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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 5–8
Verses 5–8

The psalmist, having triumphed in the defeat of the many designs that had been laid as deep as hell to ruin the church, here concludes his psalm as Deborah did her song, So let all thy enemies perish, O Lord! Jdg. 5:31.

I. There are many that hate Zion, that hate Zion’s God, his worship, and his worshippers, that have an antipathy to religion and religious people, that seek the ruin of both, and do what they can that God may not have a church in the world.

II. We ought to pray that all their attempts against the church may be frustrated, that in them they may be confounded and turned back with shame, as those that have not been able to bring to pass their enterprise and expectation: Let them all be confounded is as much as, They shall be all confounded. The confusion imprecated and predicted is illustrated by a similitude; while God’s people shall flourish as the loaded palm-tree, or the green and fruitful olive, their enemies shall wither as the grass upon the house-top. As men they are not to be feared, for they shall be made as grass, Isa. 51:12. But as they are enemies to Zion they are so certainly marked for ruin that they may be looked upon with as much contempt as the grass on the house-tops, which is little, and short, and sour, and good for nothing. 1. It perishes quickly: It withers before it grows up to any maturity, having no root; and the higher its place is, which perhaps is its pride, the more it is exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, and consequently the sooner does it wither. It withers before it is plucked up, so some read it. The enemies of God’s church wither of themselves, and stay not till they are rooted out by the judgments of God. 2. It is of no use to any body; nor are they any thing but the unprofitable burdens of the earth, nor will their attempts against Zion ever ripen or come to any head, nor, whatever they promise themselves, will they get any more by them than the husbandman does by the grass on his house-top. Their harvest will be a heap in the day of grief, Isa. 17:11.

III. No wise man will pray God to bless the mowers or reapers, Ps. 129:8. Observe, 1. It has been an ancient and laudable custom not only to salute and wish a good day to strangers and travellers, but particularly to pray for the prosperity of harvest-labourers. Thus Boas prayed for his reapers. Ruth 2:4; The Lord be with you. We must thus acknowledge God’s providence, testify our good-will to our neighbours, and commend their industry, and it will be accepted of God as a pious ejaculation if it come from a devout and upright heart. 2. Religious expressions, being sacred things, must never be made use of in light and ludicrous actions. Mowing the grass on the house-top would be a jest, and therefore those that have a reverence for the name of God will not prostitute to it the usual forms of salutation, which savoured of devotion; for holy things must not be jested with. 3. It is a dangerous thing to let the church’s enemies have our good wishes in their designs against the church. If we wish them God speed, we are partakers of their evil deeds, 2 John 1:11. When it is said, None will bless them, and show them respect, more is implied, namely, that all wise and good people will cry out shame on them, and beg of God to defeat them; and woe to those that have the prayers of the saints against them. I cursed his habitation, Job 5:3.