World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from human plots;
you hold them safe under your shelter
from contentious tongues.
20. Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy countenance. In this verse the Psalmist specially commends the grace of God, because it preserves and protects the faithful against all harm. As Satan assiduously and by innumerable means opposes their welfare, and as the greater part of the world is at deadly war with them, they must be exposed to many dangers. Unless God, therefore, protected them by his power, and came from time to time to their aid, their condition would be most miserable. The Psalmist makes an allusion to the hiding which he had just mentioned, and although the metaphor may, at first sight, appear somewhat harsh, it very aptly expresses, that provided the Lord take care of them, the faithful are perfectly safe under his protection alone. By this eulogium, therefore, he sublimely extols the power of divine Providence, because it alone suffices to ward off every species of evil, and while it shines upon the godly, it blinds the eyes of all the wicked, and weakens their hands. 651651 “Et que quand elle luit sur les fideles, ses rayons sont pour esblouir les yeux de tous les iniques, et affoiblir leur mains.." — Fr. In the opinion of some, the Psalmist, when he speaks of the secret of God’s countenance, refers to the sanctuary, an interpretation which I do not altogether reject, although it does not appear to me sufficiently solid. Again, he says that God hides the faithful from the pride of man and the strife of tongues, because, if God restrain not the wicked, we know that they have the audacity to break forth with outrageous violence against the truly godly; but however unbridled their lust and insolence may be, God preserves his people from harm, by wondrously covering them with the brightness of his countenance. Some translate the Hebrew word ריכסים, rikasim, conspiracies, 652652 This is the reading adopted by Walford. “רכס ,מרכסי, colligavit: hence ‘bands,’ ‘conspiracies.’” others perversities, but without any reason; nor, indeed, does the etymology of the word admit of it, for it comes from a root which signifies to lift up, or to elevate. To pride is added the strife of tongues, because God’s children have cause to fear not only the inhuman deeds of their enemies, but also their still more wicked and violent calumnies, as David himself more than enough experienced. And as our innocence ought to be justly dearer to us than our life, let us learn to cultivate uprightness in such a manner as that, trusting to God’s protection, we may disregard every false calumny. And let us always remember that it is God’s peculiar prerogative to vindicate his people from all unjust reproaches.