from the same root, generally taken to have, one of them, an ethical, the other, a physical sense; but the distinction is not borne out by Biblical use.

Psalm 9:12. When he maketh inquisition for blood — The bloodshed of his innocent and holy ones: which though he may not seem to regard for a season, yet he will certainly call the authors of it to a severe account; he remembereth them — The humble, as it follows, or the oppressed, (Psalm 9:9,) that trust in him, and seek to him, (Psalm 9:10,) whom he seemed to have forgotten. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble — Or, meek, as the word עני, gnani, which occurs also Zechariah 9:9, is translated, Matthew 21:5. Who do not, cannot, and will not avenge themselves, but commit their cause to God, as the God to whom vengeance belongeth.

9:11-20 Those who believe that God is greatly to be praised, not only desire to praise him better themselves, but desire that others may join with them. There is a day coming, when it will appear that he has not forgotten the cry of the humble; neither the cry of their blood, or the cry of their prayers. We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. The overruling providence of God frequently so orders it, that persecutors and oppressors are brought to ruin by the projects they formed to destroy the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves; the contentious bring mischief upon themselves: thus men's sins may be read in their punishment, and it becomes plain to all, that the destruction of sinners is of themselves. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; and those who continue in sin, must go to that place of torment. The true state, both of nations and of individuals, may be correctly estimated by this one rule, whether in their doings they remember or forget God. David encourages the people of God to wait for his salvation, though it should be long deferred. God will make it appear that he never did forget them: it is not possible he should. Strange that man, dust in his and about him, should yet need some sharp affliction, some severe visitation from God, to bring him to the knowledge of himself, and make him feel who and what he is.When he maketh inquisition for blood - When he "inquires" after blood; that is, when he comes forth with this view, to wit, for purposes of punishment. There is allusion here to such passages as that in Genesis 9:5, "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man." The idea is, that when blood was shed in murder, God would seek out the murderer; he would require satisfaction of him who had shed the blood; he would punish the offender. The language, there, becomes equivalent to that of seeking punishment for murder, and then for sin in general; and the representation here is that of God as going forth in the capacity of an executioner of his own laws to inflict punishment on the guilty.

He remembereth them - "He remembereth," says Prof. Alexander, "the bloods or murders," since the word blood, as in Psalm 5:6, is in the plural - bloods. The better interpretation, however, is, that the word "them" here refers to the oppressed and the afflicted - for that is the main idea in the passage. See Psalm 9:8-9. When he goes forth in the earth to execute judgment on the wicked; when he cuts them down in his wrath; when he sweeps them away as with a flood - the punishment will not be indiscriminate. He will then mark the oppressed, the afflicted, the persecuted, the troubled, and the sad, and will interpose to save them - delivering them from the storms of wrath. The idea, then, is, that the righteous will not be forgotten; that even in the most fierce and awful of his dispensations he will still regard them, and interpose to save them.

He forgetteth not the cry of the humble - Margin, afflicted. The margin expresses the true idea. The reference is not to the humble in the common sense of that term, but to the afflicted; the oppressed; to those who are in trouble, Psalm 9:9. He will then remember the cry which in their afflictions they have been long sending up to him.

12. for blood—that is, murders (Ps 5:6), including all the oppressions of His people.

maketh inquisition—(compare Ge 9:5). He will avenge their cause.

For blood, Heb. bloods; the bloodshed or murder of his innocent and holy ones; which though he may connive at for a season, yet he will certainly call the authors of it to a very severe account, and avenge it upon them.

He remembereth them; either,

1. The humble, as it follows, or the oppressed, Psalm 9:9, that trust in him, and seek to him, Psalm 9:10, whom he seemed to have forgotten. Or,

2. The bloods last mentioned, for that noun and this pronoun are both of the masculine gender; and then remembering is put for revenging or punishing, as it is Deu 25:17,19 Ne 6:14 Jeremiah 14:10 44:21, and oft elsewhere.

The humble, or meek, as this word, which is used also Zechariah 9:9, is translated Matthew 21:5, who do not, and cannot, and will not avenge themselves, but commit their cause to me, as the God to whom vengeance belongeth. Or, afflicted or oppressed ones.

When he maketh inquisition for blood,.... The Arabic version renders it, "he remembers him that seeks their blood"; that is, the wicked man, that lies in wait for innocent blood, and whose feet are swift to shed it; the man of sin, who is bloodthirsty; who drinks up the blood of the saints like water, and has been made drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, him will God remember, and take vengeance on, in his own time: but rather this is to be understood of God himself, seeking for the blood of his saints: he knows where it is, though ever so privily shed, as he did Abel's; yet, to show his strict care and accurate notice of it, he is represented as searching for it, and finding it out by secret search, Jeremiah 2:34. And it is the same phrase with "requiring" blood, and expresses a demand of satisfaction for it; and declares the vengeance that God will take on account of it: he requires the blood of every man at the hand of him by whom it is shed, Genesis 9:5; especially the blood of the righteous, Matthew 23:35; particularly the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, shed by the Romish antichrist; he will make inquisition for that, and will find in Babylon the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all that are slain on earth; and will avenge the blood of his servants at her hand, and give her blood to drink, Revelation 18:24;

he remembereth them; either the "righteous", as the Targum paraphrases it, whose blood has been shed; or else the wicked, who shed their blood: God will remember them and their sins; which, for some time, may seem not to have been taken notice of by him, and will pour out his wrath, and inflict just punishment on them; see Revelation 16:19;

he forgetteth not the cry of the humble: the "Cetib", or writing of the text, is "afflicted"; the "Keri", or marginal reading, is "humble"; so the Masorah and Targum read: both may be taken into the sense: afflicted persons are generally humble, afflictions make them humble; God's people are an afflicted people; afflicted with sin, with Satan, with the world, with antichrist and his followers: and they are an humble people; grace makes them humble, and a sense of their sin and unworthiness keeps them so: and this is a proper character of the followers of Jesus. These in their distress cry to the Lord, as the Israelites did in Egypt under their bondage and, pressures: yea, their blood cries after death, as Abel's did, and as the blood of the martyrs of Christ does, whose souls under the altar cry for vengeance, Revelation 6:9; and God is not unmindful of their cry; however he may seem to be, he takes notice of it, and wilt in his own time avenge his elect, which cry unto him day and night.

{e} When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

(e) Though God does not suddenly avenge the wrong done to his, yet he does not permit the wicked to go unpunished.

12. For he that maketh requisition for bloodshed hath remembered them:

He hath not forgotten the cry of the humble.

The call to praise is based on a definite experience (hath remembered, hath not forgotten), rather than on a general truth (remembereth, forgetteth not). Jehovah is the Goel, the Avenger of blood, who investigates all offences against His sacred gift of human life, and demands satisfaction for them (Genesis 9:5 f.). Such offences ‘cry’ to God for vengeance (Genesis 4:10). ‘Bloodshed’ may include crimes of violence which fall short of actual murder, but rob men of the rightful use and enjoyment of their lives. Cf. Job 24:2 ff.

them] The oppressed seekers of Jehovah mentioned in Psalm 9:9-10; the ‘poor’ of the next line.

the cry] For illustration comp. Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; 1 Samuel 9:16; Job 34:28.

the humble] R.V. the poor, marg. meek. The traditional reading (Qrî) is ‘anâvîm, though the text (Kthîbh) has ‘aniyyîm. Both words are derived from the same root, meaning to bend or bow down. The first is intransitive in form, and denotes the character of one who bows himself down: lowly, humble, meek (LXX πραΰς). The second is passive in form, and denotes primarily the condition of one who is bowed down by external circumstances of poverty, trouble, or oppression: poor, afflicted (comp. the cognate substantive in Psalm 9:13, my trouble, R.V, affliction). But inasmuch as humility is learnt in the school of affliction and, poverty (cp. Matthew 5:3 with Luke 6:20), it often has the secondary sense of meek, humble (LXX generally πτωχός, πένης, sometimes ταπεινός or πραΰς), and the distinction between the two words is lost. The second of the two words (but not the first) is often coupled or in parallelism with ebhyôn ‘needy,’ Psalm 9:18), or dal ‘weak,’ ‘feeble’ (Psalm 82:3-4); and these words also, though primarily denoting condition, tend to acquire a moral significance.

The ‘afflicted,’ ‘poor,’ ‘meek,’ ‘humble,’ are a class that meet us frequently in the Psalms and Prophets. They are those whose condition specially calls for the special protection of Jehovah, and of righteous rulers who are His true representatives (Psalm 72:7; Psalm 72:4; Psalm 72:12); and whose character for the most part fits them to be objects of the divine favour. They are contrasted with the proud, the scorners, the oppressors, whose contemptuous independence and high-handed violence will meet with due punishment (Proverbs 3:34).

Verse 12. - When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them; rather, for he that maketh inquisition for blood (see Genesis 9:5) remembereth them. God, i.e., the Requirer of blood (Kay), remembers, when he makes his inquisition, those who are oppressed (per. 9), and who seek him (ver. 10). He forgetteth not the cry of the humble; or, the afflicted (Kay, Cheyne). He comes to the aid of such persons, and avenges them on their enemies. Psalm 9:12(Heb.: 9:12-13) Thus then the z-strophe summons to the praise of this God who has done, and will still do, such things. The summons contains a moral claim, and therefore applies to all, and to each one individually. Jahve, who is to be praised everywhere and by every one, is called ישׁב ציּון, which does not mean: He who sits enthroned in Zion, but He who inhabiteth Zion, Ges. 138, 1. Such is the name by which He is called since the time when His earthly throne, the ark, was fixed on the castle hill of Jerusalem, Psalm 76:3. It is the epithet applied to Him during the period of the typical kingship of promise. That Jahve's salvation shall be proclaimed from Zion to all the world, even outside Israel, for their salvation, is, as we see here and elsewhere, an idea which throbs with life even in the Davidic Psalms; later prophecy beholds its realisation in its wider connections with the history of the future. That which shall be proclaimed to the nations is called עלילותיו, a designation which the magnalia Dei have obtained in the Psalms and the prophets since the time of Hannah's song, 1 Samuel 2:3 (from עלל, root על, to come over or upon anything, to influence a person or a thing, as it were, from above, to subject them to one's energy, to act upon them).

With כּי, quod, in Psalm 9:13, the subject of the proclamation of salvation is unfolded as to its substance. The praett. state that which is really past; for that which God has done is the assumption that forms the basis of the discourse in praise of God on account of His mighty acts. They consist in avenging and rescuing His persecuted church-persecuted even to martyrdom. The אותם, standing by way of emphasis before its verb, refers to those who are mentioned afterwards (cf. Psalm 9:20): the Chethb calls them עניּים, the Keri ענוים. Both words alternate elsewhere also, the Ker at one time placing the latter, at another the former, in the place of the one that stands in the text. They are both referable to ענה to bend (to bring low, Isaiah 25:5). The neuter signification of the verb ענה equals ענו, Arab.. ‛nâ, fut o., underlies the noun ענו (cf. שׁלו), for which in Numbers 12:3 there is a Ker עניו with an incorrect Jod (like שׁליו Job 21:23). This is manifest from the substantive ענוה, which does not signify affliction, but passiveness, i.e., humility and gentleness; and the noun עני is passive, and therefore does not, like ענו, signify one who is lowly-minded, in a state of ענוה, but one who is bowed down by afflictions, עני. But because the twin virtues denoted by ענוה are acquired in the school of affliction, there comes to be connected with עני - but only secondarily - the notion of that moral and spiritual condition which is aimed at by dispensations of affliction, and is joined with a suffering life, rather than with one of worldly happiness and prosperity, - a condition which, as Numbers 12:3 shows, is properly described by ענו (ταπεινός and πραΰ́ς). It shall be proclaimed beyond Israel, even among the nations, that the Avenger of blood, דּמים דּרשׁ, thinks of them (His דּרשׁים), and has been as earnest in His concern for them as they in theirs for Him. דּמים always signifies human blood that is shed by violence and unnaturally; the plur. is the plural of the product discussed by Dietrich, Abhandl. S. 40. דּרשׁ to demand back from any one that which he has destroyed, and therefore to demand a reckoning, indemnification, satisfaction for it, Genesis 9:5, then absolutely to punish, 2 Chronicles 24:22.

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