Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 140 – Wm. Plumer

Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 140 – Wm. Plumer

Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 140:1-13

1. This Psalm, like many others, shows that the best men are often brought into great perils by the Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 8.28.37 AMwicked; so that none but God can deliver or preserve them, v. 1.

2. The wicked continually prove that their hatred is deadly, vv. 2, 3. The evidence is as clear as day. The facts are countless and indisputable.

3. The arts of falsehood, slander and abuse are as old as sin in the world, v. 3. Dickson: “When the wicked have vented deadly lies of the godly, they have in readiness new slanders and capital crimes to charge them with falsely;” Morison: “All persecutors of the church in every age have been thus distinguished – they have first traduced the objects of their hate, and then thirsted for their blood;” Horne: “Slander and calumny always precede and accompany persecution, because malice itself cannot excite people against a good man, as such; to do this, he must first be represented as a bad man. Thus David was hunted as a rebel, Christ was crucified as a blasphemer, and the primitive Christians were tortured as guilty of incest and murder.”

4. But let the righteous betake themselves to Jehovah, v. 4. He can keep, preserve, and defend one saint against a million of fallen spirits. His power, his wisdom, his pity, his grace are all-sufficient.

5. And let us not be afraid with any amazement. Human and diabolical cunning is no match for infinite wisdom. The wiles of the devil are not to be compared with the counsels of God, v. 5.

6. Therefore cleave to Jehovah, and plead his covenant at all times, v. 6. Cast not away your confidence which hath great recompense of reward. Pray, wait and hope – hope, wait and pray. The Lord hath pleasure in those that hope in his mercy.

7. If we have escaped dangers seen or unseen, it was solely by the providence of God, v. 7. To him be all the glory of our deliverances, even where he employs men as instruments.

8. Good men live by prayer, vv. 1, 4, 6, 8. He who gets to the throne of grace is covered by the cloud of glory, through which no sun can smite by day, nor moon by night.

9. Pride and insolence are elements of iniquity, and crop out on every occasion of even temporary triumph, v. 8. It is to all the righteous a mercy when God lays his almighty hand on the wicked, and depresses their state, or hurls them from the place and power, as he did Saul, Belshazzar and many others. Henry: “Proud men, when they prosper, are made prouder, grow more impudent against God, and insolent against his people.”

10. Evil speeches and evil deeds will be sure in due time to return on the pate of their authors, vv. 9, 10. The law of retaliation is fixed in the divine government. Horne: “Those tongues which have contributed to set the world on fire, shall be tormented with the hot burning coals of eternal vengeance.”

11. Evil speakers and violent men may have their triumph, but it shall be short, and unless God grant timely repentance, it shall be followed by untold plagues and inconceivable torments, v. 11. Dickson: “Backbiters and calumniators shall not only be debarred from heaven, but also God’s curse shall follow them on earth, and not suffer them nor their posterity to enjoy quiet prosperity in the world.”

12. Evil pursues the sinner through all his windings, and to the lowest hell. The Chaldee: “He shall be hunted by the angel of death, and thrust into hell.” Compare Amos 5:19. Calvin: “The more the ungodly look for impunity and escape they only precipitate themselves more certainly upon destruction.”

13. Were the poor and needy left to themselves, all issues would be to them fatal. But God is on their side, and so they always in the end maintain their ground and secure their rights, v. 12. Even if overborne here, the day of judgment will set all right. Things will not then be settled by clamor, tumult or majorities. “God is the patron of innocence; much more of persecuted piety.”

14. Dark, and cold, and dismal as the times of the righteous often appear in this life, all will end in thanks, and praise, and glory. Clarke: “The persecuted have ever been dear to God.” He is often best pleased with them when the storm agains them is most pitiless.

15. As in all his trials David was a type of the suffering Saviour, and as they both were humbled before they were exalted, and suffered before they entered into rest; so shall it be with all the righteous. The cross here, the crown hereafter. Grace now, glory in eternity. Blessed be God for this admirable order.

Plumer, William S. Psalms, A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks, The Geneva Series of Commentaries (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 1169-70.