Page images

Ver. 1.

and thy truth unto the clouds.] For it is fit my thank that the things meant by those words should be fulness should be as boundless as thy mercy, which served both alike. transcends all my expressions; and hath nothing equal to it, but thy faithfulness and truth.

Do se indeed speak righteousness, O congregaVer. 11. Be thou exalted, o God, above the bea

tion? Do ye judge uprightly, Oye sons of vens ; let thy glory be above all the earth.] Be thou men?] From whom may we expect justice, if not still exalted in these, O God, and raise to thyself there. from the princes and rulers of the people met together by the highest praise ; spread the fame of them in council ? But let me ask that grave assembly, Do every where, that thou mayest be glorified through- you verily think, that you have pronounced a righout all the world.

teous sentence against me? did you judge according to

your consciences, uprightly and sincerely, and not PSALM LVIII.

suffer yourselves to be biassed by your affections ?

Ver. 2. Yea, in beart you work wickedness : you To the chief musician, Al-taschill, Michtam of weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.] You David.

know the contrary to be true; and that you are not

only disposed to do as the king would have you, but THE ARGUMENT.-This and the next psalm, in order have hearts fraught with malice and wicked devices

of time, precede the foregoing. But it is an or- against me: you that ought to weigh things in an dinary method among the Hebrews to go back- even balance, and judge a cause according to its merits, ward from the last to the first: as they seem to me suffer yourselves to be inclined by base respects, to do to do very plainly, in these three psalms, which an open violence to your country, and to oppress the have the title of Al-taschith. For David's first e innocent. scape, when Saul sent to kill him, was certainly the Ver. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb; occasion of the 59th psalm. And then, Saul call- they go astray, as soon as they be born, speaking lies.] ing his privy council together, who, without any But it is no wonder I am thus used by a wicked brood, ado, pronounced him guilty of high treason : it is who never had any sense of God and goodness, but the subject of this present psalm. And after that, were depraved from the very womb; going astray as Saul persecuted him with the greater colour and soon as they could go, and telling lies as soon as they show of justice, accusing him of the worst of could speak. crimes; as lie complains in many places, particu Ver. 4. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent ; Jarly in the psalm foregoing. Which being called they are like the draf adder, that stoppeth ljer ear :] And Al-taschith, for a peculiar reason, (see there). such is the malignity of their venomous nature, they This, when it was delivered to the chief musician, tell the most malicious and destructive lies of me; was appointed to be sung after the same manner which strike at my life as plainly, as if they were with that, and had the same rame given it, with the poison of a serpent : whom they resemble in this the title of Michtam also ; because it contains à also, that they will not be better instructed, nor, as memorable reproof of those evil counsellors, who, becomes good judges, keep an ear open to farther inagainst their conscience, had condemned David, formation ; but are as obstinate as the deaf adder, (so merely to please the king, and give him a pretence much spoken of in our neighbouring countries), to destroy him. And therefore, he prophecies a which can hear well enough, but stops both her ears, signal vengeance should overtake them, (which he Ver. 3. Which will not hearken to the voice of charmwould have every body observe), and that so sud- ers, charming never so wisely.] And will not listen denly and dreadfully, that he compares it to the to the magical song, wherewith their cunning men are mischief which a whirlwind doth, when it carries wont to charm those serpents, and draw them togea all before it in a moment; and particularly, he re- ther out of their holes. members the pots and caldrons over the fire, which Vér. 6. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth : should suffer by it; to intimate, I suppose, that break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.] these men were great oppressors, and devoured the I appeal, therefore, from them, unto thee, O God, people ; as the prophets often complain, in that the most righteous Judge; 'beseeching thee to disable very language, particularly Micah, iii. 2. 3. where those men's forces, whose wickedness is incorrigible : you read how the senators of Israel broke the very though they be as strong and terrible, as fierce and bones of the poor, and chopt them in pieces as for ravenous, as the young lions, thou, O Lord, who art the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Which superior to all, canst easily disarm them, and leave place affords the best explication that I can find them a desire, without any power to do me mischief, of the gth verse of this psalm. Where I take hai Ver.

7 Let them imelt away, as waters which run and haron to refer to thorns, and render the former continually : when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, green, or alive, the other dry, or scorched and burắt. let them be as cut in pieces.] Or if they have any But whatsoever these words signify, the repetition strength remaining, let their courage fail them when of chemo before each of them, plainly denotes, (to they would attempt any thing against me; let them any one that understands the Hebrew language), be dissipated 'like waters which slide away: when

Saul bends his mind to do me any harm, let him miss and was sent to the master of music in the taber. his aim, like him that shoots a broken arrow out of nacle, to be sung as the two former, which have his bow;

the name of Al-taschith. See Psal. lvii. Ver. 8. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away; like the untimely birth of a woman, that they Ver. 1. DELIVER me from mine enemies, o

O my God : may not see the sun.] Or be like a snail, that appears

defend me from them that rise up against with a threatening look when it puts forth its horns; me.] O God, who hast hitherto graciously prebut the farther it goes, the more it wastes and spends served me, (see Sam. xix. 10.), take me now into itself : whatsoever designs he and his followers may thy protection, and deliver me from this great danger: have to destroy me, let them all miscarry and prove thon seest the number and the power of my enemies, like an abortive child, which dies in the womb, and who are risen up to destroy me, be thou my defence, never sees the light of this world.

I beseech thee; and bring me into some place of safeVer. 9. Before your pot can feel the thorns, he shall ty, where they may not be able to reach me. take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and Ver. 2. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and in his wrath.] O ye unrighteous judges, who, in save me from bl-ody men.] Rescue me from the stead of preserving the people, devour and eat them malice of men, whose business and constant employup: God shall hurry you away suddenly, as in a fu- ment it is to do wickedly: save me from the cruelty. rious tempest; which before your flesh-pots can feel of those whom nothing but my blood will satisfy. the thorns, carries them all away, both the

both the green thorns Ver. 3. For lo, they lie in wait for my soul : the and the dry.

mighty are gathered against me ; not for my transgres. Ver. 10. The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the sion, nor for my sin, O LORD.] For lo, a strong vengeance : he shall wash his feet in the blood of the guard hath beset my house, and lies in wait to apprewicked.] Which just judgement of God, when in. hend me, and take away my life ; though I have nocent people, whom you have oppressed, shall be. committed no offence against them, either great or hold, it will fill them with joy ; yea, they shall tri- less, as thou, O Lord, from whom nothing can be umph over these wicked men, like a great conqueror; hid, very well knowest. who, returning with an absolute and complete victory Ver. 4. They run and prepare themselves without my 'from the slaughter of his enemies, dips his 'feet in fault : awake to help me, and behold.] Unprovoked by their blood, as he passes over their carcases.

ine, (I dare again repeat it, so great is my innocence), Ver. II. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a they very busily run to and fro, and with all diligence reward for the righteous : verily he is a God that judgeth dispose their watch in every place to hinder my ein the earth.] And the most vulgar people, who ob- scape : O that thou wouldest therefore seasonably inserve little, seeing 'so remarkable a vengeance, shall terpose for my succour, and consider the danger of my confess, and say, Surely it is best to be just and pious: condition. surely there is a supreme Judge, whatsoever profane Ver. 5. Thou, therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the men imagine, who takes notice of all that is done God of Israel, 'awake to visit all the heathen : be net upon earth, and punishes or rewards men according merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.] What to their deserts.

is all their power and force to thine? who art the

sovereign Lord of all the world, and commandest all PSALM LIX.

the losts in heaven and earth; and hast made also a

gracious covenant with thy people, to protect and To the chief musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, defend them : appear now for my relief, and punish

when Saul sent, and they watched the bouse to kill all those wicked men, 'who call themselves thy him.

people, but are as barbarous and cruel, as false and

perlidious, as the heathen ; do not spare them, there. TAE ARGUMENT.-The title sufficiently informs us of fore, nor shew any favour to such as violate all the

the occasion of this psalm, wherein David expres- laws of justice and charity, and keep no faith with ses what his thoughts and affections were, when their neig' bours. Saul sent officers to watch his house all night, and Ver. 6. They return at evening; they make a noise like to slay him when he came out of his doors in the a dog, and go round about the city.] After I had e. morning : as you may read 1 Sam. xix. from ver. scaped the fury of Saul in the day, he renews bis at11. to ver. 18. He represents his danger; beseeches tempts in the evening, and sends armed men to apGod's protection ; describes the wickedness of his prehend me, (1 Sam. xix. 10. 11.); some of which enemies, and their diligence to destroy him ; com- lie about my house, ready, like a growling dog, to mends himself to God, expresses his confidence in seize upon me; and others (should they miss me him; and at last gratefully acknowledges God's there) go round about the city, to way-lay me in goodness, who, by the kindness of his wife, pre- every corner. served him from this danger. Which was so great,

Ver. 7. Behold, they belch out with their mouth : and the deliverance from it so remarkable, that he swords are in their lips for who, say they, doth hear?] would have it commemorated in this psalm: Which Behold, how full their hearts are of malice ! which is therefore called Michtam, (see Psalm xvi.), burst out at their mouth: they openly threaten to kill

me, (1 Sam. xix. 15.); for who, say they, shall call they please, (ver. 7.), lying near my house, like a them to any account for it, when they have dispatch- dog, ready to seize upon me; or hunting about the ed me?

city every where to apprehend me. Ver. 8. But thou, O LORD, shalt, laugh at them ; Ver. 15. Let them wander up and down for meat, thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.] Tho', 0 and grudge if they be not satisfied.] They shall be Lord, art not in their thoughts, who wilt so disap- punished in their kind, and go up and down the city point them in their designs, as to make them very and country hereafter, upon another design; wanderridiculous; thou wilt expose all those paganish people ing like a hungry dog, from door to door, to get to the scorn and derision of those who see how they something to cat; and forced to pass whole nights are defeated, (1 Sam. xix. 15.).

in complaints, for want of satisfaction: Ver. 9. Because of his strength will I wait upon Ver. 16. But I will sing of thy power ; yea, I will thee: for God is my defence.] For what is the strength sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning ; for thou host of Saul to thee? on whom I will wait with the same been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.] diligence that they watch for me; knowing that I am Whilst I (whom they thought to have devoured) am safer under God's protection, than if my house were praising thy power, as I intend to do continually, I an impregnable tower.

will get up early, to give thee the highest praises for Ver. 10. The God of my mercy shall prevent me : thy mercy, (as I did that morning when I had escaGod shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.] He ped the hands of those that watched for me), because who hath given me so many demonstrations of his thou didst so mightily defend me, and take me into love, will not now desert me ; but make way for my thy gracious protection, when I was in such a timely escape, notwithstanding all their diligence to strait, that without thy miraculous mercy I must apprehend me : let them observe me as closely as have perished. they can, God will let me behold their disappoint Ver. 17. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing : for ment.

God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.] It is Ver. 11. Slay them net, lest- 199 perple forget : scat- but just that I should praise thee (who didst inspire ter them by thy power; and bring them down, O LORD me with strength and courage) with the same diliour shield] Not that I desire they should all be slain gence that I prayed to thee, against the power of at one stroke, 'which, though a terrible vengeance, Saul, (ver. 9.); for whosoever was the instrument, might soon slip out of my countrymen's mind; whose it was God that brought me into a place of safety ; profit I desire, more than my own private revenge: that God who hath been most merciful to me, and and therefore wish rather thou wouldest employ thy tied me unto him by innumerable benefits. power, O Lord our protector, first to depose them from their honour and high place; and having laid them low,

PSA L M LX. and made them contemptible, then to disperse them here and there, and make them wander up and down To the chief musician upon Shusham Eduth, Michtan as vagabonds; that they may remain every where of David, to teach, when he strove with Aram-nahapublic spectacles of thy just displeasure.

raim and with Aram-zobab, when Joab returned, Ver. 12. For the sin of their mouth, and the words and smote of Edom, in the valley of Salt, twelve of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride ; and thousand. for cursing and lying, which they speak.] The falsehoods and calumnies which their mouths continually THE ARGUMENT.—This psalm, we learn by the utter, deserve this vengeance, which shall certainly title, was penned by David, after Saul's persecu. come upon them; for, though they may thrive by this tion was ended by death, and David not only ruled means for the present, yet at last these very artifices over Judah, but Israel also. Till which time, the shall prove their ruin; especially since they are so ar Philistines and other nations afflicted the country rogant and audacious, as to dare to forswear them

very much, by reason of the divisions there were selves, and to confirm their forgeries with oaths and between the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah ; horrid execrations.

as they had done also all the days of Saul, while he Ver. 13. Consume them in wrath, consume them, that was busying himself in pursuing his hatred against they may not be ; und let them know that God ruleth in David, and neglected his foreign enemies so much, Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.] Let such that the Philistines were too hard for him, and at vile wretches as these, who incense thy just displea last overthrew him, in that great battle wherein sure against them after this manner, be utterly con he and his sons were slain, 1 Sam. xxxi. But sumed ; let them waste away by degrees in their when David was come to the crown, and both dispersions, till there be none of them found ; that kingdoms also united in him, God himself seemthey may be convinced there is a supreme Being, and ed to lift up an ensign to them, (as he speaks most righteous Judge, who governs all things, and here, ver. 4.), to call them to resort with one concontrouls even kings themselves, not only among us, sent unto David, in assured hope of vietory over but throughout the world.

their enemies. Accordingly he subdued the Phi. Ver. 14. And at evening let them return, and let them listines, as you read, 2 Sam. viii. 1. (which chapter make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.] must be read for the understanding of this psalm); Let them therefore watch me now, as narrowly as and after that smote the Moabites, ver. 2. of that

chapter ; and then, in a memorable battle, (partie faithful promise, (2 Sam. iii. 9. 18.), given me to cularly taken notice of in the title of this psalm,) them to be their king, to whom they should all reoverthrew the Syrians, called here, and in other pair, as soldiers do to their ensign when it is lifted places, Aram ; both those that lived between the up, and unanimously fight against their enemies untwo rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, called Naba- der my conduct. raim, and those that adjoined to them, in that part Ver. 5. That thy beloved may be delivered, save with of Syria, called Zobab, ver. 3. &c.

thy right band, and hear me.] Which I beseech thee And returning from this victory, after his lieutenant- to bless and prosper ; that by the mighty power ac

general Abishai had slain of the Edomites eigh- companying my arms, I may be an instrument of teen thousad, (2 Sam. viii. 13. í Chron. xviii. 12.) delivering thy beloved people from those that have Joab, the general of all his forces, fell upon them oppressed them. again, and killed in the same place, the valley of Ver. 6. God hath spoken in his boliness, I will reSalt, twelve thousand more, (as the title of this joice; I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of psalm informs us), and afterwards destroyed them Succoth.] Why should I doubt of it? and not rather entirely, leaving never a male-child that he could rejoice in assured hope of victory ; since God, who find remaining, 1 Kings, xi. 15. 16.

is most holy, and cannot lie, hath said, he will deFor all which expeditions when David was preparing liver them by my hand, (2 Sam. iii. 18.), and hath

himself, he composed this psalm, and delivered to already put me in possession (as he also promised, the master of music in the tabernacle, to be sung ver. 2.) of all the country about Samaria, which I upon an instrument of six strings, which was will distribute under such officers, as I think fit to set wont to be used in solemn thanksgivings, (and over them. therefore called Shusham-eduth). For he nothing Ver. 7. Gilead is mine, ani Manasseh is mine, Ephe doubted, but God would prosper his arms, better raim also is the strength of mine bead; Judab is my than he had done Saul's; and both give him the law giver.) Gilead also, and Manasseh, who were victory over their forces in the field, and bring him lately under another king, (2 Sam. ii. 9.) have subalso into their fortified cities, ver. 9. as we read he mitted themselves unto me; and so hath the tribe of did, 2 Sam. viii. 14. Which made this psalm also Ephraim, which is a main support of my authobe called Michtam of David, (see Psal. xvi.), be- rity ; these, and all the rest of the tribes of Ising a most precious memorial, worthy to be ever rael, are now united to the royal tribe of Judah, preserved, of his faith in God, and of the admi- which (according to the word of our fore-father, rable success of it, whereby posterity should learn Gen. xlix. 10.) supplies me with wise and able men to trust in him.

to administer the laws, and order the affairs of my

kingdom : O God, thou hast çast us off, thou hast scal Ver. 8. Moab is my wasb-pot; over Edom will I

tered us ; thou hast been displeased, 0 turn cast out my shoe ; Philistia, triumpb thou because of thyself to us again.] o God, the Judge of all the me.] Which shall now extend itself beyond the world, who hast lately rejected us, and refused to go bounds of this country, for I will tread Moab under out with our armies ; 'who hast broken and scattered my feet, and reduce them to the vilest servitude, (2 our forces, (1 Sam. xxxi. 1. 7.), so highly had our Sam. viii. 2.); I will trample also upon the Edomites, sins provoked thy displeasure ; I most humbly be- and make them my slaves, 2 Sam. v. 14. ; the Phiseech thee to return to us with thy favour, and make listincs likewise, whom I have begun to smite, us as prosperous as we have been unsuccessful. (2 Sam, v. 17. &c. 22. &c.), shall add to my triumphs,

Ver. 2. Thou hast made the earth to tremble, thou and be forced to meet me as their conquering Lord. hast broken it ; beal the breaches thereof, for it shaketh.] (2 Sam. viii. 1.) There have been dreadful commotions among our Ver. 9. Who will bring me into the strong city? selves, and miserable rents and divisions, (2 Sam. ii. wło will lead me into Edom?] These are difficult 9. 10. 17. iii. 1.), the woful effects of which remain things indeed ; and I may well ask, when I consider to this day, and call for thy help, who alone canst how potent these nations are, by what power or force repair the breaches our folly' hath made, and perfect shall I enter that strongly-fenced city, in the frontiers the union which is begun.

of their country? Who is it that will conduct me into Ver. 3. Thou hast sbewed thy people hard things ; Humæa, and make me master of it? thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.] Ver. 10. IVilt not thou, O God, which had'st cast us Thou hast made us feel what it is to offend thee, off? and thoil, o God, which didst not go out with our by inflicting grievous punishments upon us; where. armies?] But I can soon answer myself; for why in thou hast fulfilled the words of thy servant Moses; should I despair of thy presence with us, O God of (Deut. xxviii. 8. 34.): for we have been like to men all power and might? who formerly, indeed, didst rebereft of the use of their reason, by some intoxica. ject us, and forsake the conduct of our armies; but ting potion, and have madly destroyed one another. now, I hope, wilt graciously aid us, and make us

Ver. 4. Thou hast given a banner to them that fearr victorious. thee ; that it may be displayed because of the truth. Se Ver. 11. Give us help from trouble ; for vain is the lab.]

But now thou hast granted the desires of those hilp of man.] Do not frustrate these hopes, but afthat devoutly worship thee, and, according to thy ferd us thy help against the Syrians also, (2 Sam.

Ver. 1.


viii. 5.), now that they distress us ; for no human

serve me ;

I fled to thee, and was protected as in an force is able to deliver us, nor have we any confidence impregnable fortress, when Saul sought to destroy in it, but in thee alone.

Ver. 12. Through God we shall do valiantly ; for Ver. 4. I will abide in thy tahornacle for ever ; I will be it is that shall tread down our enemies.] By whose trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.] Which assistance we will behave ourselves courageously, and makes me hope thou wilt restore me again to the place do valiant acts; for God will utterly rout our ene. where thou dwellest, and that I shall never be thus mies, and tread them down like mire in the streets, banished from it any more, but remain in safety under

thy Almighty protection, in which I will put my enPSALM LXI.

tire confidence.

Ver. 5. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: tb014 To the chief musician upon Neginoth. A Psalm of bast given, me the beritage of those that fear thy name.] David.

And since thou, O God, hast heard the prayers, which

with these vows I made unto thee, and hast given me THE ARGUMENT.-All agree, that in the beginning again the possession of that country which is the in

of this psalm, David relates what his thoughts heritance of thy faithful people ; were, when he fled either from Saul, or from his

Ver. 6. Thou, wilt prolong the king's life ; and bis son Absalom, who drove him over Jordan, as far. years as many gener ations.] I doubt not but thou wilt as Mahanaim, the very extremity of Judea. Of grant their king a long and prosperous reign over this latter, it is most probable, he complains here, them, and add so many years to those which his enever. 2. because afterwards he calls himself king, mies would have cut off ; as if thou hast given him ver. 6. which he would not have done during the a new life, and added another age unto the former. life of Saul, though he was anointed, and design Ver. 7. He shall abide before God for ever : O preed by God to that high dignity, because nothing pare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.] He could have justified Saul's persecution of him so shall sit upon his throne, and ever govern in the fear much as his taking upon him that title.

of God: 0 that thy goodness and faithfulness, which It may be said, indeed, that he kept this psalm pri- are a stronger guard than all his military forces, may

vate till he was possessed of the kingdom, and be ever ready at hand to defend him. then delivered it to the chief musician, to be sung Ver. 8. Šo will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, as Psal. iv. But that wilı not seem so likely, when that I may daily perform my vows.] So will I perpewe consider that his danger was over before he had tually sing psalms in praise of them, and learn thereby finished this psalm, and called himself a king, as to be faithful to my promises, and day by day perform appears from the latter part of it, beginning ver. s. the vows which I made unto thee when I was in Where, after a pause, he begins to acknowledge trouble. how God had granted the desires he made, when he was in distress; and thankfully commemorates

PSALM LXII. his mercy, in bringing him back again to his taber

To the chief musician, to Jeduthun. A Psalm nacle; hoping he would prolong his life in the throne, (ver. 6.), to which he was newly either advanced, or restored by God's goodness. I shall suppose THE ARGUMENT.-There are no petitions at all in the latter in my paraphrase.

this psalm, nor any thanksgivings, but only ex

pressions of David's faith and confidence in God. Ver. 1. HEAR

my cry: 6 God; attend unto my Which (notwithstanding the straits he was in, as prayer.] O God, the supreme Governor

appears from ver. 3. 4.) grew greater and stronger, and Judge of all the world, graciously vouchsafe to

(compare ver. 2. with ver. 6.), and ipoved him to admit and answer the petitions of a poor supplicant, earnest exhortations of all other persons never to, who, in a most lamentable condition, cries unto thee trust in men, much less in those wicked arts of fraumost earnestly for relief.

dulent dealing and robbery, whereby men are wont Ver. 2. From the end of the earth will I cry

unto to advance themselves to great estates, hoping therethee, when my beart is overwhelmed : tiad me to the

by to be so strong, that nobody dare meddle with rock that is higher than I.] Of which I will not de them ; but to place all their confidence in God spair, though I am upon the brink of being thrust out

alone, who can and will make those supports fail of my kingdom, (2 Sam. xvii. 22. 24.), and in such

those that rely upon them, and bless the piety of anxiety of mind, that I am even overwhelmed with

such men as depend wholly upon him. fear, and grief, and care ; still I cry unto thee, say- Which would make one think this psalm was penned by ing, Secure me, I beseech thee, and bring me into a him when he had overcome all the fears into which place of safety, which as without thee I am not able the rebellion of Absalom at first put him, but yet to reach, so there my enemies may not be able to ap was not restored to his kingdom. Unto which proach me.

when he returned, he committed this meditation to Ver. 3. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a the master of the music, to be sung according to the strong tower from the enemy.] For in all my distresses

tune to which Jeduthun, a famous artist, had set hitherto thou hast been pleased wonderfully to pre. the 39th psalm.

of David.

« PreviousContinue »