Psalm 94:1
O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs; O God, to whom vengeance belongs, show yourself.
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(1) The original is far more striking in its conciseness. God of retributions, Jehovah, God of retributions shine forth. The emphatic repetition of a phrase is a feature of this psalm. (See Psalm 94:3; Psalm 94:23.)

Psalm 94:1-4. O God, to whom vengeance belongeth — To whom, as the supreme Judge of the world, the patron and protector of the righteous, and the declared enemy of all wickedness and wicked men, and to whom alone it belongs to take revenge on those who oppress thy people when they should protect them; show thyself — Make thy justice conspicuous, by speedily avenging thine elect, and rendering a recompense to their enemies. Lift up thyself — To punish thy proud enemies. Be exalted in thine own strength, and let those proud men, who have acted as if they thought none could control them, know that they have a superior. How long shall they utter — Pour forth freely, constantly, abundantly, as a fountain doth water, (so יביעו, jabbignu, signifies,) and speak hard things — Grievous, insolent, and intolerable words against thee and thy people; and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves — Of their invincible power, and prosperous success in their wicked designs.94:1-11 We may with boldness appeal to God; for he is the almighty Judge by whom every man is judged. Let this encourage those who suffer wrong, to bear it with silence, committing themselves to Him who judges righteously. These prayers are prophecies, which speak terror to the sons of violence. There will come a day of reckoning for all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against God, his truths, and ways, and people. It would hardly be believed, if we did not witness it, that millions of rational creatures should live, move, speak, hear, understand, and do what they purpose, yet act as if they believed that God would not punish the abuse of his gifts. As all knowledge is from God, no doubt he knows all the thoughts of the children of men, and knows that the imaginations of the thoughts of men's hearts are only evil, and that continually. Even in good thoughts there is a want of being fixed, which may be called vanity. It concerns us to keep a strict watch over our thoughts, because God takes particular notice of them. Thoughts are words to God.O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth ... - Margin, God of revenges The idea is, that it pertains to God to take vengeance, or to punish for crimes. See the notes at Romans 12:19. The appeal here is made to God in view of the crimes committed by others, and which are referred to in the subsequent part of the psalm. God is addressed as having the right to restrain and punish wicked people, and he is asked to interpose and assert that right in a case which clearly demanded it. The appeal is repeated to make it emphatic, or to denote "earnestness" in the petition.

Show thyself - Margin, as in Hebrew, "shine forth." The meaning is, Manifest thyself; come forth as such a God; prove thy right; display thy power, and show that thou art a God opposed to crime and wrong. The same Hebrew word is used here which is found in Psalm 80:1, and which is there rendered "shine forth." See the notes at that passage.


Ps 94:1-23. The writer, appealing to God in view of the oppression of enemies, rebukes them for their wickedness and folly, and encourages himself, in the confidence that God will punish evildoers, and favor His people.

1, 2. God's revenge is His judicial infliction of righteous punishment.

show thyself—(Compare Margin).

1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.

2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth; render a reward to the proud.

3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

5 They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.

6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

7 Yet they say, The Lord) shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

Psalm 94:1

"O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself" or, God of retributions, Jehovah, God of retributions, shine forth! A very natural prayer when innocence is trampled down, and wickedness exalted on high. If the execution of justice be a right thing, - and who can deny the fact? - then it must be a very proper thing to desire it; not out of private revenge, in which case a man would hardly dare to appeal to God, but out of sympathy with right, and pity for those who are made wrongfully to suffer. Who can see a nation enslaved, or even an individual downtrodden, without crying to the Lord to arise and vindicate the righteous cause? The toleration of injustice is here attributed to the Lord's being hidden, and it is implied that the bare sight of him will suffice to alarm the tyrants into ceasing their oppressions. God has but to shew himself, and the good cause wins the day. He comes, he sees, he conquers! Truly in these evil days we need a manifest display of his power, for the ancient enemies of God and man are again struggling for the mastery, and if they gain it, woe unto the saints of God.

Psalm 94:2

"Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth." Ascend thy judgment-seat and be acknowledged as the ruler of men, and, moreover, raise thyself as men do who are about to strike with all their might; for the abounding sin of mankind requires a heavy blow from thy hand. "Render a reward to the proud," give them measure for measure, a fair retaliation, blow for blow. The proud look down upon the gracious poor and strike them from above, as a giant might hurl down blows upon his adversary; after the same manner, O Lord, lift up thyself, and "return a recompense upon the proud," and let them know that thou art far more above them than they can be above the meanest of their fellow men. The Psalmist thus invokes the retributions of justice in plain speech, and his request is precisely that which patient innocence puts up in silence, when her looks of anguish appeal to heaven.

Psalm 94:3

"Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?" Shall wrong for ever rule? Are slavery, robbery, tyranny, never to cease? Since there is certainly a just God in heaven, armed with almighty power, surely there must be sooner or later an end to the ascendancy of evil, innocence must one day find a defender. This "how long?" of the text is the bitter plaint of all the righteous in all ages, and expresses wonder caused by that great enigma of providence, the existence and predominance of evil. The sound "how long?" is very akin to howling, as if it were one of the saddest of all the utterances in which misery bemoans itself. Many a time has this bitter complaint been heard in the dungeons of the Inquisition, at the whipping-posts of slavery, and in the prisons of oppression. In due time God will publish his reply, but the full end is not yet.

Psalm 94:4

continued...THE ARGUMENT

The matter of this Psalm plainly declares the occasion of it to be the oppressions and persecutions of God’s people by wicked and cruel tyrants and enemies, against whom he prays for the Divine aid.

The psalmist, calling to God for justice, Psalm 94:1-4, complaineth of tyranny and impiety, Psalm 94:5-7; teacheth fools God’s providence, Psalm 94:8-11; showeth the blessed effects of affliction, Psalm 94:12,13; and a promise of his presence with the afflicted, Psalm 94:14,15. He is their support, Psalm 94:16-23.

As thou art the supreme Judge of the world, the Patron and Protector of the righteous, and the declared enemy of all wickedness and wicked men.

O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth,.... As it does to God, and to him only; not to Heathen deities, one of which has the name of Vengeance given it, Acts 28:4, nor to Satan, the enemy and avenger, and his spiteful principalities and powers; nor to men, who are not to exercise private revenge on their fellow creatures; only to civil magistrates, to whom public revenge belongs, they being God's viceregents, and representing him; otherwise to God only it belongs, against whom sin is committed; and he will, in his own time and way, execute it; he is "the God of revenges" (e), as the words may be rendered; and this is applicable to Christ, who is the true Jehovah, and God over all: it was he that took vengeance on Sodom and Gomorrah, and rained from the Lord fire and brimstone on them; and who took vengeance on the inventions of the Israelites in the wilderness; and when he came in the flesh, he came with vengeance to destroy Satan and his works, as it was promised and prophesied he should, Isaiah 35:4, forty years after his death, resurrection, and ascension, he came in his power and kingdom, and took vengeance on the Jewish nation, for their unbelief and rejection of him, Luke 21:22, and at the opening of the sixth seal his wrath came upon Rome Pagan in a manner intolerable to them, for their cruel persecutions of his church and people; and the cry of the souls under the altar was much like what is uttered in this psalm; see Revelation 6:9, and at the time of his spiritual coming and reign he will avenge the blood of his saints on Rome Papal, or antichrist, whom he will destroy with the breath of his mouth, and the saints will be called upon to rejoice, and will rejoice, when they see the vengeance, Revelation 18:20 and his personal coming will be in flaming fire, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not his Gospel, and when all the wicked will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

O God, to whom vengeance belongeth; which is repeated to observe the certainty of it, and to express the vehement and importunate desire of the psalmist, and those he represents, that he would show himself to be so, follows:

show thyself; or "shine forth" (f), as in Psalm 80:1 either at his incarnation, when he appeared as the dayspring from on high; yea, as the sun of righteousness; or, in the ministry of the Gospel, the great light which shone first on the inhabitants of Judea and Galilee, and then on the Gentile world; or in his gracious presence with his people, which is expressed by causing his face to shine upon them, Psalm 80:7, or in the protection of them, and destruction of their enemies; which is a showing himself strong on their behalf, an appearing to the joy of the one, and the confusion of the other; and in this manner will Christ show himself in the latter day.

(e) "Deus ultionum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (f) "irradia", Montanus; "illucesce", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "effulsit", Cocceius; "adfulge", Michaelis.

O LORD God, to whom {a} vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, {b} shew thyself.

(a) Whose office it is to take vengeance on the wicked.

(b) Show by effect that you are judge of the world to punish the wicked.

1. God of vengeance, Jehovah,

God of vengeance, shine forth!

The Psalmist appeals to Jehovah, Who has the power and the right to punish (Deuteronomy 32:35; Nahum 1:2; Romans 12:19), to manifest Himself in all the splendour of His Presence (Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 50:2; Psalm 80:1). God is El, ‘the mighty God’; and the word for vengeance is plural, denoting the completeness of the retribution which He can inflict. Cp. “God of recompences,” Jeremiah 51:56. For the ‘anadiplosis’ cp. Psalm 94:3; Psalm 94:23, and Psalm 92:9, note.

1, 2. An appeal to Jehovah to manifest Himself as Judge of the world and Avenger of wrong.Verses 1-7. - The cry for vengeance. Israel is suffering oppression - not, however, from foreign enemies, but from domestic tyrants (vers. 4-6). Innocent blood is shed; the widow and the orphan are trodden down. God, it is supposed, will not see or will not regard (ver. 7). The psalmist, therefore, cries out to God to manifest himself by taking signal vengeance on the evil doers (vers. 1, 2). Verse 1. - O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth (comp. Deuteronomy 32:35, "To me belongeth vengeance and recompence;" and Jeremiah 51:56, where God is called "the Lord God of reeompences," as he is here - literally - "the Lord God of vengeances"). O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself; or, "shine forth" - make thy justice to appear; show thyself in thy character of a God who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). The soil in which the righteous are planted or (if it is not rendered with the lxx πεφυτευμένοι, but with the other Greek versions μεταφυτευθέντες) into which they are transplanted, and where they take root, a planting of the Lord, for His praise, is His holy Temple, the centre of a family fellowship with God that is brought about from that point as its starting-point and is unlimited by time and space. There they stand as in sacred ground and air, which impart to them ever new powers of life; they put forth buds (הפריח as in Job 14:9) and preserve a verdant freshness and marrowy vitality (like the olive, 52:10, Judges 9:9) even into their old age (נוּב of a productive force for putting out shoots; vid., with reference to the root נב, Genesis, S. 635f.), cf. Isaiah 65:22 : like the duration of the trees is the duration of my people; they live long in unbroken strength, in order, in looking back upon a life rich in experiences of divine acts of righteousness and loving-kindness, to confirm the confession which Moses, in Deuteronomy 32:4, places at the head of his great song. There the expression is אין עול, here it is אין עלתה בּו. This ‛ôlātha, softened from ‛awlātha - So the Ker - with a transition from the aw, au into ô, is also found in Job 5:16 (cf. עלה equals עולה Psalm 58:3; Psalm 64:7; Isaiah 61:8), and is certainly original in this Psalm, which also has many other points of coincidence with the Book of Job (like Psalm 107, which, however, in Psalm 107:42 transposes עלתה into עולה).
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