Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek your name, O LORD.
That they may seek thy Name, O Lord. This is a very remarkable qualifying of our idea that psalmists prayed in a revengeful spirit for the destruction of the national enemies. In truth, their supreme idea was the glorifying of God, and they asked for judgments because through judgments would come the honouring of God's Name; and, in this honouring, the higher blessing for the foes themselves. Here the psalmist prays, "Fill their faces with shame;" but he sees in their humiliation the hope that they will be drawn to God.
I. WE MAY PRAY FOR THE HUMILIATION OF OUR ENEMIES.
II. WE MAY NOT PRAY IN VIEW MERELY OF THEIR SUFFERING.
III. WE MAY PRAY, IF WE DESIRE THEIR LASTING GOOD THROUGH THEIR HUMILIATION .
IV. WE MAY PRAY, IF WE SET. BEFORE OURSELVES THE GLORY OF GOD IN THEIR RECOVERY. It is a sign of triumph over hateful and revengeful feelings if we can pray God to deal with our enemies in the wisdom of his righteous love. It is not befitting that the Christian should ever think of judgments and punishments as merely destructive. To him all judgment is remedial, all punishment is corrective. God will get honour to his Name out of all his dealings. It should be shown that the "forever" and the "perish" of ver. 17 are to be treated as poetical terms. Or ver. 16 may be regarded as the better view, which the psalmist was hardly able to keep to. Ver. 17 falls back upon the harsher view of God's dealing with his foes. Christianity willingly lets pass the harsher view, and sets ever more prominently before us the better and more hopeful view. 'Speaker's Commentary' on ver. 16 says, "This is a feeling altogether peculiar to God's people." The object of all the judgments which the true prophet desires is to bring all nations into subjection to God. Their calamities will be converted into blessings, unless they persist in rebellion. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.