Psalm 10

Psalm 10
Calling for Jehovah to Judge the Enemy
Psalm 10. Psalm 10 completes the acrostic poem that began with Psalm 9. The inscription of Psalm 9 indicated it as a Psalm of David, and therefore we know Psalm 10 is attributed to David as well. There is a difference in that Psalm 9 is very hopeful all the way through, while Psalm 10 begins in despair and ends in hope. Prophetically, Psalm 9 focuses on the enemies around (i.e. the Gentiles), while Psalm 10 focuses on the enemy within; i.e. antichrist. This Psalm gives us the expressions of the Jewish remnant in the Great Tribulation, particularly as antichrist (“the wicked”) comes into prominence as the persecutor of the faithful.
1 Why, Jehovah, standest thou afar off? Why hidest thou thyself in times of distress?
v.1 Agonizing cry for Divine intervention. The Psalm begins with a sharp cry of confusion, asking Jehovah why He does not intervene. The psalmist is being very honest with the Lord about how he feels. He cannot understand the perceived inaction. To him, the Lord is standing at a distance, even hiding Himself “in times of distress”.
2 The wicked, in his pride, doth hotly pursue the afflicted. They shall be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3 For the wicked boasteth of his soul’s desire, and he blesseth the covetous; he contemneth Jehovah.
4 The wicked saith, in the haughtiness of his countenance, He doth not search out: all his thoughts are, There is no God!
5 His ways always succeed; thy judgments are far above out of his sight; as for all his adversaries, he puffeth at them.
6 He saith in his heart, I shall not be moved; from generation to generation I shall be in no adversity.
7 “His mouth is full of cursing, and deceit, and oppression;” [quoted Roman 3:14] under his tongue is mischief and iniquity.
8 He sitteth in the lurking-places of the villages; in the secret places doth he slay the innocent: his eyes watch for the wretched.
9 He lieth in wait secretly, like a lion in his thicket; he lieth in wait to catch the afflicted: he doth catch the afflicted, drawing him into his net.
10 He croucheth, he boweth down, that the wretched may fall by his strong ones.
11 He saith in his heart, GOD hath forgotten, he hideth his face, he will never see it.
vv.2-11 The Character of the Wicked (Antichrist). During these verses, the acrostic pattern of Psalms 9 – 10 is broken. It is interesting that the “wicked” is spoken of in the singular form. Perhaps it is because the evil will be embodied in a person; Antichrist, reigning in the midst of apostate Israel. In v.2, the wicked are characterized as proud, and openly pursuing the afflicted remnant. Yet, the faithful are confident that the wicked will ultimately be destroyed by “the devices that they have imagined”. In v.3, the wicked are arrogant in their self-will, boasting in their plans, holding the Lord in contempt. In v.4 the wicked are haughty, convinced that God is not watching him, effectively thinking “There is no God!” While this is prophetic of antichrist and his followers, certainly we see similar characteristics in the wicked today. In v.5, the wicked seem to get away with their plans. The faithful are exasperated, and feel helpless and the unstoppable onslaught of evil. In v.6, the wicked are full of self-confidence, unable to imagine their demise. In v.7, we find that the wicked use their mouth and tongues as their greatest weapons. In vv.8-9 the wicked hunt the faithful, spreading traps for them along the way (Matt. 24:23-26). This describes the campaign of terror that Antichrist will levy against the faithful. The effect can be traced in Psa. 11:2-3; 12:1; 13:1; 15:1. It is reminiscent of the Gestapo in the holocaust. In v.10, the wicked are viewed as using deception to mask their malicious actions; “He croucheth, he boweth down, that the wretched may fall”. The expression “by his strong ones” is an allusion to the fangs of a lion; i.e. a lion crouches down, and springs suddenly on his prey, holding them in his fangs.1 In v.11, the wicked are sure they will carry on unobserved and unpunished in their course. It is important to note that anti-Christ is the “man of sin”. He is one in whom the flesh is allowed to blossom into full growth. But each person has the flesh in them, and so we can judge ourselves as we see the character of sin – unrestrained and unmitigated – in “the wicked” here in Psalm 10.
12 Arise, Jehovah; O GOD, lift up thy hand: forget not the afflicted.
13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
14 Thou hast seen it, for thou thyself beholdest trouble and vexation, to requite by thy hand. The wretched committeth himself unto thee; thou hast been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break thou the arm of the wicked, and as for the evil man, seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
vv.12-15 Call to action. Having described the character of the wicked, the Psalmist now cries out to Jehovah for action. He brings the situation before the Lord, not only in terms of the need of the faithful (“the afflicted”), but also in terms of the insult to the name of Jehovah that the wicked have become. The wicked insult God by doubting His observation and His searching out evil. By contrast, the faithful (“the wretched”, for so they feel their condition is) have committed themselves to the Lord in humility, counting on God as “the helper of the fatherless”. The Psalmist calls on the Lord to do what the wicked have boasted He will never do, i.e. “seek out his wickedness”.
16 Jehovah is King for ever and ever: the nations have perished out of his land.
17 Jehovah, thou hast heard the desire of the meek, thou hast established their heart: thou causest thine ear to hear,
18 To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed one, that the man of the earth may terrify no more.
vv.16-18 Confidence that Jehovah has heard. These verses look on to the Millennium, when the prayers of the faithful remnant are answered. When Jehovah will be manifestly “King” on His throne. This will be a kingdom that will last as long as time shall run, “for ever and ever”. At that time “the nations have perished out of his land”, and Israel will be free from their enemies. The Lord will have heard the prayer of “the meek”, and those who are oppressed will be free from those who terrified them. The “man of the earth” is an expression that also may refer to antichrist, in contrast to the true Christ, the heavenly Man! The antichrist is the summing up of all that “man in the flesh” is.
  1. J.N. Darby translation notes.
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