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John Gill’s Commentary of the Whole Bible: Psalm 62

Psalms 62:1


To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, [A Psalm] of David. Concerning “Jeduthun”, See Gill on “Ps 39:1”, title. Kimchi thinks this psalm was written concerning the captivity; and Jarchi twtdh le, concerning the decrees and judgments made against Israel by their enemies; and so some of their ancient expositions {d}; but it seems to have been composed by David when in distress, either through Saul and his courtiers, or by reason of the conspiracy of Absalom. Theodoret takes it to be a prophecy of the persecution of Antiochus in the times of the Maccabees.

{d} Vid. Yalkut Simeoni in loc.

Ver. 1. Truly my soul waiteth upon God,… In the use of means, for answers of prayer, for performance of promises, and for deliverance from enemies, and out of every trouble: or “is silent” {e}, as the Targum; not as to prayer, but as to murmuring; patiently and quietly waiting for salvation until the Lord’s time come to give it; being “subject” to him, as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; resigned to his will, and patient under his afflicting hand: it denotes a quiet, patient, waiting on the Lord, and not merely bodily exercise in outward ordinances; but an inward frame of spirit, a soul waiting on the Lord, and that in truth and reality, in opposition to mere form and show; and with constancy “waiteth”, and “only” {f} on him, as the same particle is rendered in Ps 62:2; and so Aben Ezra here;

from him [cometh] my salvation; both temporal, spiritual, and eternal, and not from any creature; the consideration of which makes the mind quiet and easy under afflictive provide uses: the contrivance of everlasting salvation is from the Father, the impetration of it from the Son, and the application of it from the Spirit.

{e} hymwd “silet”, Pagninus, Munster, Cocceius; “silens”, Montanus, Tigurine version; so the Targum. {f} Ka “tantum”, Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; “tantummodo”, Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt.

Psalms 62:2

Ver. 2. He only [is] my Rock and my salvation,… The Rock on which the church is built, and every believer; and which was David’s safety, shelter, and shade, and which made him easy in his present state; and he was the author of his salvation, and the rock and strength of it, Ps 95:1;

[he is] my defence; or refuge; see Ps 9:9;

I shall not be greatly moved; or “with much motion”, as Kimchi; or “with great motions”, as Jarchi: he could not be moved off of the rock on which he was built; nor out of the city of refuge, whither he had betook himself for safety; and though he might be troubled in spirit, and shaken in mind, and staggered in his faith, and fall from some degree of steadfastness of it; yet not fall so as to be utterly cast down, or finally and totally, and so as to perish eternally. Aben Ezra interprets it, “shall not be moved” into the great deep; into the abyss or bottomless pit; and so some of the ancient Midrashes expound hbd of “hell” {g}; but much better is the Targum,

“I shall not be moved in a day of great affliction;”

see Ac 20:23.

{g} Vid. Jarchi & Yalkut Simeoni in loc.

Psalms 62:3

Ver. 3. How long will ye imagine mischief against a man?… Against a good man, as the Targum; or against any Israelite, as Kimchi; or rather he means himself, a single man, a weak man, and an innocent one; which aggravated their sin, in devising his hurt, and contriving ways to take away his life, as did Saul and his courtiers; and, Absalom, and those that were with him. R. Jonah, from the Arabic language, interprets the word here used of putting or drawing out the tongue to a great length; that is, multiplying words, as lies and calumnies, in agreement with Ps 62:4; but Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi, explain it as we do, of devising mischief. The Targum is,

“how long do ye rage against a good man?”

Ye shall be slain all of you; this is a further aggravation of their folly, since it would issue in their own ruin; the mischief they devised for him would fall upon themselves. Some understand this

hlpt Krd, “by way of prayer”; as Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech,

“may ye be slain all of you:”

there is a double reading of these words; Ben Napthali, who is followed by the eastern Jews, reads them actively, “ye shall slay”; with which agree the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and so the Targum,

“ye shall become murderers all of you.”

Ben Asher, who is followed by the western Jews, reads passively as we do, “ye shall be slain”; and which is approved by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and others;

as a bowing wall [shall ye be, and as] a tottering fence; which are easily and suddenly pushed down; and so these similes denote the easy, sudden, and certain destruction of those men; see Isa 36:13; though some connect the words with the men against whom mischief was imagined by his enemies, who was like a bowing wall and a tottering fence; and so are expressive of his weakness, and of the easy destruction of him; and read the words, “ye shall be slain all of you”, in a parenthesis; but the former sense seems best.

Psalms 62:4

Ver. 4. They only consult to cast [him] down from his excellency,… Either from the excellency of God, from his greatness, and from his height, as Kimchi; or from his grace, as the Arabic version: that is, they consulted to discourage him from looking to God, his rock and fortress, and from trusting in him; or rather, from his own excellency, from what high estate of dignity and honour he was advanced to, or designed for, namely his kingly office. Saul and his courtiers consulted how to prevent his coming to the throne, and Absalom and Ahithophel how to pull him down from it, and seize his crown and kingdom; which latter best agrees with the expression here;

they delight in lies; in making and in spreading them, in order to hurt his character, and give his subjects an ill opinion of him; and thereby alienate their affections from him, and weaken their allegiance and obedience to him; see Re 22:15;

they bless with their mouth: saying, God bless the king, or save the king:

but they curse inwardly; they curse the king in their hearts, and when by themselves in private, when they imagine nobody hears them; see Ec 10:20.

Selah; on this word, See Gill on “Ps 3:2”.

Psalms 62:5

Ver. 5. My soul, wait thou only upon God,… Be silent and subject to him, acquiesce in his providences, rest in him patiently and quietly, wait for his salvation; See Gill on “Ps 62:1”; perhaps some new temptation might arise, and David’s soul began to be uneasy and impatient; for frames are very changeable things; and therefore he encourages it to be still and quiet, and patiently wait on the Lord, and on him only:

for my expectation [is] from him; or “my hope”, as the Targum; the grace of hope is from the Lord, and the thing hoped for is from him; he is the author and the object of it; and his word of promise encourages to the exercise of it; or “my patience”; as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions. The grace of patience is from the Lord; the means of it is his word; and it is exercised, tried, and increased by afflictions sent and sanctified by him; and “expectation” is nothing else than these graces in exercise, a waiting patiently for things hoped for Old Testament saints expected the first coming of Christ; New Testament saints expect his second coming; and all expect good things from him in time and eternity; nor shall their expectation fail and perish; and therefore is a reason why their souls should wait only on the Lord.

Psalms 62:6

Ver. 6. He only [is] my rock and my salvation,…

See Gill on “Ps 62:2”;

[he is] my defence; these epithets of God are repeated, to strengthen his faith and hope in him, and to encourage a patient waiting upon him;

I shall not be moved; neither greatly, nor at all; his faith gets fresh strength and rigour, the more he considers God as his rock, salvation, defence, and refuge; See Gill on “Ps 62:2”.

Psalms 62:7

Ver. 7. In God [is] my salvation,… Or “upon God” {h}; he that is God over all has took it upon him to save me; he is the author of salvation to me; and it is in him safe and secure, and I shall be saved in him with an everlasting salvation:

and my glory; the author of all his temporal glory, honour, and dignity; and of all his spiritual glory, which lay in the righteousness of Christ put upon him, and in the grace of God wrought in him; and of the eternal glory he was waiting for; and besides, God was the object of his glorying, of whom he boasted, and in whom he gloried; see Ps 3:3;

the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God; not only his strength, as well as his righteousness and refuge; but the firmness and security of his strength were in God, who is the Rock of ages, in whom is everlasting strength.

{h} Myhla le “super Deo”, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; “super Deum”, Vatablus, Cocceius.

Psalms 62:8

Ver. 8. Trust in him at all times, [ye] people,… Of the house of Israel, as the Targum; or of God, as Aben Ezra; all that are Israelites indeed, and are the Lord’s covenant people; these are exhorted and encouraged to trust in him; not in a creature, nor in any outward thing, in riches, wisdom, strength, birth, privileges, the law, and the works of it; in their own righteousness, in their hearts, in themselves or in others; but in the Lord only, both for temporal and spiritual blessings: the Targum is, “in his Word”; his essential Word, by whom the world was made, and who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and who is a proper object of trust; in him should the people of God trust; in his person for acceptance with God, in his righteousness for justification, in his blood for pardon, in his grace for supply, and in his strength for support, deliverance, and salvation, and that “at all times”: there is no time excepted; there is not a moment in which the Lord is not to be trusted in: he is to be trusted in in adversity as well as in prosperity; in times of affliction, when he is present, and will not forsake; in times of temptation, when his grace is sufficient for them; and in times of darkness, when he will arise and appear unto them;

pour out your heart before him: as Hannah did, 1Sa 1:15; and as water is poured out, La 2:19; it means the desires of the heart, the complaints of the soul, the whole of their case which they should spread before the Lord, and make known unto him; see Ps 102:1, title, and #Ps 142: 2; the phrase denotes the abundance of the heart, and of its requests, and the freedom with which they should be made to the Lord; for through the blood and sacrifice of Christ a believer may come to the throne of grace with boldness and liberty, and there freely tell the Lord all his mind, and all that is in his heart;

God [is] a refuge for us; to whom the saints may have recourse in all their times of trouble, and where they find safety and plenty, Isa 33:16.

Selah; on this word, See Gill on “Ps 3:2”.

Psalms 62:9

Ver. 9. Surely men of low degree [are] vanity,… Or “sons of Adam” {i}; of the earthly man; of fallen Adam; one of his immediate sons was called Hebel, “vanity”; and it is true of all his sons; but here it designs only one sort of them; such as are poor and low in the world; mean men, as the phrase is rendered in Isa 2:9;

See Gill on “Ps 49:2”; these are subject to sinful vanity; their thoughts are vain, their affections vain, their minds vain, their conversation vain, sinful, foolish, fallacious, and inconstant. The wicked poor are, generally speaking, of all persons, the most wicked; and therefore, though they are the multitude, they are not to be trusted in. The Arabic version is, they are as a “shadow”, fleeting and unstable, no solidity in them; the Syriac version, “as a vapour”, that soon passeth away, like the breath of the mouth, and so not to be accounted of;

[and] men of high degree [are] a lie; or “sons of men”; of vya, “the great man” {k}, as it is rendered in Isa 2:9, noblemen, men of high birth, fortune, rank, and quality; these are a “lie”, fallacious and deceitful: they talk of their blood, as if it was different from the rest of mankind; but, trace them up to their original, Adam, and it is a lie. All men are made of one blood, Ac 17:26; their riches promise them peace and pleasure, and long life, but do not give those things, Lu 12:16; their honour is fickle and inconstant; they are act in high places, and those are slippery ones; they are brought to desolation in a moment; and if they continue in them till death, their glory does not descend after them, Ps 49:17; they make promises of great things to those who apply to them, but rarely perform, and are by no means to be confided in. This distinction of high and low degree is observed in Jas 1:9;

to be laid in the balance, they [are] altogether [lighter] than vanity; take a pair of balances, and put men both of high and low degree together in one scale, and vanity in the other, vanity will weigh heaviest; the scale in which men are will go up, as the word {l} here used signifies: they are “in the balances to ascend”; or being put in the balances, they will ascend, and the scale in which vanity is will go down; for, take them altogether, they are “lighter” than that: the word “lighter” is not in the text, but is rightly supplied, as it is by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech. This last clause, according to the accents, may be best rendered thus; being put “in the balance, they must ascend; they are [lighter] than vanity together”. The Targum is,

“if they should take the sons of men in a balance, and weigh their fates, they themselves would be “lighter” than nothing, as one;”

or than vanity together.

{i} Mda ynb “filii Adam”, Musculus, Michaelis; “nati plebeio homine”, Junius & Tremellius; “plebeii”, Gejerus; “sons of base men”, Ainsworth. {k} vya ynb “nati praestante viro”, Junius & Tremellius; “sons of noble men”, Ainsworth. Vid. Schindler. col. 214. {l} twlel “ascendant”, Pagninus, Cocceius; so Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, &c.

Psalms 62:10

Ver. 10. Trust not in oppression,… Either in the power of oppressing others; see Isa 30:12; or in riches gotten by oppression, which being put into a man’s hand by his friend, he keeps, and will not return them; so Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret it of mammon unlawfully obtained; mammon of unrighteousness, or unrighteous mammon; see Jer 17:11;

and become not vain in robbery; in riches gotten by open rapine and theft; and men become vain herein when they boast of such riches, place their confidence in them, and think to make atonement for their sins by burnt sacrifices purchased with them, Isa 61:8;

if riches increase; in a lawful way, in such manner as the fruits of the earth do, as the word {m} used signifies: if they increase in great abundance from a little, as from one grain of corn many proceed; and insensibly, as the seed sown grows up, a man knows not how, through diligence and the blessing of God from heaven;

set not your heart [upon them]; your affections on them; they are ensnaring, they are apt to take the heart from God, to draw off the affections from Christ and things above, to choke the word, and lead into many temptations and harmful lusts; let not your hearts be elated, or lifted up with them; be not highminded, or filled with pride and vanity on account of them; nor put any trust in them, for they are uncertain things. Jarchi interprets it of the increase of the riches of others; see Ps 49:16.

{m} bwny “cum pullulaverit”, Montanus; “efflorescunt”, Cocceius; “germinant, fructificant”, Amama.

Psalms 62:11

Ver. 11. God hath spoken once,… One word of his is more to be confided in, and depended on, than all the men and things in the world. The meaning is not that God hath only spoke once; he has spoke often; he spoke all things out of nothing in creation; he spoke all the words of the law at Mount Sinai; he spoke by the prophets under the Old Testament dispensation, and by his Son in the last days, and still by the ministers of the Gospel: but the sense is, that what God has once spoken stands; it is irreversible and immutable; it is firm, sure, and unalterable; he does not repent, he cannot lie, nor will he alter the thing that is gone out of his lips; and therefore his word is to be trusted to, when men of high degree are a lie;

twice have I heard this; that is, many times, as Kimchi explains it: the Targum refers this, and the preceding clause, to the delivery of the law:

“one law God spake, and twice we heard it from the mouth of Moses the great scribe;”

but the meaning is, that the psalmist had heard of two things, and was well assured of the truth of them, and which were the foundation of his trust and confidence; one is mentioned in this verse and the other in Ps 62:12; the first is,

that power [belongeth] unto God; great power, even almighty power, as appears from the creation of all things out of nothing, the preservation of them in their beings, the government of the world, the redemption of his people by Christ, the work of grace upon their hearts by his Spirit, the perseverance of the saints, their deliverance from their enemies, and the destruction of them. The ancient Cabalists {n} among the Jews have endeavoured, from this passage, to establish a Trinity in unity, they speak of

“three superior “Sephirot”, or numbers; and of them it is said, “God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this”: once and twice, lo, the three superior numbers, of whom it is said, one, one, one, three ones; and this is the meaning of “God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this; this” in it makes them one.”

{n} Tikkune Zohar, Correct. 38. fol. 82. 1.

Psalms 62:12

Ver. 12. Also unto thee, O Lord, [belongeth] mercy,… This is the other thing the psalmist had heard, and was assured of, and which encouraged his hope and trust in the Lord; that mercy belonged to him, Ps 130:7; as appears, not only from the common bounties of his providence, daily bestowed upon his creatures; but from the special gift of his Son, and of all spiritual mercies and blessings in him; from the regeneration of the Lord’s people, the pardon of their sins, and their eternal salvation;

for thou renderest to every man according to his work; and which is a reason proving that both power and mercy belong to God; power in punishing the wicked according to their deserts, and mercy in rewarding the saints, not in a way of merit, or of debt, but of grace. Some interpret the words, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi observe, “though thou renderest”, &c. that is, God is gracious and merciful, though he is also just and righteous in rendering to every man as his work is, whether it be good or evil.