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Psalm 9

Psalm 9 Summary. David Praises Yahweh, the King and Judge

Theme

Praise the LORD, who rules forever, vindicates his people, judges the world righteously, and is a stronghold for those who trust him; and pray that the LORD show grace to the hated and afflicted, and will judge the wicked.

Summary

David will thank, tell about, exult, and sing praise to Yahweh most high God—who always judges righteously—because the LORD completely defeated his enemies and defended his cause (Psalm 9.1-6). The LORD rules forever. Since he rules all, he will judge the world, be a stronghold for the oppressed, those who know his name will trust him, and he does not forsake those who seek him (Psalm 9.7-10). The psalmist continues with the call to praise Yahweh and recount his deeds while also requesting grace for himself so he may praise Yahweh in Zion (Psalm 9.11-14).  The psalmist confidently proclaims that the nations do reap the consequences of their own evil and that the LORD directly judges them—the wicked will die, while Yahweh will remember the needy and afflicted. He concludes with a call to Yahweh to judge the nations, make them fear Yahweh, and to know they are mere men (Psalm 9.15-20).

Note that verses 1-6 are personal, verses 7-12 are general, verses 13-14 are personal, verses 15-20 are general. This is an irregular alphabetic psalm.

Outline

  1. Psalm 9.1-6. David will thank, tell about, exult, and sing praise to Yahweh most high God—who always judges righteously—because the LORD completely defeated his enemies and defended his cause.
  2. Psalm 9.7-10. The LORD rules forever: he will judge the world, be a stronghold for the oppressed, those who know his name will trust him, and he does not forsake those who seek him.
  3. Psalm 9.11-14. The psalmist continues with the call to praise Yahweh and declare his deeds, and requests grace for himself so he may praise the LORD in Zion.
  4. Psalm 9.15-20. The psalmist confidently proclaims that the nations do reap the consequences of their own evil and that the LORD directly judges them—the wicked will die, while Yahweh will remember the needy and afflicted. He concludes with a call to Yahweh to judge the nations, make them fear Yahweh, and to know they are mere men.

Verse summary

  1. Psalm 9.1-6. David will thank, tell about, exult, and sing praise to Yahweh most high God—who always judges righteously—because the LORD completely defeated his enemies and defended his cause.
    1. Psalm 9.1-2. The psalmist wrote five verbs that express his faith, tell what he will do, and name objects of his faith: thank, tell, be glad, exult, sing praise. All express his resolve (Hebrew cohortatives which express first person resolve).
    2. Psalm 9.3-6. The reason for David’s confident and joyful praise to Yahweh—Yahweh Most High has defeated the enemy and vindicated David. The LORD, Yahweh, is the righteous judge of individuals and nations. As such he judged on behalf of David, “you sat on the throne judging righteously.” Note the actions of the LORD against the enemies: You rebuked, you destroyed, you blotted out. This is total victory. Psalm 9.6 gives the result of God’s judgment. Total victory for Yahweh.
  2. Psalm 9.7-10. The LORD rules forever: he will judge the world, be a stronghold for the oppressed, those who know his name will trust him, and he does not forsake those who seek him.
    1. Psalm 9.7. The LORD sits as king forever; He established his throne for judgment. The one whom David praises is not a temporary king. He lives and rules forever, and as king he hands out justice. As long as he is king, we can expect justice from him (מִשְׁפָּט mishpat, legal decision, justice). What he always decides is right and fair.
    2. Psalm 9.8. Verse 8 gives his position and authority. Verse 9 states what he will do with his kingship. Whenever he judges, it will be righteous judgment—fair and just to both the righteous and unrighteous people.. With equity means fairly (מֵישָׁרִים mesharim, with justice, straightness, uprightness). Whomever the LORD judges, we can count on it being right and just.
    3. Psalm 9.9. Because of his nature (righteous, omnipotence, sovereign, love, etc.) he will be a stronghold for those oppressed by the wicked (Psalm 10.18, דַּךְ dak, oppressed, miserable). A stronghold is a high place or place of protection like rocks. Yahweh is the one to whom we go for protection (Isaiah 33.16; 2 Samuel 22.3).
    4. Psalm 9.10. Now the statement that those who know Yahweh will trust (בָּטַח batach, trust) him in troubled times. Note the relation between knowing his name and trusting him. His name stands for his person. And the LORD is committed to hear and help those who seek him. He will not forsake them. The word forsake is עָזַב ‘azab (to abandon, leave behind). Many doctrines come together here: divine attributes, faith and rest, Relationship with God, God’s grace, security in our relationship with God, and knowing what God has done in history for his people. This then reminds us to know and apply the doctrines of the Bible.
  3. Psalm 9.11-14. The psalmist continues with the call to praise Yahweh and declare his deeds, and requests grace for himself so he may praise the LORD in Zion.
    1. Psalm 9.11-12. Now the call to praise (זמר zamar piel imperative plural, to sing praise or praise) the LORD and to declare (also an imperative meaning to announce, to tell) his deeds. The psalmist thinks it is most important for the LORD’s people to praise Yahweh who delivers and avenges them (requires blood). Zion is the mountain where Jerusalem is. It indicates that the LORD lives among his people. This praise tells about Yahweh’s great deeds of rescuing his people who are attacked and oppressed.
    2. Psalm 9.13. David now makes a personal plea that the LORD, who rescues him from death, will be gracious to him (חָנַן chanan qal imperative) and see (רָאָה ra’ah, qal imperative) the great trouble he is in. The gates of death picture the entrance to death.  Hatred against David has caused the attacks against him. Hatred, a mental sin, motivates all kinds of evil (Psalm 25.19; 118.7; Proverbs 10.12).
    3. Psalm 9.14. David has a purpose beyond his own survival. He wants to recount the LORD’S great deliverance at the gates of the city of Jerusalem. He is rescued from the gates of death so he may praise Yahweh at the gates of Zion.
  4. 4.    Psalm 9.15-20. The psalmist confidently proclaims that the nations do reap the consequences of their own evil and that the LORD directly judges them—the wicked will die, while Yahweh will remember the needy and afflicted. He concludes with a call to Yahweh to judge the nations, make them fear Yahweh, and to know they are mere men.
    1. Psalm 9.15. This seems to be David’s confidence. The nations are judged by their own plans. The pit and net are devices used to trap animals. The wicked are caught in their own trap. The verbs “sunk down” and “caught” are perfect tenses, probably as prophetic perfects for the confidence that it will happen. This fits better with David’s plea of verses 13-14 and 17, though he could be referring to past events. The point is that the enemies are destroyed by their own plans. The same happened to Haman in the book of Esther.
    2. Psalm 9.16. The LORD through judgment on the enemies of David made himself known. The LORD demonstrates that he will judge the wicked and rescue the righteous. Here David makes a general statement from his own experience.
    3. Psalm 9.17. The wicked—those who forget God—end up in death. “They return to Sheol” may also mean they go where their heart is. Because they forgot God their whole existence is separated from God.
    4. Psalm 9.18. In contrast God remembers the needy and afflicted, those who seem to be forgotten and have no hope. They will in the end have a reversal of fortunes.
    5. Psalm 9.19-20. David’s final plea is that Yahweh will stand up and judge the wicked nations. Both verses have verbs with imperative sense (third person is jussive, second person is imperative). David is calling the LORD to action: judge mankind and the nations; put fear in them; let them know they are men with all the human limitations. They cannot defeat Yahweh, his people, or his plans. Simply put, God always wins in the long run. This is true in David’s present situation and also with nations.

So what for us?

  1. We ought to praise Yahweh (LORD) for who he is, what he has done for us, and what he will do for us. The psalmist uses the words give thanks, tell, be glad and exult, and sing praise, all directed to the LORD Yahweh.
  2. God is the eternal judge of all creation, and he judges righteously. No one will escape his judgment. The LORD God will judge in time and in eternity those—the unbeliever—who reject him. The judgment for sin was taken by Jesus Christ, so believers will not face that judgment. Believers do face family corrective discipline, but these judgments are not the focus of this psalm.
  3. Because God is the judge of all, believers may appeal to him for protection from oppressive people and for vindication in the face of accusations, oppression, and attacks.
  4. Therefore, believers have the privilege to thank and praise the LORD, to know him better, to rely on him, and to pray for grace in time of trouble.
  5. God always wins, whether in the short term or long term, whether blessing, protection, discipline, or judgment.