Thou hast rebuked the heathen - We know not what this particularly refers to, but it is most probably to the Canaanitish nations, which God destroyed from off the face of the earth; hence it is said, Thou hast put out their name for ever and ever, ועד לעולם leolam vaed, endlessly. Here עולם olam has its proper signification, without end. He who contends it means only a limited time, let him tell us where the Hivites, Perizzites, Jebusites, etc., now dwell; and when it is likely they are to be restored to Canaan.
Thou hast rebuked the heathen - Not the pagan in general, or the nations at large, but those who are particularly referred to in this psalm - those who are described as the enemies of the writer and of God. On the word rendered “heathen” here - גוים gôyim - see the notes at Psalm 2:1. The word rebuke here does not mean, as it does usually with us, to chide with words, but it means that he had done this by deeds; that is, by overcoming or vanquishing them. The reference is, undoubtedly, to some of those nations with whom the writer had been at war, and who were the enemies of himself and of God, and to some signal act of the divine interposition by which they had been overcome, or in which the author of the psalm had gained a victory. DeWette understands this as referring to “barbarians, foreigners, pagan?” David, in the course of his life, was often in such circumstances as are here supposed, though to what particular event he refers it would not be possible now to decide.
Thou hast destroyed the wicked - The Hebrew here is in the singular number - רשׁע râshâ‛ - though it may be used collectively, and as synonymous with the word “heathen.” Compare Isaiah 14:5; Psalm 84:10; Psalm 125:3. The Aramaic Paraphrase renders this, “Thou hast destroyed the impious Goliath.” The reference is undoubtedly to the enemies meant by the word pagan, and the writer speaks of them not only as pagan or foreigners, but as characterized by wickedness, which was doubtless a correct description of their general character.
Thou hast put out their name forever and ever - As when a nation is conquered, and subdued; when it is made a province of the conquering nation, and loses its own government, and its distinct existence as a people, and its name is no more recorded among the kingdoms of the earth. This is such language as would denote entire subjugation, and it is probably to some such event that the psalmist refers. Nations have often by conquest thus lost their independence and their distinct existence, by becoming incorporated into others. To some such entire subjugation by conquest the psalmist undoubtedly here refers.
Thus will be made an end of sin, with all the woe and ruin which have resulted from it. Says the psalmist: “Thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end.” Psalm 9:5, 6. John, in the Revelation, looking forward to the eternal state, hears a universal anthem of praise undisturbed by one note of discord. Every creature in heaven and earth was heard ascribing glory to God. Revelation 5:13. There will then be no lost souls to blaspheme God as they writhe in never-ending torment; no wretched beings in hell will mingle their shrieks with the songs of the saved. GC 545.1
Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality rests the doctrine of consciousness in death—a doctrine, like eternal torment, opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity. According to the popular belief, the redeemed in heaven are acquainted with all that takes place on the earth and especially with the lives of the friends whom they have left behind. But how could it be a source of happiness to the dead to know the troubles of the living, to witness the sins committed by their own loved ones, and to see them enduring all the sorrows, disappointments, and anguish of life? How much of heaven's bliss would be enjoyed by those who were hovering over their friends on earth? And how utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to the flames of hell! To what depths of anguish must those be plunged who see their friends passing to the grave unprepared, to enter upon an eternity of woe and sin! Many have been driven to insanity by this harrowing thought. GC 545.2
What say the Scriptures concerning these things? David declares that man is not conscious in death. “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” Psalm 146:4. Solomon bears the same testimony: “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything.” “Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.” “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10. GC 545.3Read in context »
Then it will be seen that Satan's rebellion against God has resulted in ruin to himself and to all that chose to become his subjects. He has represented that great good would result from transgression; but it will be seen that “the wages of sin is death.” “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1. Satan, the root of every sin, and all evil workers, who are his branches, shall be utterly cut off. An end will be made of sin, with all the woe and ruin that have resulted from it. Says the psalmist, “Thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end.” Psalm 9:5, 6. PP 341.1
But amid the tempest of divine judgment the children of God will have no cause for fear. “The Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16. The day that brings terror and destruction to the transgressors of God's law will bring to the obedient “joy unspeakable and full of glory” “Gather My saints together unto Me,” saith the Lord, “those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is Judge Himself.” PP 341.2
“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” Malachi 3:18. “Hearken unto Me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My law.” “Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, ... thou shalt no more drink it again.” “I, even I, am He that comforteth you.” Isaiah 51:7, 22, 12. “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10. PP 341.3Read in context »