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73. Psalm 73
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. 21Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Ps 73:1-28. Of Asaph—(see Introduction). God is good to His people. For although the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, tempted the Psalmist to misgivings of God's government, yet the sudden and fearful ruin of the ungodly, seen in the light of God's revelation, reassures his heart; and, chiding himself for his folly, he is led to confide renewedly in God, and celebrate His goodness and love.
1. The abrupt announcement of the theme indicates that it is the conclusion of a perplexing mental conflict, which is then detailed (compare Jer 12:1-4).
Truly—or, "Surely it is so."
clean heart—(Ps 18:26) describes the true Israel.
3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live, free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflated with unexpected success. With all this—
10-12. Hence God's people are confounded, turned hither (or back) and thither, perplexed with doubts of God's knowledge and care, and filled with sorrow.
12. prosper in the word—literally, "secure for ever."
13, 14. The Psalmist, partaking of these troubles, is especially disturbed in view of his own case, that with all his diligent efforts for a holy life, he is still sorely tried.
15. Freed from idiomatic phrases, this verse expresses a supposition, as, "Had I thus spoken, I should," &c., intimating that he had kept his troubles to himself.
generation of thy children—Thy people (1Jo 3:1).
offend—literally, "deceive, mislead."
16, 17. Still he—
thought—literally, "studied," or, "pondered this riddle"; but in vain; it remained a toil (compare Margin), till he—
18-20. their end—future (Ps 37:37, 38), which is dismal and terribly sudden (Pr 1:27; 29:1), aggravated and hastened by terror. As one despises an unsubstantial dream, so God, waking up to judgment (Ps 7:6; 44:23), despises their vain shadow of happiness (Ps 39:6; Isa 29:7). They are thrown into ruins as a building falling to pieces (Ps 74:3).
21, 22. He confesses how—
foolish—literally, "stupid," and
ignorant—literally, "not discerning," had been his course of thought.
22. before thee—literally, "with Thee," in conduct respecting Thee.
23. Still he was with God, as a dependent beneficiary, and so kept from falling (Ps 73:2).
24. All doubts are silenced in confidence of divine guidance and future glory.
25, 26. God is his only satisfying good.
26. strength—literally, "rock" (Ps 18:2).
27, 28. The lot of apostates, described by a figure of frequent use (Jer 3:1, 3; Eze 23:35), is contrasted with his, who finds happiness in nearness to God (Jas 4:8), and his delightful work the declaration of His praise.