Psalm 14:6
Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
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(6) Counsel.—This confidence, this piety, this appeal addressed to the supreme Protector, is in this verse called the “counsel,” the “plan” of the sufferer, and the poet asks, “Would ye then make the sufferer blush for such a thought?” “No, for Jehovah is his refuge.” The Authorised Version has here missed the sense by rendering in the past tense.

Psalm 14:6. You have shamed the counsel of the poor — Ye have desired and endeavoured to bring to shame, or to disappoint, the course which the godly poor man takes, and the resolution which he adopts, which is to trust in God, call upon his name, and proceed on in his way, which is a course and counsel very different from yours. Or, ye have reproached, or derided his counsel, as a foolish thing. Be cause the Lord is his refuge — This was the ground of their contempt and scorn, that the godly man lived by faith in God’s promise and providence. Or, but the Lord, &c. You reproach them, but God will own and protect them, and justify their counsel, which you deride.

14:1-7 A description of the depravity of human nature, and the deplorable corruption of a great part of mankind. - The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. The sinner here described is an atheist, one that saith there is no Judge or Governor of the world, no Providence ruling over the affairs of men. He says this in his heart. He cannot satisfy himself that there is none, but wishes there were none, and pleases himself that it is possible there may be none; he is willing to think there is none. This sinner is a fool; he is simple and unwise, and this is evidence of it: he is wicked and profane, and this is the cause. The word of God is a discerner of these thoughts. No man will say, There is no God, till he is so hardened in sin, that it is become his interest that there should be none to call him to an account. The disease of sin has infected the whole race of mankind. They are all gone aside, there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Whatever good is in any of the children of men, or is done by them, it is not of themselves, it is God's work in them. They are gone aside from the right way of their duty, the way that leads to happiness, and are turned into the paths of the destroyer. Let us lament the corruption of our nature, and see what need we have of the grace of God: let us not marvel that we are told we must be born again. And we must not rest in any thing short of union with Christ, and a new creation to holiness by his Spirit. The psalmist endeavours to convince sinners of the evil and danger of their way, while they think themselves very wise, and good, and safe. Their wickedness is described. Those that care not for God's people, for God's poor, care not for God himself. People run into all manner of wickedness, because they do not call upon God for his grace. What good can be expected from those that live without prayer? But those that will not fear God, may be made to fear at the shaking of a leaf. All our knowledge of the depravity of human nature should endear to us salvation out of Zion. But in heaven alone shall the whole company of the redeemed rejoice fully, and for evermore. The world is bad; oh that the Messiah would come and change its character! There is universal corruption; oh for the times of reformation! The triumphs of Zion's King will be the joys of Zion's children. The second coming of Christ, finally to do away the dominion of sin and Satan, will be the completing of this salvation, which is the hope, and will be the joy of every Israelite indeed. With this assurance we should comfort ourselves and one another, under the sins of sinners and sufferings of saints.Ye have shamed - The address here is made directly to the wicked themselves, to show them the baseness of their own conduct, and, perhaps, in connection with the previous verse, to show them what occasion they had for fear. The idea in the verse seems to be, that as God was the protector of the "poor" who had come to him for "refuge," and as they had "shamed the counsel of the poor" who had done this, they had real occasion for alarm. The phrase "ye have shamed" seems to mean that they had "despised" it, or had treated it with derision, that is, they had laughed at, or had mocked the purpose of the poor in putting their trust in Yahweh.

The counsel - The purpose, the plan, the act - of the poor; that is, in putting their trust in the Lord. They had derided this as vain and foolish, since they maintained that there was no God Psalm 14:1. They therefore regarded such an act as mere illusion.

The poor - The righteous, considered as poor, or as afflicted. The word here rendered "poor" - עני ‛ânı̂y - means more properly, afflicted, distressed, needy. It is often rendered "afflicted," Job 34:28; Psalm 18:27; Psalm 22:24; Psalm 25:16; Psalm 82:3; et al. in Psalm 9:12; Psalm 10:12 it is rendered "humble." The common rendering, however, is "poor," but it refers properly to the righteous, with the idea that they are afflicted, needy, and in humble circumstances. This is the idea here. The wicked had derided those who, in circumstances of poverty, depression, want, trial, had no other resource, and who had sought their comfort in God. These reproaches tended to take away their last consolation, and to cover them with confusion; it was proper, therefore, that they who had done this should be overwhelmed with fear. If there is anything which deserves punishment it is the act which would take away from the world the last hope of the wretched - "that there is a God."

Because the Lord is his refuge - He has made the Lord his refuge. In his poverty, affliction, and trouble, he has come to God, and put his trust in him. This source of comfort, the doctrine of the wicked - that there "was no God" - tended to destroy. Atheism cuts off every hope of man, and leaves the wretched to despair. It would put out the last light that gleams on the earth, and cover the world with total and eternal night.

4-6. Their conduct evinces indifference rather than ignorance of God; for when He appears in judgment, they are stricken with great fear.

who eat up my people—to express their beastly fury (Pr 30:14; Hab 3:14). To "call on the Lord" is to worship Him.

6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.

Notwithstanding their real cowardice, the wicked put on the lion's skin and lord it over the Lord's poor ones. Though fools themselves, they mock at the truly wise as if the folly were on their side; but this is what might be expected, for how should brutish minds appreciate excellence, and how can those who have owl's eyes admire the sun? The special point and butt of their jest seems to be the confidence of the godly in their Lord. What can your God do for you now? Who is that God who can deliver out of our hand? Where is the reward of all your praying and beseeching? Taunting questions of this sort they thrust into the faces of weak but gracious souls, and tempt them to feel ashamed of their refuge. Let us not be laughed out of our confidence by them, let us scorn their scorning and defy their jeers; we shall need to wait but a little, and then the Lord our refuge will avenge his own elect and ease himself of his adversaries, who once made so light of him and of his people.

Shamed, i.e. desired and endeavoured to bring it to shame, or disappoint it. Compare Psalm 6:10. Or, ye have reproached or derided it, as a foolish thing.

The counsel of the poor, i.e. the cause which he hath taken to defend himself, which is not by lying, and, flattery, and violence, and all manner of wickedness, which is your counsel and usual practice, but by trusting in God, and keeping his way, and calling upon his name.

Because; this was the ground of their contempt and scorn, that he lived by faith in God’s promise and providence. Or, but, as in the foregoing verse. So there seems to be an elegant and fit opposition. You reproach them, but God will own and protect them, and justify their counsel which you deride.

You have shamed the counsel of the poor,.... The poor saints, the Lord's people, the generation of the righteous, who are generally the poor of this world; poor in spirit, and an afflicted people: and the counsel of them intends not the counsel which they give to others, but the counsel which they receive from the Lord, from the Spirit of counsel, which rests upon them, and with which they are guided; and this is to trust in the Lord, and to make him their refuge; and which is good advice, the best of counsel. Happy and safe are they that take it! But this is derided by wicked and ungodly men; they mock at the poor saints for it, and endeavour to shame them out of it; but hope makes not ashamed; see Psalm 22:7;

because the Lord is his refuge: he betakes himself to him when all others fail; and finds him to be a refuge from the storm of impending calamities, and from all enemies.

Ye have {e} shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

(e) You mock them who put their trust in God.

6. You have shamed] R.V., Ye put to shame. You deride the resort of the afflicted to Jehovah as mere folly. But the word usually means to frustrate or confound: and the line maybe explained, ‘Would ye frustrate the counsel of the poor! Nay! for Jehovah’ &c. Cp. R.V. marg., which gives But for Because.

the poor] Or, afflicted. Cp. Psalm 9:12 : and Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:17; Exodus 4:31.

In Psalms 53 the equivalent of Psalm 14:5-6 reads thus:

“For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee;

Thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them.”

The bones of Israel’s enemies lie bleaching upon the field of battle, where their bodies were left unburied (Ezekiel 6:5). This can hardly be an anticipation of some future defeat. It must rather be an allusion to some historic event; and it at once suggests the miraculous annihilation of Sennacherib’s great army. The text appears to have been altered by the editor of Book II to introduce a reference to the most famous example in later times of the discomfiture of worldly arrogance venturing to measure its strength with Jehovah. With this reading it is clear that Psalm 14:4 must refer to the nation and its enemies, not to oppressors and their victims within the nation.

Verse 6. - Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his Refuge. The sense is obscure. Some translate, "Ye may shame the counsel of the poor (i.e. put it to shame, baffle it); but in vain; for the poor have a sure Refuge," and the ultimate triumph will belong to them. Others, "Ye pour contempt on the poor man's counsel," or "resolve," because "the Lord is his Refuge;" i.e. ye contemn it, and deride it, just because it rests wholly on a belief in God, which you regard as folly (see ver. 1). Psalm 14:6The psalmist himself meets the oppressed full of joyous confidence, by reason of the self-manifestation of God in judgment, of which he is now become so confident and which so fills him with comfort. Instead of the sixth tristich, which we expected, we have another distich. The Hiph. הבישׁ with a personal object signifies: to put any one to shame, i.e., to bring it about that any one must be ashamed, e.g., Psalm 44:8 (cf. Psalm 53:6, where the accusative of the person has to be supplied), or absolutely: to act shamefully, as in the phrase used in Proverbs, בּן מיבישׁ (a prodigal son). It appears only here with a neuter accusative of the object, not in the signification to defame (Hitz.), - a meaning it never has (not even in Proverbs 13:5, where it is blended with הבאישׁ to make stinking, i.e., a reproach, Genesis 34:30) - but to confound, put to shame equals to frustrate (Hupf.), which is at once the most natural meaning in connection with עצת. But it is not to be rendered: ye put to shame, because..., for to what purpose is this statement with this inapplicable reason in support of it? The fut. תּבישׁוּ is used with a like shade of meaning as in Leviticus 19:17, and the imperative elsewhere; and כּי gives the reason for the tacitly implied clause, or if a line is really lost from the strophe, the lost clause (cf. Isaiah 8:9.): ye will not accomplish it. עצה is whatsoever the pious man, who as such suffers reproach, plans to do for the glory of his God, or even in accordance with the will of his God. All this the children of the world, who are in possession of worldly power, seek to frustrate; but viewed in the light of the final decision their attempt is futile: Jahve is his refuge, or, literally the place whither he flees to hide himself and finds a hiding or concealment (צל, Arab. dall, סתר, Arab. sitr, Arabic also drâ). מחסּהוּ has an orthophonic Dag., which obviates the necessity for the reading מחסּהוּ (cf. תּעלּים Psalm 10:1, טעמּו Psalm 34:1, לאסּר Psalm 105:22, and similar instances).
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