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Commentary On Psalms Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Psalm 64:7-10

7. And God shall shoot an arrow at them; suddenly shall they be wounded.8. And they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: and all that see them shall flee away. 9. And all men shall see, and shall declare the work of God, and shall understand what he hath done.10. The righteous shall be glad in Jehovah, and shall hope in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

7 And God shall shoot an arrow at them The Psalmist now congratulates himself in the confident persuasion that his prayers have not been without effect, but already answered. Though there was no appearance of God's approaching judgment, he declares that it would suddenly be executed; and in this he affords a remarkable proof of his faith. He saw the wicked hardening themselves in their prosperity, and presuming upon impunity from the divine connivance and forbearance; but instead of yielding to discouragement, he was borne up by the belief that God, according to his usual mode of procedure with the wicked, would visit them at an unexpected moment, when they were flattering themselves with having escaped, and indulging in extravagant confidence. It is a consideration which should comfort us, when subjected to long-continued trial, that God, in delaying to punish the ungodly, does so with the express design of afterwards inflicting judgments of a more condign description upon them, and when they shall say, |Peace and safety,| overwhelming them with sudden destruction, (Jeremiah 8:11 )

8 And they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves Pursuing the same subject, he remarks, that the poison concocted in their secret counsels, and which they revealed with their tongues, would prove to have a deadly effect upon themselves. The sentiment is the same with that expressed elsewhere by another figure, when they are said to be caught in their own snares, and to fall into the pit which they have digged themselves, (Psalm 57:6.) It is just that Heaven should make the mischiefs which they had devised against innocent and upright men to recoil upon their own heads. The judgment is one which we see repeatedly and daily exemplified before our eyes, and yet we find much difficulty in believing that it can take place. We should feel ourselves bound the more to impress the truth upon our hearts, that God is ever watching, as it were, his opportunity of converting the stratagems of the wicked into means just as completely effective of their destruction, as if they had intentionally employed them for that end. In the close of the verse, to point out the striking severity of their punishment, it is said that all who saw them should flee away The judgments of God are lifted above out of the sight of an ignorant world, and ere it can be roused to fear and dismay, these must be such as to bear signal marks indeed of a divine hand.

9 And all men shall see, and shall declare the work of God. He insists more fully upon the good effects which would result from the judgment executed in leading such as had formerly overlooked a Divine Providence altogether, to catch a spirit of inquiry from the singularity of the spectacle; and acquaint themselves with, and speak one to another of a subject hitherto entirely new to them. He intimates, that the knowledge of what God had so signally wrought would extend far and wide -- for he says, all men, etc. The Hebrew verb skl, shachal, employed, admits either of the neuter signification, they shall understand, or of the active, they shall cause others to understand. But as it is usual with David to repeat the same thing twice, perhaps the latter or transitive sense is preferable. Another desirable consequence which would flow from the deliverance granted is mentioned in the last verse, that it would afford matter of joy, hope, and holy triumph to the saints, who would be confirmed in expecting the same help from God which he had extended to his servant David. Those formerly called the righteous are now styled the upright in heart, to teach us, that the only righteousness which proves acceptable is that which proceeds from inward sincerity. This truth I have insisted upon at large elsewhere.

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