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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    PSALMS 112

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    PSALM CXII

    The blessedness of the man that fears the Lord, both as it regards himself and his family, 1-3; his conduct to his family, his neighbours, and the poor, 4-9; the envy of the wicked at his prosperity, 10.

    NOTES ON PSALM CXII

    This is another of the acrostic or alphabetical Psalms, under the title Hallelujah. It is formed exactly as the preceding in the division of its verses. It has ten verses in the whole: the first eight contain each two hemistichs, beginning with a consecutive letter of the alphabet; the ninth and tenth verses, three each, making twenty-two in the whole. It is understood to have been written after the captivity, and probably by Zechariah and Haggai: to them it is ascribed by the Vulgate.

    Verse 1. "Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord " - This seems to be the continuation of the preceding Psalm: there it was asserted that the beginning of wisdom was the fear of the Lord; and here the blessedness of the man who thus fears is stated.

    "That delighteth greatly " - It is not enough to fear God, we must also love him: fear will deter us from evil; love will lead us to obedience. And the more a man fears and loves God, the more obedient will he be; till at last he will delight greatly in the commandments of his Maker.

    Verse 2. "His seed shall be mighty " - w[rz zaro, his posterity. So the word should always be understood in this connection.

    Verse 3. "Wealth and riches shall be in his house " - This is often the case: a godly man must save both time and money. Before he was converted he lost much time, and squandered his money. All this he now saves, and therefore wealth and riches must be in his house; and if he do not distribute to the necessities of the poor, they will continue to accumulate till they be his curse; or God will, by his providence, sweep them away.

    Both hqdx tsedakah and dikaiosunh are often used to signify, not only justice and righteousness, but also beneficence and almsgiving; and this is most probably the meaning here. See ver. 9.

    Verse 4. "There ariseth light in the darkness " - The upright are always happy; and when tribulations come, God lifts up the light of his countenance upon him, and causes all occurences to work together for his good.

    "He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. " - He enjoys the favour of God; that grace makes him compassionate; and in the general tenor of his conduct he is righteous. From these principles he shows favour ( ver. 5) to him that needs it; that is, to the real poor he gives of his substance; and others he obliges by lending, they not being utterly in want, but standing in need only of a little present help. But he takes heed to whom he gives and to whom he lends; that in the first case his bounty may be well applied, and in the second he may not oblige the person who only seeks, under the notion of a loan, to appropriate the money borrowed. To prevent evils of this kind he acts prudently, and guides his affairs with discretion, ver. 5.

    Verse 7. "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings " - He knows that God governs the world, therefore he fears not for futurity. And as to the calumnies of men, he fears them not, because his heart is fixed-determined to walk in the path of duty, whatever persecutions he may suffer, for he trusts in the Lord.

    Verse 8. "His heart is established " - wbl wms samuch libbo, "his heart is propped up;" he is buttressed up by the strength of his Maker.

    Verse 9. "He hath dispersed " - He has scattered abroad his munificence; he has given particularly to the poor; his righteousness-his almsgiving, his charity, remaineth for ever. See on ver. 3.

    "His horn " - His power and authority shall be exalted with honour. He shall rise to influence only through his own worth, and not by extortion or flattery.

    Verse 10. "The wicked shall see it " - [r rasha, the wicked one. Some think Satan is meant. It is distinguished from y[r reshaim, wicked men, in the conclusion of the verse.

    "Shall gnash with his teeth " - Through spite and ill will.

    "And melt away " - Through envy and hopeless expectation of similar good; for his desire in reference to himself and in reference to him who is the object of his envy, shall perish- shall come to nothing.

    ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND TWELFTH PSALM

    The psalmist, having put it down for an infallible maxim, in the close of the former Psalm, "that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," in this sets down the felicity of that man who fears God, in several particulars.

    There are two parts in this Psalm: - I. A general proposition, that he is blessed.

    II. An enumeration of particulars in which that blessedness consists, ver. 2-10.

    I. To the first part he prefixes a hallelujah, "praise the Lord," which is the intent and scope of the Psalm; that he be praised for those rewards of piety he bestows on such as fear him.

    He delivers this one general proposition to persuade them to piety: "Blessed is the man," &c., that believes, honours, and serves him.

    For fear a man should mistake, supposing he fears the Lord when he really does not, he adds these three restrictions to his proposition: - 1. "Keep his commandments." An obedient fear.

    2. "He delights in them," &c. Is pleased with their equity, and loves them.

    3. "He delights greatly," &c. It must be a thankful and ready fear, performed with alacrity and earnestness, done with all the heart.

    II. In the rest of the Psalm he insists on what this blessedness consists in: - 1. That the righteous shall have temporal goods, and that they shall be blessings.

    2. That though they shall enjoy them, they are not exempted from crosses, 2 Tim. iii. 12.

    3. That God distributes these temporal blessings not equally, but most profitably for him.

    This being premised, he enumerates the blessings here promised: - 1. "His seed shall be mighty," &c. Which was verified in Abraham and his posterity: "I will show mercy to thousands," &c.

    2. "Wealth and riches," &c. That is, abundance of all things shall be in his house, and remain in it for his just dealing; and contentment preserves his well obtained goods to his posterity.

    3. "Unto the upright there ariseth light," &c. The light of counsel and consolation, in the midst of doubts, tribulations, and afflictions, which the prophet ascribes to God's mercy and goodness.

    4. He hath bowels of compassion, of which he shows two effects:

    1. "A good man showeth favour," &c. Easily forgives an injury. 2.

    Imagines he is not born for himself, but to do good to others.

    5. "He will guide his affairs with discretion." Discern between truth and falsehood; be no accepter of persons, but in all things just and upright.

    6. He is patient and constant. Troubles and dangers may increase; but in the midst of all he looks to heaven, and remains firm in his principles.

    7. "The righteous shall be had," &c. His name is written in the book of life, and it is precious in the Church, such as those of the martyrs; while the wicked are detested, such as Judas, Cain, Pilate. At the last day the one shall have "Come, ye blessed;" the other, "Go, ye cursed." 8. "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings." Scandals may arise; but he remembers "the servant is not above his lord," therefore he bears all patiently, and for these reasons:

    1. "Because hsis heart is fixed," &c.

    He has a sure rock; God will clear his innocency. 2. "His heart is established," &c. He knows God will take care of him.

    9. The ninth felicity to the righteous is, God has given him a charitable heart. 1. "He hath dispersed," acts liberally, that others as well as himself may reap. 2. He does it freely, without looking for any thing again: "He gives." 3. "He hath given to the poor." To those who need his kindness.

    For this liberality he is a great gainer in two respects: - 1. "The good work he hath done," &c. His charity and piety are increased by it.

    2. "His horn," &c. His power, honour, dignity, and glory.

    His last felicity is, 1. "The wicked shall see it," and be grieved at his felicity.

    2. "He shall gnash his teeth" as a mad dog, and seek his ruin.

    3. But shall not be able to harm him: "The desire of the wicked shall perish." He that fears God is a happy man; he that fears him not, most unhappy. Reader, in what state art thou? Happy or unhappy?

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