Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
The Psalmist is here again at the throne or grace, praising God for past mercies, and preferring petitions for future favors. In singing or reading this Psalm, it will be profitable to have an eye to Christ.
To the chief Musician on Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
The title of this Psalm "upon Muth-labben" is very obscure. Some have thought it refers to the death of a particular enemy. And others have concluded it means a certain tune or instrument. But the sweet spiritual sense of the Psalm, blessed be God, is not obscured by the title.
We shall enter into a full and clear apprehension of the scope and design of this Psalm, if we first consider how it is to be read with an eye to Christ, and then how it may be accommodated to those, who, through faith in Christ, have an interest in all that concerns him as Mediator. The Psalm opens with the Mediator praising Jehovah for delivering him from all his enemies, and the joy he finds in consequence thereof, as that deliverance concerns himself and the Church in him. Hence, Reader, if you and I have a right conception and knowledge of our own personal deliverance in Jesus, and by Jesus from all our enemies, we shall by faith take part in what is here said, and praise Jehovah with our whole heart and soul for the same. Oh! how precious is it, when we can see and feel our deliverance from the fear of sin, death, and hell, and all our foes, and all our sorrows, through him and his glorious victory, who is the Lord our righteousness!
Was there ever a prophecy more pointed than this, or ever an event more strikingly fulfilled, than when Christ's enemies came to apprehend him in the garden, and Jesus, by a word speaking, caused them to go backward, and fall upon their faces to the earth? Was there ever an instance, in the annals of the world, of such an event taking place by the breath of the mouth? Reader, I pray you, turn to the account of this in the gospel: John 18:5-6. Mark the miracle well, and then pause in contemplating how the glory of the Godhead must have burst through the manhood of Christ to testify who Jesus was in such a memorable moment. And although it brought no conviction to their minds, yet what a blessed and overpowering testimony doth it give, and hath all along given to the Church, whom it was designed to instruct in so precious a doctrine, who Jesus is and was, and in whom we believe. Oh! thou condescending God! how gracious was this discovery of thyself.
Were ever words plainer than these, to teach us that it is Jesus thus addressing the Father, acknowledging the Father's fulfillment of all covenant engagements, in supporting the manhood of Christ in all the seasons of his encountering with his enemies? And, Reader, may not all the people of Jesus in their deliverances, and from their victories in him, look up and bless God for the same mercy?
Is not this spoken of one particular foe more than others? And of whom so probably as Satan? And how beautiful is it, in the victories of our Jesus, by his blood and righteousness, to behold Satan and sin, and death and hell, and the grave, with all that empire of destruction, brought to a final end. He shall swallow up death in victory. Hail! thou glorious Deliverer of mankind! It is thou which hast destroyed principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:15.
Here, by a change of person in the speaker, we find a beautiful transition made to Christ himself, in which the sacred writer is celebrating the glories of his person, and the greatness, and extensiveness, and everlasting duration of his kingdom, and by contrasting his monarchy to that of all created power, the glories of his mediatorial reign is set forth most blessedly. Reader, do not hastily pass over the several precious things here said of our almighty Sovereign. He, thy Brother, as well as thy God, will be thy Judge! He who hath died for thy sins, as thy Surety, will one day come to see of the travail of his soul in the redemption of his people, and be satisfied. He who now looks on, and is the refuge of his oppressed, will judge their cause, and in due time deliver them out of all their trouble. Surely, Reader, if you know this Jesus, if you believe in his power, if you depend upon his salvation, you will trust everything, for time and for eternity, in his Almighty hands. But, my brother, mark, I beseech you, the certain truth, - if you know him not, you cannot trust him. None ever confided in an unknown God. Oh, precious Lord Jesus! now I see the beauty and the excellency of that blessed scripture, in which thou hast said, And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Here is a call to the whole Church to join in praises to Jehovah, and that particularly, for that he resides in the person of the Mediator, in the midst of his people. The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them. Revelation 21:3. Sweet, thought! what can destroy, what can hurt, or even afflict the Church, while her Beloved is in the midst of her. Read and commit to memory, for a daily, hourly song, that sweet scripture, Zephaniah 3:14-17.
How blessed and consolatory the thought to the martyrs of Jesus, and to all his persecuted little ones, is this consideration. Hence they are represented, under the altar of heaven, as making a response to this and the like promises. Revelation 6:9-10.
It should seem as if this formed a second part of the Psalm, or rather a new one. Here we behold Christ again, as before represented in the days of his flesh, with strong crying, and tears. God the Father had promised that he should not fail nor be discouraged, until that he had set judgment in the earth; and therefore all along we find, in the strong cries of Christ, to this covenant engagement he had recourse. Hence, as in other places; I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art my God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me, for trouble is near. Psalms 22:10-11. Oh! how blessed it is to trace Christ in all these scriptures. Thanks be God, we may truly say here, as in a thousand other instances, for his unspeakable gift, in thus teaching us by his blessed Spirit the things concerning Jesus. 2 Corinthians 9:15.
Is not this one of the well-known offices of the Mediator? Was it not said of him, under the spirit of prophecy, the king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord, and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice t Psalms 21:1. Hence, therefore, it is one of the blessed offices of our great Head and Saviour, having accomplished redemption by his obedience and death, to proclaim by his Spirit Jehovah's salvation in the Church and through the earth. Isaiah 49:6.
What a sure destruction must overtake all the enemies of God and of his Christ. In this life misery, and the evils they intend for others, falling upon themselves; and in that which is to come, everlasting destruction. It should seem that the word Higgaion joined to Selah, was intended as if to make a double pause of entreaty on the Reader, to mark and consider the awfulness of such conduct, as opposing God and his Christ. Similar to that solemn call; Now consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there he none to deliver, Psalms 50:22.
This is a sweet promise for a thousand occasions, and when pleaded before the throne in his name who comprehends in himself every promise, and is indeed himself the great Promise of the Bible, it will be found, like all others, yea and amen.
These are blessed prayers, when put up in faith, by which we invite Jesus to hasten his coming, and bring on both the latter day glory, and that kingdom of his everlasting reign, which shall have no end. Reader, what say you to that holy longing of the Church, which, when Jesus speaks of his return, echoes to the blessed voice of her Redeemer, and desires with rapture that he would hasten his approach? Behold, I come quickly, saith he: can you and I say, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus? Revelation 22:20.
BLESSED Redeemer! let me, as often as I peruse this Psalm, learn to celebrate thy triumphs, and to keep my eye and heart stedfastly fixed on thee, that I may hear with the ear of faith, and catch an holy flame from the devout song, while thou art praising Jehovah, for all the blessings of the salvation wrought by thee for his Church and people.
Yes! thou holy Lord, I would desire to shout in the sacred joy, from a conviction, that in thy victories all thy people partake. And while, by faith in thee and thy salvation, I behold all the enemies which now impede our progress in the wilderness state of thy Church, put to a perpetual end, I shall even now sing, though so often feeling the effects of their malice, sure and certain deliverance, through thee, from all my sins, sorrows, and trials, being more than conqueror through thy grace helping me.
And oh! come Lord, by the influence of thy sweet Spirit, come and dwell in the midst of Zion, and show forth all the praises of Jehovah; that thy redeemed may echo to thy praises, and their hearts rejoice in thy salvation. Yes, precious Jesus! thou wilt be, thou hast been, thou now art, a refuge for the oppressed. Thou art my hiding place, and my strong tower, against all my foes. And in the consciousness of my interest in thee, my union with thee, and my unceasing dependence upon thee, I will go forth, making mention of thy righteousness, even thine only. And until thou shalt call me home to see thy face, and dwell with thee forever, the sense of thy love shall keep my soul in tune, to praise thee here below, in the every-day song of faith, and by and by faith shall be swallowed up in sight, and grace consummated in everlasting glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 9 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-9.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent