Psalm 9: Part 2 of 3 (series: Lessons on Psalms)
by John Lowe
7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
On the basis of the deliverance spoken of in verses 3-6, David declared that the Lord is a true and eternal Judge and a Fortress for the afflicted. Though people and cities may perish forever, yet the Lord abides forever, which is sufficient to cause His enemies terror, and for the comfort of His church. The psalmist’s praise was at first directed to the Lord and his eternal reign over the earth (vv. 7-8). Then David applied that truth to people’s needs. The afflicted and the oppressed, those who are most frequently ignored or abused by human judgment, are championed by the righteous Judge. These were the people of the land, the faithful worshipers of the Lord, who have been persecuted, abused and exploited by the local rulers for being true to the Lord. The Lord God is their Refuge and Stronghold in times of trouble. During his years of exile, David found the wilderness strongholds to be places of safety, but he knew that the Lord was the safest refuge—“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). All this engenders praise for God for the infallibility of His gracious care. All men who acknowledge and obey the Lord (they that know thy name) can fully rely on His protective care when they are harassed and oppressed.
Beginning back in verse 4, we have a vision of the Final Judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness. This is a picture of the Final Judgment, visualized as if it is happening before the psalmist’s eyes. With the eye of a prophet, he sees the sentence of the Lord on the Day of Judgment already passed (vv. 7 -8), and the proud cities of the godless nations (v. 17) fallen into ruin and forgotten (vv. 5-6). So, at last, let the nations know that they are but men! The divine retribution is yet to come, but it is so sure that it is spoken of as if it had already happened.
God is the One who declares what is right, and He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. If you don’t think so, then you are wrong. That is just the way it is. It is as simple as that. Someone has to make the rules. God makes the rules for this universe, and He is running it. God is going to be around for a long time, and I think He has a right to that prerogative.
Thy name, that is, thy nature and flawlessness, thy infinite power and wisdom, and faithfulness and goodness, which makes the Lord a suitable object for trust. The name of God is frequently used for God, as He has manifested Himself in His Word and works.
To know God’s name or love God’s name means to trust Him and be saved—“But let all who take refuge in thee rejoice, let them ever sing for joy; and do thou defend them, that those who love thy name may exult in thee” (Psalm 5:11). God forsook His own Son—“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)—so that He might never forsake His own people.
Them that seek thee, that is, that seek help and relief from thee by fervent prayer, mixed with faith, or trust in God, as expressed in the previous clause; “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee.”
The throne in verse 7 is his throne in heaven from which Jesus will one day judge the world.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
The praise section (vv. 1-12) closes with the psalmist’s exhortation to the people, especially the afflicted whom God does not ignore (v. 12), to sing praises to the Lord (v. 2) and tell what He has done (v. 11). God is to be praised because He is on their side and fights their battles. He will not fail to hear their cries and execute justice on their behalf. Israel’s calling was for the purpose of bearing witness to the nations that Jehovah was the only true and living God—“For this I will extol thee, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to thy name” (Psalm 18:49). The ark was now in Jerusalem, so Jehovah was now on His throne in Israel.
All bloodshed caused by human motives is repugnant to God, and his intervention on the side of “right” is to be expected. Inquisition for blood refers to the official investigation of murder, to see who was guilty of murder, to see who was guilty of the crime, symbolized by having blood on their hands (Eze. 3:17-21), or their head—“And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." (Acts 18:6). There was no police force in Israel, but a near kinsman could avenge the murder of a family member. This is why God assigned the six “cities of refuge” to provide havens for people who accidently killed someone (Num. 35). But when God is the avenger, He has all the evidence he needs to find and punish rebellious sinners.
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:
14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
In view of God’s past deliverances, David now calls on God to respond to his affliction, and give him reason to praise. The psalmist asked the Lord to notice how his enemies persecute him. In danger of dying, he called on the Lord to rescue him from the gates of death. Sheol, the abode of the dead, seems to be intended by "the gates of death,"—“Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?” (Job 38:17). If the Lord would deliver him, he would praise the Lord “in the gates of the daughter of Zion,” that is, the tabernacle in Jerusalem. Any disease or calamity could be viewed as bringing one to the threshold of death and place them in the clutches of Sheol.
David is now in the temple in Zion standing in the presence of the worshiping congregation and is singing about his distress, from which he has been so wondrously delivered. Very simply he tells how the Lord has restored him from imminent death. He addresses himself first to the congregation as he gives his testimony (v. 13), then to his God, in praise for what He has done for him.
David’s plea is, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord”—I don’t know about you, but I need a lot of mercy from God. You may question that since I said there will be justice when He comes. But, you see, justice has already come in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ when He bore our sins, and He has been made unto us righteousness. What I need today id mercy, and mercy has been extended to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
The gates of the daughter of Zion refers to the gates of a city, which in David’s day served as the center of social and economic life; and daughter means the city itself. David is using a personification where the city is viewed as the mother, and the people as her children.