11. God judgeth the righteous, &c. Others read, God is a righteous Judge, and God is angry every day. The words will certainly admit of this sense; but as the doctrine is fuller according to the first reading, I have preferred following it, as I see it is more approved of by the most learned divines, and, besides, it is more suitable to the subject which David is now considering. As Saul and his accomplices had, by their calumnious reports, so far succeeded in their wicked design as to have produced a general prejudice against David, so that he was condemned by almost the whole people, the holy man supports himself from this one consideration, that whatever may be the confusion of things in the world, God, notwithstanding, can easily discern between the righteous and the wicked. He, therefore, appeals from the false judgments of men to Him who can never be deceived. It may, however, be asked, How does the Psalmist represent God as judging every day, when we see him delaying punishment frequently for a long time? The sacred writings certainly most justly celebrate his long-suffering; but, although he exercises patience long, and does not immediately execute his judgments, yet, as no time passes, yea, not even a day, in which he does not furnish the clearest evidence that he discerns between the righteous and the wicked, notwithstanding the confusion of things in the world, it is certain that he never ceases to execute the office of a judge. All who will be at the trouble to open their eyes to behold the government of the world, will distinctly see that the patience of God is very different from approbation or connivance. Surely, then, his own people will confidently betake themselves to him every day.
12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow and made it ready.
13 And he hath prepared for it the instruments of death; he shall make fit his arrows for them that persecute.
14 Behold, he shall travail to bring forth iniquity; he hath conceived wickedness, and he shall bring forth falsehood.
7:11 / A God who expresses his wrath every day: Instead of the mt’s ʾēl zōʿēm (“a God being indignant”), the lxx appears to have the Hb. reading ʾal zōʿēm (“not indignant”). Several factors make the mt the more likely original. (a) The parallel line has God followed by a Hb. participle. (b) The context refers to God’s protecting “the righteous” and judging “the wicked” justly. A note of God’s mitigating his anger would seem out of context. (c) Verses 9–11 describe defining attributes of God by Hb. participles (“who searches,” “who saves,” “who judges,” “who is indignant”), which are characteristic of “doxologies of judgment” (Amos 4:13; 5:8–9; 9:5–6). They give praise to God who judges decisively. Among them Zeph. 3:5 bears a close resemblance to Ps. 7:11: “Morning by morning he dispenses his justice.”
Ver. 11.—God judgeth the righteous; rather, God is a righteous Judge. So Rosenmüller, Bishop Horsley, Dr. Kay, the ‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ and the Revised Version. And God is angry with the wicked every day. There is no need of inserting the words, “with the wicked,” since, of course, it is with the wicked that God is angry. What the psalmist means to assert especially is that God’s anger continues against the wicked as long as their wickedness continues.
Verse 11.—“God judgeth the righteous,” etc. Many learned disputes have arisen as to the meaning of this verse; and it must be confessed that its real import is by no means easily determined: without the words written in italics, which are not in the orginal, it will read thus, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry every day.” The question still will be, is this a good rendering? To this question it may be replied, that there is strong evidence for a contrary one. Ainsworth translates it, “God is a just judge; and God angrily threateneth every day.” With this corresponds the reading of Coverdale’s Bible, “God is a righteous judge, and God is ever threatening.” In King Edward’s Bible, of 1549, the reading is the same. But there is another class of critics who adopt quite a different view of the text, and apparently with much colour of argument. Bishop Horsley reads the verse, “God is a righteous judge, although he is not angry every day.” In this rendering he seems to have followed most of the ancient versions. The Vulgate reads it, “God is a judge, righteous, strong, and patient; will he be angry every day?” The Septuagint reads it, “God is a righteous judge, strong, and longsuffering; not bringing forth his anger every day.” The Syriac has it, “God is the judge of righteousness; he is not angry every day.” In this view of the text Dr. A. Clarke agrees, and expresses it as his opinion that the text was first corrupted by the Chaldee. This learned divine proposes to restore the text thus, “אֵל, el, with the vowel point tseri, signifies God; אַל, al, the same letters, with the point pathach, signifies not.” There is by this view of the original no repetition of the divine name in the verse, so that it will simply read, as thus restored, “God is a righteous judge, and is Not angry every day.” The text at large, as is intimated in the Vulgate, Septuagint, and some other ancient versions, conveys a strong intimation of the longsuffering of God, whose hatred of sin is unchangeable, but whose anger against transgressors is marked by infinite patience, and does not burst forth in vengeance every day.—John Morison, in “An Exposition of the Book of Psalms,” 1829.
Verse 11.—“God is angry.” The original expression here is very forcible. The true idea of it appears to be, to froth or foam at the mouth with indignation.—Richard Mant, D.D., 1824.
Verses 11, 12.—God hath set up his royal standard in defiance of all the sons and daughters of apostate Adam, who from his own mouth are proclaimed rebels and traitors to his crown and dignity; and as against such he hath taken the field, as with fire and sword, to be avenged on them. Yea, he gives the world sufficient testimony of his incensed wrath, by that of it which is revealed from heaven daily in the judgments executed upon sinners, and those many but of a span long, before they can show what nature they have by actual sin, yet crushed to death by God’s righteous foot, only for the viperous kind of which they come. At every door where sin sets its foot, there the wrath of God meets us. Every faculty of soul, and member of body, are used as a weapon of unrighteousness against God; so every one hath its portion of wrath, even to the tip of the tongue. As man is sinful all over, so is he cursed all over. Inside and outside, soul and body, is written all with woes and curses, so close and full, that there is not room for another to interline, or add to what God hath written.—William Gurnall.
Verses 11–13.—The idea of God’s righteousness must have possessed great vigour to render such a representation possible. There are some excellent remarks upon the ground of it in Luther, who, however, too much overlooks the fact, that the Psalmist presents before his eyes this form of an angry and avenging God, primarily with the view of strengthening by its consideration his own hope, and pays too little regard to the distinction between the Psalmist, who only indirectly teaches what he described as part of his own inward experience, and the prophet: “The prophet takes a lesson from a coarse human similitude, in order that he might inspire terror unto the ungodly. For he speaks against stupid and hardened people, who would not apprehend the reality of a divine judgment of which he had just spoken; but they might possibly be brought to consider this by greater earnestness on the part of man. Now, the prophet is not satisfied with thinking of the sword, but he adds thereto the bow; even this does not satisfy him, but he describes how it is already stretched, and aim is taken, and the arrows are applied to it as here follows. So hard, stiff-necked, and unabashed are the ungodly, that however many threatenings may be urged against them, they will still remain unmoved. But in these words he forcibly describes how God’s anger presses hard upon the ungodly, though they will never understand this until they actually experience it. It is also to be remarked here, that we have had so frightful a threatening and indignation against the ungodly in no Psalm before this; neither has the Spirit of God attacked them with so many words. Then in the following verses, he also recounts their plans and purposes, shows how these shall not be in vain, but shall return again upon their own head. So that it clearly and manifestly appears to all those who suffer wrong and reproach, as a matter of consolation, that God hates such revilers and slanderers above all other characters.”—E. W. Hengstenberg, in loc., 1845.