Psalm 9:6
O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
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(6) O thou enemy . . .—This vocative gives no intelligible meaning. Translate, As for the enemy, they are made an utter wreck and perpetual ruin.

Destructions.—Properly, desolations, ruins, from a word meaning “to be dried up.”

Come to a perpetual end.—Properly, are completed for ever.

Thou hast destroyed.—Some understand the relative: “the cities which thou hast destroyed.”

Their memorial.—Better, their very memory is perished; literally, their memory, theirs. (Comp. “He cannot flatter, he”—Shakespeare, King Lear). The LXX. and Vulg. read, “with a sound,” referring to the crash of falling cities. Some would substitute enemies for cities, but they lose the emphasis of the passage, which points to the utter evanishment from history of great cities as a consequence and sign of Divine judgment. Probably the poet thinks of Sodom and Gomorrha, whose overthrow left such a signal mark on the thought of Israel. We think of the mounds of earth which alone represent Nineveh and Babylon.

“’Mid far sands,

The palm-tree cinctured city stands,

Bright white beneath, as heaven, bright blue,

Leans over it, while the years pursue

Their course, unable to abate

Its paradisal laugh at fate.

One morn the Arab staggers blind

O’er a new tract of earth calcined

To ashes, silence, nothingness,

And strives, with dizzy wits, to guess

Whence fell the blow.”—R. BROWNING: Easter Day.

Psalm 9:6. O thou enemy, &c. — This is a sudden apostrophe to the enemies of God’s people, the Philistines, Amorites, or other nations which had formerly made great havoc and waste among them: Destructions are come to a perpetual end — Thou hast formerly wasted and destroyed the people of God, but those destructions have now come to an end, and shall cease. Thy power to annoy Israel is now broken. Christians, when repeating those words, “may take a retrospect view of the successive fall of those empires, with their capital cities, in which the enemy had, from time to time, fixed his residence, and which had vexed and persecuted the people of God in different ages. Such were the Assyrian or Babylonian, the Persian and the Grecian monarchies. All these vanished away, and came to nothing. Nay, the very memorial of the stupendous Nineveh and Babylon is so perished with them that the place where they once stood is now no more to be found. The Roman empire was the last of the pagan persecuting powers; and when the church saw that under her feet, well might she cry out, The destructions of the enemy are completed to the uttermost! How lovely will this song be in the day when the last enemy shall be destroyed, and the world itself shall become what Babylon is at present.” — Horne.

9:1-10 If we would praise God acceptably, we must praise him in sincerity, with our whole heart. When we give thanks for some one particular mercy, we should remember former mercies. Our joy must not be in the gift, so much as in the Giver. The triumphs of the Redeemer ought to be the triumphs of the redeemed. The almighty power of God is that which the strongest and stoutest of his enemies are no way able to stand before. We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth, and that with him there is no unrighteousness. His people may, by faith, flee to him as their Refuge, and may depend on his power and promise for their safety, so that no real hurt shall be done to them. Those who know him to be a God of truth and faithfulness, will rejoice in his word of promise, and rest upon that. Those who know him to be an everlasting Father, will trust him with their souls as their main care, and trust in him at all times, even to the end; and by constant care seek to approve themselves to him in the whole course of their lives. Who is there that would not seek him, who never hath forsaken those that seek Him?O thou enemy! - This verse has been very variously rendered and explained. For an examination of the particular views entertained of it, see particularly Rosenmuller, in loc. The reference is doubtless to the enemies mentioned in the previous verses; and the idea is substantially the same - that they were completely overcome and subdued. The phrase, "O thou enemy," is probably to be regarded as the nominative absolute. "The enemy - his destructions or desolations are finished forever. He will now no more engage in that work." The attention of the writer is fixed on them, and on the fact that they will no more engage in the work of desolation. It is not, therefore, properly to be regarded, as it is rendered in the common translation, as an apostrophe to the enemy, but rather as indicating a state of mind in which the writer is meditating on his foes, and on the fact that they would no more engage in the work in which they had been occupied - of laying cities and towns in ruins.

Destructions are come to a perpetual end - That is, thy destructions are finished, completed, accomplished. There are to be no more of them. This may either refer to their acts causing destruction, or laying waste cities and towns, meaning that they would no more accomplish this work; or to the destruction or ruins which they had caused in laying waste cities - the ruins which marked their career - meaning that the number of such ruins was now complete, and that no more would be added, for they them. selves were overthrown. The word rendered "destructions" means properly desolations, waste places, ruins, and seem here to refer to the wastes or ruins which the enemy had made; and the true idea is, that such desolations were now complete, or that they would not be suffered to devastate anymore cities and fields. Prof. Alexander renders this, "finished, completed are (his) ruins, desolations, forever; that is, he is ruined or made desolate forever."

And thou hast destroyed cities - That is, in thy desolating career. This, considered as an address to the enemy, would seem to refer to the career of some victor who had Carried fire and sword through the land, and whose course had been marked by smoking ruins. This was, however, now at an end, for God had interposed, and had given the author of the psalm a victory ever his foe. Prof. Alexander regards this, less properly, as an address to God, meaning that he had destroyed the cities of the enemy. The idea is, rather, that this enemy had been distinguised for spreading desolation and ruin, and that this career was now closed forever.

Their memorial is perished with them - The names of the cities, referring to their utter destruction, and to the character of the warfare which had been waged. It had been utterly barbarous and vicious; the enemy had left nothing to testify even what the city had been, and its name had ceased to be mentioned. See the notes at Psalm 9:5. This seems to be mentioned as a justification of the warfare which the author of the psalm had waged against this enemy, and as showing why God had interposed and had given him the victory.

6. Literally, "As to the enemy finished are his ruins for ever. Thou [God] hast destroyed," &c. (1Sa 15:3, 7; 27:8, 9). The wicked are utterly undone. Their ruins shall never be repaired. This is a sudden apostrophe to the enemies of God’s people, Philistines, Amorites, or other nations, who had formerly made great havoc and waste among them.

Destructions are come to a perpetual end; thou hast destroyed the Israelitish nation utterly and irrecoverably, and, as it follows, their defenced cities, and their very name and memory, according to thy own desire. So it is a sarcasm or irony, a usual figure in Scripture and all authors, whereby the quite contrary is signified, to wit, that they were not only frustrated of their desires and hopes of destroying the Israelites, but were also subdued, and in a great part destroyed by them. Or this verse may be understood of the great waste and ruin which God’s enemies had brought upon Israel before this time; which is here remembered, to make the Israelites more thankful for their later or present deliverances. Or it may be taken as a prophecy of the future calamities which the enemies should by God’s permission bring upon Israel, of which he speaks as of a thing past and done, after the manner of the prophets. But this place is otherwise rendered in the margin of our Bibles, and by divers others, the destructions of the enemy which may be understood either,

1. Actively, which they caused; or,

2. Passively, which they felt

are come to a perpetual end, or, are fully and finally completed. Thou hast destroyed cities; either,

1. Thou, O God, who is oft understood and couched in a pronoun in this manner, thou hast destroyed their cities. Or rather,

2. Thou, O enemy; as may be gathered both from the foregoing clause, where it is so expressed; and from the next verse, where it follows by way of opposition to this, But the Lord, &c. Their memorial is perished with them; the places and people are utterly extinct.

O thou enemy,.... Which some understand of Goliath, though we do not read of any desolations made by him, nor of any cities destroyed by him; nor by the Israelites upon his death, and the flight of the Philistines on that account; Jarchi interprets it of Esau and his posterity, who shall be destroyed in future time, to which he applies, Ezekiel 35:9; other Jewish writers (c) think Amalek is intended, whose destruction they suppose will be in the days of the Messiah, and then will this Scripture be fulfilled: and as these all prefigured antichrist, as before observed, he seems to be designed, and not Satan, as some Christian interpreters have thought, that enemy of Christ, personal and mystical, of the church, and every true believer; and so is antichrist, he opposes himself to God, and all that is called God; he is one that is contrary to Christ, as his name signifies, to his persons, offices, grace, and kingdom; who blasphemes the name of God, his tabernacle, and his saints;

destructions are come to a perpetual end; which may be understood either of the destructions and desolations made by antichrist, the havoc he has made in the world, treading under foot the holy city, the church, destroying the earth and the inhabitants of it, the bodies, souls, and estates of men; but now the psalmist prophetically declares the end of them to be come, his forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, will be up, and he will go on no more desolating and destroying; see Revelation 11:2; or of the destructions and desolations made upon him by the pouring out of the seven vials upon the antichristian states, upon the seat of the beast, and upon both Pope and Turk, the eastern and western antichrist; when in the issue the beast, and the false prophet with him, will be taken and cast alive into a lake of fire; see Revelation 19:20; and so this phrase denotes that the destruction of antichrist will be consummate, his ruin will be complete, and there will be an utter end of him. Some, instead of "desolations", by the change of a point read "swords", and Ben Labrat or R. Donesh says (d) that he found it so written in an ancient book; and so reads Jarchi, though he takes notice of the other reading also; and so read the Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; and then the sense is, swords shall fail, they shall be no more made use of to destroy men with, they shall be beaten into ploughshares; for upon the destruction of the man of sin there will be a profound peace in the world; see Isaiah 2:4. Some (e) read these words interrogatively, "are destructions come to a perpetual end?" that is, which the enemy antichrist designed to bring upon the people of God? no, they are not; he may imagine they are, when the two witnesses are slain; and may think he has then made an entire slaughter, and a complete destruction of the saints; but he will be mistaken, these witnesses will rise again, and ascend up to heaven in the sight of their enemies, and to the great terror of them, Revelation 11:10;

and thou hast destroyed cities, or "hast thou destroyed cities?" that is, as antichrist threatened and intended, namely, to destroy all the cities and churches of Christ; but, alas! he will never be able to do it, they are built on a rock against which the gates of hell can never prevail: but it is better to read the words affirmatively, and interpret them not of the enemy, but of God, and of him destroying the cities of the enemy; for, at the pouring out the seventh and last vial, the great city, the whole antichristian jurisdiction, will be divided into three parts, and utterly perish; and the cities of the Pagan and Mahometan nations will fall, and particularly Babylon the great city will come in remembrance before God, and be utterly destroyed, Revelation 16:19;

their memorial is perished with them; they shall not be returned or built any more, but shall be like a millstone cast into the sea, and be found no more at all, Ezekiel 35:9. Some (f) read this clause by way of interrogation as the others, "is their memorial perished with them?" no, the righteous are in everlasting remembrance, even those churches which the Romish antichrist has made havoc of, as the Albigenses and Waldenses; the memory of them is still precious.

(c) Midrash Tillim in loc. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 150. 2.((d) Apud Aben Ezra in loc. (e) So Piscator, Cocceius, Ainsworth. (f) Sic Genevenses, Diodatus, Bueerus, Cocceius.

{c} O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

(c) A derision of the enemy that minds nothing but destruction: but the Lord will deliver his, and bring him into judgment.

6. The enemy are consumed, left desolate for ever;

And (their) cities thou didst uproot; the very remembrance of them is perished.

An address to the enemy (P.B.V. and A.V.) would be out of place here; and the word rendered destructions does not bear an active sense, but means ruins or desolations. It is best to regard the words as still addressed to Jehovah, continuing the description of His judgment on the enemies of Israel. The language of this and the preceding verse recalls that of the curse on Amalek: “I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14; cp. Deuteronomy 25:19). ‘Their memorial’ or ‘remembrance’ refers grammatically to the enemy, not to the cities, and the pronoun is repeated in the original to emphasise the contrast between those who are thus destroyed and forgotten, and Jehovah who sits enthroned on high for ever.

Critical reasons however suggest a slight alteration of the text. If the emphatic pronoun is transferred from the end of Psalm 9:6 to the beginning of Psalm 9:7, and a verb supplied, we may render,

They are perished, but the Lord sitteth &c.

This emendation (approved by Delitzsch) marks the contrast still more strongly (cp. Psalm 102:26), and moreover makes the pair of Psalm 9:7-8 begin, as they should, with the letter . There is also much to be said in favour of transposing the clauses of Psalm 9:6 thus, as proposed by Nowack:

The enemy are consumed, the remembrance of them is perished:

And the cities thou didst uproot are desolate for ever.

Verse 6. - O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end. It is better to translate, with the Revised Version, The enemy are come to an end; they are desolate for ever - a continuance of the hyperbole already noticed in the preceding verse. And thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them; rather, and as for the cities thou hast destroyed, their very memory has perished. This could only be an anticipation. It was fulfilled in the complete disappearance from history of the names of Zoba, Beth-rehob, and Tob, after the victory described in 2 Samuel 10:13, 14. Psalm 9:6(Heb.: 9:6-7) The strophe with ג, which is perhaps intended to represent ד and ה as well, continues the confirmation of the cause for thanksgiving laid down in Psalm 9:4. He does not celebrate the judicial act of God on his behalf, which he has just experienced, alone, but in connection with, and, as it were, as the sum of many others which have preceded it. If this is the case, then in Psalm 9:6 beside the Ammonites one may at the same time (with Hengstenb.) think of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 8:12), who had been threatened since the time of Moses with a "blotting out of their remembrance" (Exodus 17:14; Deuteronomy 25:19, cf. Numbers 24:20). The divine threatening is the word of omnipotence which destroys in distinction from the word of omnipotence that creates. רשׁע in close connection with גּוים is individualising, cf. Psalm 9:18 with Psalm 9:16, Psalm 9:17. ועד is a sharpened pausal form for ועד, the Pathach going into a Segol (קטן פתח); perhaps it is in order to avoid the threefold a-sound in לעולם ועד (Ngelsbach 8 extr.). In Psalm 9:7 האויב (with Azla legarme) appears to be a vocative. In that case נתשׁתּ ought also to be addressed to the enemy. But if it be interpreted: "Thou hast destroyed thine own cities, their memorial is perished," destroyed, viz., at the challenge of Israel, then the thought is forced; and if we render it: "the cities, which thou hast destroyed, perished is the remembrance of them," i.e., one no longer thinks of thine acts of conquest, then we have a thought that is in itself awkward and one that finds no support in any of the numerous parallels which speak of a blotting out and leaving no trace behind. But, moreover, in both these interpretations the fact that זכרם is strengthened by המּה is lost sight of, and the twofold masculine זכרם המּה is referred to ערים (which is carelessly done by most expositors), whereas עיר, with but few exceptions, is feminine; consequently זכרם המה, so far as this is not absolutely impossible, must be referred to the enemies themselves (cf. Psalm 34:17; Psalm 109:15). האויב might more readily be nom. absol.: "the enemy - it is at end for ever with his destructions," but חרבּה never has an active but always only a neuter signification; or: "the enemy - ruins are finished for ever," but the signification to be destroyed is more natural for תּמם than to be completed, when it is used of ruinae. Moreover, in connection with both these renderings the retrospective pronoun (חרבותיו) is wanting, and this is also the case with the reading חרבות (lxx, Vulg., Syr.), which leaves it uncertain whose swords are meant. But why may we not rather connect האויב at once with תּמּוּ as subject? In other instances תּמּוּ is also joined to a singular collective subject, e.g., Isaiah 16:4; here it precedes, like הארב in Judges 20:37. חרבות לנצח is a nominative of the product, corresponding to the factitive object with verbs of making: the enemies are destroyed as ruins for ever, i.e., so that they are become ruins; or, more in accordance with the accentuation: the enemy, destroyed as ruins are they for ever. With respect to what follows the accentuation also contains hints worthy of our attention. It does not take נתשׁתּ (with the regular Pathach by Athnach after Olewejored, vid., on Psalm 2:7) as a relative clause, and consequently does not require זכרם המה to be referred back to ערים.

We interpret the passage thus: and cities (viz., such as were hostile) thou hast destroyed (נתשׁ evellere, exstirpare), perished is their (the enemies') memorial. Thus it also now becomes intelligible, why זכרם, according to the rule Ges. 121, 3, is so remarkably strengthened by the addition of המּה (cf. Numbers 14:32; 1 Samuel 20:42; Proverbs 22:19; Proverbs 23:15; Ezekiel 34:11). Hupfeld, whose interpretation is exactly the same as ours, thinks it might perhaps be the enemies themselves and the cities set over against one another. But the contrast follows in Psalm 9:8 : their, even their memorial is perished, while on the contrary Jahve endures for ever and is enthroned as judge. This contrast also retrospectively gives support to the explanation, that זכרם refers not to the cities, but to האויב as a collective. With this interpretation of Psalm 9:7 we have no occasion to read זכרם מהמּה (Targ.), nor זכר מהמּה (Paul., Hitz.). The latter is strongly commended by Job 11:20, cf. Jeremiah 10:2; but still it is not quite admissible, since זכר here is not subjective (their own remembrance) but objective (remembrance of them). But may not ערים perhaps here, as in Psalm 139:20, mean zealots equals adversaries (from עיר fervere, zelare)? We reply in the negative, because the Psalm bears neither an Aramaising nor a North Palestinian impress. Even in connection with this meaning, the harshness of the ערים without any suffix would still remain. But, that the cities that are, as it were, plucked up by the root are cities of the enemy, is evident from the context.

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