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Text Sermons : Adam Clarke : Adam Clarke Commentary Psalms 112

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The blessedness of the man that fears the Lord, both as it regards himself and his family, Psalm 112:1-3; his conduct to his family, his neighbors, and the poor, Psalm 112:4-9; the envy of the wicked at his prosperity, Psalm 112:10.

This is another of the acrostic or alphabetical Psalms, under the title Hallelujah. It is formed exactly as the preceding in the division of its verses. It has ten verses in the whole: the first eight contain each two hemistichs, beginning with a consecutive letter of the alphabet; the ninth and tenth verses, three each, making twenty-two in the whole. It is understood to have been written after the captivity, and probably by Zechariah and Haggai: to them it is ascribed by the Vulgate.

Verse 1
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord - This seems to be the continuation of the preceding Psalm: there it was asserted that the beginning of wisdom was the fear of the Lord; and here the blessedness of the man who thus fears is stated.

That delighteth greatly - It is not enough to fear God, we must also love him: fear will deter us from evil; love will lead us to obedience. And the more a man fears and loves God, the more obedient will he be; till at last he will delight greatly in the commandments of his Maker.

Verse 2
His seed shall be mighty - זרעו (zaro), his posterity. So the word should always be understood in this connection.

Verse 3
Wealth and riches shall be in his house - This is often the case: a godly man must save both time and money. Before he was converted he lost much time, and squandered his money. All this he now saves, and therefore wealth and riches must be in his house; and if he do not distribute to the necessities of the poor, they will continue to accumulate till they be his curse; or God will, by his providence, sweep them away. Both צדקה (tsedakah) and δικαιοσυνη are often used to signify, not only justice and righteousness, but also beneficence and almsgiving; and this is most probably the meaning here. See Psalm 112:9.

Verse 4
There ariseth light in the darkness - The upright are always happy; and when tribulations come, God lifts up the light of his countenance upon him, and causes all occurences to work together for his good.

He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous - He enjoys the favor of God; that grace makes him compassionate; and in the general tenor of his conduct he is righteous. From these principles he shows favor (Psalm 112:5) to him that needs it; that is, to the real poor he gives of his substance; and others he obliges by lending, they not being utterly in want, but standing in need only of a little present help. But he takes heed to whom he gives and to whom he lends; that in the first case his bounty may be well applied, and in the second he may not oblige the person who only seeks, under the notion of a loan, to appropriate the money borrowed. To prevent evils of this kind he acts prudently, and guides his affairs with discretion, Psalm 112:5.

Verse 7
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings - He knows that God governs the world, therefore he fears not for futurity. And as to the calumnies of men, he fears them not, because his heart is fixed - determined to walk in the path of duty, whatever persecutions he may suffer, for he trusts in the Lord.

Verse 8
His heart is established - סמוך לבו (samuch libbo), “his heart is propped up;” he is buttressed up by the strength of his Maker.

Verse 9
He hath dispersed - He has scattered abroad his munificence; he has given particularly to the poor; his righteousness - his almsgiving, his charity, remaineth for ever. See on Psalm 112:3 (note).

His horn - His power and authority shall be exalted with honor. He shall rise to influence only through his own worth, and not by extortion or flattery.

Verse 10
The wicked shall see it - רשע (rasha), the wicked one. Some think Satan is meant. It is distinguished from רשעים (reshaim), wicked men, in the conclusion of the verse.

Shall gnash with his teeth - Through spite and ill will.

And melt away - Through envy and hopeless expectation of similar good; for his desire in reference to himself and in reference to him who is the object of his envy, shall perish - shall come to nothing.

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