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Psalm 112:9-10

9. He has distributed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor. 10. The wicked shall see it, and be angry; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: 349349     “ונמם, And shall melt away. Root מסס. It is said to denote the total destruction of any thing by the process of melting The verb is employed by way of figure, to express the annihilation of the wicked, in Psalm 68:3.” — Phillips. The desire of the wicked shall perish.

 

9 He has distributed, he hath given to the poor Once more he affirms that the righteous never lose the fruit and the reward of their liberality. And first, by dispersing, the prophet intimates, that they did not give sparingly and grudgingly, as some do who imagine that they discharge their duty to the poor when they dole out a small pittance to them, but that they give liberally as necessity requires and their means allow; for it may happen that a liberal heart does not possess a large portion of the wealth of this world. All that the prophet means is, that they are never so parsimonious as not to be always ready to distribute according to their means. Next he adds, they give to the poor, meaning that they do not bestow their charity at random, but with prudence and discretion meet the wants of the necessitous. We are aware that unnecessary and superfluous expenditure for the sake of ostentation is frequently lauded by the world; and, consequently, a larger quantity of the good things of this life is squandered away in luxury and ambition than is dispensed in charity prudently bestowed. The prophet instructs us that the praise which belongs to liberality does not consist in distributing our goods without any regard to the objects upon whom they are conferred, and the purposes to which they are applied, but in relieving the wants of the really necessitous, and in the money being expended on things proper and lawful. This passage is quoted by Paul, (2 Corinthians 9:9) in which he informs us that it is an easy matter for God to bless us with plenty, so that we may exercise our bounty freely, deliberately, and impartially, and this accords best with the design of the prophet. The next clause, his righteousness endureth for ever, is susceptible of two interpretations. That immoderate ambition which impels the ungodly to squander away their goods merits not the name of virtue. It may, therefore, with propriety be said, that it is a uniform course of liberality which is here praised by the prophet, according to what he formerly observed, that the righteous manage their affairs with discretion. If any prefer to refer it to the fruit of righteousness, I have no objection. And, indeed, it appears to be a repetition of the same sentence which lately came under our notice. Then the prophet shows how God by his benefits preserves the glory of that righteousness which is due to their liberality, and does not disappoint them of their reward, in that he exalteth their horn more and more, that is, their power or their prosperous condition.

10. The wicked shall see it. 350350     “The wicked shall see it; i.e., the exalted horn ” — Dimock Here follows a contrast similar to that which we met with in Psalm 2:5, which renders the grace of God towards the faithful the more illustrious. His meaning is, that though the wicked may cast off all regard to piety, and banish from their minds all thoughts of human affairs being under the superintending providence of God, they shall yet be made to feel, whether they will or no, that the righteous, in compliance with God’s command, do not vainly devote themselves to the cultivation of charity and mercy. Let them harden themselves as they choose, yet he declares that the honor, which God confers upon his children, shall be exhibited to them, the sight of which shall make them gnash with their teeth, and shall excite an envy that shall consume them by inches. 351351     “Et par une envie qu’ils auront les fera mourir a petit feu.” — Fr. In conclusion, he adds, that the wicked shall be disappointed of their desires They are never content, but are continually thirsting after something, and their confidence is as presumptuous as their avarice is unbounded. And hence, in their foolish expectations, they do not hesitate at grasping at the whole world. But the prophet tells them that God will snatch from them what they imagined was already in their possession, so that they shall always depart destitute and famishing.


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