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Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Psalms Chapter 112


psa 112:0

Alphabetical Song in Praise of Those Who Fear God

The alphabetical Hallelujah Psa 111:1-10, which celebrated the government of God, is now followed by another coinciding with it in structure (CTYXOC KB, i.e., 22 στίχοι, as the Coptic version correctly counts), which celebrates the men whose conduct is ordered after the divine pattern.

Psalms 112:1

psa 112:1

As in the preceding Psalm. Psa 112:1 here also sets forth the theme of that which follows. What is there said in Psa 112:3 concerning the righteousness of God, Psa 112:3 here says of the righteousness of him who fears God: this also standeth fast for ever, it is indeed the copy of the divine, it is the work and gift of God (Psa 24:5), inasmuch as God's salutary action and behaviour, laid hold of in faith, works a like form of action and behaviour to it in man, which, as Psa 112:9 says, is, according to its nature, love. The promise in Psa 112:4 sounds like Isa 60:2. Hengstenberg renders: "There ariseth in the darkness light to the upright who is gracious and compassionate and just." But this is impossible as a matter of style. The three adjectives (as in Psa 111:4, pointing back to Exo 34:6, cf. Psa 145:8; Psa 116:5) are a mention of God according to His attributes. חנּוּן and רחוּם never take the article in Biblical Hebrew, and צדּיק follows their examples here (cf. on the contrary, Exo 9:27). God Himself is the light which arises in darkness for those who are sincere in their dealings with Him; He is the Sun of righteousness with wings of rays dispensing "grace" and "tender mercies," Mal 4:2. The fact that He arises for those who are compassionate as He is compassionate, is evident from Psa 112:5. טוב being, as in Isa 3:10; Jer 44:17, intended of well-being, prosperity, טּוב אישׁ is here equivalent to אשׁרי אישׁ, which is rendered טוּביהּ דּגברא in Targumic phrase. חונן signifies, as in Psa 37:26, Psa 37:21, one who charitably dispenses his gifts around. Psa 112:5 is not an extension of the picture of virtue, but, as in Psa 127:5, a promissory prospect: he will uphold in integrity (בּמשׁפּט, Psa 72:2, Isa 9:7, and frequently), or rather (= בּמּשׁפּט) in the cause (Psa 143:2, Pro 24:23, and frequently), the things which depend upon him, or with which he has to do; for כּלכּל, sustinere, signifies to sustain, i.e., to nourish, to sustain, i.e., endure, and also to support, maintain, i.e., carry through. This is explanatorily confirmed in Psa 112:6 : he stands, as a general thing, imperturbably fast. And when he dies he becomes the object of everlasting remembrance, his name is still blessed (Pro 10:7). Because he has a cheerful conscience, his heart too is not disconcerted by any evil tidings (Jer 49:23): it remains נכון, erect, straight and firm, without suffering itself to bend or warp; בּטח בּה, full of confidence (passive, "in the sense of a passive state after a completed action of the person himself," like זכוּר, Psa 103:14); סמוּך, stayed in itself and established. The last two designations are taken from Isa 26:3, where it is the church of the last times that is spoken of. Psa 91:8 gives us information with reference to the meaning of ראה בצריו; עד, as in Psa 94:13, of the inevitable goal, on this side of which he remains undismayed. Co2 9:9, where Paul makes use of Psa 112:9 of the Psalm before us as an encouragement to Christian beneficence, shows how little the assertion "his righteousness standeth for ever" is opposed to the New Testament consciousness. פּזּר of giving away liberally and in manifold ways, as in Pro 11:24. רוּם, Psa 112:9, stands in opposition to the egoistical הרים in Psa 75:5 as a vegetative sprouting up (Psa 132:17). The evil-doer must see this, and confounded, vex himself over it; he gnashes his teeth with the rage of envy and chagrin, and melts away, i.e., loses consistency, becomes unhinged, dies off (נמס, 3d praet. Niph. as in Exo 16:21, pausal form of נמס = נמס). How often has he desired the ruin of him whom he must now see in honour! The tables are turned; this and his ungodly desire in general come to nought, inasmuch as the opposite is realized. On יראה, with its self-evident object, cf. Mic 7:10. Concerning the pausal form וכעס, vid., Psa 93:1. Hupfeld wishes to read תּקות after Psa 9:19, Pro 10:28. In defence of the traditional reading, Hitzig rightly points to Pro 10:24 together with Pro 10:28.

Next: Psalms Chapter 113