Psalm 73 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Psalm 73)

Ps 73:1-28. Of Asaph--(see Introduction). God is good to His people. For although the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the righteous, tempted the Psalmist to misgivings of God's government, yet the sudden and fearful ruin of the ungodly, seen in the light of God's revelation, reassures his heart; and, chiding himself for his folly, he is led to confide renewedly in God, and celebrate His goodness and love.

1. The abrupt announcement of the theme indicates that it is the conclusion of a perplexing mental conflict, which is then detailed (compare Jer 12:1-4).
Truly--or, "Surely it is so."
clean heart-- (Ps 18:26) describes the true Israel.

2. The figures express his wavering faith, by terms denoting tottering and weakness (compare Ps 22:5; 62:3).

3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live, free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflated with unexpected success. With all this--

8. They are corrupt--or, literally, "they deride," they speak maliciously and arrogantly and invade even heaven with blasphemy (Re 13:6), and cover earth with slanders (Job 21:7-14).

10-12. Hence God's people are confounded, turned hither (or back) and thither, perplexed with doubts of God's knowledge and care, and filled with sorrow.

12. prosper in the word--literally, "secure for ever."

13, 14. The Psalmist, partaking of these troubles, is especially disturbed in view of his own case, that with all his diligent efforts for a holy life, he is still sorely tried.

15. Freed from idiomatic phrases, this verse expresses a supposition, as, "Had I thus spoken, I should," &c., intimating that he had kept his troubles to himself.
generation of thy children--Thy people (1Jo 3:1).
offend--literally, "deceive, mislead."

16, 17. Still he--
thought--literally, "studied," or, "pondered this riddle"; but in vain; it remained a toil (compare Margin), till he--

17. went into the sanctuary--to enquire (compare Ex 25:22; Ps 5:7; 27:4).

18-20. their end--future (Ps 37:37, 38), which is dismal and terribly sudden (Pr 1:27; 29:1), aggravated and hastened by terror. As one despises an unsubstantial dream, so God, waking up to judgment (Ps 7:6; 44:23), despises their vain shadow of happiness (Ps 39:6; Isa 29:7). They are thrown into ruins as a building falling to pieces (Ps 74:3).

21, 22. He confesses how--
foolish--literally, "stupid," and
ignorant--literally, "not discerning," had been his course of thought.

22. before thee--literally, "with Thee," in conduct respecting Thee.

23. Still he was with God, as a dependent beneficiary, and so kept from falling (Ps 73:2).

24. All doubts are silenced in confidence of divine guidance and future glory.
receive me to glory--literally, "take for (me) glory" (compare Ps 68:18; Eph 4:8).

25, 26. God is his only satisfying good.

26. strength--literally, "rock" (Ps 18:2).
portion-- (Ps 16:5; La 3:24).

27, 28. The lot of apostates, described by a figure of frequent use (Jer 3:1, 3; Eze 23:35), is contrasted with his, who finds happiness in nearness to God (Jas 4:8), and his delightful work the declaration of His praise.