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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 125



Verse 1

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

This 125th psalm forms a pair with Psalms 126:1-6. Psalms 125:1 may be regarded as the introduction to both. Ps

125.-The security of believers in Yahweh is like that of Zion, which abideth forever: as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so Yahweh surrounds His people: the pagan rod now upon Israel shall not always be so, lest the righteous be tempted to iniquity (Psalms 125:1-3); prayer therefore that Yahweh may do good to the good in Israel, whereas they who turn aside shall be given up to their crookedness (Psalms 125:4-5). This psalm, with Psalms 126:1-6 and David's psalm, Psalms 124:1-8, form a trilogy. Oppressed by pagan abominations in her land (Psalms 125:3), Israel comforts herself with realizing God's Almighty protection, suggested by the natural features of her home. Some of her people had turned aside (Psalms 125:5 : cf. Nehemiah 6:12-13; Nehemiah 13:1-31), but the majority stood faithful.

They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, (but) abideth forever - literally, 'sitteth forever.' It is strong faith which draws from the visible world (which usually draws the heart from unseen realities) supports for itself. Zion, the seen mountain, and the external seat of the Church, by its solid firmness typifies the immovable spiritual Zion-namely, "them that trust in the Lord," the members constituting the spiritual Church. The emphasis is not on their firmness of "trust," but on the object of their trust, "the Lord." They who have Yahweh for their object of trust can no more be moved by the attacks of man than the material mount Zion. (Psalms 46:5). The privilege is restricted to those of Israel who "trust in the Lord," "the righteous" (Psalms 125:3), "the upright" (Psalms 125:4), as contrasted with "such as turn aside unto their crooked ways." Even in the Old Testament there was a separation between the visible and the invisible Church (Romans 9:6).

Verse 2

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

(As) the mountains (are) round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth even forever - (Zechariah 2:5.) 'Jerusalem is upon the mountain-range shut in by the two valleys Jehoshaphat and Hinnom. All the surrounding hills are higher. In the east, the mount of Olives; on the south, the so-called hill of evil counsel, ascending from the valley of Hinnom. On the west the ground rises gently to the border of the great Wady; while in the north the bend of a ridge which adjoins the mount of Olives limits the view to a distance of about one and a half miles' (Robinson).

Verse 3

For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.

For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous. "The rod " - i:e., the sceptre of the wicked world- power (at this time Persia) shall not always remain upon the Holy Land, which is "the lot of the righteous." Messiah's sceptre shall at last break the pagan sceptre (Psalms 2:9; Psalms 45:6). So the godless pagan power is called "the throne of iniquity" (Psalms 94:20). "The righteous" is the term for Israel regarded in respect to its high calling as holy unto the Lord. These who are Israelites only in name are put out of view, as not being really of the Israel without guile.

Lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity - lest, if the dominion of the ungodly were allowed always to oppress the righteous, the faith and patience of these latter might fail. The temptation might, if too long protracted, overcome the saints (cf. Asaph's temptation, Psalms 73:13). Therefore God, in pity for human frailty, ceases to contend (Isaiah 57:16). "Put forth the hands" is a phrase for helping or relieving themselves by presumptuous and unlawful means (cf. Genesis 3:22).

Verse 4

Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.

Do good, O Lord, unto (those that be) good. The confident trust expressed in Psalms 125:1-3 is the ground on which rests the prayer here. There is an inseparable connection between being "good" and receiving "good."

And to (them that are) upright in their hearts - not merely in outward conduct. The true "Israel" (Psalms 125:5), "such as are of a clean heart" (Psalms 73:1 : cf. Psalms 7:10). The law was not mere letter, but spirit, even in the Old Testament; it is under the New Testament that the spirit of the law is brought fully to light. Thus the law commanded, Deuteronomy 6:5, "Thou, shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart," etc. And the tenth commandment concerned the inward man, "Thou shalt not covet," thereby detecting "lust" (Romans 7:7). The Psalmist repudiates the notion that mere descent from Abraham, and circumcision, can make any one of the elect nation accepted before God (cf. John Baptist's teaching, Matthew 3:9; and Romans 2:28-29).

Verse 5

As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel. As for such as turn aside (Job 23:11; Isaiah 30:11) unto their crooked ways - (Proverbs 2:15.) The revealed word is the Divine King's highway. A walk according to one's own lust is a fatal by-path (Malachi 2:8). So Israel's setting up of the golden calf (Deuteronomy 9:16). Such walks are called "THEIR crooked ways" [ `aqalqalowtaam (Hebrew #6128): the doubling of the radicals intensifies the signification, "their tortuous crookednesses"], because these are the devisings of the sinner's own corrupt heart (Proverbs 14:12).

The Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. As those of "crooked ways" have associated themselves in heart and conduct with evil-doers, so, in spite of their outward profession on which they trusted, they shall be associated with them in punishment. The Lord will make them to go with the open transgressors, giving them up to the unrestricted working of their own sin (cf. Psalms 26:9; Psalms 28:3). The change from the second person (Psalms 125:4) to the third expresses a turning away from, and putting to a distance, the godless hypocrites.

(But) peace (shall be) upon Israel - all her trails shall be over (Psalms 128:6). "Upon" the true "Israel," after the inconsistent bearers of the name shall have been removed. So "upon" the spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16).


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 125:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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