Psalm 12:5
(5) For the oppression--i.e., on account of the oppression. Here, as in so many psalms and prophecies, we have an ancient oracle of God introduced. The poet first quotes it, and then in Psalm 12:6 contrasts its truth and genuineness with the false speeches of hypocrites.

I will set.--Literally, I will set in safety; he blows at it: which may mean either, "I will ensure him of the safety for which he panteth," or "I will set him in safety who panteth for it." This sense is fixed by Habakkuk 2:3 : "it panteth to its end," i.e., for its accomplishment.

Verse 5. - For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord. The ungodly having been threatened, a promise of assistance is made to the righteous whom they oppress. God declares that, in response to the many calls made upon him (Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12), he will "now," at last, "arise" - interpose on behalf of the oppressed, and deliver them (comp. Exodus 3:7, 8). I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. This is a possible meaning; but it is perhaps better to render, with Hengstenberg and Cheyne, "I will place him in the safety for which he sighs," or "pants."

12:1-8 The psalmist begs help of God, because there were none among men whom he durst trust. - This psalm furnishes good thoughts for bad times; a man may comfort himself with such meditations and prayers. Let us see what makes the times bad, and when they may be said to be so. Ask the children of this world, What makes the times bad? they will tell you, Scarcity of money, decay of trade, and the desolations of war, make the times bad: but the Scripture lays the badness of the times on causes of another nature, 2Ti 3:1, c.: perilous times shall come, for sin shall abound; and of this David complains. When piety decays times really are bad. He who made man's mouth will call him to an account for his proud, profane, dissembling, or even useless words. When the poor and needy are oppressed, then the times are very bad. God himself takes notice of the oppression of the poor, and the sighing of the needy. When wickedness abounds, and is countenanced by those in authority, then the times are very bad. See with what good things we are here furnished for such bad times; and we cannot tell what times we may be reserved for. 1. We have a God to go to, from whom we may ask and expect the redress of all our grievances. 2. God will certainly punish and restrain false and proud men. 3. God will work deliverance for his oppressed people. His help is given in the fittest time. Though men are false, God is faithful; though they are not to be trusted, God is. The preciousness of God's word is compared to silver refined to the highest degree. How many proofs have been given of its power and truth! God will secure his chosen remnant, however bad the times are. As long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men. But all God's people are put into the hands of Christ our Saviour; there they are in safety, for none can pluck them thence; being built on Him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding temptation or persecution come with ever so much force upon them.For the oppression of the poor,.... The servants and people of God, who, for the most part, are poor in a temporal sense, and are all of them, and always, so in a spiritual sense, standing continually in need of fresh supplies of grace; and being often afflicted, as the word signifies, are mean and despicable in the eyes of the men of this world, and so oppressed by them, as the poor generally are by the rich; and as the people of Israel were oppressed by the Egyptians, so are the people of God by antichrist, and by his tyrannical laws and edicts, and by such haughty and insolent persons as before described;

for the sighing of the needy; who groan under their oppressions; being stripped of all good things, their friends, and worldly substance, they sigh inwardly, and cry unto the Lord, who sees their oppressions, hears their groans; and though he cannot be moved, as men are, by anything without himself, yet, according to his abundant mercy and sovereign will, he appears and exerts himself on the behalf of his people, and for their relief and assistance;

now will I arise, saith the Lord; to have mercy on the poor and needy, and to avenge them on their oppressors, and free them from them. And this the Lord promises to do "now", speedily, immediately; God arises in the most seasonable time, when his people are in the greatest straits, and in the utmost distress and herein displays his wisdom, power, and goodness. This is an answer to the petition of the psalmist in Psalm 12:1;

I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him; or "in salvation" (i); in Christ the Saviour. All God's people are put into the hands of Christ, and are preserved in him; there they are in safety, for out of his hands none can pluck them; and being built on him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding the waves and winds of temptation, persecution, &c. come with ever so much force upon them. Here it seems to signify, that God would deliver his poor and needy from their oppressions, and put them into a comfortable, prosperous, safe, and happy situation, in which they will be out of the reach of their enemies; as will be the witnesses, when they shall ascend to heaven, Revelation 11:11; even out of the reach of him that "puffeth at" them, despises them, and treats them with the utmost scorn and contempt; see Psalm 10:5. Or that "breathes", or "let him breathe" (k) threatenings and slaughters; as Saul did against the disciples of Christ, Acts 9:1; or that "lays snares for him" (l), as the wicked do for the righteous; or that "speaks unto him" in such haughty and insolent language as before expressed. Some make this clause a proposition of itself, "he puffeth at him"; meaning either that he that is secure, safety puffs at his enemy, despises him, as he has been despised by him; or God, who breathes upon him, and whose breath is as a stream of brimstone, which kindles in him a fire of divine wrath, which is unquenchable; or else the sense is, God will "speak to himself", or "to him" (m); in which sense the word is used Habakkuk 2:4; that is, good and comfortable words to the poor; or "he will give him refreshment", or "rest": which he will determine in himself to speak to him: or "he shall have breathing", or "let him breathe" (n): he shall have times of refreshing from the Lord, and rest from adversity, from the oppositions and persecutions of his enemies.

(i) "in salute", Pagninus, Montanus, Mariana, Vatablus, Junius, & Tremeliius, Piscator; so Ainsworth. (k) "spiret vel spirabit sibi", De Dieu. (l) "Qui ponit ei laqueum", Munster; "qui laqueum injicit illis", Heb. "illi", Muis; so Kimchi. (m) "Loquetur sibi vel ei", Vatablus. (n) "Respirationem dabit illi", Cloppenburgius; so Ainsworth, and some in Michaelis.

Psalm 12:4
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