Wesley's Notes on the Bible
73:1 A clean heart - To all true Israelites, who love God, and serve him in spirit and truth.
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
73:2 My feet - My faith in God's providence, was almost overthrown.
For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
73:4 No bands - They are not dragged to death, by the sentence of the magistrate, which they deserve.
They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
73:5 As other men - As good men frequently are.
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
73:8 And speak - Boasting of their oppressions.
They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
73:9 Against - Against God, blaspheming his name, and deriding his providence. Walketh - Using all manner of liberty, reproaching all sorts of persons.
Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
73:10 Turn - To this wicked company. Waters - And partake of the same prosperity with their leaders. God seems to give them a full cup of consolation, as if he would wring out all his blessings upon them.
And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
73:12 Behold - These seem to be the words of the psalmist, summing up the matter.
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
73:13 In vain - Hence I was sometimes tempted, to think that religion was a vain, unprofitable thing. True religion is here described by its two principal parts, the cleansing of the heart, and the hands.
For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
73:15 Offend - By grieving, discouraging and tempting them to revolt from God.
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
73:16 To know - To find out the reason of this providence.
Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
73:17 Until - 'Till I consulted the word of God. He alludes to the practice of those times, which was, in difficult cases to resort to God's sanctuary, and the oracle therein. Their end - There I learned that their prosperity was short.
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
73:19 Terrors - With God's dreadful judgements unexpectedly seizing upon them.
As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
73:20 They awake - Out of the pleasant dream of this vain life. Despise - Thou shalt make them despicable both to themselves and to all others; raise them to shame, and everlasting contempt. Image - All their felicity and glory, which shall be evidently discerned to be, no real or substantial thing, but a mere image or shadow.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
73:21 Pricked - I was deeply wounded with disquieting thoughts.
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
73:22 Nevertheless - Although I gave thee just cause to cast me off, yet thou didst continue thy care and kindness to me. Hast held - That my faith might not fail.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
73:27 Go a whoring - Those who revolt from thee, to work wickedness; which is called whoredom in scripture.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.