Psalm 94:15
But judgment shall return to righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.
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(15) But.—Better, For; literally, for to righteousness judgment shall turn, and after it all upright in heart—i.e., there shall no longer be the seeming contradiction in things. God’s righteousness will triumph over the injustice under which Israel groans; His ways will be vindicated, so that all the upright in heart will acknowledge that “there is a reward for the righteous, a God who judges in the earth” (Psalm 58:11). Luther’s fine paraphrase, “For Right must, whatever happens, remain Right,” expresses the feeling; but, better still, the question, “Shall not the Lord of all the earth do right?” The phrase, “shall after it,” is a common one for expressing attachment and adherence to a party or cause (Exodus 23:2; 2Samuel 2:10; Psalm 49:13), and specially of adherence to Jehovah (1Samuel 12:14; 1Kings 14:8).

94:12-23 That man is blessed, who, under the chastening of the Lord, is taught his will and his truths, from his holy word, and by the Holy Spirit. He should see mercy through his sufferings. There is a rest remaining for the people of God after the days of their adversity, which shall not last always. He that sends the trouble, will send the rest. The psalmist found succour and relief only in the Lord, when all earthly friends failed. We are beholden, not only to God's power, but to his pity, for spiritual supports; and if we have been kept from falling into sin, or shrinking from our duty, we should give him the glory, and encourage our brethren. The psalmist had many troubled thoughts concerning the case he was in, concerning the course he should take, and what was likely to be the end of it. The indulgence of such contrivances and fears, adds to care and distrust, and renders our views more gloomy and confused. Good men sometimes have perplexed and distressed thoughts concerning God. But let them look to the great and precious promises of the gospel. The world's comforts give little delight to the soul, when hurried with melancholy thoughts; but God's comforts bring that peace and pleasure which the smiles of the world cannot give, and which the frowns of the world cannot take away. God is his people's Refuge, to whom they may flee, in whom they are safe, and may be secure. And he will reckon with the wicked. A man cannot be more miserable than his own wickedness will make him, if the Lord visit it upon him.But judgment shall return unto righteousness - That is, The exercise of judgment shall be so manifest to the world - as if it "returned" to it - as to show that there is a righteous God. The truth here taught is, that the "results" of God's interposition in human affairs will be such as to show that he is on the side of righteousness, or such as to vindicate and maintain the cause of righteousness in the earth.

And all the upright in heart shall follow it - Margin, shall be after it. The meaning is, that all who are upright in heart - all who are truly righteous - will follow on in the path of justice; that they will regard what God does as right, and will walk in that path. The fact that what occurs is done by God, will be to them a sufficient revelation of what ought to be done; and they will follow out the teachings properly suggested by the divine dealings as their rules of life. In other words, the manifested laws of the divine administration will be to them an indication of what is right; and they will embrace and follow the lessons thus made known to them by the dealings of Divine Providence as the rules of their own conduct.

14, 15. This results from His abiding love (De 32:15), which is further evinced by His restoring order in His government, whose right administration will be approved by the good. But although the world is now full of unrighteous judgments, and even God himself seems not to judge and administer things justly, because he suffers his people to be oppressed, and the wicked to triumph over them, yet the state or things shall be otherwise ordered, God will declare himself to be a righteous Judge, and will advance and establish justice in the earth, and especially among his people.

Follow it, to wit, just judgment restored; they will all approve of it, and imitate this justice of God in all their actions, whereas the wicked will still do wickedly, as is said. Daniel 12:10, and in a land and state of uprightness will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord, as it is Isaiah 26:10. Otherwise, shall follow him, to wit, the Lord, expressed Psalm 94:14, whose act is to bring judgment to justice. Whilst the wicked forsake God, these will cleave to him, as being confident that, howsoever he may suffer them to be oppressed for a season, yet he will in due time plead their cause, and bring forth their righteousness. But judgment shall return unto righteousness,.... Which may be understood either of the judgment and righteousness of God, which seemed to be parted, and stand at a distance from each other; his conduct and government of the world from his justice; the righteous being persecuted and afflicted, and wicked men suffered to prosper; which sometimes makes it difficult to reconcile the judgment of God, or his government of the world, to his justice; see Jeremiah 12:1, but as this has been made manifest in the destruction of the Jews, and in the downfall of Rome Pagan, the first persecutors of the Christians; so it will be seen in Rome Papal, when the judgments of God will be manifest, and appear to be just and true; and these two, judgment and justice, will openly come together, in the sight of all; as they also will at the last judgment; see Revelation 15:4 or else of the righteousness of men, which, in times of general corruption, seems to be fled from them, and to stand at a distance, from their conduct and behaviour; as in the old world before the flood, and in the times Isaiah beautifully describes, Isaiah 59:14, and in the times of Christ and his apostles; and in the persecuting times of Rome Pagan and Papal; and as it will be at the time of the slaying of the witnesses; but upon the rising of them, which will not be long after, there will be a great pouring down of the Spirit, and a general reformation will follow throughout the world; all the Lord's people will be righteous, not only nominally, but really; every pot in Jerusalem shall be holy; and holiness shall be so common as that it is said it shall be upon the bells of the horses; and in the new heavens and new earth will dwell none but righteous persons; and then judgment and righteousness will come together indeed:

and all the upright in heart shall follow it; either judgment, as Jarchi; or righteousness, as Kimchi; not the righteousness of the law, but the righteousness of faith; or rather practical righteousness, works of righteousness, which both the grace wrought in them, and the doctrine of grace received by them, will teach, influence, and engage to pursue after with eagerness: or else the meaning is, that such who are "upright in heart"; who have new hearts and right spirits formed in them; who have the truth of grace, and the root of the matter, in them; whose hearts, words, and actions, agree; who are sincere souls, Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile; these will approve and applaud the righteous judgments of God upon antichrist; they shall follow the justice of God with their commendations and praises; see Revelation 15:3. The words may be rendered, "and all the upright in heart shall be after him" (d), the Lord; they shall follow him whithersoever he goes, as sheep follow the shepherd, servants their masters, and soldiers their general; they shall follow him in his own ways, observe his commands, and obey his orders; see the description of such that will be with Christ, and follow him, before and at the time of antichrist's ruin, Revelation 14:4. The Targum is,

"after him shall be redeemed all the upright in heart.''

(d) "post ipsum", Musculus, Gejerus.

But {i} judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

(i) God will restore the state and government of things to their right use, and then the godly will follow him cheerfully.

15. But] Or as R.V. For. Judgement will again be justice: i.e. its administration will once more be conducted upon principles of equity, when those who now pervert it are destroyed; and all true-hearted men will attach themselves to it as its supporters and adherents.Verse 15. - But judgment shall return unto righteousness. "Judgment," i.e. God's actual award of good and evil upon the earth, which has seemed to be divorced from justice, while the ungodly have prospered and the pious been afflicted (vers. 3-6), shall in the end "return unto righteousness," i.e. once more, evidently, conform to it and coincide with it. And all the upright in heart shall follow it; i.e. "and then all honest hearted men shall recognize the fact, see it, and rejoice in it." The 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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