The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 10

Psa 10:1

See Lesson, Acrostics.

PSALM 10: "These vv are a picture gallery of the troublers of David... from the swaggering Goliaths, through the jealous, treacherous Sauls, the false, betraying Ahithophels, the foul-mouthed Shimeis, down to the churlish Nabals and the base and murderous Doegs" (NPH).

HISTORICAL SETTING: Saul's pursuit of David. The incident of Doeg and the slaying of the priests at Nob (1Sa 21-23).

MESSIANIC FULFILLMENT: Attested by: (a) Paul's quotation of v 7 in Rom 3:14 -- not with ref to human wickedness generally, but to the supreme wickedness of combined Jewish and Gentile rejection (cp Saul and Doeg) of the Lord's Anointed (cp Act 4:24-28). (b) The echo of v 16a in at least two Messianic prophecies: Oba 1:21; Rev 11:15.

V 1: A very hurt reproach against God, such as would inevitably spring to the mind of David when he heard about the slaughter of the priests of Nob (1Sa 22:18), or when the relentless pursuit by Saul inclined David to despair. Cp Psa 13:1 and, of course, Psa 22:1,2. Antitype: Were there occasions during the Lord's ministry when his Father seemed to hide Himself in times of trouble?

WHY DO YOU HIDE YOURSELF?: So as not to see the need of Your servant (Isa 1:15; Job 23:9).

Psa 10:2

IN HIS ARROGANCE THE WICKED MAN HUNTS DOWN THE WEAK: The poor (singular) is David himself. RV: In the pride of the wicked the poor is hotly pursued (lit: set on fire). Could this be an allusion to Saul's men systematically burning the scrub on the hillside, so as to flush out their prey?

WHO ARE CAUGHT IN THE SCHEMES HE DEVISES: "Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined" (AV). Cp Joh 11:48-50: They did not "let him alone". Instead, "one man died for the people", and the Romans did come and take away their place (ie temple) and their nation!

Psa 10:3

HE BOASTS OF THE CRAVINGS OF HIS HEART: This verb is as in Hallelujah. His song of praise is about himself! He is a "self-made" man and he is worshipping his "creator"!

HE BLESSES THE GREEDY AND REVILES THE LORD: The wicked man loves those in whom he sees his own reflection. The wicked man honors others according to the amount of their possessions (Psa 49:6,18). He not only commits sin, but takes pleasure in others who do the same (Rom 1:32). In 1Sa 22 every detail about Doeg describes a man fawning over the king for personal advantage.


Psa 10:4

IN HIS PRIDE: "The pride of his countenance": Lit, "height of nostril", sig a turned-up nose, or haughtiness.


IN ALL HIS THOUGHTS THERE IS NO ROOM FOR GOD: He "believes" in God, but in practice he is atheist. He can manage without God, and he believes he can evade God's scrutiny of his life. For the same idea, see vv 5b,6,11,13; Psa 14:2; 53:1a; 2Pe 3:4; Isa 26:11a; and ct vv 14,15; Psa 11:4; 33:13-19; 34:15,16. God was not in his thinking at all! This was the root of all the trouble in Saul's life. He believed in God, but not as a Being who was in control of his life: vv 6,11,13, and the emphatic corrective in v 15. // Psa 14/53 and Psa 52 and notes there.

NT: How true of those "holy men" of the temple!

Psa 10:5

YOUR LAWS ARE FAR FROM HIM: "Thy judgments are far about out of his sight" (AV). A vast chasm between God's thoughts and man's (Isa 55:8,9). Natural man is so short-sighted that he cannot see the marvelous workings of God in nature or in grace (2Co 4:4). Neither can he see the Divine storm clouds hanging over him, because his eyes are directed downward toward his grubbing in the earth. Since God does not immediately visit every sin with punishment, natural men do not understand that such punishment -- even though long in coming -- is inevitable (Ecc 8:11; 2Pe 3:3-5,8,10).

Psa 10:6

HE SAYS TO HIMSELF: "He hath said in his heart" (AV). This "atheism" is his innermost thinking. A blithe assumption that he will not be called to account for his evil purposes and ways.

NOTHING WILL SHAKE ME: The "noble" art of self-deception: cp Psa 30:6; 1Sa 15:13. The real "peace and safety" cry (1Th 5:3).

AND NEVER HAVE TROUBLE: RV: to all generations. Saul was set on founding a great dynasty. This was the root of his incurable hostility to David: 1Sa 20:30,31.

Psa 10:7

CURSES... LIES... THREATS... TROUBLE...EVIL: What a catalogue of evil. All these were true either of Saul or of Doeg.

UNDER HIS TONGUE: That is, at times hypocritically hidden: eg, 1Sa 24:16-22. "Poison" emanating from the mouth is indisputably "serpent" symbolism.

Consider the hypocrisy in Luk 20:20.

Psa 10:8

Vv 8-10: Surely this describes the massacre of the priests (1Sa 22:18; also 23:9,21-23). "He doth murder the innocent."

"And a thousand rascals, the living originals of this picture, are this day crouching and lying in wait all over the country to catch poor helpless travellers" (LB).

Psa 10:9

"He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net" (AV). The Pharisees' plots against Jesus (Joh 5:16,18; Mar 3:6; Luk 11:54; Joh 7:19-21,25; 8:59; Luk 13:31; Joh 10:31,39; 11:8,16, 44-54; Luk 20:14-26; Mat 26:3-5,16). Esp is this a picture of the atmosphere of intrigue and hostility in the last week of the Lord's ministry, when it was necessary for him to leave the holy city each day as the sun set (Luk 21:37).

Psa 10:10

"He croucheth and humbleth himself" (AV): 1Sa 24:22; 26:25 both suggest that David had strong misgivings about the lasting sincerity of Saul's change of heart.

NT: A deceitful, ingratiating humility -- such as intended to trick Jesus into wrong answers to their crafty questions. This is the false "humility" of a crouching lion ready to pounce on its prey (v 9).

Psa 10:11

FACE (of God): In Psalms, always ref God's presence in ark/tabernacle/temple: see VL, Psalms, God's face.

Psa 10:12

What a ct between David's unquenchable consciousness of the power and presence of God and the "atheism" of his enemy. Note the alternation regarding this in vv 11,13 and 12,14.

ARISE, LORD!: The old "wilderness" cry, the call to battle of the Lord of hosts (Psa 9:19; 82:8; 132:8; Num 10:35).

Psa 10:14

YOU CONSIDER IT TO TAKE IT IN HAND: Retribution for the rejection of Christ came inevitably in AD 70. As God used the Philistines against Saul, so also He used the legions of Rome against His rebellion people (Mat 22:7).

THE FATHERLESS: David, deprived of his father-in-law (1Sa 22:14)? Or David, deprived of help and counsel from Samuel (1Sa 25:1)?

Psa 10:15

BREAK THE ARM OF THE WICKED AND EVIL MAN: Twice (1Sa 24;26) David has it in his power to be rid of Saul once and for all. But how admirable is the emphasis in 1Sa 24:6; 26:9-11: "The Lord forbid that I should do this...."

Psa 10:16

Vv 16-18: Added in later days when Saul was dead and David was established as the Lord's anointed. The Lord is king; and the Gentiles (such as Doeg) are perished... to judge the fatherless and the oppressed (David's correction of the extremes of Saul's reign), that the man of the earth may no more oppress. (There is also the possibility that as in some other instances, these vv were added in the Hezekiah period. There is considerable fitness about all the details.)

On any reading, there is a chronological gap in the psalm here. When the Messiah receives his kingdom, "Jehovah is King for ever and ever." And the Gentiles, who up to the very last have sought to assert their authority over it, are perished out of it (Zec 14:21). Then the "humble" (v 17) will find their heart's "desire"; v 18 provides a lovely cameo of the blessedness of the kingdom.

Psa 10:18

MAN, WHO IS OF THE EARTH: "The man of the earth" (AV) uses the word for frail mortal man ("enosh") and alludes back to Gen 2:7. Play on words: "earth" (eretz), "oppress" (aratz). Cp "the god of the earth" (Rev 11:4). He is "from beneath" (Joh 8:23), and "earthly, sensual, and demonic" (Joh 3:31; Jam 3:15).


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