284 – Psalm 9 – Last look

In our study of Psalm 9, we come to the last two verses. You’ll notice I put brackets around “Yahweh”. I do this to point out that the word LORD supplied by the translators is actually a substitution for God’s Holy name. I personally would rather see when Yahweh appears in the text instead of the poor substitution, “LORD”. Otherwise, I make no other “adjustments” to the translation.


Psalm 9:19-20 (NKJV)

           19       Arise, O [Yahweh],

    Do not let man prevail;

    Let the nations be judged in Your sight.

           20       Put them in fear, O [Yahweh],

    That the nations may know themselves to be but men.

If you’ve been following along with me as I walk (maybe crawl) through Psalm nine, you will recall it is a song. Remember it was titled To the Chief Musician. To The Tune of “Death of the Son.” A Psalm of David. It is possible that this indicates the “Chief Musician” was to put the prayer/song to music. Maybe he arranged the written music so each of the instruments could play the music.

You may also recall, this Psalm, like the rest of them, is a prayer to Yahweh. We are so removed both culturally and by time, that it is often easy for us to forget these Psalms were born out of real experience. Often times the actual physical dangers and mental anguish gave rise to these oblations.

Though it may have been useful to consider a few verses at a time, I hope you’ll read the whole Psalm. It will put the Psalm in its proper context and help you to understand Yahweh’s Holy Words as He intended it to be understood.

Additionally, I hope you’ll do your own work to make observations and make discoveries about the text. It truly is a fulfilling experience. Observation truly is the first step in understanding the meaning Yahweh so lovingly provided for us in His Holy Word.

Last time we considered Hebrew parallelism. Sometimes the parallelism being employed is difficult to detect. And if I’m being honest I don’t always get it right when trying to determine which form is being used by the Psalmist. There are many types of parallelism. The main ones are Anthithetical (contrasting ideas), Synonymous (Same idea worded differently), and Synthetic (Additional information with each subsequent thought).

Consider the parallelism of the last two verses with me and see what you think. Don’t let the verse markings get in the way of your determination. I wonder if there isn’t some bleed-over between the types in these last two verses? It seems to me, “Arise of [Yahweh];” is antithetical to the next thought, “Do not let man prevail;”. Then, “Do not let man prevail” is further explained by “Let the nations be judged in Your sight”, which would be synthetic. The synthetic seems to continue into “Put them in fear O [Yahweh], That the nations may know themselves to be but men”.

Looking back at verse 19, what could “Arise O [Yahweh]” mean? He’s not a man. He does not lie down to rest so it can’t be a call to get out of bed. Is it simply a call for Him to stand to His feet from a seated position? Not likely. How would the Psalmist know whether or not God was sitting? There seems to be enough context around the phrase that we can safely determine “Arise O [Yahweh]” to be a call to action. The Psalmist is pleading with God to intervene against his enemies.

Be encouraged that Yahweh will not allow man to prevail. I believe the Psalmist knew that full well, but it didn’t stop him from pleading with Yahweh for Him to put man in his place, “Do not let man prevail”.

In so many ways modern man has pushed God out of the picture and become his own God. It is obvious in cultural re-definitions of things like marriage and even gender that God has been kicked out of His world designed by His hand. Man knows better than God. Yahweh will most definitely correct cultural perspective to once again see things as He sees them.

          20       Put them in fear, O [Yahweh],

    That the nations may know themselves to be but men.


In the end, man WILL be in fear and the nations WILL know themselves to be but men. For many, they won’t come to the truth until the judgment seat, which will be too late. It’s my prayer we can reach those around us with the truth of the gospel. That our friends, family members, and co-workers will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Yahweh, the one who has life in Himself, the one who breathed life into Adam, the one who has given us life, is worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration!

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