Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 11

By Joseph Benson


Verse 1
Psalms 11:1. In the Lord put I my trust — It is not in fortresses or strong holds that I place my confidence, but only in the Lord, in his power, and love, and faithfulness. How say ye to my soul — Ye, my friends; Flee as a bird to your mountain? — Fly away, as a timorous bird before the fowler, to a place of safety. Thus “the Christian, like David, in perilous times, should make God his fortress, and continue doing his duty in his station; he should not, at the instigation of those about him, like a poor, silly, timorous, inconstant bird, either fly for refuge to the devices of worldly wisdom, or desert his post, and retire into solitude, while he can serve the cause in which he is engaged. Nor, indeed, is there any mountain on earth, out of the reach of care or trouble. Temptations are everywhere, and so is the grace of God.” — Horne.

Verse 2
Psalms 11:2. For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, &c. — Many eminent commentators consider these also as the words of David’s friends, representing to him, as a motive for his flight, the extreme danger he was in, which they compare to that of a bird when a fowler, having already fixed his eye upon it, had fitted his arrow to the string, and lying close, was taking aim at it, intending to shoot it. Just so, they signified, Saul and his counsellors had laid their plot on a sudden to destroy David. See Patrick and Dodd.

Verse 3
Psalms 11:3. If the foundations be destroyed, &c. — This also is thought to be spoken by the same persons, discouraging David from making any further resistance, by the consideration that the foundations of religion and virtue were subverted, and therefore all was over, and what they urged, could a man, engaged in the most righteous designs, hope to do, when that was the case. Bishop Patrick paraphrases the words thus, “If men have no regard to laws and public decrees, which are the foundation of human society, but will boldly violate all known and standing rules of justice and truth; what can the righteous do? — What security can an honest man have? or what should he do, but make haste away from the place where they act so arbitrarily, and are so perfidious?”

Verse 4
Psalms 11:4. The Lord is in his holy temple — The psalmist, having, in the first verse, declared that his trust was in Jehovah, and having mentioned the advice of his friends, is supposed to be now proceeding to show the fitness and propriety of his trust, notwithstanding the seeming desperate situation of affairs. His words, considered as being spoken in reply to his friends, may be interpreted as follows: My answer to you is, that the world is not governed by chance, nor can men carry things just as they please; but the Lord, into whose holy palace no unjust counsels can possibly enter, who observes every thing from his temple in the heavens, and whose throne is infinitely above that of the greatest king on earth: He, I say, is the supreme and most righteous ruler of all affairs; and no mischief can be so secretly contrived, no wicked design so artfully dissembled, but it lies open before his eyes, and he sees through it. Nor need he take any pains to discover it, for at the first glance, as we speak, he perfectly discerns how all men are inclined, and looks to the very bottom of their hearts.

Verse 5
Psalms 11:5. The Lord trieth the righteous — God may think fit to try the fidelity of him whom he knows to be upright, by many adversities, that he may afterward give him the more illustrious testimonies of his approbation and love, as well as that he may thereby correct the remaining imperfections of his character, may purge away his dross, and more thoroughly refine him for his Master’s use. But the wicked, &c., his soul hateth — Whatever success the wicked, and he that delights in doing mischief, may have for the present, it is certain God abhors his conduct, and, unless he repent, he will, without fail, severely punish him for abusing his power to oppression and violent dealing.

Verse 6
Psalms 11:6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, &c. — The wicked may think themselves very secure, because they are so politic, crafty, and strong; but how can they defend themselves against God, who hath innumerable ways to destroy them, when they least think of it; and can as unexpectedly overthrow all their power as, when the heavens are most serene, a sudden storm of thunder and lightning and tempestuous wind arises and spreads destruction far and near? Dr. Waterland reads the verse thus: Upon the wicked he shall rain snares: fire and brimstone, and a tempestuous wind shall be the portion of their cup. The psalmist alludes to the fire and brimstone which fell upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. By snares are meant grievous plagues or calamities, which are called snares, because wicked men are often surprised with them when they least expect it, and because they cannot escape them, or extricate themselves from them; but are held fast and destroyed by them. And God is said to rain them, to denote his sending them plentifully, swiftly, and suddenly, as rain commonly falls from heaven. And a horrible tempest — Dreadful judgments, so called in allusion to the destruction of the forementioned cities by these means. But he seems to intend this, not so much of present calamities, as of eternal punishments, to commence at the judgment of the last day. “Then the children of faithful Abraham shall behold a prospect, like that which once presented itself to the eyes of their father; when, rising early in the morning, and looking toward Sodom and Gomorrah, he beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace! Genesis 19:28. Such must be the portion of their cup who have dashed from them the cup of salvation. He, therefore, who enjoys the prosperity of the wicked here, must take with it their torment hereafter; as he who is ambitious of wearing the crown of righteousness in heaven must be content to endure tribulation upon earth.” — Horne. The reader will observe, that this expression, the portion of their cup, is a proverbial phrase in Scripture: God’s gifts and dispensations, whether pleasing or painful, consolatory or afflictive, especially the latter, being ordinarily expressed by a cup, poured out and given men to drink.

Verse 7
Psalms 11:7. For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness — This is mentioned as the reason why God punishes the wicked so dreadfully. It is because, being righteous, essentially righteous, himself, he cannot but love righteousness, which is his own image stamped on the faithful, by his own Spirit. He therefore must proportionably hate wickedness, and of course show his hatred to it before the whole intelligent creation, by punishing such as live and die in the commission of it. His countenance doth behold the upright — Namely, with an eye of approbation and paternal affection, his gracious providence watching continually over and taking care of them.


Book Navigation Title Page Table of Contents Argument Introduction ► Chapter 1 ► Chapter 2 ► Chapter 3 ► Chapter 4 ► Chapter 5 ► Chapter 6 ► Chapter 7 ► Chapter 8 ► Chapter 9 ► Chapter 10 ► Chapter 11 ► Chapter 12 ► Chapter 13 ► Chapter 14 ► Chapter 15 ► Chapter 16 ► Chapter 17 ► Chapter 18 ► Chapter 19 ► Chapter 20 ► Chapter 21 ► Chapter 22 ► Chapter 23 ► Chapter 24 ► Chapter 25 ► Chapter 26 ► Chapter 27 ► Chapter 28 ► Chapter 29 ► Chapter 30 ► Chapter 31 ► Chapter 32 ► Chapter 33 ► Chapter 34 ► Chapter 35 ► Chapter 36 ► Chapter 37 ► Chapter 38 ► Chapter 39 ► Chapter 40 ► Chapter 41 ► Chapter 42 ► Chapter 43 ► Chapter 44 ► Chapter 45 ► Chapter 46 ► Chapter 47 ► Chapter 48 ► Chapter 49 ► Chapter 50 ► Chapter 51 ► Chapter 52 ► Chapter 53 ► Chapter 54 ► Chapter 55 ► Chapter 56 ► Chapter 57 ► Chapter 58 ► Chapter 59 ► Chapter 60 ► Chapter 61 ► Chapter 62 ► Chapter 63 ► Chapter 64 ► Chapter 65 ► Chapter 66 ► Chapter 67 ► Chapter 68 ► Chapter 69 ► Chapter 70 ► Chapter 71 ► Chapter 72 ► Chapter 73 ► Chapter 74 ► Chapter 75 ► Chapter 76 ► Chapter 77 ► Chapter 78 ► Chapter 79 ► Chapter 80 ► Chapter 81 ► Chapter 82 ► Chapter 83 ► Chapter 84 ► Chapter 85 ► Chapter 86 ► Chapter 87 ► Chapter 88 ► Chapter 89 ► Chapter 90 ► Chapter 91 ► Chapter 92 ► Chapter 93 ► Chapter 94 ► Chapter 95 ► Chapter 96 ► Chapter 97 ► Chapter 98 ► Chapter 99 ► Chapter 100 ► Chapter 101 ► Chapter 102 ► Chapter 103 ► Chapter 104 ► Chapter 105 ► Chapter 106 ► Chapter 107 ► Chapter 108 ► Chapter 109 ► Chapter 110 ► Chapter 111 ► Chapter 112 ► Chapter 113 ► Chapter 114 ► Chapter 115 ► Chapter 116 ► Chapter 117 ► Chapter 118 ► Chapter 119 ► Chapter 120 ► Chapter 121 ► Chapter 122 ► Chapter 123 ► Chapter 124 ► Chapter 125 ► Chapter 126 ► Chapter 127 ► Chapter 128 ► Chapter 129 ► Chapter 130 ► Chapter 131 ► Chapter 132 ► Chapter 133 ► Chapter 134 ► Chapter 135 ► Chapter 136 ► Chapter 137 ► Chapter 138 ► Chapter 139 ► Chapter 140 ► Chapter 141 ► Chapter 142 ► Chapter 143 ► Chapter 144 ► Chapter 145 ► Chapter 146 ► Chapter 147 ► Chapter 148 ► Chapter 149 ► Chapter 150