Psalm 94:9
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
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94:1-11 We may with boldness appeal to God; for he is the almighty Judge by whom every man is judged. Let this encourage those who suffer wrong, to bear it with silence, committing themselves to Him who judges righteously. These prayers are prophecies, which speak terror to the sons of violence. There will come a day of reckoning for all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against God, his truths, and ways, and people. It would hardly be believed, if we did not witness it, that millions of rational creatures should live, move, speak, hear, understand, and do what they purpose, yet act as if they believed that God would not punish the abuse of his gifts. As all knowledge is from God, no doubt he knows all the thoughts of the children of men, and knows that the imaginations of the thoughts of men's hearts are only evil, and that continually. Even in good thoughts there is a want of being fixed, which may be called vanity. It concerns us to keep a strict watch over our thoughts, because God takes particular notice of them. Thoughts are words to God.He that planted the ear - He that made the ear. The word here used in the original is a participle. "Shall not he planting the ear;" that is, the "planter" of the ear. The idea seems to have been taken from the act of making a "hole" in the ground when we set out a plant - as if, in like manner, a "hole" had been made in the side of the head to insert the ear.

Shall he not hear? - He could not have created the faculty of hearing, without possessing it himself. Or, it is reasonable to suppose that he who has made man capable of hearing, must be able to hear himself. We have nothing in our nature which is not possessed in an infinitely higher measure by God.

He that formed the eye - This, too, is a participle: "He forming the eye;" that is, the Former of the eye. The word used here is frequently employed in reference to a "potter;" and the idea is that God has moulded or formed the eye as the potter fashions the clay. The more the eye is studied in its structure, the more deeply shall we be impressed with the wonderful skill and wisdom of God. See this beautifully illustrated in Paley's Natural Theology.

Shall he not see? - He that made the eye to see must himself be able to see. He must see all that the eye itself can see; he must see all that all eyes see; he must have the power of sight far beyond what there is in the mere organ which he has made.

9-11. The evidence of God's providential government is found in His creative power and omniscience, which also assure us that He can punish the wicked in regard to all their vain purposes. Planted: the word is very emphatical, signifying the excellent structure of the ear, or the several organs or instruments belonging to the sense of hearing, and the exact position and firm settlement of all those parts in their proper places; which is justly admired by all that understand it.

Shall he not hear? he must necessarily hear. The truth of the inference depends upon that evident and undeniable principle in reason, that nothing can give to another that which it hath not either formally or more eminently in itself, and that no effect can exceed the virtue of its cause.

Formed; by which word he seems to intimate the accurate and most curious workmanship of the eye, which is observed by all that write upon that subject.

He that planted the ear,.... In the human body, with so much art and skill, in so convenient a place, so capacious of receiving sounds, and fitted it with organs suited for such a purpose:

shall he not hear? the atheism spoke in the heart, in the actions and by the mouths of such blasphemers of him; the hard speeches spoken against his Son, his person and offices; and against his Spirit, his being, and operations; and against his people, the saints of the most High; in short, all those blasphemies and evil speakings of God, of his tabernacle, and those that dwell therein: it would be monstrous stupidity to imagine, that that God, that communicates a faculty of hearing to his creatures, should not hear himself; for none can give that which they have not:

he that formed the eye: in so curious a manner, with such exquisite parts; with such fine humours, nerves, and tunics; so adapted to receive all objects, and take the impress of them in so wonderful a manner:

shall he not see? all persons and things, all the ways and actions of men; certainly he must: clouds, rocks, and hills, are no obstruction to him; the darkness and the light are both alike to him; his eyes are everywhere, and all things are naked and open before him: it is the height of madness and folly to think that that God cannot see what men are doing here below, who has given to men eyes to see the heavens above, and all their host; and in this so small a compass to take in the sight of the largest mountains, as well as the most minute things: since the seeing eye, and the hearing ear, are both from the Lord, it may be most strongly concluded that he hears all that is said, and sees all that is done, against him and his people; see Proverbs 20:12. A Heathen (c) could say,

"truly there is a God, who hears and sees all that we do.''

(c) Plauti Capteivei, Acts 2. Sc. 2. v. 63.

He that {f} planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

(f) He shows that it is impossible, but God should hear, see, and understand their wickedness.

9. It is absurd to suppose that the Creator of the organs of sense does not Himself possess faculties corresponding to them.

Verse 9. - He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? This argument for a real, personal, intelligent God appears here, for the first time. It is of irresistible force. "Can it be possible that God, who planned and made the curious mechanism of hearing and vision, is himself without those faculties, or something analogous to them? Must he not hear those cries, and see those outrages, which men, who are his creatures, see and hear? Is it conceivable that he can be an unobservant and apathetic God?" (Cheyne). Psalm 94:9The third strophe now turns from those bloodthirsty, blasphemous oppressors of the people of God whose conduct calls forth the vengeance of Jahve, to those among the people themselves, who have been puzzled about the omniscience and indirectly about the righteousness of God by the fact that this vengeance is delayed. They are called בערים and כסילים in the sense of Psalm 73:21. Those hitherto described against whom God's vengeance is supplicated are this also; but this appellation would be too one-sided for them, and בּעם refers the address expressly to a class of men among the people whom those oppress and slay. It is absurd that God, the planter of the ear (הנּטע, like שׁסע in Leviticus 11:7, with an accented ultima, because the praet. Kal does not follow the rule for the drawing back of the accent called נסוג אחור) and the former of the eye (cf. Psalm 40:7; Exodus 4:11), should not be able to hear and to see; everything that is excellent in the creature, God must indeed possess in original, absolute perfection.

(Note: The questions are not: ought He to have no ear, etc.; as Jerome pertinently observes in opposition to the anthropomorphites, membra tulit, efficientias dedit.)

The poet then points to the extra-Israelitish world and calls God יסר גּוים, which cannot be made to refer to a warning by means of the voice of conscience; יסר used thus without any closer definition does not signify "warning," but "chastening" (Proverbs 9:7). Taking his stand upon facts like those in Job 12:23, the poet assumes the punitive judicial rule of God among the heathen to be an undeniable fact, and presents for consideration the question, whether He who chasteneth nations cannot and will not also punish the oppressors of His church (cf. Genesis 18:25), He who teacheth men knowledge, i.e., He who nevertheless must be the omnipotent One, since all knowledge comes originally from Him? Jahve - thus does the course of argument close in Psalm 94:11 - sees through (ידע of penetrative perceiving or knowing that goes to the very root of a matter) the thoughts of men that they are vanity. Thus it is to be interpreted, and not: for they (men) are vanity; for this ought to have been כּי הבל המּה, whereas in the dependent clause, when the predicate is not intended to be rendered especially prominent, as in Psalm 9:21, the pronominal subject may precede, Isaiah 61:9; Jeremiah 46:5 (Hitzig). The rendering of the lxx (1 Corinthians 3:20), ὅτι εἰσὶ μάταιοι (Jerome, quoniam vanae sunt), is therefore correct; המּה, with the customary want of exactness, stands for הנּה. It is true men themselves are הבל; it is not, however, on this account that He who sees through all things sees through their thoughts, but He sees through them in their sinful vanity.

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