Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
Ps 10:1-18. The Psalmist mourns God's apparent indifference to his troubles, which are aggravated by the successful malice, blasphemy, pride, deceit, and profanity of the wicked. On the just and discriminating providence of God he relies for the destruction of their false security, and the defense of the needy.
1. These are, of course, figurative terms (compare Ps 7:6; 13:1, &c.).
hidest—Supply "thine eyes" or "face."
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
2. Literally, "In pride of the wicked they (the poor or humble, Ps 10:17; 12:5) shall be taken in the devices they (the proud) have imagined."
For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
3. heart's—or, "soul's."
desire—that is, his success in evil.
and blesseth, &c.—he (the wicked) blesseth the covetous, he despiseth the Lord.
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
4. The face expresses the self-conceit, whose fruit is practical atheism (Ps 14:1).
His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
5, 6. Such is his confidence in the permanence of his way or course of life, that he disregards God's providential government (out of sight, because he will not look, Isa 26:11), sneers at his enemies, and boasts perpetual freedom from evil.
He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
7-10. The malignity and deceit (Ps 140:3) of such are followed by acts combining cunning, fraud, and violence (compare Pr 1:11, 18), aptly illustrated by the habits of the lion, and of hunters taking their prey. "Poor," in Ps 10:8, 10, 14, represents a word peculiar to this Psalm, meaning the sad or sorrowful; in Ps 10:9, as usual, it means the pious or meek sufferer.
He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
8. eyes … privily—He watches with half-closed eyes, appearing not to see.
He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
10. croucheth—as a lion gathers himself into as small compass as possible to make the greater spring.
fall by his strong ones—The figure of the lion is dropped, and this phrase means the accomplices of the chief or leading wicked man.
He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
11. As before, such conduct implies disbelief or disregard of God's government.
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
12. (Compare Ps 9:19; 3:7).
the humble—(Compare Ps 10:17, and Margin.)
lift up thine hand—exert thy power.
Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
13, 14. It is in vain to suppose God will overlook sin, however forbearing; for He carefully examines or beholds all wickedness, and will mark it by His providential (Thine hand) punishment.
Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
14. mischief and spite—provocation and trouble of the sufferer (compare Ps 6:7; 7:14).
committeth—or, "leaves (his burden) on Thee."
Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
till thou find none—So far from not requiting (Ps 10:11, 13), God will utterly destroy the wicked and his deeds (Ps 9:5, 6; 34:16; 37:36).
The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.
16-18. God reigns. The wicked, if for a time successful, shall be cut off. He hears and confirms the hearts of His suffering people (Ps 112:7), executes justice for the feeble, and represses the pride and violence of conceited, though frail, men (compare Ps 9:16).
LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.