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Psalms 94 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

This Psalm is a prayer for the revelation of the righteous judgement of God, and an expression of confidence in the ultimate triumph of right. It falls into two main divisions.

i. The Psalmist appeals to Jehovah to manifest Himself as judge of the earth (Psa 94:1-2). How long will He tolerate the arrogance of the tyrants who oppress His people, and contemptuously declare that He is ignorant or indifferent (Psa 94:3-7)?

Addressing some of his own countrymen who are inclined to doubt Jehovah’s moral government of the world he rebukes them for their folly, and argues that Jehovah must of necessity see and hear and in due time punish (Psa 94:8-11).

ii. The second part of the Psalm is occupied with thoughts of consolation for times of trouble. Happy the man who is taught by God to endure patiently until right once more triumphs (Psa 94:12-15).

To whom can Israel look but to Jehovah, Whose love has been proved in time past (Psa 94:16-19)?

He cannot be the ally of injustice, but will defend His people, and exterminate their enemies (Psa 94:20-23).

Who were the oppressors of whom the Psalmist complains? From the contrast in Psa 94:5 ; Psa 94:8 ; Psa 94:10 ; Psa 94:12 it would seem that they were foreigners, who openly despised Israel’s God as indifferent to the sufferings of His people ( Psa 94:7). It is true that much of the language of the Ps. resembles that used elsewhere to describe the oppression of poor Israelites by their powerful countrymen. But it is the community as such ( Psa 94:5) and not one portion of it, which is oppressed, and a Psalmist who borrows so freely from his predecessors might easily use their language though the circumstances were somewhat different. Dependent though this Psalmist is in almost every line upon earlier literature, his argument with the doubters of God’s moral government is urged with a force and originality of his own, and his clear assertion of the Divine education of the nations is almost without parallel in the O.T.

There is little or nothing to fix the date of the Ps. Some points of style and language seem to connect it with the two preceding Psalms. The figure of ‘anadiplosis’ or rhetorical repetition is common to all three (Psa 92:9; Psa 93:1; Psa 93:3; Psa 94:1; Psa 94:3; Psa 94:23); the same language is applied to the doubters of God’s Providence (Psa 92:6; Psa 94:8); the same terms are used to designate Israel’s oppressors (Psa 92:7; Psa 92:11; Psa 94:16); Psa 94:11 may be a contrast to Psa 92:5. Possibly it may belong to the closing years of the Exile, and refer to harsh treatment which the Israelites had to suffer in Babylon. If so, the cry for vengeance is an echo of the language of Isaiah 40-66 and Jeremiah 50, 51. But it may belong to some later time in the post-exilic period, when the struggling community was oppressed by foreign governors.

In the LXX the Psalm bears the title A Psalm of David, for the fourth day of the week, and according to Talmudic tradition it was the special Psalm for that day in the services of the Second Temple. Cheyne suggests that its position here, where it certainly intervenes strangely between two jubilant Psalms, arose “out of an attempt (not carried very far) to promote liturgical convenience,” though it must obviously be “later than Psalms 93, from which it differs so much in tone and import” ( Origin of the Psalter, p. 72). Style however seems to point to a closer connexion of these Psalms than that of liturgical usage merely.

Consult other comments:

Psalms 94:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 94:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 94:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 94:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 94:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 94:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 94:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 94:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 94:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges