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A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

73:16 too painful for me. One of the great theological problems is the apparent prosperity of the ungodly, along with the suffering of the righteous. There is surely no solution to this problem in atheism or pantheism.

73:17 sanctuary of God. The solution to such problems is found only in the presence of a God who is both righteous and merciful, both holy yet forgiving, and on the basis of His redemptive work on the cross. The solution is not in this present world but in the resurrection and the world to come, where hell awaits the ungodly, and heaven awaits those whom God has redeemed through faith in Christ.

73:20 when thou awakest. God, of course, does not sleep (Psalm 121:4). The language is metaphorical, meaning “decide to act.”

73:20 despise their image. The word used here for “image” (Hebrew tselem) is used elsewhere in Genesis 5:3 and 9:6 (speaking of the image of God in man and the image of a father in his son) and, more often, in connection with idolatrous images constructed by man to worship. The wicked have made an “image” of themselves, in effect espousing their own god-likeness, and this will be despised by the God who is truly God.

Psalm 74 (title) Maschil. Two of the Maschil psalms (see note on Psalm 32) were written by Asaph. This is the first, the other being Psalm 78.

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