Psalm 73 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 73)

Verse 1

[1] Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

A clean heart — To all true Israelites, who love God, and serve him in spirit and truth.

Verse 2

[2] But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

My feet — My faith in God's providence, was almost overthrown.

Verse 4

[4] For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.

No bands — They are not dragged to death, by the sentence of the magistrate, which they deserve.

Verse 5

[5] They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

As other men — As good men frequently are.

Verse 8

[8] They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

And speak — Boasting of their oppressions.

Verse 9

[9] They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

Against — Against God, blaspheming his name, and deriding his providence.

Walketh — Using all manner of liberty, reproaching all sorts of persons.

Verse 10

[10] Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

Turn — To this wicked company.

Waters — And partake of the same prosperity with their leaders. God seems to give them a full cup of consolation, as if he would wring out all his blessings upon them.

Verse 12

[12] Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

Behold — These seem to be the words of the psalmist, summing up the matter.

Verse 13

[13] Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

In vain — Hence I was sometimes tempted, to think that religion was a vain, unprofitable thing. True religion is here described by its two principal parts, the cleansing of the heart, and the hands.

Verse 15

[15] If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

Offend — By grieving, discouraging and tempting them to revolt from God.

Verse 16

[16] When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

To know — To find out the reason of this providence.

Verse 17

[17] Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Until — 'Till I consulted the word of God. He alludes to the practice of those times, which was, in difficult cases to resort to God's sanctuary, and the oracle therein.

Their end — There I learned that their prosperity was short.

Verse 19

[19] How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

Terrors — With God's dreadful judgements unexpectedly seizing upon them.

Verse 20

[20] As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

They awake — Out of the pleasant dream of this vain life.

Despise — Thou shalt make them despicable both to themselves and to all others; raise them to shame, and everlasting contempt.

Image — All their felicity and glory, which shall be evidently discerned to be, no real or substantial thing, but a mere image or shadow.

Verse 21

[21] Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.

Pricked — I was deeply wounded with disquieting thoughts.

Verse 22

[22] So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

Nevertheless — Although I gave thee just cause to cast me off, yet thou didst continue thy care and kindness to me.

Hast held — That my faith might not fail.

Verse 27

[27] For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.

Go a whoring — Those who revolt from thee, to work wickedness; which is called whoredom in scripture.