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Psalms 17:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

From men of the world, which have - מחלד ממתים mimethim mecheled, from mortal men of time; temporizers; men who shift with the times, who have no fixed principle but one, that of securing their own secular interest: and this agrees with what follows - which have their portion in this life; who never seek after any thing spiritual; who have bartered heaven for earth, and have got the portion they desired; for thou fillest their belly with thy hid treasure. Their belly - their sensual appetites - is their god; and, when their animal desires are satisfied, they take their rest without consideration, like the beasts that perish.

Their portion in this life - בחיים bachaiyim, in lives, probably meaning heritable lands and estates; for they leave them to their children, they descend to posterity, and every one has his life portion in them. They are lands of lives.

They are full of children - Have a numerous offspring, whom they educate in the same principles, and to whom they leave a large earthly patrimony, and who spend it as their fathers have done, and perhaps even more dissolutely. Often covetous fathers lay up riches, which profligate sons scatter to all the winds of heaven. I have seen many instances of this.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

From men which are thy hand - Margin, “From men by thy hand.” Here the rendering in the common version would be still more harsh than in the previous verse, since it is at least unusual to call men “the hand” of God, in the sense that they are his instruments in accomplishing his purposes. The more obvious construction is to regard it as a prayer that God would deliver him by his own hand from “men” - from men that rose up against him. Compare 2 Samuel 24:14.

From men of the world - A better construction of this would be “from men; from the world.” The psalmist prays first that he may be delivered from men by the hand of God. He then “repeats” the prayer, “from men, I say,” and then adds, “from the world.” He desires to be rescued entirely from such worldly plans, devices, purposes; from people among whom nothing but worldly principles prevail.

Which have their portion in this life - Their portion - their lot - is among “the living;” that is, they have nothing to look forward to - to hope for in the world to come. They are, therefore, governed wholly by worldly principles. They have no fear of God; they have no regard to the rights of others further than will be in accordance with their own worldly interest. People whose portion is wholly in this life will make everything subordinate to their worldly interests.

And whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure - The meaning of this portion of the verse is that, in respect to the object for which they lived, they were successful. They lived only for the world, and they obtained what the world had to bestow. They had prosperity in their purposes in life. The word “hid” here - “hid treasure” - means that which is hoarded, secreted, carefully guarded; and the word commonly refers to the practice of secreting from public view valuable treasures, as silver and gold. It is possible, however, that the reference here is to the fact that God has hidden these objects in the depths of the earth, and that it is necessary to “search” for them carefully if men would obtain them. Compare Job 28:1-11. The phrase “whose belly thou hast filled” means that their appetite or cravings in this respect were satisfied. They had what they wanted.

They are full of children - Margin, “their children are full.” The margin probably expresses the sense of the Hebrew better than the text. The literal rendering would be, “satisfied are their sons;” that is, they have enough to satisfy the wants of their children. The expression “they are full of children” is harsh and unnatural, and is not demanded by the original, or by the main thought in the passage. The obvious signification is, that they have enough for themselves and for their children.

And leave the rest of their substance to their babes - That is, what remains after their own wants are supplied, they leave to their babes. They not only have enough for the supply of their own wants and the wants of their children during their own lives, but they also leave an inheritance to their children after they are dead. The word rendered “babes” properly means little children, though it seems here to be used as denoting children in general. The meaning is, that they are able to provide for their children after they themselves are dead. Compare the description of worldly prosperity in Job 21:7-11.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Being compassed with enemies, David prays to God to keep him in safety. This prayer is a prediction that Christ would be preserved, through all the hardships and difficulties of his humiliation, to the glories and joys of his exalted state, and is a pattern to Christians to commit the keeping of their souls to God, trusting him to preserve them to his heavenly kingdom. Those are our worst enemies, that are enemies to our souls. They are God's sword, which cannot move without him, and which he will sheathe when he has done his work with it. They are his hand, by which he chastises his people. There is no fleeing from God's hand, but by fleeing to it. It is very comfortable, when we are in fear of the power of man, to see it dependent upon, and in subjection to the power of God. Most men look on the things of this world as the best things; and they look no further, nor show any care to provide for another life. The things of this world are called treasures, they are so accounted; but to the soul, and when compared with eternal blessings, they are trash. The most afflicted Christian need not envy the most prosperous men of the world, who have their portion in this life. Clothed with Christ's righteousness, having through his grace a good heart and a good life, may we by faith behold God's face, and set him always before us. When we awake every morning, may we be satisfied with his likeness set before us in his word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace. Happiness in the other world is prepared only for those that are justified and sanctified: they shall be put in possession of it when the soul awakes, at death, out of its slumber in the body, and when the body awakes, at the resurrection, out of its slumber in the grave. There is no satisfaction for a soul but in God, and in his good will towards us, and his good work in us; yet that satisfaction will not be perfect till we come to heaven.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1142-3

Direction to Study Several Psalms—How terrible it is when the acknowledgment of God is not made when it should be made! How sad to humble one's self when it is too late! Why, O why, do not men heed the invitation? The psalmist said, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” [Psalm 27:8]. The whole of this psalm is excellent, and should be placed in the reading and spelling lessons of the classes. The twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and seventy-eighth psalms tell of the rich blessings bestowed by God upon His people, and of their poor returns for all His benefits. The eighty-first psalm explains why Israel was scattered. They forgot God, as the churches in our land are forgetting Him today. Read the eighty-ninth, ninetieth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety-third psalms. My attention has been called to these matters. Shall we not consider the Word of the Lord? These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, and should they not be the objects of study in our schools? The Word of God contains instructive lessons, given in reproof, in warning, in encouragement, and in rich promises. Would not such food as this be meat in due season to the youth (Manuscript 96, 1899)? 3BC 1142.1

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