holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever; or "unto length of days" (d): holiness is a dress or clothing; though it is not the robe of a justifying righteousness, yet it is an inner garment, which makes the saints all glorious within; it is a very beautiful and becoming dress; it is called "the beauty of holiness", and it is always becoming; it becomes the church and people of God, all that are of the household of God, both now and for evermore; it will never be out of use; it will be more and more in use, both in the spiritual reign of Christ, and in the New Jerusalem church state, and in heaven to all eternity; see Zechariah 14:20.
(d) "in longitudinem dierum", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 94
Some, as Jarchi and others, think this psalm was written by Moses; others, with greater probability, assign it to David; as do the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and which all but the Syriac version say it was composed to be sung on the fourth day of the week, on which day the Talmudists say it was sung; see the argument of the preceding psalm. This psalm and others, that go before and follow, are without any title in the Hebrew Bible: the title of it in the Syriac version is,
"a Psalm of David, concerning the company of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; but spiritually, concerning the persecution against the church;''
not of the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt, as some; nor of the Jews in their present exile, as Kimchi; but rather of the people of God under the tyranny of antichrist; who are represented as complaining of his insults and cruelty, and as comforting themselves in the hopes of deliverance, and in the view of his destruction.
O God, to whom vengeance belongeth; which is repeated to observe the certainty of it, and to express the vehement and importunate desire of the psalmist, and those he represents, that he would show himself to be so, follows:
show thyself; or "shine forth" (f), as in Psalm 80:1 either at his incarnation, when he appeared as the dayspring from on high; yea, as the sun of righteousness; or, in the ministry of the Gospel, the great light which shone first on the inhabitants of Judea and Galilee, and then on the Gentile world; or in his gracious presence with his people, which is expressed by causing his face to shine upon them, Psalm 80:7, or in the protection of them, and destruction of their enemies; which is a showing himself strong on their behalf, an appearing to the joy of the one, and the confusion of the other; and in this manner will Christ show himself in the latter day.
(e) "Deus ultionum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (f) "irradia", Montanus; "illucesce", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "effulsit", Cocceius; "adfulge", Michaelis.
render a reward to the proud; an evil reward, as the Targum; to proud persecutors of the church, who through their pride persecute the poor saints; and to render tribulation to them is but just with the Lord; to antichrist, that exalts himself above all that is called God, and to all his haughty and ambitious dependents and followers, cardinals, bishops, priests, &c.
how long shall the wicked triumph? in their prosperity, and in the ruins of the interest of Christ; the Targum is,
"how long shall they sit in tranquillity, or prosperity?''
the triumphing of the wicked may seem long, but it is but short, Job 20:5, the inhabitants of the Romish jurisdiction will triumph when the witnesses are slain, and send gifts to one another, as a token of their joy; but this will not last long, no more than three days, or three years and a half; and while antichrist is saying, I sit a queen, and shall know no sorrow, her plagues shall come upon her in one day, Revelation 11:10.
"will they utter and speak reproachful words?''
contumelies or calumnies; and such are uttered by the antichristian party against the true professors of religion in great abundance, as water out of a fountain, as the first word (a) used signifies; see Jde 1:15,
and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves; the just character of the followers of antichrist, who work an abomination, and make a lie, and whose whole course of life, and even of religion, is a series of sin and iniquity, Revelation 21:27, these lift up themselves against, the Lord, like the high branches of a tree, as Aben Ezra; or praise themselves, as Jarchi; being proud, they are boasters; boast of their antiquity and precedence, of their wealth and riches, of their power and authority, of infallibility, and works of supererogation, and the like.
(a) "effutient", Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatablus; "effutiunt", Musculus; "scaturiunt", Cocceius.
and afflict thine heritage; the church, styled God's heritage, 1 Peter 5:3, whom the Lord has chosen for his inheritance; and are dear to him, as his portion, his jewels, and even as the apple of his eye; and yet these are afflicted all manner of ways by their persecuting enemies, as Israel was of old in Egypt.
and murder the fatherless; having slain the parents in a cruel and barbarous manner, murder their infants; or figuratively such who are as orphans, destitute of their spiritual fathers, who were the instruments of begetting them in Christ, and of nourishing them with the words of faith and good doctrine; with the blood of these the whore of Rome has often made herself drunk, and therefore blood shall be given her to drink, Revelation 17:5.
neither shall the God of Jacob regard it; the same as before; this title of "the God of Jacob" may be considered either as put in by the psalmist, as an argument strengthening the faith of the church of God; that being their covenant God, he would take notice and care of them, and resent the injuries done them, and avenge them: or else as mentioned by their enemies, sneering at their confidence in God, whom they called their covenant God; that notwithstanding he would not regard or take any notice of what was done unto them, so as to appear in their behalf; all this has been said, if not openly with the mouth, yet secretly in the heart; the language of their actions has abundantly declared this gross atheism of antichrist, and his abettors, who are addressed as follows.
and ye fools, when will ye be wise? "fools" they are to worship stocks and stones, the images of the Virgin Mary, and other saints; to give into the gross atheism they do; to disbelieve the omniscience of God and his providence, at least to behave as though they did; and think to do the vilest actions with impunity; wherefore it would be their wisdom to relinquish such stupid notions, and do no more such foolish and wicked actions.
(b) "animadvertite", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
shall he not hear? the atheism spoke in the heart, in the actions and by the mouths of such blasphemers of him; the hard speeches spoken against his Son, his person and offices; and against his Spirit, his being, and operations; and against his people, the saints of the most High; in short, all those blasphemies and evil speakings of God, of his tabernacle, and those that dwell therein: it would be monstrous stupidity to imagine, that that God, that communicates a faculty of hearing to his creatures, should not hear himself; for none can give that which they have not:
he that formed the eye: in so curious a manner, with such exquisite parts; with such fine humours, nerves, and tunics; so adapted to receive all objects, and take the impress of them in so wonderful a manner:
shall he not see? all persons and things, all the ways and actions of men; certainly he must: clouds, rocks, and hills, are no obstruction to him; the darkness and the light are both alike to him; his eyes are everywhere, and all things are naked and open before him: it is the height of madness and folly to think that that God cannot see what men are doing here below, who has given to men eyes to see the heavens above, and all their host; and in this so small a compass to take in the sight of the largest mountains, as well as the most minute things: since the seeing eye, and the hearing ear, are both from the Lord, it may be most strongly concluded that he hears all that is said, and sees all that is done, against him and his people; see Proverbs 20:12. A Heathen (c) could say,
"truly there is a God, who hears and sees all that we do.''
(c) Plauti Capteivei, Acts 2. Sc. 2. v. 63.
shall he not correct? such audacious wretches, guilty of such atrocious crimes, such horrid murders, and gross atheism? certainly he will, as he has both a right and power to do it. The Targum is,
"is it possible that he should give the law to his people, and, when they have sinned, should they not be corrected?''
and if these are corrected and chastised, then surely such daring and insolent wretches shall not go unpunished: or, "he that instructeth the Heathen" (d); by the light of nature in things civil and moral, and therefore has a right to punish such who act contrary to it; see Romans 2:12,
he that teacheth man knowledge; that has given him the light of nature; inspired him with reason and understanding; taught him more than the beasts of the field, and made him wiser than the fowls of the heaven; from whom he has the knowledge of all arts and sciences, liberal and mechanic, those of the lower as well as of the higher class; see John 1:9. The Targum is,
"has not the Lord taught the first man knowledge?''
that more perfect knowledge of things, which Adam had in innocence, was from the Lord; and therefore,
shall not he know? all persons and things? verily he does; he is a God of knowledge, of all knowledge; his knowledge and understanding is infinite; it reaches to all persons, and to all their thoughts, words, and actions: this clause is not in the Hebrew text; but is understood, and rightly supplied; see 2 Samuel 5:8, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:6.
(d) "an erudiens gentes", Cocceius.
that they are vanity; either that their thoughts are vanity; the object of them is vanity, the riches and honours of this world, which are all vanity and vexation of spirit; and sinful lusts and pleasures, which are vain and useless, yea, pernicious and hurtful: and so they are in their issue and event; they come to nothing, they are without effect; the Lord disappoints men's devices, and frustrates their designs; they think of this and the other, form schemes, but cannot execute them: or else the sense is, that they themselves are vanity, as man in his best estate is; even every man, whether of high or low degree; see Psalm 39:5. The Syriac version is, "for they are a vapour"; with which compare James 4:14. Thales, an Heathen philosopher (e), being asked whether men's deeds could be hid from God, answered, no, nor their thoughts.
(e) Apud Laert. Vit. ejus, Valer. Maxim. l. 7. c. 2. extern. 8.
and teachest him out of thy law; or "doctrine" (f); and may be understood of the doctrine of the Gospel, as well as of the law; the Lord teaches by his Spirit, his word, and providences; and, even by afflictive ones, he teaches men their sins and transgressions, and shows them wherein they have exceeded; brings them to a sense and confession of them, repentance and reformation; he teaches them hereby their duty, both to himself and all men, which they have neglected, and departed from; he teaches many lessons of faith, patience, humility, self-denial, and submission to his will in the school of affliction; here they learn much of God, of his power and faithfulness, truth, goodness, grace, and love, and of evangelical doctrines; of his everlasting love, of eternal election, the covenant of grace, the righteousness of Christ, and salvation by him; which the Lord makes known unto them at such seasons, and on which account they are pronounced blessed, or happy persons.
(f) "ex lege", sc. "doctrina verbi tui", Michaelis.
times of refreshing, or rest, will come, which will make up the spiritual reign of Christ; and there remains a "rest", or "sabbatism", for the people of God, which will last a thousand years; and, after that, an eternal rest in heaven, which the light afflictions of the saints here are working, and are the means of making them meet for it: "until the pit be digged for the wicked"; hell, the pit of destruction, the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: this pit and lake is dug and prepared by the sovereign will and unchangeable purpose and decree of God, for all wicked and Christless sinners; particularly for the beast and false prophet, and his followers, who shall be cast into it, and be tormented in it day and night, and have no rest; while the saints they here persecuted will be in the greatest repose, and utmost felicity; and when it will appear who are the blessed and happy persons, and who not.
(c) "mali", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
neither will he forsake his inheritance; which he has chosen, and values and esteems as a goodly one; he will not give up his title to it, nor drop his claim upon it, nor relinquish his hold and use of it; he will not forsake his people for this reason, because they are his inheritance, as well as because he has promised that he will not: he may seem to forsake them, and they may think they are forsaken by him; but he will not forsake neither their persons in youth nor in old age, nor his work upon their hearts: the church, in the wilderness, and under the persecution of antichrist, might seem to be cast off and forsaken; yet is not, being nourished there for a time and times, and half a time, Revelation 12:14, the note of Arama is,
"at the coming of the Messiah all this good shall be.''
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.
"who will rise up, for me, to make war with the evildoers?''
what the church here seems to say in a despairing way, the followers of antichrist say in a triumphant and insulting manner; "who is like unto the beast who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:4, or "who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" to contend or strive with them, as the Targum; suggesting, that she had no friends to appear for her, that had either courage or strength to engage in such a warfare; her case was like that of the oppressed, Solomon speaks of, Ecclesiastes 4:1, or the Apostle Paul's, when none stood with him; but all forsook him, excepting the Lord, 2 Timothy 4:16 and so here the church had none to rise up, and stand by her, but the Lord; Michael, the great Prince that stands for the children and people of God, and who is a match for all the enemies of his church; and he will rise and stand up for them, and fight their battles; and overcome the beast and false prophet, with the kings of the earth, Daniel 12:1.
my soul had almost dwelt in silence; or "within a little", or "must quickly" (e); not only have been, but must have dwelt, continued in silence, in the grave; see Psalm 115:17 his case being desperate, like that of the apostles, when they had the sentence of death within themselves, 2 Corinthians 1:10, this is to be understood not of the soul precisely, and abstractly considered, which dies not, nor is it silent after death; but of the whole person, being a part for the whole; and of the person, with respect to the mortal part, the body, which only dies, and while in a state of separation, or in the grave, is silent, and ceases from all operations of life: perhaps this may have some respect to the silencing of the witnesses, which is a principal thing meant by the slaying of them; a stop put to their ministrations, partly by the edicts of their enemies, and partly by the discouragement of their friends, their shyness, and negligence of them; and which silence will be almost total, if not altogether; though it will last but for a short time; they shall not dwell or continue in silence, but will open their mouths again; signified by the angel flying through the midst of heaven, with the everlasting Gospel, Revelation 14:6.
(e) "quasi parum", Montanus, Gejerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
thy mercy, O Lord, held me up; the extremity of his people is the Lord's opportunity; then is his set time to arise, and have mercy on them; then mercy steps in, lays a solid ground and foundation for hope, and holds up in its arms a sinking people, and revives a dying cause.
thy comforts delight my soul; such as flow from the love of God, is shed abroad in the heart; from the presence of God enjoyed; from the exceeding great and precious promises of the Gospel; from Christ, and the things of Christ, shown, brought home, and applied by the Spirit; his person, offices, fulness, righteousness, blood, and sacrifice; all which are a fund of divine consolation to a distressed mind: these are the consolations of God, of which he is the provider, author, and giver, and therefore called "the God of all comfort"; they come from Christ, the "consolation of Israel", and by the Spirit the Comforter, who sheds abroad the love of God in the heart; reveals Christ, and the things of Christ; opens and applies the promises; wherefore these comforts are called the "comforts of the Holy Ghost"; and they are usually enjoyed by means of the word and ordinances, which are "breasts of consolation"; and these are not small, but strong, and even everlasting, and which "delight the soul"; worldly comforts may delight the animal part, and please the senses, but not delight the soul, especially a wounded spirit, a distressed mind; but these will satiate the weary soul, and replenish the sorrowful soul with a joy unspeakable, and full of glory: the psalmist may here represent the church in the latter day, when in the midst of her troubles, and having many distressing thoughts concerning the issue of things; the comforts of God, from his promises, will delight her; Psalm 94:14, that he will not cast off his people, nor forsake his inheritance; but judgment shall return to righteousness; that he will keep her in the hour of temptation, and avenge the blood of her slain.
which frameth mischief by a law? does all manner of mischief to men, without control, as if he had a law for doing it; or makes a law that all men shall worship him, or receive his mark in their right hand, or forehead; or else shall not buy or sell, yea, be killed; see Revelation 13:15, or "against law" (g); against the laws of God and man; for antichrist is , "the lawless one", spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
(f) "an sociabitur tibi?" Cocceius, Gejerus; "num consociabitur?" Michaelis. (g) "praeter statutum", Piscator, Cocceius; "contra statutum", Gejerus; "contra legem tuam", Arab.
against the soul of the righteous; or "the life" of them; in order to take away their lives; to cut them off, root and branch, and destroy at once the whole interest of Christ; for it will be to make war with him, and them his followers, who are the righteous here meant, made so by his righteousness, that they will be gathered together in such great numbers:
and condemn the innocent blood; condemn innocent persons to death, shed their blood, and drink it, and to such a degree as to be drunk with it; for in them will be found the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all that are slain on earth, Revelation 17:6.
(h) "turmatim conveniunt", Vatablus, Piscator.
"the Word of the Lord shall be my weapon:''
and my God is the rock of my refuge; to whom recourse is had for shelter from the enemy, and against which the gates of hell cannot prevail: both characters, rock and refuge, agree with Christ, the essential Word of the Lord.