Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Verse 1. - Praise ye the Lord. Again a "heading," or "introduction" (see the comment on Psalm 111:1). Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord. Connect this with Psalm 111:10. The closing thought of Psalm 111. is taken up and expanded in Psalm 112. That delighteth greatly in his commandments (comp. Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:16, 17, 24, 70, 77, etc.). "True obedience can only come from pleasure in the commandments of God" (Hengstenberg).
His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
Verse 2. - His seed shall be mighty upon earth. The phrase used of Nimrod in Genesis 10:8, but not necessarily to be taken in exactly the same sense; rather as gibor hail in Ruth 2:1 and 1 Samuel 9:1, "wealthy, prosperous." The generation of the upright shall be blessed; i.e., shall receive blessing from the Most High, and shall therefore prosper. To be blessed in one's seed was, under the old covenant, the highest of blessings.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
Verse 3. - Wealth and riches shall be in his house. Bishop Butler has well shown how, in God's moral government of the world, virtue tends to accumulate to itself the good things of this life, and vice to disperse and dissipate them ('Analogy,' pt. 1. Psalm 3; comp. 1 Timothy 4:8). And his righteousness endureth forever. Human goodness - here called "righteousness" is a thing which does not change, since character is formed by habits, and habits are "a second nature."
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Verse 4. - Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. God's Word is "a lantern unto their feet, and a light unto their paths" (Psalm 119:105) - sufficient under most circumstances to guide their steps aright. When this is not enough, he vouchsafes an inward light to them (Psalm 27:1; Psalm 36:9; Isaiah 58:10; Isaiah 49:6, etc.). He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. It is a very forced interpretation to understand this as said of Jehovah. The entire subject of the psalm is the righteous, God-like man. In him are reflected shadows of all the Divine qualities.
A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
Verse 5. - A good man showeth favor, and lendeth; rather, well is it with the man that showeth, etc. The verse is exegetical of the latter clause of ver. 4, and shows how the righteous man's compassion works. It makes him "show favor," or "kindness," to men generally, and "lend" to those who are in necessity (comp. Psalm 37:26; and for the duty of lending to the needy, see Deuteronomy 15:8, 11). He will guide his affairs with discretion; rather, perhaps, with equity. Scarcely, as Professor Cheyne suggests, "in courts of justice."
Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
Verse 6. - Surely he shall not be moved forever. God's blessing shall abide with him, and make his happiness sure and stable. (On stability as a necessary element in happiness, see Aristotle, 'Eth. Nic.,' 1. 10. § 7, 8.) The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance; i.e. everlastingly remembered by God.
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
Verse 7. - He shall not be afraid of evil tidings. Confident in God's goodness to wards him, he will not anticipate misfortunes. They may come, as even the best man is not exempt from them; but he will not meet them half-way. His heart is fixed; i.e. firmly established (see ver. 8) - settled on a sure basis - trusting in the Lord - the one basis that is solid and immovable.
His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
Verse 8. - His heart is established. Almost a repetition of the phrase in ver. 7, "his heart is fixed" - seemingly, therefore, superfluous, but really emphasizing the point, which is of great moment (see the comment of Hengstenberg, and compare the "just man" of Horace, 'Od.,' 3:3, 2. 1-8). He shall not be afraid. "Perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18). He who feels himself always and altogether in the hands of a loving Father cannot be afraid of what is about to befall him. Until he see his desire upon his enemies. He knows that his enemies have no real power to harm him, and that ultimately he will "see his desire upon them;" i.e. will triumph over them (see Psalm 54:7; Psalm 59:10, etc.).
He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
Verse 9. - He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor. There is no virtue in mere "dispersing," since spendthrifts" disperse" even more lavishly than virtuous men. The only laudable "dispersing" is that which has for its object the relief of distress, and which (it may be added) is wisely directed to that object. His righteousness endureth forever (see the comment on ver. 3). His horn shall be exalted with honor. The esteem of men, on the whole, follows upon goodness, and the righteous obtain more honor than others.
The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.
Verse 10. - The wicked shall see it, and be grieved. The wicked hate the righteous (Psalm 105:25), and are naturally "grieved" to see them prosper. "When shall he die, and his name perish?" is the thought of their heart against the godly man. He shall gnash with his teeth (comp. Job 16:9; Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12; Lamentations 2:16: Acts 7:54). Civilization represses these emotional displays, but the feeling remains nevertheless. And melt away; or, "consume away" - "waste away" - through envy and hate. The desire of the wicked shall perish (comp. Psalm 1:6). "The desire of the wicked" - that which they earnestly long for, which is the downfall and destruction of the righteous - does not come to pass, but falls to the ground, "perishes," comes to naught.