Psalm 10:1-18

1 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide in times of trouble?

The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;
He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts.

His ways are always prospering;
Your judgments are far above, out of his sight;
As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.

He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
I shall never be in adversity.”

His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the secret places he murders the innocent;
His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.

He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den;
He lies in wait to catch the poor;
He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.

10 So he crouches, he lies low,
That the helpless may fall by his strength.

11 He has said in his heart,
“God has forgotten;
He hides His face;
He will never see.”

12 Arise, O Lord!
O God, lift up Your hand!
Do not forget the humble.

13 Why do the wicked renounce God?
He has said in his heart,
“You will not require an account.”

14 But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
To repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

16 The Lord is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land.

17 Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,

18 To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

An acrostic psalm that appears to be linked to Psalm 9. (See the beginning notes on Psalm 9.) This explains the absence of a heading. It also means that this Psalm was written by David.

The psalmist opens with an unbridled, heartfelt expression of what may justly be termed complaint — i.e., expressing anguish and dismay over what appears to be God’s inaction in the fact of the ongoing — and apparently flourishing — activity of the wicked (v.2). Yet the essence of the psalmist’s complaint — and what justifies its inclusion in this expression of worship — is that it is ultimately motivated not by the desire that the wicked be punished or the afflicted relieved of their distress, but by the glory and honor of God. — Wechsler, page 44.

the wicked boasts (v.3) — the wicked praises himself

The wicked man doesn’t deny the existence of God but he scoffs at the idea that God cares about the affairs of this world (vs. 6, 11). He thinks that God has either forgotten His people or unable (or unwilling) to see their troubles.

Verse 7 is quoted in Romans 3:14, where “the wicked” refers to both Jews and Gentiles.

requite (v.13) = seek out — The same word is translated “seek out” in verse 15.

helper (v.14) — from the same Hebrew root as “helpmate” in Genesis 2:18, 20.

break the arm (v.15) — an idiom meaning the crushing of power and glory (cf. Job 22:8-9)

have perished (v.16) — The use of the past tense for something that has not yet occurred expresses the certainty of the event because of God’s power and promises. In a way, it’s looking back at the event from God’s timeless perspective.

The psalmist concludes (in typically Davidic fashion) with a confident look at the final, future state, when all men will recognize the Lord for who He is and always has been — the true King of all the earth (cf. Psalm 47:7) — and nations (lit., “Gentiles,” referring, as typically in the Old Testament, to those opposed to the True God and His people) will have perished from His land (i.e., all of the redeemed/recreated “new earth”; cf. Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 21:1). — Wechsler, page 45.

man of the earth (v.18) — pointing out the weakness of men before God

Wechsler’s quote (above) somewhat points to a future time. Williams takes it a step further and makes this Psalm a direct prophecy of the Tribulation. I think it makes sense, although it certainly also applied to Israel’s troubles in David’s time as well.

Psalm 10 gives a vivid picture of the appalling sufferings that Israel will undergo in the future “time of trouble.”

As in Psalm 9, so here, the Anti-Christ is called the “wicked” or “lawless one” in verses 2, 3, 4, 13 and 15, and “the covetous one” in verse 3. “The strong ones” (v.10) are his followers. Their temporary prosperity and successful oppression of the saints of the Most High are described in verses 2 to 11.

Psalm 9:12, 17-18 and Psalm 10:12, when compared, prove that God does not, and will not, forget His oppressed people. “He will never see it” (v.11) may be compared with “Thous hast seen it, for Thou wilt behold travail and grief,” i.e., persecution, “in order to take the matter into Thy hand” (v.14). Because the helpless and the fatherless know and believe this, therefore they commit themselves unto Him.

The doom of the false Messiah is the subject of verse 15, and the reign of the True Messiah the prediction of verse 16. These events will result in the disappearance out of the earth of the hostile heathen. — Williams, page 304.

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