The Psalms

Psalm 73

The prophet, prevailing in a temptation, 1, shows the occasion thereof, the prosperity of the wicked, 2-12; the wound given thereby, diffidence, 13, 14; the victory over it, and knowledge of God's purpose in destroying the wicked and sustaining the righteous, 15-28.

1 [A Psalm of Asaph.]

Truly God is good to Israel,/
even to those who are of a clean heart.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone./
My steps had well near slipped.

For I was envious at the foolish/
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For there are no pangs in their death,/
but their strength is firm.

They are not in trouble as other men,/
neither are they afflicted like other men.

Therefore, pride encompasses them as a chain./
Violence covers them as a garment.

Their eyes stand out with fatness./
The imaginations of their heart transgressed.

They are corrupt and speak wickedly concerning oppression./
They speak loftily.

They set their mouth against the heavens/
and their tongue walks through the earth.

10 Therefore, his people return here./
And waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

11 And they say, "How does God know?/
And is there knowledge in the Most High?"

12 Behold, these are the ungodly/
who prosper in the world. They increase in riches.

13 Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain/
and washed my hands in innocence.

14 For all the day long I have been afflicted/
and chastened every morning.

15 If I say, "I will speak thus,"/
behold, I should offend against the generation of your children.

16 When I thought to know this,/
it was too painful for me,

17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God./
Then I understood their end.

18 Surely you set them in slippery places./
You cast them down into destruction.

19 How they are brought into desolation as in a moment!/
They are utterly consumed with terrors.

20 As a dream when one awakes,/
so, O Lord, when you awake, you will despise their image.

21 Thus my soul was grieved/
and I was pricked in my heart.

22 So foolish was I, and ignorant./
I was as a beast before you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you./
You have held me by my right hand.

24 You will guide me with your counsel/
and afterward receive me to glory.

25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?/
And there is no one upon earth that I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart fails,/
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish./
You have destroyed all those who go astray from you.

28 But it is good for me to draw near to God./
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD/
so that I may declare all your works.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 73[➚]


John Calvin's Chapter Summary:

David, or whoever may have been the author of this psalm, contending as it were against the judgment of carnal sense and reason, begins by extolling the righteousness and goodness of God. He next confesses that when he saw the wicked abounding in wealth, and living in the indulgence of every kind of pleasure, yea, even scornfully mocking God, and cruelly harassing the righteous, and that when he saw, on the other hand, how in proportion to the care with which any studied to practice uprightness, was the degree in which they were weighed down by troubles and calamities, and that in general all the children of God were pining away, and oppressed with cares and sorrows, while God, as if sitting in heaven idle and unconcerned, did not interfere to remedy such a disordered state of matters; it gave him so severe a shock, as almost to dispose him to cast off all concern about religion and all fear of God. In the third place, he reproves his own folly in proceeding rashly and hastily to pronounce judgment, merely from a view of the present state of things, and shows the necessity of exercising patience, that our faith may not fail under these troubles and disquietudes. At last he concludes that, provided we leave the providence of God to take its own course, in the way which he has determined in his secret purpose, in the end, matters will assume a very different aspect, and it will be seen, that, on the one hand, the righteous are not defrauded of their reward, and that, on the other, the wicked do not escape the hand of the judge.

[v.28] - "it is good for me to draw near to God" - Reference, James 4:8.