What does Psalms 9 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
The introduction to this passage includes an extremely obscure reference, Muth-labben. This might refer to a song which was known in David's time; the term literally means "the death of the son." If so, it would mean this psalm was meant to be sung according to that tune. The use of the also-murky word higgaion (Psalm 9:16) suggests some connection to musical performance. Further, this psalm follows an acrostic pattern, beginning each section with a successive letter from the Hebrew alphabet.

Psalm 9 opens with David's intention to praise the Lord joyfully for all His wonderful deeds. The acts David has in mind were probably military victories, by Israel, against her attackers. David remarks on the total victory possible through God's power; this imagines enemies staggering in their effort to escape (Psalm 9:1–3).

In the same style, David also praises God as a sovereign dispenser of righteous judgment. The term "the nations" often refers to the Gentile people—those not part of the nation of Israel. In that way, it is often used as a symbol of the ungodly world. God's destruction of those who reject Him, or oppose Him, is so thorough that it effectively erases their name from remembrance. Not even a memory of the wicked nations remains (Psalm 9:4–6).

Contrasting the annihilation of the wicked is God, forever in His position of power and status. From that vantage point, God administers justice and righteousness. David also describes God as a haven for those who are oppressed. The language here implies a high, fortified sanctuary. When the ungodly world attacks, those who have faith in the Lord can take refuge in Him. The Lord never forsakes or forgets those who belong to Him. Because of this, the natural reaction of God's people should be praise (Psalm 9:7–12).

After celebrating God's righteousness and justice, David calls on God to rescue him from enemies who hate him and place him in jeopardy of death. David's plea here is trusting, even though he gives no reason for God to save him other than pure grace. This song directly connects God's answer to prayer with instinctive praise from His people (Psalm 9:13–14).

David completes this psalm by previewing the total ruin of all who oppose God. All the wicked and all the nations that refuse to acknowledge God will perish. However, the needy will not be forgotten, and the hope of the poor will never perish. Though David is speaking of his own era, and his own experiences, this serves to foreshadow the total victory of Christ when He returns (Revelation 19:11–15). David closes Psalm 9 with the prayer that the Lord judge the nations, put them in fear, and remind them that they are simply men (Psalm 9:15–20).
Verse Context:
Psalm 9:1–8 opens the song as David ascribes praise to God. He celebrates the Lord for saving him and his army from the nations that attacked him and his people. He recalls the triumph the Lord accomplished over the enemy. The victory evidenced the Lord's righteous judgment and sovereignty. The nations perished but the Lord's name lives forever.
Psalm 9:9–20 turns David's attention to various groups of people of Israel. He mentions the oppressed, those who trust in the Lord, the afflicted, the needy, and the poor. He sees the Lord as a safe, secure place, a God who is mindful of His people, and the supplier of hope to the poor.
Chapter Summary:
David praises God in a song which follows an acrostic pattern: the psalm is divided into phrases which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The pattern continues through Psalm 10, leading some to suggest they were intended as a single work, or as closely related halves. In this psalm, David promises to praise God for His great deeds, including awesome victory over evil. The Lord's eternal justice is also praised, as David asks for further rescue from those who seek to kill him. The passage ends with a prayer for God to remind mankind of His authority.
Chapter Context:
This is a thanksgiving song, where David shows appreciation for the Lord's rescue. This shares similar themes to Psalm 10, though from a very different tone. Some scholars think Psalms 9 and 10 were originally a single work. This is part of the first section of the book of Psalms, including Psalms 1 through 41.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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