Title. To the Chief Musician upon Muth-labben, a Psalm of David. The meaning of this title is very doubtful. It may refer to the tune to which the Psalm was to be sung, so Wilcocks and others think; or it may refer to a musical instrument now unknown, but common in those days; or it may have a reference to Ben, who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:18, as one of the Levitical singers. If either of these conjectures should be correct, the title of Muth-Labben has no teaching for us, except it is meant to show us how careful David was that in the worship of God, all things should be done according to due order. From a considerable company of learned witnesses we gather that the title will bear a meaning far more instructive, without being fancifully forced: it signifies a Psalm concerning the death of the Son. The Chaldee has, “concerning the death of the Champion who went out between the camps, “referring to Goliath of Gath, or some other Philistine, on account of whose death many suppose this Psalm to have been written in after years by David. Believing that out of a thousand guesses this is at least as consistent with the sense of the Psalm as any other, we prefer it; and the more especially so because it enables us to refer it mystically to the victory of the Son of God over the champion of evil, even to enemy of souls (Psalms 9:6). We have here before us most evidently a triumphal hymn; may it strengthen the faith of the militant believer and stimulate the courage of the timid saint, as he sees here The Conqueror, on whose vesture and thigh is the name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Order. Bonar remarks, “The position of the Psalms in their relation to each other is often remarkable.” It is questioned whether the present arrangement of them was the order to which they were given forth to Israel, or whether some later compiler, perhaps Ezra, was inspired to attend to this matter, as well as to other points connected with the canon. Without attempting to decide this point, it is enough to remark that we have proof that the order of the Psalms is as ancient as the completing of the canon, and if so, it seems obvious that the Holy Spirit wished this book to come down to us in its present order. We make these remarks, in order to invite attention to the fact, that as the eighth caught up the last line of the seventh, this ninth Psalm opens with an apparent reference to the eighth: “I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee. (Compare Song of Songs 1:4 Revelation 19:7) I will sing to Thy Name, O thou Most High.” Psalms 1-2. As if “The Name, “so highly praised in the former Psalm, were still ringing in the ear of the sweet singer of Israel. And in Psalms 9:10, he returns to it, celebrating their confidence who “know” that “name” as if its fragrance still breathed in the atmosphere around.
Division. The strain so continually changes, that it is difficult to give an outline of it methodically arranged: we give the best we can make. From Psalms 9:1-6 is a song of jubilant thanksgiving; from
Psalms 9:7-12, there is a continued declaration of faith as to the future. Prayer closes the first great division of the Psalm in Psalms 9:13-14. The second portion of this triumphal ode, although much shorter, is parallel in all its parts to the first portion, and is a sort of rehearsal of it. Observe the song for past judgments, Psalms 9:15-16; the declaration of trust in future justice, Psalms 9:17-18; and the closing prayer, Psalms 9:19-20. Let us celebrate the conquests of the Redeemer as we read this Psalm, and it cannot but be a delightful task if the Holy Ghost be with us.
The Treasury of David.
Ignorance is worst when it amounts to ignorance of God, and knowledge is best when it exercises itself upon the name of God. This most excellent knowledge leads to the most excellent grace of faith. O, to learn more of the attributes and character of God. Unbelief, that hooting night bird, cannot live in the light of divine knowledge, it flies before the sun of God’s great and gracious name. If we read this verse literally, there is, no doubt, a glorious fulness of assurance in the names of God. We have recounted them in the “Hints for Preachers, “and would direct the reader’s attention to them. By knowing his name is also meant an experimental acquaintance with the attributes of God, which are every one of them anchors to hold the soul from drifting in seasons of peril. The Lord may hide his face for a season from his people, but he never has utterly, finally, really, or angrily forsaken them that seek him. Let the poor seekers draw comfort from this fact, and let the finders rejoice yet more exceedingly, for what must be the Lord’s faithfulness to those who find if he is so gracious to those who seek.
“O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek, To those who fall how kind thou art,
How good to those who seek.
“But what to those who find, ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show The love of Jesus what it is,
None but his loved ones know.”
They that know thy name will put their trust in thee. Faith is an intelligent grace; though there can be knowledge without faith, yet there can be no faith without knowledge. One calls it quick sighted faith. Knowledge must carry the torch before faith. 2 Timothy 1:12. “For I know whom I have believed.” As in Paul’s conversion a light from heaven “Shined round about him” (Acts 9:3), so before faith be wrought, God shines in with a light upon the understanding. A blind faith is as bad as a dead faith: that eye may as well be said to be a good eye which is without sight, as that faith is good without knowledge. Devout ignorance damns; which condemns the church of Rome, that thinks it a piece of their religion to be kept in ignorance; these set up an altar to an unknown God. They say ignorance is the mother of devotion; but sure where the sun is set in the understanding, it must needs be night in the affections. So necessary is knowledge to the being of faith, that the Scriptures do sometimes baptise faith with the name of knowledge. Isaiah 53:11. “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” Knowledge is put there for faith. Thomas Watson.
They that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for, thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. The mother of unbelief is ignorance of God, his faithfulness, mercy, and power. They that know thee, will trust in thee. This confirmed Paul, Abraham, Sarah, in the faith. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12. “He is faithful that promised, “and “able also to perform.” Hebrews 10:23, 11:11, Romans 4:21. The free promises of the Lord are all certain, his commandments right and good, the recompense of reward inestimably to be valued above thousands of gold and silver; trust therefore in the Lord, O my soul, and follow hard after him. Thou hast his free promise, who never failed, who hath promised more than possibly thou couldest ask or think, who hath done more for thee than ever he promised, who is good and bountiful to the wicked and ungodly; thou doest his work, who is able and assuredly will bear thee out. There is a crown of glory proposed to thee above all conceit of merit; stick fast unto his word, and suffer nothing to divide thee from it. Rest upon his promises though he seem to kill thee; cleave unto his statutes though the flesh lust, the world allure, the devil tempt, by flatteries or threatenings to the contrary. John Ball, 1632.
They that know thy name will put their trust in thee. They can do no otherwise who savingly know God’s sweet attributes, and noble acts for his people. We never trust a man till we know him, and bad men are better known than trusted. Not so the Lord; for where his name is ointment poured forth, the virgins love him, fear him, rejoice in him, and repose upon him. John Trapp.
Knowledge, Faith, Experience, the connection of the three.
The names of God inspire trust. Jehovah Jireh, Tsidkenu, Rophi, Shammah, Nissi, Elohim, Shaddai, Adonai, etc.
The Treasury of David.
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