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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 146:3

 

 

Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Put not your trust in princes - This may refer, as has been stated above, to Cyrus, who had revoked his edict for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Perhaps they had begun to suppose that they were about to owe their deliverance to the Persian king. God permitted this change in the disposition of the king, to teach them the vanity of confidence in men, and the necessity of trusting in himself.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-146.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Put not your trust in princes - Rely on God rather than on man, however exalted he may be. There is a work of protection and salvation which no man, however exalted he may be, can perform for you; a work which God alone, who is the Maker of all things, and who never dies, can accomplish. See the notes at Psalm 118:8-9. Compare also the notes at Isaiah 2:22: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

Nor in the son of man - Any son of man; any human being, no matter what his rank or power. The phrase is often used to denote man. See the notes at Psalm 8:4. The appellation “Son of man” was often applied by the Saviour to himself to express emphatically the idea that he was a man - that he had a human nature; that he was identified with the race; that he was a brother, a fellow-sufferer, a friend of man: that he was not a cold and abstract being so exalted that he could not feel or weep over the sins and woes of a fallen and suffering world. The language here, however, it is scarcely necessary to say, does not refer to him. It is right to put our trust in him; we have no other trust.

In whom there is no help - Margin, salvation. So the Hebrew. The idea is, that man cannot save us. He cannot save himself; he cannot save others.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-146.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

NEGATIVE COUNSEL

"Put not your trust in princes,

Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth;

In that very day his thoughts perish."

"Put not your trust in princes" (Psalms 146:3). "`Princes' is from a word that means conspicuous or influential ones."[8] The idea is that men, even though they are princes, cannot be trusted for "help." This does not mean that men cannot be trusted for ordinary assistance. Rhodes assures us that the word "help" here is "literally salvation."[9] In this light, the negative counsel of this verse becomes one of the most important imperatives in the whole Bible. It simply means, "Do not trust human beings, no matter how powerful or well-known, to instruct you in matters of salvation." Let God be true, and every man a liar.

What a shame it is that so many of earth's fine religious souls are trusting "the words of men" instead of the Word of God regarding matters of faith.

"Nor in the son of man" (Psalms 146:3). This is not a reference to the Son of Man, who is Christ. "The Prayer-book paraphrase, `nor in any child of man,' brings out the sense."[10] McCaw cautioned us that, "These verses should not be understood as a cynical command never to trust anyone."[11] The prohibition is against trusting any human being as an authority in matters of faith and salvation. McCaw gave three reasons why men should not be trusted in such matters: (1) their lack of ability; (2) their ephemeral nature; "here today, and gone tomorrow"; and (3) their unreliability.[12]

A current fad in religious matters is the Lutheran doctrine of "salvation by faith alone," a contradiction of James 2:24, and an invention of "a man" more than a millennium after the Christian religion began. Concerning such man-originated doctrines, Baigent has this: "Any man, or group of men, are transitory, and so are their philosophies and panaceas."[13]

"He returneth to his earth" (Psalms 146:4). This is a grim reminder of the words so often heard among the dying members of the race of Adam, "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The pitiful mortality of our dying race thunders in our ears; and we should never allow the attractiveness, popularity, power, wealth, position, or any other earthly endowment of any man to silence that thunder, enabling us to trust his theories of salvation. He and his doctrine alike are certain to perish.

Barnes has this comment on the phrase, "his earth":

The earth is man's: (a) It is his in that he was made from the earth and to the earth shall return (Genesis 3:19). (b) the earth (grave) is his. There he shall abide. (c) It is "his" in the sense that it is the only property that he shall ever possess. All that a man - prince, noble, pauper, billionaire, monarch or slave - will soon have is his grave, his few feet of earth. That will be "his" by right of possession; by the fact that for the time being, he shall occupy it, and not another man.[14]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-146.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Put not your trust in princes,.... Not in foreign princes, in alliances and confederacies with them; nor in any at home. David did not desire his people to put their trust in him, nor in his nobles and courtiers; but in the Lord Christ, who, as he is the object of praise, is also the proper object of trust. Princes, though ever so liberal and bountiful, as their name signifies, and therefore called benefactors, Luke 22:25 or ever so mighty and powerful, wise and prudent, yet are not to be depended upon; they are changeable, fickle, and inconstant; and oftentimes not faithful to their word, but fallacious and deceitful; "men of high degree are a lie", Psalm 62:9; wherefore it is better to trust in the Lord Jehovah, in whom is everlasting strength; who gives all things richly to enjoy; who is unchangeable, and ever abides faithful; see Psalm 118:8;

nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help; or "salvation"F13תשועה "salus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. : not in any mere man born of a woman; not in Abraham, the father of the faithful, of whom the Jews boasted, as the Midrash; nor in Moses, as Arama; nor in Cyrus, as R. Obadiah; no, nor in David himself, nor in any of the princes; for how great soever they look, or in whatsoever honour and esteem they may be, they are but sons of men; are frail mortal men, and die like men, though they may be called gods, as they are by office: but no man or son of man, let him be what he will, is to be trusted in; there is a curse on him that does it, Jeremiah 17:5. There is indeed a Son of man that is to be trusted in, the Lord Jesus Christ; but then he is God as well as man, the true God, the great God, God over all, blessed for ever; were he not, he would not be the proper object of trust, for there is no "help" or "salvation" in a mere creature; even kings and princes cannot help and save themselves oftentimes, and much less their people; their salvation is of God, and not from themselves, or from their armies, Psalm 33:16. There is help in Christ, on whom it is laid, and where it is found; there is salvation in him, but in no other; he is the author and giver of it, and therefore he, and not another, is to be trusted in.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-146.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Put not your trust in b princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help.

(b) That God may have the whole praise: in which he forbids all vain confidence showing that by nature we are more inclined to put our trust in creatures, than in God the Creator.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-146.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3.Trust not in princes This admonition is appropriately inserted, for one means by which men blind themselves is that of involving their minds through a number of inventions, and being thus prevented from engaging in the praises of God. That God may have the whole praise due to him, David exposes and overthrows those false stays on which we would otherwise be too much disposed to trust. His meaning is, that we should withdraw ourselves from man in general, but he names princes, from whom more is to be feared than common men. For what promise could poor people hold out, or such as need the help of others? The great and wealthy, again, have a dangerous attraction through the splendor attaching to them, suggesting to us the step of taking shelter under their patronage. As the simple are fascinated by looking to their grandeur, he adds, that the most powerful of the world’s princes is but a son of man This should be enough to rebuke our folly in worshipping them as a kind of demigods, as Isaiah says, (Isaiah 31:3,) “The Egyptian is man, and not God; flesh, and not spirit.” Although princes then are furnished with power, money, troops of men, and other resources, David reminds us, that it is wrong to place our trust in frail mortal man, and vain to seek safety where it cannot be found.

This he explains more fully in the verse, which follows, where he tells us how short and fleeting the life of man is. Though God throw loose the reins, and suffer princes even to invade heaven in the wildest enterprises, the passing of the spirit, like a breath, suddenly overthrows all their counsels and plans. The body being the dwelling-place of the soul, what is here said may very well be so understood; for at death God recalls the spirit. We may understand it more simply, however, of the vital breath; and this will answer better with the context — that as soon as man has ceased to breathe, his corpse is subject to putrefaction. It follows, that those who put their trust in men, depend upon a fleeting breath. When he says that in that day all his thoughts perish, or flow away, perhaps under this expression he censures the madness of princes in setting no bounds to their hopes and desires, and scaling the very heavens in their ambition, like the insane Alexander of Macedon, who, upon hearing that there were other worlds, wept that he had not yet conquered one, although soon after the funeral urn sufficed him. Observation itself proves that the schemes of princes are deep and complicated. That we may not fall, therefore, into the error of connecting our hopes with them, David says that the life of princes also passes away swiftly and in a moment, and that with it all their plans vanish.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-146.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

trust

(See Scofield "Psalms 2:12").


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Psalms 146:3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/psalms-146.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help.

Ver. 3. Put not your trust in princes] But in God alone; this being a principal piece of his praise; it is a kind of setting the crown on his head. See 9:15. The word rendered princes signifieth liberal, bountiful ones, ευεργεται, so princes would be accounted; but there is no trusting to them without God, or against him.

Nor in the son of man] The arm of flesh. See Psalms 118:8-9.

In whom there is no help] For themselves, saith Aben Ezra; much less for others.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-146.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In princes; in men of greatest wealth and power, in whose favour men are very prone to trust.

In whom there is no help; who are utterly unable frequently to give you that help which they promise, and you expect.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-146.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. Put not… trust in princes—A prince, (Cyrus, Ezra 1:1-4,) and then another, (Darius Hystaspes, Ezra 6,) had helped Israel in rebuilding the temple. Yet they were but the servants of a Higher; they were but sons of men, weak and changeful.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-146.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Bruises. God delivered the captives, after chastising them, Deuteronomy xxxii. 39. (Calmet) --- He gives life to the penitent, as Christ healed the sick, &c., Isaias lxi. 1. (Berthier)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-146.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

trust = confidence. Hebrew. batah. App-69.

man. Hebrew. "adam. App-14.

no help = no salvation, or saving help. Compare Psalms 33:16; Psalms 60:11.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-146.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

Put not your trust in princes, (nor) in the son of man, in whom there is no help - rather, 'no salvation' (Jeshuhah, a different Hebrew word from that for "help," Psalms 146:5, `eezer (Hebrew #5828)). This verse is drawn from Psalms 118:8-9. The "princes" meant are the rulers of the God-opposed world-power. The Jews had found dependence on Pharaoh no safeguard against Nebuchadnezzar when Jerusalem was besieged by the latter. Again the princess of the Medo-Persian world-power had been quickly turned away from helping them by the slander of their Samaritan enemies, after their return from Babylon. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord" (Proverbs 21:1). If we make God our friend and our confidence, He can make the world-powers also to befriend us (Psalms 75:6-7; Isaiah 2:22).


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-146.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
Put
62:9; 118:8,9; Isaiah 2:22; 31:3; 37:6; Jeremiah 17:5,6
help
or, salvation.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 146:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-146.html.

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