Psalm 10:13
Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
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10:12-18 The psalmist speaks with astonishment, at the wickedness of the wicked, and at the patience and forbearance of God. God prepares the heart for prayer, by kindling holy desires, and strengthening our most holy faith, fixing the thoughts, and raising the affections, and then he graciously accepts the prayer. The preparation of the heart is from the Lord, and we must seek unto him for it. Let the poor, afflicted, persecuted, or tempted believer recollect, that Satan is the prince of this world, and that he is the father of all the ungodly. The children of God cannot expect kindness, truth, or justice from such persons as crucified the Lord of glory. But this once suffering Jesus, now reigns as King over all the earth, and of his dominion there shall be no end. Let us commit ourselves unto him, humbly trusting in his mercy. He will rescue the believer from every temptation, and break the arm of every wicked oppressor, and bruise Satan under our feet shortly. But in heaven alone will all sin and temptation be shut out, though in this life the believer has a foretaste of deliverance.Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? - That is, despise him; or treat him with contempt and disregard. On what ground is this done? How is it to be accounted for? What is the proper explanation of so strange a fact? It is to be observed here:

(a) that the psalmist assumes this to be a fact, that the wicked do thus contemn or despise God. Of this he had no doubt; of this there can be no doubt now. They act as if this were so; they often speak of Him as if this were so. They pay no respect to his commands, to his presence, or to his character; they violate all His laws as if they were not worth regarding; they spurn all His counsels and entreaties; they go forward to meet Him as if His wrath were not to be apprehended or dreaded.

(b) So strange a fact, the psalmist says, ought to be accounted for. There must be some reason why it occurs; and what that reason is, is worth an earnest inquiry. It could not be possible to believe that man - the creature of God, and a creature so weak and feeble - could do it, unless the fact were so plain that it could not be denied. It is, then, worth inquiry to learn how so strange a fact can be accounted for; and the solution - the thing which will explain this, and which must be assumed to be true in order to explain it - is stated in the concluding part of the verse.

He hath said in his heart - This expression is here repeated for the third time in the psalm. See Psalm 10:6, Psalm 10:11. The idea is, that all this is the work "of the heart," and indicates the state of the heart. It cannot be regarded as the dictate of the reason or the judgment; but it is to be traced to the wishes, the feelings, the desires, and is to be regarded as indicating the real condition of the human heart. A man habitually desires this; he practically persuades himself that this is so; he acts as if it were so.

Thou wilt not require it - Thou wilt not require an account of it; thou wilt not inquire into it. The Hebrew is simply: "Thou wilt not seek;" and the idea is, that God would not make an investigation of the matter. This fact, the psalmist says, would account for the conduct of the wicked. This is the actual feeling of wicked men, that they are not to give account of their conduct, or that God will not be strict to mark their deeds. People act as if they were not responsible to their Maker, and as if it were a settled point that he would never call them to account.

13, 14. It is in vain to suppose God will overlook sin, however forbearing; for He carefully examines or beholds all wickedness, and will mark it by His providential (Thine hand) punishment.13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.

14 Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.

In these verses the description of the wicked is condensed, and the evil of his character traced to its source, viz., atheistical ideas with regard to the government of the world. We may at once perceive that this is intended to be another urgent plea with the Lord to show his power, and reveal his justice. When the wicked call God's righteousness in question, we may well beg him to teach them terrible things in righteousness. In Psalm 10:13, the hope of the infidel and his heart-wishes are laid bare. He despises the Lord, because he will not believe that sin will meet with punishment: "he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it." If there were no hell for other men, there ought to be one for those who question the justice of it. This vile suggestion receives its answer in Psalm 10:14. "Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand." God is all-eye to see, and all-hand to punish his enemies. From Divine oversight there is no hiding, and from Divine justice there is no fleeing. Wanton mischief shall meet with woeful misery, and those who harbour spite shall inherit sorrow. Verily there is a God which judgeth in the earth. Nor is this the only instance of the presence of God in the world; for while he chastises the oppressor, he befriends the oppressed. "The poor committeth himself unto thee." They give themselves up entirely into the Lord's hands. Resigning their judgment to his enlightenment, and their wills to his supremacy, they rest assured that he will order all things for the best. Nor does he deceive their hope. He preserves them in times of need, and causes them to rejoice in his goodness. "Thou art the helper of the fatherless." God is the parent of all orphans. When the earthly father sleeps beneath the sod, a heavenly Father smiles from above. By some means or other, orphan children are fed, and well they may when they have such a Father.

Psalm 10:15

In this verse we hear again the burden of the Psalmist's prayer: "Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man." Let the sinner lose his power to sin; stop the tyrant, arrest the oppressor, weaken the loins of the mighty, and dash in pieces the terrible. They deny thy justice: let them feel it to the full. Indeed, they shall feel it; for God shall hunt the sinner for ever: so long as there is a grain of sin in him it shall be sought out and punished. It is not a little worthy of note, that very few great persecutors have ever died in their beds: the curse has manifestly pursued them, and their fearful sufferings have made them own that divine justice at which they could at one time launch defiance. God permits tyrants to arise as thorn-hedges to protect his church from the intrusion of hypocrites, and that he may teach his backsliding children by them, as Gideon did the men of Succoth with the briers of the wilderness; but he soon cuts up these Herods, like the thorns, and casts them into the fire. Thales, the Milestan, one of the wise men of Greece, being asked what he thought to be the greatest rarity in the world, replied, "To see a tyrant live to be an old man." See how the Lord breaks, not only the arm, but the neck of proud oppressors! To the men who had neither justice nor mercy for the saints, there shall be rendered justice to the full, but not a grain of mercy.

The sense is either,

1. What is the cause of his contempt of God? To which question the next words give an answer, Thy connivance makes him secure. Therefore show thyself. Or,

2. Why dost thou by giving them impunity suffer and occasion them to despise thee? Do so no longer. Which tacit desire he enforceth by representing their atheistical denial of God’s providence.

Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God?.... God may be said to be contemned or despised, when his being, perfections, and providence are denied, or called in question, or abused, Psalm 10:9; when his word is derided, the great things of his law are counted as a strange thing Hosea 8:12, and the truths of his Gospel are reckoned foolishness; and instead of these, the decrees, doctrines, and traditions of men, are set up, as by antichrist; and when his ministers, and especially his Son, are treated with disdain, Luke 10:16;

he hath said in his heart, thou wilt not require it, or "seek it" (i); or inquire after it, his iniquity; the sense is, that God will make no inquiry after sin, and bring it into judgment, unto account, and under examination; or will not make inquisition, that is, for blood, for the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus, shed by antichrist; or will not require it at his hands, or recompense vengeance for it: all which is false and vain; the contrary to it will be found true.

(i) "te non inquisiturum", Piscator, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not {g} require it.

(g) Therefore you must punish their blasphemy.

13. Why, urges the Psalmist in support of his appeal, has God so long tolerated the blasphemies of the wicked man (Psalm 10:3-4), and by inaction let Himself be misunderstood? The verbs are in the perfect tense, expressing what long has been and still is the case.

he hath said] R.V. and say.

Verse 13. - Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? God's long-suffering does but make the wicked despise him. Wherefore is this allowed to continue (comp. ver. 1)? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it; rather, as in the Prayer-beck Version, while he cloth say in his heart (see vers. 6, 11). Psalm 10:13The six strophes, in which the consecutive letters from מ to צ are wanting, are completed, and now the acrostic strophes begin again with ק. In contrast to those who have no God, or only a lifeless idol, the psalmist calls upon his God, the living God, to destroy the appearance that He is not an omniscient Being, by arising to action. We have more than one name of God used here; אל is a vocative just as in Psalm 16:1; Psalm 83:2; Psalm 139:17, Psalm 139:23. He is to lift up His hand in order to help and to punish (נשׂא יד, whence comes the imperat. נשׂא equals שׂא, cf. נסה Psalm 4:7, like שׁלח יד Psalm 138:7 and נטה יד Exodus 7:5 elsewhere). Forget not is equivalent to: fulfil the לא שׁכח of Psalm 9:13, put to shame the שׁכח אל of the ungodly, Psalm 10:11! Our translation follows the Kerמ ענוים. That which is complained of in Psalm 10:3, Psalm 10:4 is put in the form of a question to God in Psalm 10:13 : wherefore (על־מה, instead of which we find על־מה in Numbers 22:32; Jeremiah 9:11, because the following words begin with letters of a different class) does it come to pass, i.e., is it permitted to come to pass? On the perf. in this interrogative clause vid., Psalm 11:3. מדּוּע inquires the cause, למּה the aim, and על־מה the motive, or in general the reason: on what ground, since God's holiness can suffer no injury to His honour? On לא תדרשׁ with כּי, the oratio directa instead of obliqua, vid., on Psalm 9:21.
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