Psalm 85:8
(8) Speak peace . . .--This word "peace" comprehends all that the nation sighed for:


Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful truth."

To Christians the word has a higher meaning still, which directed the choice of this psalm for Christmas Day.

Folly.--See Psalm 14:1; Psalm 49:13. Here it most probably implies idolatry.

Verses 8-13. - The joyful anticipation. The psalmist anticipates a favourable answer to his prayer, and proceeds to note down the chief points of it. God will "speak peace to his people" (ver. 8), bring his salvation near to them (ver. 9), contrive a way by which "mercy and truth," "righteousness and peace," shall be reconciled (vers. 10, 11), shower blessings on his land (ver. 12), and guide his people in the way marked out by his own footsteps (ver. 13). Verse 8. - I will hear what God the Lord will speak; i.e. "I will wait now and hear the Divine answer to my prayers" (comp. Habakkuk 3:1, "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me"). For he will speak peace unto his people. He will give them a gentle answer - one breathing peace and loving kindness. And to his saints. And especially he will so answer the elite of his people - the khasidim, "his saints," or "loving ones." But let them not turn again to folly (comp. Ezra 9:10-14). If, after the deliverance that they had experienced, they turned again to such "folly" as had brought on their misfortunes, it would make their end worse than their beginning.

85:8-13 Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following himI will hear what God the Lord will speak,.... This the psalmist says in the name of the people of the Jews, whom he represents, in all the foregoing expostulations and petitions, refusing to be still and quiet, and wait and listen for an answer to the above request from the Lord, who speaks by his providences, word, and Spirit; see Habakkuk 2:1,

for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints; as he does in his word, which is the Gospel of peace; and by his ministers, who bring the good tidings of it, and publish it; and by the blood and righteousness of his Son, which both procure, call for, and produce it; and by his Spirit, the fruit of which is peace: it is an answer of peace, or of good and comfortable words, that the Lord returns to his people sooner or later; and it is only to his own people he speaks peace, to his covenant ones, with whom the covenant of peace is made; and to his saints, his Holy Ones, whom he has set apart for himself, and sanctified by his Spirit: as for the wicked, there is no peace unto them, nor any spoken to them by him: Kimchi understands by the "saints" the godly among the Gentiles, as distinct from the Lord's "people", the Jews:

but let them not turn again to folly; to doubt of and question the providence of God; so Arama; or to idolatry, which there was danger of, upon the Jews' return from Babylon; and it is observable, that they afterwards never did return to it, to which they were so much addicted before; or to a vicious course of life, to sin and iniquity, which is the greatest folly, after mercy has been shown; or to self-righteousness, and a dependence on it, to the neglect of Christ and his righteousness, which is the great folly of the Jews to this day; and when the Lord shall quicken them, and convert them, show them his mercy and salvation, speak peace and pardon to them, it would be very ungrateful in them to turn again to this folly.

Psalm 85:7
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