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94. Psalm 94

O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.

2Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

3 Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

5They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.

6They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

7Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

8Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?

9He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

10He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?

11The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

12Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law;

13That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.

14For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

15But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

16Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?

17Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

18When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.

19In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

20Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

21They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.

22But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

23And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.

1 O Jehovah! God of vengeances We know that the Jews were surrounded by many neighbors who were not well affected towards them, and were thus incessantly subject to the assaults and oppression of bitter enemies. As this intestine persecution was even more afflictive than the rampant and unrestrained violence of the wicked, we need not wonder that the Psalmist should earnestly beseech God for deliverance from it. The expressions which he uses, calling upon God to shine forth conspicuously, and lift himself up on high, amount in common language to this, that God would give some actual manifestation of his character as judge or avenger; for in that case he is seen ascending his tribunal to exact the punishment due to sin, and demonstrate his power in preserving order and government in the world. The phraseology is used only in reference to ourselves, disposed as we are to feel as if he overlooked us, unless he stretched out his hand to help us in some visible and open manner. In calling him twice successively the God of vengeances, and then, judge of the earth, the Psalmist uses these titles as applicable to the present situation in which he stood, reminding Him in a manner of the office which belonged to him, and saying — O Lord! it is thine to take vengeance upon sinners, and judge the earth — see how they take advantage of the impunity which is extended to their guilt, and triumph audaciously in their wickedness! Not that God needs to be admonished of his duty, for he never resigns himself to indifference, and even when he seems to delay his judgments, is only adjusting them according to what he knows to be the best season; but his people conceive of him in this way to themselves, and take occasion from this to embolden and stimulate themselves to greater vehemency in prayer. 1414     “Mais les fideles s’arrestent a mediter ainsi en eux-mesmes la nature d’iceluy, afin de s’accourager, meilleure esperance, et soliciter a prier avec plus grande ardeur et vehemence.” — Fr. The same may be said of the repetition which the Psalmist uses. When the wicked then indulge in unrestrained excesses, we are to remember that God can never cease to assert his character as the judge of the earth who takes vengeance upon iniquity. Does he seem in our carnal apprehension to have at any time withdrawn and hidden himself? let us put up without hesitation the prayer which is here taught us by the Holy Spirit, that he would shine forth

3 O Jehovah! how long shall the wicked? The Psalmist justifies himself in this verse for the fervent importunity which he showed in prayer. There was need of immediate help, when the wicked had proceeded to such an extent of audacity. The necessity of our case may justly embolden us in our requests, which must be all the more readily heard as they are reasonable; and here the Psalmist insists that his complaints were not without cause, nor originated in trifling reasons, but were extorted by injuries of the most flagrant description. Notice is taken of the length of time during which their persecutions had lasted, as an aggravating circumstance. They had become hardened under the long-continued forbearance of God, and had in consequence contracted a shamelessness, as well as obstinacy of spirit, imagining that he looked upon their wickedness with an eye of favor. The term how long twice repeated, implies the extent of impunity which had been granted, that it was not as if they had newly started upon their career, but that they had been tolerated for a length of time, and had become outrageously flagitious. It was thus that in former times wicked men tyrannized to such a degree over the Church, while yet God did not interfere to apply a remedy; and we need not be surprised that he should subject her now to protracted persecutions, nor should we conclude that, because he does not immediately proceed to cure existing evils, he has utterly forsaken her. The term triumph denotes that fullness of audacious and boasting exultation which the wicked feel when they are intoxicated with continued prosperity, and conceive that they may indulge in every excess without restraint.


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