Psalm Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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To the chief Musician upon Muth-labben, A Psalm of David.

Muth-labben. Muth-labben is used only here, and its meaning is said by most Hebrew scholars to be “Death of the Son.” At first, such a title seems out of context in relation to the psalm itself, until a deeper meaning is discerned. The psalm is a song of triumph, rather than death, with the wicked destroyed forever (Psalm 9:5), the Lord enduring forever (Psalm 9:7), and the ungodly nations cast into hell (Psalm 9:17). God's Son had been introduced in Psalm 2 as the Messiah, offered in sacrifice and raised from the dead (see notes on Psalm 2:6, 7), and Psalm 9 now glorifies that same mighty victory resulting from the sacrificial death of the Son of God.

Psalm 9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works.

Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psalm 9:3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.

Psalm 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

Psalm 9:5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.

Psalm 9:6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

Psalm 9:7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

Psalm 9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

judge the world in righteousness. Paul apparently refers to this promise in Acts 17:31, referring to the resurrected Christ as the coming Judge.

Psalm 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

hast not forsaken. God has promised never to forsake those who “put their trust” in Him (Hebrews 13:5). Yet He did forsake the only one who was perfectly righteous and had perfect trust in the heavenly Father (Matthew 27:46)! But that was only until the world's sin-debt had been fully paid by His willingness to be made sin and suffer the awful absence—for a time—of His Father. Then, “when He cried unto Him, He heard” (Psalm 22:24).

Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Psalm 9:12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

inquisition. That is, “inquiry.”

Psalm 9:13 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:

liftest me up. When this psalm is seen as a Messianic psalm, this verse becomes a glorious promise of the resurrection of the Son whose death had been engineered by His enemies.

Psalm 9:14 That I may show forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Psalm 9:15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.

Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion Selah

Higgaion. Higgaion is another Hebrew term of uncertain meaning. Combined with “Selah,” the intent is probably to call for exultant meditation of the marvelous truths just revealed.

Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

turned into hell. Not only will the wicked be sent into hell (that is, sheol, there to await the final judgment), but so also all those who may seem relatively upright morally but have ignored God's provision for their salvation. The word “nations” is from the Hebrew word for “heathen” or “Gentiles” (same as rendered “heathen” in Psalm 9:5, 19, and “nations” again in Psalm 9:20.

Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

Psalm 9:19 Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.

Arise, O Lord. This is the second of ten invocations in the Psalms to the Lord to “arise” (the first is at Psalm 3:7 and the last at Psalm 132:8). It answers to the final plea in the New Testament: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)

Psalm 9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah