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Commentary On Psalms Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Psalm 9:15-16

15. The heathen are sunk into the pit which they made; in the net which they have hid are their own feet taken.16. Jehovah is known by executing judgment. The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

15. The heathen are sunk. David being now raised up to holy confidence, triumphs over his enemies. In the first place, he says metaphorically, that they were taken in their own craftiness and snares. He next expresses the same thing without figure, that they were snared in their own wickedness. And he affirms that this happened not by chance, but was the work of God, and a striking proof of his judgment. When he compares his enemies to hunters or fowlers, it is not without having just ground for doing so. The wicked, it is true, often commit violence and outrage, yet in deceits and cunning artifices they always imitate their father Satan, who is the father of lies, and, therefore, whatever ingenuity they have, they employ it in practising wickedness and in devising mischief. As often, therefore, as wicked men cunningly plot our destruction, let us remember that it is no new thing for them to lay nets and snares for the children of God. At the same time, let us comfort ourselves from the reflection, that whatever they may attempt against us, the issue is not in their power, and that God will be against them, not only to frustrate their designs, but also to surprise them in the wicked devices which they frame, and to make all their resources of mischief to fall upon their own heads.

16. The Lord is known in executing judgment. The reading of the words literally is this, The known Lord has done judgment. This manner of speech is abrupt, and its very brevity renders it obscure. It is therefore explained in two ways. Some explain it thus:- God begins then to be known when he punishes the wicked. But the other sense suits the passage better, namely, that it is a thing obvious and manifest to all that God executes the office of judge, as often as he ensnares the wicked in their own maliciousness. In short, whenever God turns back upon themselves whatever schemes of mischief they devise, David declares that in this case the divine judgment is so evident, that what happens can be ascribed neither to nature nor to fortune. If God, therefore, in this way manifestly display, at any time, the power of his hand, let us learn to open our eyes, that from the judgments which he executes upon the enemies of his Church our faith may be confirmed more and more. As to the word Higgaion, which properly signifies meditation, I cannot at present assign a better reason why it has been inserted than this, that David intended to fix the minds of the godly in meditation upon the judgments of God. The word Selah was intended to answer the same purpose, and as I have said before, regulated the singing in such a manner as to make the music correspond to the words and the sentiment.

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