Verse 12. "There are the workers of iniquity fallen " - THERE, in Babylon, are the workers of iniquity fallen, and so cast down that they shall not be able to rise. A prophecy of the destruction of the Babylonish empire by Cyrus. That it was destroyed, is an historical fact; that they were never able to recover their liberty, is also a fact; and that Babylon itself is now blotted out of the map of the universe, so that the site of it is no longer known, is confirmed by every traveler who has passed over those regions.
The word µ sham, THERE, has been applied by many of the fathers to the pride spoken of in the preceding verse. There, in or by pride, says Augustine, do all sinners perish. There, in heaven, have the evil angels fallen through pride, says St. Jerome. There, in paradise, have our first parents fallen, through pride and disobedience. There, in hell, have the proud and disobedient angels been precipitated. - Eusebius, &c. THERE, by pride, have the persecutors brought God's judgments upon themselves. See Calmet. But the first interpretation is the best.
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-SIXTH PSALM
The object of this Psalms is to implore God, out of his goodness, that he would deliver the upright from the pride and malice of the wicked.
I. The psalmist sets down the character of a wicked man, and his fearful state, ver. 1-5.
II. He makes a narrative in commendation of God's mercy, ver. 6-10.
III. He prays for a continuance of God's goodness to his people, petitions against his proud enemy, and exults at his fall, ver. 10-12.
I. The character of a wicked man: - 1. "There is no fear of God before his eyes;" and from this, as an evil root, all the other evils spring: and thus he enters on an induction of particulars.
2. "He flattereth himself in his own eyes." A great sin, in his eyes, is no sin: vice is virtue; falsehood, truth.
3. In this he continues, "until his iniquity be found to be hateful-"- till God, by some heavy judgment, has passed his sentence against it.
4. He is full of hypocrisy and deceit; "the words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit;" he gives goodly words, but evil is in his heart.
5. He has renounced all wisdom and goodness: "He hath left off to be wise, and to do good." 6. He enters deliberately and coolly into evil plans and designs:
1. "He deviseth mischief upon his bed." 2. "He sets himself (of firm purpose) in the way that is not good. 3. "He abhors not evil." He invents wickedness; he labours to perfect it; yea, though it be of the deepest stain, he abhors it not.
II. How comes it that such wicked men are permitted to live? How is it that God can bear patiently with such workers of iniquity? The psalmist answers this question by pointing out God's mercy, from which this long-suffering proceeds; which he considers in a twofold point of view:
1. Absolute and general, extending to all. 2. Particular, which is exhibited to the faithful only.
1. General. God is good to all; which is seen in his bountifulness, fidelity, justice; and in his preservation of all things:
1. "Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens." Thou preservest them. Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. They water the earth, as thou hast promised. 3. "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." Immovable. 4. "Thy judgments are a great deep." Unsearchable, and past finding out. 5. "Thou Lord, preservest man and beast." In thee we live, move, and have our being.
2. In particular. He is especially careful of his followers. The providence by which he sustains them is, 1. A precious thing: "O, how excellent (quam pretiosa) how precious is thy loving-kindness, O Lord!" The operation of which, in behalf of the faithful, is hope, confidence, and comfort in distress: "Therefore the children of men shall put their trust under the shadow," &c. 2. The effects of this, the plenty of all good things prepared for them:
1. "They shall be abundantly satisfied with the goodness of thy house." 2. "Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures." To which he adds the cause: "For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light we shall see light."
III. He concludes with a prayer, 1. For all God's people. 2. For himself.
1. He prays that this excellent and precious mercy may light on all those who serve God sincerely: "O continue thy loving- kindness to them that know thee." 2. He prays for himself; that he may be defended from the pride and violence of wicked men: "Let not the foot of pride come against me; and let not the hand of the wicked remove me." 3. Lastly, he closes all with this exultation: "There are the workers of iniquity fallen! " There, when they promised themselves peace and security, and said, Tush! no harm shall happen to us; there and then are they fallen: "They are cast down, and shall not be able to rise."