The 9th and 10th psalms may have originally been one psalm. The Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, presents them as one. Taken together, they are written in acrostic style, with couplets of verses beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Regarding the heading printed beneath the psalm title, nothing more is known of the tune, “The Death of the Son.” We also sing songs to the tune of an earlier, familiar song. The “Apostles Song” is sung to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me.” The Old and the New often blend together in our devotionals.
The 9th psalm begins with wholehearted praise. Worship begins in the heart and breaks forth in words, expressions, and acts. God desires worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). God has given us reason to worship and instruction for worship. At times private, and often in the assembly, we praise God for his wonders—his majestic acts. “Wonders” are things only God could do. Psalms often refer to one of God’s wondrous acts to protect his people. Zion refers to Jerusalem, the capital of the nation of Israel. David celebrates personally and invites the assembly of Israel to join in the praise. As Christians, we celebrate the fact that God has saved us through Jesus Christ. God chose Israel as his people to reveal the Christ to the world. In New Testament times, the church is the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).
Sometimes the writers of Psalms rejoice at God’s deliverance from enemies. Once again, we see God’s perfect, poetic justice expressed: “The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden” (9:15). A strong contrast is drawn between the future of the righteous and unrighteous (9:17-18).
The 9th psalm ends with a call for God’s just judgment to be carried out on “the nations,” meaning the gentiles, all others besides Israel. While Israel was God’s chosen nation (for the period designated in the Old Testament), they enjoyed a special measure of God’s protection. The righteous individual among God’s people also has this sense of protection. “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (9:9). David is unwilling to take personal revenge, but he trusts God to settle matters regarding enemies, real and perceived.
*A reminder that the titles given to the psalms in these articles are the words of Donald Guthrie
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of the book of Psalms. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.