Psalm 94:10
He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
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(10) He that chastiseth.—Or, He who instructeth. The thought to some extent anticipates St. Paul’s teaching about the divine education of the heathen, in Romans 1.

Psalm 94:10. He that chastiseth — Or, He that instructeth, or teacheth, or reproveth (as the word יסר, jasar, often signifies, and is rendered Proverbs 9:7; Isaiah 8:11, &c.) the heathen, the Gentiles, or nations of the world: not only the Jews, but all other people, all mankind, as the next clause explains it; shall not he correct? — He who, when he pleases, can and does punish the nations of the world, is he not able to punish you for your wicked speeches and actions? Or, He that reproveth, and therefore discerneth their evil words and works, shall he not discern and reprove yours, who sin against greater light, and more privileges and advantages, and whose sins therefore are more aggravated? He that teacheth man knowledge — That giveth him understanding, and the knowledge of many excellent things by the light of nature; shall not he know — Namely, men’s thoughts, as in the next verse, and of consequence their whole conduct? These words are not in the Hebrew text, but are easily understood out of the foregoing clause. The meaning of the verse, in substance, is, “He that instructeth the nations, and supplieth them with all the knowledge they have, can he want means of discovering what they are contriving and doing, or of finding them out? Will not he be able to trace them out in all their machinations?” Or, as Dr. Horne paraphraseth the words, “It is God who hath instructed the world, by his revelations, in religious knowledge, and, consequently, without all doubt, he cannot be ignorant of the use and abuse which men make of that unspeakable gift.”

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.He that chastiseth the heathen - More literally, "Shall not the Reprover of nations - shall he not chastise - he that teaches man knowledge?" The idea is, that God exercises a government over the nations of the earth; that he has them under his control; that he brings heavy judgments on them; that he thus conveys great lessons to man. And shall not such a Being, in individual cases, reprove and correct for sin? It is assumed here that God, in fact, brings judgments on nations; that he does this by fire, flood, famine, pestilence; that these things are proofs that he presides over the nations of the earth; and the question here is, whether he that does this on the large scale must not be expected to do it in individual cases, so that the offender will not escape.

Shall not he correct? - Shall he not chastise, or bring judgments on offenders?

He that teacheth man knowledge ... - The idea in our translation, that he who imparts knowledge to mankind must himself possess intelligence, is a true one, but it is probably not that which is in the original. The sense is probably merely that God is the great Teacher, and this is the impression which it is intended should be impressed on the mind, leaving the consequences of this to be supplied by the reader: "He that teaches man all the knowledge that he has!" - reflect on the consequences of this, or what must follow from this! Such a Being cannot be ignorant; he must understand all things; he must, therefore, see human conduct everywhere as it is. The consequence - the result - of this is staffed in the next verse, that he must see the thoughts of man, and understand his real character.

9-11. The evidence of God's providential government is found in His creative power and omniscience, which also assure us that He can punish the wicked in regard to all their vain purposes. He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? He who, when he pleaseth, can and doth punish the Gentiles or nations of the world, is he not able to punish you for your wicked speeches and actions? Or, He that instructeth or teacheth (as this word signifies, Proverbs 9:7 Isaiah 8:11, &c.) the nations, (not only the Jews, but all other people, all mankind, as this clause is explained by the next, he that teacheth man knowledge.) shall not he correct or reprove? and therefore must not he discern and know all your hard speeches and wicked actions? Thus the consequent seems to be put for the antecedent, as is frequent in Scripture, and that not without emphasis, to imply that God does not know their sins with a simple or speculative knowledge, but so as to proceed upon that knowledge to judge and punish them.

He that teacheth man knowledge, by giving him understanding, and the knowledge of many excellent things by the light of nature, shall not he know? to wit, men’s thoughts, of which see Psalm 94:11; and their words and actions, of which he spoke Psalm 94:6,7. These words are not in the Hebrew text, but are easily understood out of the foregoing clause. And the like defects we find elsewhere, as 2 Samuel 5:8, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:6, especially in vehement commotions of the mind, when a man’s passion stops his speech, as it is here, and Psalm 6:3, and in other authors.

He that chastiseth the Heathen,.... As he did the old world, by bringing a flood upon it, and sweeping away its inhabitants at once; and Sodom and Gomorrah, by raining fire and brimstone upon them, and consuming them from off the earth; and the old inhabitants of Canaan, by ejecting them out of their land for their abominations, with other similar instances:

shall he not correct? such audacious wretches, guilty of such atrocious crimes, such horrid murders, and gross atheism? certainly he will, as he has both a right and power to do it. The Targum is,

"is it possible that he should give the law to his people, and, when they have sinned, should they not be corrected?''

and if these are corrected and chastised, then surely such daring and insolent wretches shall not go unpunished: or, "he that instructeth the Heathen" (d); by the light of nature in things civil and moral, and therefore has a right to punish such who act contrary to it; see Romans 2:12,

he that teacheth man knowledge; that has given him the light of nature; inspired him with reason and understanding; taught him more than the beasts of the field, and made him wiser than the fowls of the heaven; from whom he has the knowledge of all arts and sciences, liberal and mechanic, those of the lower as well as of the higher class; see John 1:9. The Targum is,

"has not the Lord taught the first man knowledge?''

that more perfect knowledge of things, which Adam had in innocence, was from the Lord; and therefore,

shall not he know? all persons and things? verily he does; he is a God of knowledge, of all knowledge; his knowledge and understanding is infinite; it reaches to all persons, and to all their thoughts, words, and actions: this clause is not in the Hebrew text; but is understood, and rightly supplied; see 2 Samuel 5:8, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:6.

(d) "an erudiens gentes", Cocceius.

He that chastiseth the {g} heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?

(g) If God punishes whole nations for their sins, it is mere folly for any one man or else a few to think that God will spare them.

10. He that instructeth the nations, shall not he rebuke?] The word rendered chastiseth in A.V. includes the ideas of instruction, admonition, discipline, chastisement (LXX ὁ παιδεύων, Vulg. qui corripit, Jer. qui erudit). That rendered correct means to reprove, rebuke, call to account, punish (Psalm 50:21). This noteworthy passage stands almost by itself in the O.T. in its explicit assertion that there is a divine education of the nations, analogous to the divine education of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:5, &c.), an education which must involve fatherly correction and chastisement (Proverbs 3:12). It anticipates the teaching of St Paul in Romans 1:20; Romans 2:14-15. Yet long before this, Amos had implicitly taught that a measure of moral knowledge is possessed by the heathen, for the right use of which they are responsible (Amos 1, 2). Cp. also Psalm 65:2, and the general purport of the Book of Jonah.

he that teacheth &c.] We expect a question such as A.V. supplies, to complete the sentence, shall not he know? But instead of putting the question the poet breaks off abruptly, and substitutes the comprehensive affirmation of Psalm 94:11. It is prosaic to render as R.V., “even he that teacheth &c.”

Verse 10. - He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? i.e. if God does not leave even the heathen without rebukes and chastisements, shall he not much more punish those among his own people who do amiss? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? Our version supposes an ellipse, which it fills up with great boldness, producing a very excellent sense. But the insertion made does not appear necessary (see the Revised Version). Psalm 94:10The third strophe now turns from those bloodthirsty, blasphemous oppressors of the people of God whose conduct calls forth the vengeance of Jahve, to those among the people themselves, who have been puzzled about the omniscience and indirectly about the righteousness of God by the fact that this vengeance is delayed. They are called בערים and כסילים in the sense of Psalm 73:21. Those hitherto described against whom God's vengeance is supplicated are this also; but this appellation would be too one-sided for them, and בּעם refers the address expressly to a class of men among the people whom those oppress and slay. It is absurd that God, the planter of the ear (הנּטע, like שׁסע in Leviticus 11:7, with an accented ultima, because the praet. Kal does not follow the rule for the drawing back of the accent called נסוג אחור) and the former of the eye (cf. Psalm 40:7; Exodus 4:11), should not be able to hear and to see; everything that is excellent in the creature, God must indeed possess in original, absolute perfection.

(Note: The questions are not: ought He to have no ear, etc.; as Jerome pertinently observes in opposition to the anthropomorphites, membra tulit, efficientias dedit.)

The poet then points to the extra-Israelitish world and calls God יסר גּוים, which cannot be made to refer to a warning by means of the voice of conscience; יסר used thus without any closer definition does not signify "warning," but "chastening" (Proverbs 9:7). Taking his stand upon facts like those in Job 12:23, the poet assumes the punitive judicial rule of God among the heathen to be an undeniable fact, and presents for consideration the question, whether He who chasteneth nations cannot and will not also punish the oppressors of His church (cf. Genesis 18:25), He who teacheth men knowledge, i.e., He who nevertheless must be the omnipotent One, since all knowledge comes originally from Him? Jahve - thus does the course of argument close in Psalm 94:11 - sees through (ידע of penetrative perceiving or knowing that goes to the very root of a matter) the thoughts of men that they are vanity. Thus it is to be interpreted, and not: for they (men) are vanity; for this ought to have been כּי הבל המּה, whereas in the dependent clause, when the predicate is not intended to be rendered especially prominent, as in Psalm 9:21, the pronominal subject may precede, Isaiah 61:9; Jeremiah 46:5 (Hitzig). The rendering of the lxx (1 Corinthians 3:20), ὅτι εἰσὶ μάταιοι (Jerome, quoniam vanae sunt), is therefore correct; המּה, with the customary want of exactness, stands for הנּה. It is true men themselves are הבל; it is not, however, on this account that He who sees through all things sees through their thoughts, but He sees through them in their sinful vanity.

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