Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Augustine observes a sharp move in the thought of Psalm 10. The Psalmist starts witha question. “Why do you stand afar off?” (v. 1, NKJV). The answer seems to occur to the Psalmist suddenly. God stands away from the ungodly (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319753). This allows the teaching of heretics to be seen for the destructive force it is. By verse four the Psalm has made it clear that the sinner angers God, and that God allows the sinner to suffer the consequences of his own sin, while also seeing the blessings of the righteous (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319762).Then again, as Augustine notes based on verse five, the sinner who is blinded to God will not look to the good mercy of God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319770). The person who has rejected God is turned over to his own desires and will exalt himself in his self-importance. In verse six he even feels secure in his rule (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319777). The security is illusory, though. Augustine comments on verse seven that “this desire shall not take effect, but within his mouth only will avail to destroy him, who dared promise himself uch things with bitterness and deceit, that is, with anger and insidiousness, whereby he is to bring over the multitude toward his side” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319785). This can only ever bring grief, as we will always fall if we trust in our pride.
Not only does Augustine see this Psalm speaking against trusting in ur pride, but the social networks formed by the proud are dangerous. In verse eight the proud man joins with rich people to ambush others (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319794). The false happiness and fulfillment will ultimately disappoint. This is the trap the proud uses to catch others, particularly the poor, whom Augustine sees as the poor in spirit (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319802). The proud, like a lion, try to take the godly captive by violence and deceit, a “snare” (v. 10). Augustine sees this as the kind of multifaceted attack that will prove the undoing of many (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319810). However, in verse 11, we find that the proud man will finally fail. He will think God is not observing his evil, and will be unprepared for the coming judgment.
The judgment against the proud is apparent in verse 12 where the Psalmist asks God to arise (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319818). When God exalts His hand, the proud cannot stand. This is a surprise to the ungodly (v. 13). After all, God didn’t seem to be taking notice. However, in verse 14, God is proclaimed to be the one who helps orphans, even helpless people. They become the children of God, as described of Christians in the New Testament (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319833). The God who cares for the humble as His children will exalt himself and stop the power and attack of the proud. He hears the need of the poor(v. 17), and judges in their favor (v. 18).
Referring back to Psalm 9 and the hidden things of God, Augustine says this Psalm also features a hiddenness of God’s mercy on His people (Augustine Psalms, loc. 319857). This is the hope of the Christian.