Psalm 9

Psalm 9
The Joy of the Faithful in Jehovah, Their Deliverer
Psalm 9. Psalm 9 and 10 form one complete work. Together they are an acrostic poem, with the first word in each verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 9 covers the first half, and Psalm 10 the second half. The inscription indicates that this is a Psalm of David, and therefore we know Psalm 10 is attributed to David as well. It was written to the tune of “Muth-Labben”, meaning “death of the son”. This could indicate that David wrote the pair of Psalms after the death of one of his sons, likely Absalom. Prophetically, Psalms 9 and 10 serve as a subsection of the series, Psalms 9 – 15. In Psalms 9 and 10 we have the theme; the general character of things, including the hope of the remnant, the destruction of the wicked, the character of the Antichrist that calls for God’s judgment, and even into the Millennium; “Jehovah is King for ever and ever: the nations have perished out of his land.” Psalm 9-10 are a broad landscape in of prophecy, and Psalms 11-15 give us the exercises of the remnant.12 In Psalm 9 we have the remnant anticipating their full deliverance, after looking back at past deliverances.
To the chief Musician. Upon Muthlabben. A Psalm of David.
1 I will praise Jehovah with my whole heart; I will recount all thy marvellous works.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee; I will sing forth thy name, O Most High.
vv.1-2 Joy in Jehovah. Here we have the full-hearted joy of the faithful as they look back on past deliverances; the kindness and mercy of the Lord over Israel’s history. This is an important thing to do in the face of present difficulties (v.15). They sing forth the name of El-Elyon, the “Most High”, which is a Millennial name of God.
3 When mine enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished at thy presence:
4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause. Thou sittest on the throne, judging righteously.
5 Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked; thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
6 O enemy! destructions are ended for ever. — Thou hast also destroyed cities, even the remembrance of them hath perished.
7 But Jehovah sitteth for ever; he hath ordained his throne for judgment.
8 And it is he that “will judge the world with righteousness;” [quoted Acts 17:31] he shall execute judgment upon the peoples with equity.
9 And Jehovah will be a refuge to the oppressed one, a refuge in times of distress.
10 And they that know thy name will confide in thee; for thou, Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
vv.3-10 Confidence in Jehovah. We find here a transition, from the past deliverances of the Lord to the future; “thou hast maintained my right and my cause” (v.4) to “Jehovah will be a refuge to the oppressed one” (v.9). The key is that this looks forward to then the Lord appears; i.e. “thy presence”.3 Mention is made of Jehovah’s throne, and it is set forth as a symbol of judgment; “But Jehovah sitteth for ever; he hath ordained his throne for judgment.” This is part of the hope of the Jewish remnant; i.e. that the world would be judged in righteousness. We have a nice summary of the events of the return of Christ in vv.3-10. In vv.3-6 we have the destruction of the wicked that will take place when the Lord first appears in His Davidic character; “thou hast also destroyed cities”. Then, we have in vv.7-8 the judgment of the ordered and peaceful judgment of all nations, similar to what we read of in Matt. 25, often called the sessional judgment. This is when Christ will take on His Solomonic character. Finally, in vv.9-10 we have what Messiah will be in the Millennium, as a refuge to those who have been oppressed and distressed (Isa. 32). This thoughts are a comfort to the faithful in times of tribulation.
11 Sing psalms to Jehovah who dwelleth in Zion; tell among the peoples his doings.
12 For when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them; the cry of the afflicted ones hath he not forgotten.
13 Be gracious unto me, O Jehovah; consider mine affliction from them that hate me, lifting me up from the gates of death:
14 That I may declare all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will be joyful in thy salvation.
vv.11-14 Praise to Jehovah. In v.11 we have sentiments that look forward to the Millennium, when Jehovah will dwell in earth in Zion; in the midst of restored Israel. Then the fame of Jehovah will be spread abroad among “the peoples”; a reference to the nations of the earth (see Isa. 2:2-3). The restored nation of Israel, of which the faithful remnant is the nucleus, will be used to tell the nations about Jehovah, and teach them His ways. The judgment of the Lord is righteous. Mention is made of the Lord’s remembrance; “when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them; the cry of the afflicted ones hath he not forgotten”. Yet we can see by the content of these verses that the remnant is not yet in the Millennium; they are still passing through the ordeal of Daniel’s seventieth week. Thus they cry out for deliverance, to be lifted up “from the gates of death”. The “gates of death” is a figurative reference to the powers of evil. A parallel expression is used by our Lord in Matthew 16:18; “the gates of hades”.
15 The nations are sunk down in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid is their own foot taken.
16 Jehovah is known by the judgment he hath executed: the wicked is ensnared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion [‘meditate’]. Selah [‘pause and consider’].
17 The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy one shall not be forgotten alway; the hope of the meek shall not perish for ever.
vv.15-18 A Reflection on Judgment. The psalmist reflects on the judgment of Jehovah, noting that the character of Jehovah is linked in some way to the way He judges; “Jehovah is known by the judgment he hath executed”. His wisdom is magnified in that He uses the very work of the wicked to ensnare them (v.16)! See Job 5:13; 1 Cor. 3:19. How wise God is! The psalmist then calls for Higgaion (a time of meditation), and Selah (to pause and consider). And the conclusion of it is the wicked will enter Sheol, or the state of the departed spirits, but the “needy” and the “meek” will be delivered. There is a contrast between the nations who “forget God”, and the needy who “shall not be forgotten” of God.
19 Arise, Jehovah; let not man prevail: let the nations be judged in thy sight.
20 Put them in fear, Jehovah: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. 
vv.19-20 A Call for Judgment. The faithful call out for Jehovah to execute judgment on “man” viewed in a general way, and on “the nations”. The psalmist views man in his natural condition as the proud enemy of God. The result of Divine judgment is that the pride of man will be brought low; “the nations may know themselves to be but men”. This thought is marked by a second call to “selah”; to stop, and consider.
  1. Psalms 9 and 10 having given us the latter day state of things, and Psalms 11-15, the thoughts and feelings of the godly Remnant in respect of that state of things; the fact that Christ had taken this place among the godly, and thus identified Himself, the perfect One, with their interests in the difficulties and trials they had to go through with their enemies, is evidently of the last importance. – Darby, J.N. The Psalms. Notes and Comments, Vol. 3
  2. Psalms 9, 10 … are prefatory. – Darby, J.N. Heads of Psalms: Book 1
  3. All that follows in the psalm is the result of Christ’s presence. “Thy presence” is the key to the psalm. – Smith, Hamilton. The Psalms.
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