13. O Jehovah! thy name is for ever; O Jehovah! thy memorial is from generation to generation. 14. For Jehovah will judge his people, and he will repent himself1 concerning his servants.
10. O Jehovah! thy name is for ever. There are many reasons why the name of God ought always to be kept up in the world, but here the Psalmist speaks more especially of that everlasting praise which is due to him for preserving his Church and people, the cause being immediately added -- that God will judge his people. The whole world is a theater for the display of the divine goodness, wisdom, justice, and power, but the Church is the orchestra, as it were -- the most conspicuous part of it; and the nearer the approaches are that God makes to us the more intimate and condescending the communication of his benefits, the more attentively are we called to consider them. The term judging in the Hebrew expresses whatever belongs to just and legitimate government,2 the future tense denoting continued action apparently, as it often does, so that what the Psalmist says is tantamount to this -- that God would always watch over and preserve his people, and that being thus under God's guardian care, they would be placed in safety. Or we may suppose that the Psalmist employs the future tense to teach us that, under affliction, we must have a sustained hope, not giving way to despondency, though God may seem to have overlooked and deserted us, since whatever temporary delays there may be of his help, he will appear as our judge and defender at the proper season, and when he sees that we have been sufficiently humbled. This may recommend itself the more to be the true meaning, because the Psalmist seems to allude to the expression of Moses, (Deuteronomy 32:36,) whose very words indeed, he quotes. As some alleviation under the divine chastisements which the people would suffer, Moses foretold that God would come forth as their judge, to help and deliver them when in extremity. And this the writer of the present Psalm, whoever he may have been, makes use of with a general application to the Church, declaring that God would never allow it to be altogether destroyed, since upon the event of its destruction he would cease to be a King. To propose changing the tense of the verb into the past, and understand it of God having shown himself to be the judge of his people against the Egyptians, puts a feeble sense upon the passage, and one which does not suit with the context, either of this Psalm or of the address of Moses. The Hebrew verb Mxn, nacham, means either to repent, or to receive comfort, and both meanings answer sufficiently well. On the,one hand, when God returns in mercy to his people, though this implies no change in him, yet there is a change apparent in the event itself. Thus he is said to repent when he begins to show mercy to his people, instead of manifesting his displeasure in just judgments against them. Again, he is said to receive consolation, or to be appeased and reconciled towards his people, when in remembrance of his covenant, which endures for ever, he visits them with everlasting mercies, though he had corrected them for a moment. (Isaiah 54:8.) The meaning, in short, is, that the displeasure of God towards his people is but temporary, and that, in taking vengeance upon their sins, he remembers mercy in the midst of wrath, as Habakkuk says. (Habakkuk 3:2.) Thus God is spoken of as man, manifesting a father's affection, and restoring his children, who deserved to have been cast off, because he cannot bear' that the fruit of his own body should be torn from him. Such is the sense of the passage -- that God has a compassion for his people because they are his children, that he would not willingly be bereaved of them and left childless, that he is placable towards them, as being dear to him, and that having recoginsed them as his offspring, he cherishes them with a tender love.