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83. Psalm 83

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

6The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

9Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.

11Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

12Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

13O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Lord.

17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

13. O my God! make them like a whirling ball. As the ungodly, when they gird and prepare themselves for destroying the Church, are usually inflated with intolerable pride, the inspired bard beseeches God to put them to shame, it being impossible to abate their pride until they are laid prostrate, confounded, and shamefully disappointed. When he declares (verse 16) that, as the result of this, they will seek the name of God, he is not to be understood as speaking of their being brought to true repentance, or of their genuine conversion. I indeed admit that the first step to genuine repentance is when men, brought low by affliction, willingly humble themselves. But what is here meant is nothing more than a forced and slavish submission like that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. It is a case of frequent occurrence for the wicked, when subdued by adversity, to give glory to God, for a short period. But they are soon again carried away with a frantic madness, which clearly discovers their hypocrisy, and brings to light the pride and rebellion which lurked in their hearts. What the prophet desires is, that the wicked may be compelled by stripes to acknowledge God, whether they will or no, in order that their fury, which breaks forth because they escape with impunity, may at least be kept under restraint. This is more clearly apparent from the 17th verse, where he distinctly prays that they may be destroyed for ever; which would not at all correspond with his previous statement, were it regarded as a prayer for their being brought to repentance. Nor does he needlessly heap together such a multiplicity of words. He does this partly because the reprobate, though often chastised, are nevertheless so incorrigible that ever and anon they are mustering up new strength and courage; and partly because there is nothing which it is more difficult to be persuaded of than that such as wallow at ease in great outward prosperity will soon perish. The cause to which this is to be attributed is just our not sufficiently apprehending the dreadful character of the vengeance of God which awaits the oppressors of the Church.


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