« PreviousContinue »
nevertheless, from the tenor of the second verse, and from some expressions in other parts of the Psalm, it seems manifest, that he was a bitter enemy and a violent persecutor. Having been maliciously calumniated, David here strives to remove from himself the imputation, (of whatever kind it was,) by strong professions of innocence: moreover, he hesitates not to commit his cause to the righteous judgment of God, who, he feels persuaded, will make “ the wickedness of the ungodly" to redound eventually to their own ruin.
Lord my God, in thee have I put my Dan. 9. 19, &c.
trust; save me from all them that persecute Zech. 14. 12. me, and deliver me;
2 Lest he devour my soul, like a lion, Gen. 32. 9, &c. and tear it in pieces, while there is none to help.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done any such Josh. 22. 22, &c. thing; or, if there be any wickedness in my
Jon. 3. 8. hands;
4 If I have rewarded evil unto him, that dealt 1 Sam. 24.7. friendly with me; (yea, I have delivered him, Prov. 17. 13. that, without any cause, is mine enemy;)
5 Then, let mine enemy persecute my soul, Job 31. 5, &c. and take me; yea, let him tread my life down upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust.
6 Stand up, O Lord, in thy wrath, and lift 2 Sam. 17. 14. up thyself, because of the indignation of mine Isai. 37. 20
1 Them that persecute me. A defenceless man, attacked by a powerful enemy, is aptly represented by some timid animal, of which a wild beast is in active pursuit. See on Psalm xxxviii. 17.
2 My soul. The soul, which in the Psalms frequently signifies the animal life (vi. 4: Lxxiv. 20), in the present instance denotes the whole person ;-lest he devour me. It also elsewhere occurs in this latter sense, as cxx. 5 : cxlii. 9.
3 Any such thing. As is now unjustly laid to my charge.
5 Let him tread, &c. Let him cast me down to the ground, and trample upon me whilst yet alive. Dan. viii. 7.- And lay, fc. The word “honor” creates considerable difficulty as to the proper mode of interpreting the sentence. Some persons understand by it David's kingly dignity ; others, his reputation or glory, whether acquired whilst a private individual, or after he came to the throne ; others again, his life. In either of the first two cases, then, he declares himself ready to be consigned to contempt and neglect; in the last, to be brought even “ into the dust of death,” as the punishment justly due to any offences he may have committed.
6 Stand up, &c. David entreats, that Jehovah, having been roused to vengeance by the iniquitous and wrathful proceedings of
enemies; arise up for me, in the judgment that
thou hast commanded : Isai. 57. 15.
7 And so shall the congregation of the people Rev. 11. 17, 18.
come about thee; for their sakes, therefore, lift
up thyself again [return thou on high]. Acts 17. 31. | 8 The Lord shall judge the people: give 1 Thess. 2. 10. sentence with me, o 'Lord, according to my
righteousness, and according to the innocency
that is in me. Acts 12. 23. 1 90 let the wickedness of the ungodly come Rom. 16. 25.
to an end; but guide thou the just. 1 Chron. 28. 9. 10 For the righteous God trieth the very Jer. 17. 10.
hearts and reins. Job 8. 6.
11 My help cometh of God, who preserveth Prov. 2. 21: 11. 20 them that are true of heart. Gen. 6.5. | 12 God is a righteous judge, strong, and Ps. 140. 12, 13. Ipatient; and God is provoked every day.
, his enemies, would immediately hasten to his assistance. For, since, by means of his revealed word, he has commanded all earthly authorities to restrain the violent and to punish the oppressor, he ought himself to “stand up” or, (as it is afterwards expressed,) to “ arise up,” from his royal throne, and lifting up himself, that is, sitting on the tribunal of justice, to protect, in his character of sovereign Lord of all, the righteous, who flee to him for succour. The phrase “lift up thyself,” may not, however, have the same meaning in this verse, which it undoubtedly bears in the next, but may signify merely, show thyself glorious and mighty. Isai. xxxiii. 10. See on Psalm xxi. 13.
7 And so shall, &c. The allusion seems to be to the mode of holding courts of judicature in the East; it being customary, on such occasions, for the kings to be surrounded by a multitude of attendants and spectators, and, having publicly ascended a lofty seat, to pronounce their decrees. See on Psalm cx. i. If the Israelites now saw the Almighty, in a similar manner, again lifted up (Isai. vi. i); or, (apart from the figurative language,) if they observed him, by the plainness and severity of his judgments, actively engaged once more in maintaining the cause of his servant, neither the success of the bad, nor the wretchedness of the good, would any longer discourage them from attending sedulously on his ordinances and worship.
8 Give sentence, fc. Conscious of his integrity David supplicates, that his sentence of acquittal may be pronounced by Him, who will never cease to prove himself the just judge of all the nations upon earth.
10 For the righteous God, &c. The Lord Jehovah cannot experience the least difficulty in distinguishing “the ungodly” from “ the just,” nor, therefore, in determining, whom he ought to reward, and whom he ought to punish. For he is able to examine into “ the very hearts and reins,” that is, into the most secret thoughts and desires of all men (see on Psalm xxvi. 2), and accurately to try or prove the nature of them. Psalm Lxvi. 9.
13 If a man will not turn, he will whet his Deut. 32. 23, 41. sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it Acts 3. 19. ready;
14 He hath prepared for him the instruments Ps. 64.7. of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the 2 Thess. 1.6. persecutors.
15 Behold, he travaileth with mischief; he Isai. 59. 4. hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth un- Jam, 1. 15. godliness;
16 He hath graven and digged up a pit; and Esth. 7.6, &c. is fallen himself into the destruction, that he Prov. 26. 27. made for other.
17 For his travail shall come upon his own Gen. 42. 21, 22. head, and his wickedness shall fall on his own 1 Kings 2. 32. pate.
18 I will give thanks unto the Lord accord - | P8. 99. 3. ing to his righteousness; and I will praise the Dan. 4. 17, 34. name of the Lord most high.
PSALM VIII. BECAUSE the sun chances to be omitted in that enumeration of
the celestial bodies, which occupies the third verse, some learned men have conjectured, that David, when composing the present Psalm, had before his eyes the heavens, as they appear at night. But, whatever may be thought of such a notion, or of another, which assigns the origin of the Psalm to his victory
13 He hath bent his bow, &c. In this and the succeeding verse we have a description of the whole process of archery. First, the bow is bent with the foot, and made ready for use by fastening the string ; then, the arrow, the instrument of death, is drawn from the quiver and levelled against the man, who will not turn from unjustly pursuing (see on Psalm xxxviii. 17.) the innocent and helpless ; nor come, under the influence of a “godly sorrow," to sue for the divine favor and pardon. Psalm xxi. 12.
15 Sorrow. The mischief, of which the ungodly oppressor was in travail, is now called “sorrow," because it would undoubtedly recoil upon himself. We find the overthrow of this wicked person, (which is often the case in the Psalms,) to be announced with the same certainty, as it would be spoken of, if it had already happened. David also refers, ver. 18, in terms equally as positive, to his own anticipated deliverance, through the greatness of God's mercy and justice.
16 He hath graven, &c. “He digs a pit and makes it deep.” For the former verb denotes, in the original, the action of cutting with a spade ; the latter, that of deepening or hollowing out the hole. Wild beasts were anciently taken by the hunters in pits, over which reeds or branches of trees had been lightly strewed. Psalm xxxv. 7. Exek, xix, 4.
over Goliath, it is quite evident, that he desired thankfully to commemorate God's greatness and power in the work of creation, especially, however, his wonderful love to mankind. He predicts, likewise, as would appear from the epistle to the Hebrews (ii. 6, &c.), the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the subjection of
all things to Him. Mark 16. 20. 10 Lord our governor, how excellent is thy Ephes. 4. 10. U name in all the world! thou, that hast set
thy glory above the heavens. Matt. 21. 16.
2 Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
Acts 4. 13.
] Thy name. By the name of God seems here to be particularly pointed out his attributes of power and majesty, as manifested by his works. See on Psalm v. 12.-Above the heavens. The Jews reckoned three heavens; the first, that region of space, in which the birds fly (Gen. i. 20), and which is bounded by the clouds (Psalm cxlviii. 4); the second, that which contains the celestial orbs (Gen. i. 17); the third, the abode of God and of his holy angels. 2 Cor. xii. 2. 1 Tim. vi. 16. Thus David represents Jehovah as known and adored throughout the world (Psalm Lxv. 5, 8), though he has placed “the throne of his glory” beyond the visible heavens, and far above out of our sight.
2 Out of the mouth, &c. Thou hast appointed, that even infants themselves should furnish strong and invincible arguments to establish thy divinity. They are, of course, unable to reason ; yet “in them thy might is seen” by the secret way, in which thou nourishest them, and causest their bodies, equally with their faculties, to increase. 1 Cor. i. 27. Moreover, as one result of this arrangement, thou mayest hereby put to silence thy enemy, “the fool, who says in his heart there is no God;" and also him, who, imagining that the Deity cares not for human affairs, takes upon himself to become the avenger of his own injuries, which thy divine commandment has expressly forbidden. Deut. xxxii. 35. Psalm xciv. 1. But the Psalmist had, perhaps, his mind fixed upon those, who are men indeed in age, though still only “babes and sucklings" with respect to their intellectual acquirements and to the development of their reasoning powers. He wished to say, therefore, that persons without study and without science, persons who may well be considered as mere infants in knowledge, but whose minds and dispositions are remarkable for simplicity, can effectually refute the absurdities of atheism, and perfect the praise of God, by ascribing to Him their own existence and the works of creation. Matt. xi. 25. It should, however, be added, that David was “but a youth” (1 Sam. xvii. 33), when he overthrew the Philistine champion, and that this circumstance appears to afford an easier mode of interpretation to the verse. “Because of thine enemies,” might then be explained to mean, in consequence of 3 For I will consider thy heavens, even the Deut. 4. 19. works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, Job 36. 24, 25. which thou hast ordained:
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of Job 7. 17. him? and the son of man, that thou visitest Heb. 2. 6. him?
5 Thou madest him lower than the angels, Heb. 2. 7. to crown him with glory and worship [honor].
6 Thou makest him to have dominion of Heb. 2. 8. [over] the works of thy hands; and thou hast | 1 Cor. 15. 27, put all things in subjection under his feet;
7 All sheep and oxen; yea, and the beasts Gen. 1. 26, 28. of the field;
8 The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; and whatsoever walketh [passeth] through the paths of the seas.
90 Lord our governor, how excellent is Phil. 3. 8. thy name in all the world!
Rev. 19. 16.
the taunts of the adversary, a plural being put, as usual, for a singular. 1 Sam. xvii. 8, &c. See on Psalm xliv. 17.
3 For I will consider, fc. I will behold (see on Psalm xxxviii. 17), or, rather, I will contemplate the stars of heaven, as I shall thus perceive ample reason for my assertion, that Thy name is excellent, and shall also be compelled to exclaim, whilst wondering at their magnificence,–“ What is man,” &c.
4 Thou visitest him. With thy gracious, though secret, presence, and with thy unvarying protection.
5 To crown him, &c. But it was, that thou mightest afterwards exalt him. Wherefore, as some recompence for this inferiority, thou didst place him at the head of the animate creation, and even of the lower world, in a state of honor and dominion. See on Psalm iii. 3, for the word “worship.” Is there any allusion to the happiness and dignity, which, through the obedience and death of Christ, we shall enjoy in another life, in return for our present trials and afflictions ? Psalm xxi. 5, 6.
6 Under his feet. By this phrase is denoted complete power, such as that of a conqueror, who puts his feet on the bodies of his enemies, and makes of them a footstool. See on Psalm cx. 1.
7 The beasts of the field. Wild animals, in opposition to those, which are tame. For them likewise we can subdue, if not by open force, yet certainly by skill. See Psalm civ. 11, where the same phrase would seem to have a directly contrary signification.