This psalm is closely connected to the last psalm, both by the Selah at the end of the previous Psalm and by the continuation of the irregular Acrostic from the last psalm.  In fact, in the Septuagint, Psalms 9 and 10 are actually one psalm.  Psalm 10 continues to speak of the wicked.  The last psalm left off with a prayer concerning the future, when God will put down the wicked at last.  Now we are brought back to the grim present, when the wicked appears to prevail in his wickedness.

1.  Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?

God’s apparent distance from us and our troubles can indeed be a source of frustration to us.  We cannot understand why He does not act and do the wonderful things He has promised.  How can He let this sad situation go on and on?

Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?

We all can testify to this.  Sometimes it seems that God is furthest away when we need Him most.  Yet this also speaks of the future.  The “times of trouble” indicates the GREAT time of trouble, the tribulation itself.  God’s silence then will be equally troubling and frustrating to those having to go through those terrible times.

2.  The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;

The poor indicates not just those who have little money, but also any who are oppressed, particularly those who have none to defend them.  The wicked exist the world over, and the great Wicked One of the future tribulation will be the epitome of them all, both for pride and for persecution.

Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

Remember the Prayer/Prophecy Principle, whereby we know that all inspired prayers in the Bible actually become prophecies of what God will do.  In the future time of God’s kingdom, the wicked will indeed be caught in their own clever plots.  Yet often in our day too schemers find themselves brought down by their own deceitfulness.

3.  For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;

The wicked are often shameless, boasting of the evil things they desire.  We see many such around us on every side.

The word “heart’s” is in Hebrew the word nephesh and should read “soul’s” desire.

He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.

There was an ancient school of textual scholars called the Sopherim (or Sophers) who in eighteen places in the Old Testament edited the Bible.  They seemed to believe that God did not respect Himself enough, and so took it upon themselves to respect Him more by modifying His Word.  The Scripture declares in Psalm 12:6 that the words of the LORD are “purified seven times,” but it seems the Sopherim thought they could do it an eighth time and make it even better.  Yet such remind us of the condemnation of Revelation 22:18, “If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  The Sopherim will have to answer to God someday for thinking to set themselves above God’s Word.

At any rate, this passage is one of the 18 emendations of the Sopherim.  The original Hebrew text read not that the wicked “blesses the greedy,” but rather that, “The greedy man blasphemes, yea, abhors the LORD.”  This was too harsh for the Sophers, so they changed it to what our Bibles currently read.  Yet God’s Word should not be treated this way.  These are the sevenfold-pure words of God, and no “purifying” of men will make it any better, but only change it for the worse!

As for this line, surely greedy men want nothing to do with the LORD.  Serving the LORD means sacrificing, and the greedy wish never to sacrifice anything for any reason but always rather to please themselves.

4.  The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;

How many such wicked, proud men do we see on every side!  The very idea of seeking God is abhorrent to such, because they know it would require giving up their wicked behavior.

God is in none of his thoughts.

How sad indeed that the Creator is so little thought of by the majority of men today!  We are so busy pleasing ourselves that we take little thought for pleasing our Creator.  And how many believers in our day fall prey to the same neglect!  Yet at least we do think sometimes of God.  Yet the wicked do not even show a sign of God in any of their thinking.

5.  His ways are always prospering;

Yes, and how they distract his thoughts and draw them away from what is truly important!

Your judgments are far above, out of his sight;

It is absolutely foreign to the thoughts of so many to even think that God will one day call them into account for their actions.  To even suggest such a thing would seem ludicrous to them, so convinced are they that their actions will never be judged by God.  His judgment is indeed far out of their sight.

As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.

The wicked thinks as little of his enemies as he does of his Judge.  Such false bravado is common among those given over to wickedness.

6.  He has said in his heart,

The innermost thoughts of the wicked are revealed.

“I shall not be moved;

He cannot imagine any calamity that can turn him from his own selfish path.

I shall never be in adversity.”

How many today seem to think that STDs or unwed pregnancy or getting in an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol is something that happens to someone else.  This is indeed the false mindset of the wicked.

7.  His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;

The foulness that pours from the mouth of so many today reveals the truth about what is in their hearts.  The LORD quotes this verse in Romans 3:14.

Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

What trouble, what iniquity, can the mouths of wicked men stir up!

8.  He sits in the lurking places of the villages;

The troublemakers know where to go to satisfy their desires.

In the secret places he murders the innocent;

Believing himself immune from judgment, the wicked does not realize that no place is hidden from the LORD.

His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.

There are many in our day who take advantage of helpless people.  Just hearing of the fraudulent schemes that are leveled against the elderly to trick them out of their money is enough to make a righteous person’s blood boil.  Yet often the wicked target those who are thus weak and easily cheated.

9.  He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den;

We imagine the wicked crouching, waiting to pounce, just as a lion might crouch waiting for its prey.

He lies in wait to catch the poor;

The poor here are again those easily oppressed, as in verse 2.  He does not have the courage to wait for anyone who might have a means of defending himself!

He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.

It is easy for such to cleverly draw the innocent into their prearranged trap.  How these wicked ones know their prey and exactly what will draw them to their destruction!

10.  So he crouches, he lies low,

Such a show of weakness and humility only serves to mask the power of the deceitful schemes that are in his heart.

That the helpless may fall by his strength.

By feigning weakness and lack of strength, he lures the helpless into a position where he can overpower them.

11.  He has said in his heart,

Again the LORD takes us inside the mind of the wicked.

“God has forgotten;

He imagines that GOD has overlooked his wickedness.  Many seem to think that the fact that heaven does not respond when they do evil means that God has not seen their actions, and that they will never be brought into account for them.  How wrong these wicked are!  God’s silence does not mean that He does not see.  These will all answer for their actions in the future Day of Judgment.

The word for “God” here is the singular El, rather than the usual plural Elohim.

He hides His face;

“As long as I go to church on Sunday God will overlook what I do the rest of the week, right?”  That is the attitude many around us seem to take.  They think that by doing some religious act they will persuade God to hide His face from their wicked actions.  But this will never be the case!

He will never see it.”

The wicked actually has the arrogance to assume that he can fool God just like he has fooled everyone else!

12.  Arise, O LORD!  O God, lift up Your hand!

All it would take for God to put an end to the wicked actions of godless men would be for Him to lift up His hand and do it.  By the Prayer/Prophecy Principle, we know that this passage predicts that He WILL do so.  Yet the question remains why He waits so long?

Do not forget the humble.

Those who do not promote themselves are often forgotten by men.  A politician who does not do a good job selling himself will never get far, and it seems all too often a Christian must do this as well.  But this will never be the case with God.

13.  Why do the wicked renounce God?

They seem to think that by renouncing Him they will exempt themselves from His judgment against them!

He has said in his heart,

For the third time we enter the thoughts of the wicked.

“You will not require an account.”

The wicked thinks that God will never take the time to investigate his actions.  Indeed, it would seem that many wicked die in our day without such an investigation taking place.  Yet what the wicked do not realize is that they will stand before God’s court in the Judgment.

14.  But You have seen it, for You observe trouble and grief,

The psalmist knows that the thoughts of the wicked are untrue, and that God does see the sorrow caused by the actions of the wicked.  Thus he returns to his original question in verse one.  God DOES see these things, so then why does He stand afar off and do nothing about them?

To repay it by Your hand.

God sees these things for the expressed purpose of repaying them.

The helpless commits himself to You;

The LORD is indeed a help to the helpless and a father to the fatherless.

You are the helper of the fatherless.

If God helps the fatherless, what will he do to those who abandoned their children to fatherlessness in the first place?

15.  Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;

This is what God will yet do to the wicked and the evil.  The “arm” is the symbol for strength.  Wherever the wicked may get his strength from, whether it is a gang, or organized crime, or a weak and corrupt law enforcement system, or the Wicked One himself, the LORD will yet intervene and break that strength that he relies upon.  God does this personally to wicked men, just as some day in the future He will be the one to destroy the strength of the Devil and the anti-Christ.

Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

No detail will be overlooked.  No part of the wicked one’s strength will remain.

16.  The LORD is King forever and ever;

This tells us when the LORD will do these things.  It will be in the time when He reigns over the earth perpetually.  Then will the strength of the wicked be broken.

The nations have perished out of His land.

The Arabs have blocked the eastern gate of Jerusalem, knowing that this is the gate by which Messiah is supposed to enter Jerusalem.  By blocking this gate, they think to stop the LORD from returning.  Yet nothing will be able to stand against Him when He lifts up His hand!  The result will be that all the nations will disappear from the land of Israel.  Only His chosen people will remain dwelling in any part of the land that He promised to Abraham so long ago.

17.  LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;

Hearing indicates not just listening to the desire but also acting to fulfill it.

You will prepare their heart;

They must be prepared to receive the blessings they have so desired.  We know that we could never receive many of the gifts that the LORD has for us in the current, sinful state we are in.

You will cause Your ear to hear,

At that time the LORD will hearken to the oppressed, and not hide Himself as He does today.

18.  To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

Though their oppressors might hound them to the grave, yet their cause will be heard and their fortunes turned in the resurrection.

That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

This is the only answer to the questions asked at the start of the chapter.  We may not fully understand why God allows things to continue in the sorry state they are in.  The only real answer we have is that He will not always do so, and that someday all things will be made right.  This will have to satisfy us even as it did the psalmist.

To the Chief Musician.

This psalm is again dedicated to this Musician for use in public worship.  Indeed, we all have asked these same sort of questions at times, and all can benefit from the truth this psalm teaches.