Exegetical and Hermeneutical Commentary of Psalms 11:7 – Bible Commentary

For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

7. For Jehovah is righteous; he loveth righteous deeds;

The upright shall behold his face.

The character of Jehovah is the ground of the judgment which has been described; and the reward of the upright is contrasted with the punishment of the wicked.

Righteous deeds may denote the manifestations of Jehovah’s righteousness (Jdg 5:11; 1Sa 12:7), as well as the righteous acts of men. (Isaiah 33:15); but the context points to the latter meaning here.

The AV rendering of the second line gives a good sense: He beholds the upright with favour. The PBV follows the ancient versions in its rendering, ‘will behold the thing that is just.’ But usage and parallel passages are decisive in favor of the rendering of RV given above. The wicked are banished and destroyed; but the upright are admitted to the presence of Jehovah, as trusted courtiers to the presence of their sovereign (cp. Psalm 5:4-5; Psalm 15:1; PS 17:15; Psalm 140:13); they gaze upon that Face which is the source of light and joy and salvation (Psalm 4:6; PS 16:11; Psalm 44:3). It is one of the ‘golden sayings’ of the Psalter, ‘fulfilled’ in the revelation of the Gospel. see Matt 5:8; 1Jn 3:2; Rev 22:4.

Source: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness – This would be more correctly rendered, For Jehovah is righteous; he loves righteousness. The idea is, that God is himself righteous, and, consequently, he loves those who are righteous. He may be trusted in, therefore, by the righteous as their friend of him, and being under his protection of him they have nothing to fear.

His countenance doth behold the upright – The word rendered countenance is, in the Hebrew, in the plural number; literally, his faces of him. It is not easy to account for this use of the plural, though it is common in the Scriptures. There may be an allusion to the fact that man seems to have two faces – one on the right side, and one on the left, two eyes, two cheeks, two nostrils, etc., as if made up of two persons. Applied to God, it has no other significance than it has when applied to man; nor should we seek to find anything mystical in the fact that the plural form is used. The term here, like the eyelids in Psalm 11:6, is equivalent to eyes, since the most remarkable feature of the countenance is the eyes; and the idea is, that God looks upon the upright; that is, he sees their dangers amid their wants; he looks upon them with favor and affection. Being thus constantly under his eye, and being objects of his favorable regard, they can have nothing to fear; or, in other words, they are safe. This, then, is the argument of the righteous man, in reply to the suggestion Psalm 11:1 that he should flee from danger. The argument is, that God would be his defender of him, and that he might safely rely on His protection of him. The wicked have everything to fear; the righteous, nothing. The one is never safe; the other, always. The one will be delivered out of all his troubles from him; the end of the other can be only ruined.

Source: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Psalm 11:7

The righteous Lord loves righteousness.

The righteous God and righteousness

Righteousness may be taken as but another word for rightness, equity, justice, the being and rendering what is right. Here it describes God. It is the quality which binds and blends into a perfect unity all His Divine perfections of it. We feel instinctively that righteousness is essential to Divine perfection. Show how this statement that God is a righteous God bears on matters of faith and practice. God, because He is the righteous Lord, loveth righteousness.

1. This will explain a peculiarity in the redemption accomplished for us through the atoning death of Christ. The problem to be solved was, how can the love of God be manifested, and righteousness be at the same time upheld in all the majesty of its eternal rectitude?

two. There is much which is mysterious, perplexing, and inexplicable in Gods providential dealings. But throw on all these mysterious providences the light of this statement, that the Lord is righteous and loveth righteousness, and you calm the troubled spirit to patience and submission. Then with entire trustfulness you would leave yourselves in Gods hands. In his conviction of His righteousness, let us face the problems and perplexities which confront us in the world. Now see how this statement bears on all the business of life between man and man. His countenance of him doth behold the upright: he beholds them, that is, with special favor and approval, because He sees reflected in them, however imperfectly, the lineaments of His own Divine image of him. (R. Allen, MA)


Psalm 12:1-8

Source: Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

see each other 7. The righteous Lord loveth righteousness]He loves that which resembles himself. His countenance of him – his face of him – is ever open and unclouded to the upright. They always enjoy his salvation from him, and know that he is pleased with them.

The preceding verse my old MS. translates and paraphrases thus:-

He sal rayne on synful, snares, fyre, brimstane, and gost of stormis.

Pair. – He sal rayne on synful in this werld, snares, that is wiked Lare: fyre is covatyse: brunstane, that is stynk of il werkes: and gost of stormis, that is a stormy though that is withoutyn rest in Ihesu Crist, and ay is traveled with the wynd of the devel. Or the gast of stormys, es the last depertyng of synful fra ryghtwis men, and there fyre, brunston, storm, er part of the chalyie of thaim: that es, thai ar thair part in pyne. He cals thair pyne a Cop, for ilk dampned man sal drynk of the sorow of Hel, eftir the measure of hys Syn. Behald the pynes of wikid men: fyrst, God raynes upon thaim snares, that is qwen he suffers fals prophetes that comes in clathing of mekenes; and withinnen er wers than wolves, to sayf thaim thurgh error. Sythen the fyre of lychery, and covatys wastes al the gude that thai haf done: eftirward for stynk of il werkes that er castyn fra Crist, and al his Halows, and then er in sentence of dome; as in a grete storme, dryven in til a pitte of Hel, to bryn in fyre withoutyn ende. This is the entent of these wers.

Watch. 7. For rightwings is Lord; and he lufes ryghtwisnes; evennes saw the face of hym]Yf ge ask qwy oure lorde yelded pyne to synful? lo here an answere; for he is rightwis. Als so if he ge wil witt qwy he gifes ioy til gude men? I here an answere; for he lufed ryghtwisnes: that es, ryghtwis men, in the qwilk er many ryghtwisneses: thof ane be the ryghtwisnes of God, in the qwilk al ryghtwise men or parcenel. Evenes saw his face from him: that es, evenes es sene in his knawyng inence, both the parties of gud and il. This es ogayne wryches at sais, If God saf me noght, I dar say he es unryghtwis: bot thof thai say it now, qwen he suffers wryched men error in thought, and worde and dede; thai sal noght be so hardy to speke a worde qwen he comes to dampne thaire error. Bot who so lufes here and halves that na unevenes may be in hym, qwam so he dampnes, or qwam so he saves, he sal have thaire might to stand and to speke gude space. Now he er swilk in a wonderful wodenes, that wenes for grete words to get ought of God.

The former part of this Psalm, Flee as a bird, c., this ancient author considers as the voice of heresy inviting the true Church to go away into error and intimates that those who were separating from haly kyrk were very pure, and unblameable in all their conduct; and that mountain or hill, as he translates it, signifies eminent virtues, of which they had an apparently good stock. So it appears that those called heretics lived then a holier life than those called halows or saints.


This Psalm is composed dialoguewise, betwixt David and those of his counselors who persuaded him to fly to some place of safety from Saul’s fury; which, if he did not, he was in a desperate condition. The Psalm has two parts.

I. He relates his counsellors’ words Ps 11:1-3.

II. To which he returns his answer from him, Ps 11:1and confirms it, Ps 11:4-7.

I. You, my counsellors, whether of good or bad will I know not, tempt me, that, giving up all hope of the kingdom, I go into perpetual banishment. Such, you say, is Saul’s fury against me. Thus, then, ye advise, “Flee as a bird to your mountain:” and your arguments are,

1. The greatness of the danger I am in: “For lo, the wicked bend their bow.”

2. The want of aid; there is no hope of help. For the foundations are cast down. Saul has broken all the leagues and covenants he has made with you. He has slain the priests with the sword, he has taken thy fortresses, laws subverted. If thou stay, perish thou must: some righteous men, it is true, are left; but what can the righteous do?

II. To these their arguments and counsel, David returns his answer from him in a sharp reprehension. I tell you

1. “I trust in God: how say you then to my soul.” And he gives his reasons for it from the sufficiency and efficiency of God.

1. You say the foundations are cast down; yet I despair not, for God is sufficient.

1. Present in his holy temple; I can defend.

2. He is a great King, and his throne is in heaven.

3. Nothing is hidden from him: “His eyes behold, and his eyelids,” c.

4. He is a just God, and this is seen in his proceedings both to the just and unjust. 1. He trieth the righteous, by a fatherly and gentle correction. 2. “But the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul of him hateth.”

These two last propositions he expounds severally, and begins with the wicked.

1. “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone,” &c. 1. He shall rain upon them when they least think of it, even in the midst of their jollity, as rain falls on a fair day. 2. Or, he shall rain down the vengeance when he sees good, for it rains not always. Though I defer it, yet it will rain. 3. The punishment shall come to their utter subversion, as the fire on Sodom, &c. 4. This is the portion of their cup of him, that which they must expect from him.

2. But he does good to the just: “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness his countenance doth behold the upright.” He bears him good will, and is careful to defend him.

On the whole the Psalm shows, 1. That David had the strongest conviction of his own uprightness. 2. That he had the fullest persuasion that God would protect him from all his enemies of him, and give him a happy issue out of all his distresses of him.

Source: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

This is given as the reason why God hates and punishes wicked men so dreadfully, because he loves righteousness, and therefore must needs hate wickedness and punish wicked men. Or, but, as this particle is oft rendered; for this seems to be added by way of opposition to what he now said concerning the state of wicked men.

His countenance doth behold the upright; to wit, with an eye of approval, and true and tender affection, and watchful and gracious providence; which is oft signified by Gods beholding or looking upon men, as Exo 2:25; Ezra 5:5; Psalm 25:18; 33:18; 34:15&c.: as, on the contrary, God is oft said to hide or turn away his face or eyes from wicked men.

Source: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

7. his countenance literally,”their faces,” a use of the plural applied to God, as inGenesis 1:26; Genesis 3:22;Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8,c., denoting the fulness of His…

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