The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The eyes.—A verse quoted in 1Peter 3:12. (See New Testament Commentary). This psalm had a deep hold on the national mind. With the expression, “his ears to their cry,” we may compare the phrase, “to have a person's ear.”Psalm 34:15-16. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous — This is added to show that the practice of these duties (Psalm 34:13-14) is the true and best, and, indeed, the only way to see that good proposed and promised; both because such righteous persons, howsoever they may meet with affronts and injuries from men, are under the special care of God, signified in this verse, and those who do the evils there forbidden shall find, to their cost, that God is their enemy, Psalm 34:16. The face of the Lord — That is, his anger, often called his face, because anger discovers itself in a person’s face; is against them that do evil — That commit known sin in any instances, especially in those above mentioned. To cut off the remembrance of them, &c. — Utterly to root them out and destroy them, and so to deprive both them and their children of that worldly happiness, which is the only thing that they desire, and seek by their wicked courses.Job 36:7.
And his ears are open unto their cry - That is, when in trouble and in danger. He will hear them, and will deliver them. All this seems to be stated as the result of the experience of the psalmist himself; He had found that the eyes of God had been upon him in his dangers, and that His ears had been open when he called upon Him Psalm 34:6; and now, from his own experience, he assures others that the way to secure life and to find prosperity is to pursue such a course as will ensure the favor and protection of God. The general thought is, that virtue and religion - the love of truth, and the love of peace - the favor and friendship of God, will tend to lengthen out life, and to make it prosperous and happy. All the statements in the Bible concur in this, and all the experience of man goes to confirm it.
16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles,
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous." He observes them with approval and tender consideration; they are so dear to him that he cannot take his eyes off them; he watches each one of them as carefully and intently as if there were only that one creature in the universe. "His ears are open unto their cry." His eyes and ears are thus both turned by the Lord towards his saints; his whole mind is occupied about them: if slighted by all others they are not neglected by him. Their cry he hears at once, even as a mother is sure to hear her sick babe; the cry may be broken, plaintive, unhappy, feeble, unbelieving, yet the Father's quick ear catches each note of lament or appeal, and he is not slow to answer his children's voice.
"The face of the Lord is against them that do evil." God is not indifferent to the deeds of sinners, but he sets his face against them, as we say, being determined that they shall have no countenance and support, but shall be thwarted and defeated. He is determinately resolved that the ungodly shall not prosper; he sets himself with all his might to overthrow them. "To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth." He will stamp out their fires, their honour shall be turned into shame, their names forgotten or accursed. Utter destruction shall be the lot of all the ungodly.
"The righteous cry." Like Israel in Egypt, they cry out under the heavy yoke of oppression, both of sin, temptation, care and grief. "And the Lord heareth;" he is like the night-watchman, who no sooner hears the alarm-bell than he flies to relieve those who need him. "And delivereth them out of all their troubles." No net of trouble can so hold us that the Lord cannot free us. Our afflictions may be numerous and complicated, but prayer can set us free from them all, for the Lord will show himself strong on our behalf.
continued...Psalm 34:13,14, is the true and best, and indeed the only, way to see that good proposed and promised Psalm 34:12; both because such righteous persons, howsoever they may meet with affronts and injuries from men, are under the special care and favour of God, in this verse; and those who do the evils there forbidden shall find to their cost that God is their enemy, Psalm 34:16. Job 36:7;
and his ears are open unto their cry; for though they are righteous, they are sometimes in distress; their afflictions are many; the good days they are to see are hereafter; and at those times they cry unto the Lord; which is to be understood of prayer, and of the vehemency and fervency of it, when they have the ear of God, and he shows himself to be a God hearing and answering prayer.The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. With the first line cp. Psalm 33:18. More literally, toward the righteous, as R.V. renders here but not there, though the prepositions are the same.
his ears &c.] Lit., his cars are toward their cry for help: cp. my cry for help was in his ears (Psalm 18:6).Verse 15. - The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (comp. Job 36:7; Psalm 33:18; 1 Peter 3:12; and see the comment on Psalm 33:18). And his ears are open unto their cry. The specific statement of ver. 6 is now generalized. What God had done in the case of the psalmist, he will do in all other similar cases. His eyes will be open to his people's needs, and his ears attent unto their prayers (2 Chronicles 6:40). Joshua 5:14), and consequently is accompanied by a host of inferior ministering angels; or insofar as He can, as being a spirit not limited by space, furnish protection that covers them on every side. חנה (cf. Zechariah 9:8) is perhaps an allusion to מחנים in Genesis 32:2., that angel-camp which joined itself to Jacob's camp, and surrounded it like a barricade or carrago. On the fut. consec. ויחלּצם, et expedit eos, as a simple expression of the sequence, or even only of a weak or loose internal connection, vid., Ewald, 343, a. By reason of this protection by the Angel of God arises (Psalm 34:9) the summons to test the graciousness of God in their own experience. Tasting (γεύσαστηαι, Hebrews 6:4., 1 Peter 2:3) stands before seeing; for spiritual experience leads to spiritual perception or knowledge, and not vice versa. Nisi gustaveris, says Bernard, non videbis. David is desirous that others also should experience what he has experienced in order that they may come to know what he has come to know, viz., the goodness of God.
Hence, in Psalm 34:10, the call to the saints to fear Jahve (יראוּ instead of יראוּ, in order to preserve the distinction between veremini and videbunt, as in Joshua 24:14; 1 Samuel 12:24); for whoso fears Him, possesses everything in Him. The young mature lions may sooner lack and suffer hunger, because they have no prey, than that he should suffer any want whatsoever, the goal of whose striving is fellowship with God. The verb רוּשׁ (to lack, be poor, once by metaplasm ירשׁ, 1 Samuel 2:7, root רשׁ, to be or to make loose, lax), elsewhere used only of men, is here, like Psalm 104:21 בּקּשׁ מאל, transferred to the lions, without כּפירים being intended to refer emblematically (as in Psalm 35:17; Psalm 57:5; Psalm 17:12) to his powerful foes at the courts of Saul and of Achish.
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