Verse 18. "That the man of the earth may no more oppress. " - I believe the Hebrew will be better translated thus: "That he may not add any more to drive away the wretched man from the land." Destroy the influence of the tyrant; and let him not have it again in his power to add even one additional act of oppression to those which he has already committed.
How many for the sake of their religion, and because they would serve God with a pure conscience, have, by wicked lords, proud and arrogant land owners, been driven off their farms, turned out of their houses, deprived of their employments, and exposed to wretchedness! While they served the devil, and were regardless of their souls, they had quiet and peaceable possession; but when they turned to the Lord, and became sober and industrious, attended the means of grace, read their Bible, and were frequent in prayer, then the vile man of the earth drove them from their dwellings! In the sight of such Philistines, piety towards God is the highest of crimes. What a dreadful account must these give to the Judge of the Fatherless and the oppressed!
ANALYSIS OF THE TENTH PSALM
"This Psalm divides itself into three parts: " - I. A complaint against the enemies of the godly.
II. A narration of the enemies' malice.
III. A petition to be delivered from them.
I. 1. He complains of God's absence, which is quickened by the question, 1. "Why standest thou afar off?" 2. "Why hidest thou myself in times of trouble?" ver. 1.
II. He complains of the enemies: "The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor." These he describes by eight characters: - 1. Insolence, pride, and the effect, persecution of good men. Having acquired dignity, places of honour, and riches, they become persecutors, they conspire to oppress good men. "Let them be taken in their own devices," ver. 2. Amen.
2. The wicked man glories in mischief which is a sign of extreme malice: "The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire," ver. 3.
3. He applauds and encourages others in their rapine and spoil, to which they are moved by their covetousness: "He blesseth the covetous," ver. 3.
4. He contemns God and man. 1. MAN. He never thinks of being called to an account: God's "judgments are out of his sight, and he puffs at his enemies." 2. GOD. Him he reverences not: "He will not seek after God; neither is he in all his thoughts," ver. 4, 5.
5. He lives in profane security: "He saith in his heart, I shall never be moved; I shall never be in adversity;" I am elevated beyond the reach of misfortune, ver. 6.
6. He is full of falsehood and deceit: "His mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and fraud." He will not stick at an oath. He will curse himself; and take God to witness in his exactions, that he is doing nothing but what is right, ver. 7.
7. He is cruel. See the 9th and 10th verses, where he is compared to a thief, an archer, an assassin, a lion, &c. He is bad in heart, ver. 6; in tongue, ver. 7; in work, ver. 8, 10: - he is altogether bad.
8. He is a close atheist: "He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten; he hideth his face, and will never see it:" which is the cause of his cruelty, falsehood, security, &c., ver. 11.
III. The THIRD part is a petition to be freed from the wicked man: "Arise, O Lord, lift up thy hand, forget not the humble," ver. 12. To induce God thus to act, he uses two arguments: - 1. That thereby God would assert his own glory. For why should the wicked be suffered thus to blaspheme? "Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it," ver. 13.
2. The second argument is taken from God's nature and work. 1. In punishing wicked men. 2. In defending the helpless. "Surely thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest michief and spite to requite it," &c., ver. 14.
Then he returns to his prayer, and enforces his second argument taken from the justice and office of God:
1. That he would deprive the wicked of his power and strength: "Break thou the arm of the wicked-seek out his wickedness till thou find none," ver. 15. Let none escape-let them appear no more.
2. That he would hear and defend the righteous. Be to thy people what thou hast been in times past. 1. "The Lord is King for ever and ever." 2. He had expelled the Canaanites before them: "The heathen are perished out of the land." 3. "Thou hast heard the desire of the humble," ver. 16, 17.
Upon which he concludes with profession of strong confidence: - 1. "Thou wilt prepare the heart of the humble." 2. "Thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." 1. To the safety of the oppressed: "To judge the fatherless and the poor," ver. 18. 2. To the ruin of the oppressor: "That the man of the earth may no more oppress;" that he may have neither power nor influence left by which he may be a plague to the upright, or a supporter of infidelity, ver. 18.