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of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. 2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all
8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9 I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. 11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens let thy glory be above all the earth. (I)
.. PSALM LVIII.
To the chief Musician. Al-taschith; Michtam of David.
ye indeed speak righteousness, Do O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men ?
2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of
(1) David again implores protection from his enemies, under the shadow of the Almighty's wings.-This is a very ancient image, as may be seen in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and in classic authors; but is by Done so beautifully employed as by the sacred writers. We meet with it first in the narrative of the creation, when the Spirit of God "brooded" upon the chaos, as a dove over her nest, (Gen. i. 2.) Again, Moses represents the Almighty as bearing up his people as an eagle doth her young upon her wings. (Deut. xxxii. 11, 12.) And the Psalmist here, and elsewhere, speaks of the divine Being under the same image, as spreading abroad his wings for the protection of his children from their enemies. (Psalm xci. 1-4.)
The occasion of this psalm appears to have been David's conscientiously refraining from doing any injury to Saul, when he had him wholly in his power: (1 Sam. xxiv.) An act of honour and generosity this, which, for the moment, appears to have affected the obdurate heart of Saul; but not to have broken the confederacy of his enemies against him. These enemies were men of fierce and fiery dispositions, setting all on fire around them, and being themselves set on fire of hell. (See James iii. 6.) As to himself, he declares his resolution fixed to glorify God, both with heart and tongue, which he calls his glory. "The tongue then becomes the glory of man, (says Bishop Horne,) when it is employed in setting forth the glory of God."
Ver. 1. In the shadow of thy wings.-The hieroglyphic here referred to, is that of the winged globe in the front of their temples. The classical writers Exekutus and Euripides, have been referred to; but the image is so natural, that we believe it may be found in the poets of almost all countries.
Ver.3. And sare me-Ainsworth and Horsley place a semicolon at me; and render the next line, "He hath (or shall) put to reproach them," &c. fire-With rage and malice.
Ver. 4. Are set on
Ver. 7. Is fixed.—Ainsworth, Firmly prepared,”
PSALM LVII. Ver. 1. O congregation.-The term, according to Ainsworth, signifies any company bound together; a confederacy, or conspiracy. Ye weigh the violence, &c. That is, instead of weighing out equal justice, as they ought to do, they weighed out violence and vengeance.
Ver. 3. As soon as they be born-Heb. "From the belly." See Ps. xxii. 10.
Ver. 4. Their poison is like-Heb. "According to the likeness of the poison of a serpent."—The deaf adaer-Marg. Or " "asp."
a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in
[of David's enemies.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when, he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. (K)
[Omit in Family Reading.] To the chief Musician. Al-taschith; Michtam of David; when Saul sent and they watched the house to kill him.
DELIVER me from mine enemies, 0 rise up against me. my God: defend me from them that 2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. 3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered for my sin, O LORD. against me; not for my transgression, nor 4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault:
(K) The depravity of the wicked, and especially of the men that had conspired against the psalmist's life.-This and the next psalm, according to Bishop Patrick, precede the foregoing in date; and their order appears to be retrograde; the next being of earlier date than this, and this of earlier date than the preceding. The faction of Saul are here addressed as confederated to take away David's life"Do ye, indeed, speak righteousness (or righteously,) O ye confederates?" and describes them, from their natural depravity and depraved habits, as having their minds full of the poison of serpents, and the ferocity of lions; and not to be won upon by any acts of generosity or kindness, as was sufficiently evident, from the fact referred to in the preceding psalm, when the psalmist not only refused to injure, but resolutely protected Saul's life. Saul, for the moment, appears to have been charmed by it; but they were like deaf adders, who could not be charmed. (See 1 Sam. xxiv, 16-22)
David then predicts their ruin in language, which, though imprecatory in its form, should rather be considered as prophetic. To break the teeth of a lion, is to deprive him of the power of destruction; and the melting of an army, is its defeat and being scattered. The metaphor of the pot and the thorns is an evident allusion to the manners of the Arabs, who, when they want to cook their food, collect bushes and brambles, living or dead, (that is, green o dry,) to make a blaze; but, says he, "be fore your pots can feel the thorns," (that is before they can be sensibly affected wit heat,) they shall be melted like the snow, C swept away as with a whirlwind, in a ma ner indicative of the power which does it so that men shall say, " Verily, there is reward for the righteous."
"Thus shall the judgment of the Lord, Safety and joy to saints afford; And all that hear shall join and say, Sure there's a God that reigns on high, "A God that hears his children cry, And will their sufferings well repay."-Wa
NOTES-Psalm LVIII. Con.
Ver. 5. Charming never so wisely-Marg. "Be the charmer never so cunning." The fact, that serpents may be so charmed by music as to render them innoxious, seems indisputable; and from this text it is equally certain that the charmer's art, in some cases, fails. See Calmet's Dict. by Taylor, in Asp. Comp. Ps. xci, 13.
Ver. 7. He bendeth.... his arrows-An eliptical form of expression, not uncommon in Hebrew. See Ps. Ixiv. 3.
Ver. 9. Both living and in his wrath-Heb. " As living as wrath," but some critics apply the phrase
to the fuel here referred to, both green and dry. Bishops Patrick and Lowth.
Ver. 11. A reward of the righteous-Heb. “F of the righteous." Reward is the fruit of obedie
PSALM LIX. Title-The title of this psalm ficiently explains the occasion of its being writ which is recorded, 1 Sam. xix. 11.
Ver. 1. Defend me-Heb. "From them that up against me, set me on high."
Ver. 4. They run and prepare-That is, to al
awake to help me, and behold therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah. 6 They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear? 8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence. 10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. 11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O LORD our shield. 12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak. 13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah. 14 And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. 15 Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied. 16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. 17 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my
To the chief Musician upon Shushan-eduth. Michtam of David, to teach; when he
[himself in God.
strove with Aram-naharaim, and with Aram-zobah, when Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the valley of salt twelve thousand,
GOD, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. 2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
4 Thou hast given a banner to them that feared thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
6 God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;
8 Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.
9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
10 Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God,
me (David) without my fault; i. e. without any just provocation.
Ver. 5. To any wicked transgressors.-These were probably Cannanitish slaves, who had been previensly devoted to destruction; but having been spared in war, were incorporated into Saul's army against David, as more likely to find him out, and more ready to destroy him, than his own countrymen. Bishop Horne, however, renders this verse in the future tense, instead of the imperative: "Thou wilt not be merciful," &c.
Ver. 6 and 14. Go round about the city. It should be recollected, that in the East, dogs are not domesticated, as with us, but surround the walls of a town, where they howl, and watch for prey.
Ver. 7. They belch out - Ainsworth, "utter;"
pour out, like a fountain. See Jer. vi. 7.
Ver. 13. Consume them- The Hebrew literally means, to finish, bring to an end; namely, the banditti. The psalmist, ver. 11. prays, Slay them not," i.e. take not away their lives as individuals; bat put an end to the conspiracy. Bishops Horne and Horsley, who suppose the psalmist to speak in the person of the Messiah, apply this to the dispersign of the Jews, and the overthrow of their establishment, not observing that they are twice said (veres 5 and 8) to be heathen. See on ver. 5. Ver, 15. Let them wander for meat-Marg.
"To eat." Mr. Hervey, (still better)" to devour."
-And grudge, &c.-Marg. "If they be not satisfied, they will stay all night," So the elegant writer just cited.
PSALM LX. Title- Shushan-eduth. These words literally mean, " The lily of the testimony;" but what that means, it seems in vain to conjecture: from the lily being a six-leaved flower, it has been supposed that the word may also mean a six-stringed instrument. Aram-naharaim; the Syrians of Mesopotamia. Aram-zobah; the Syrians of Zobah.
Ver. 3. Hard things-That is, severe trials. -----The wine of astonishment. By this we understand that they were stupitied with these afflictions, like persons stupified with wine; perhaps wine whose effects had been increased with deleterious drugs. (See Isa. li. 17—23.)
Ver. 4. Given a banner.-A pledge of safety and protection. e Orient. Lit. No. 772.
Ver. 6. God hath spoken in uis holiness-Or, by his holy one (as Bp. Horne); i. e. by his holy oracle. This seems to refer to the promise of dividing the whole land of Canaan to Israel, Josh. i. 6; Psal. lxxxix. 35.Because of me-Marg. Over me." Ver.9. The strong city-Heb. "City of defence;" i. e. the fortified city; probably referring either to Rabbah, 2 Sam. xii. 26, &c. or to Boarah, Isa. Ixiii. 1, &c.
HEAR my cry,
[divine protection. O God;
unto my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for
(L) David rejoices in the prospect of victory over all his enemies.-The history here referred to has been already considered on 2 Sam. chap. viii. to which we must refer our readers. The enemies here
named, are the Syrians of Mesopotamia and of Zobah, and the Edomites in the valley of salt, so called probably from its salt-pits. The victory here ascribed to Joab, is, in the passage above referred to, ascribed to David, and in 1 Chron. xviii. 12. to Abishai, Joab's brother. The fact, as Mr. Ainsworth remarks, appears to have been, that Abishai began the attack and slew 6000, Joab followed and slew 12,000; and both being David's generals, of course they contributed to the increase of David's fame, especially as he was himself a military prince, and the subdued powers would naturally refer their defeat to him.
It should be recollected, that Israel had been in a low state during the reign of Saul (1 Sam. xiii. 19-22.) to which they were probably again reduced, by his defeat and death, about sixteen or seventeen years before these victories; and that David had not been more than ten years upon the throne of all Israel. Even more
recently, as Michaelis (in Lowth,) observes, some unfortunate circumstances must have occurred that are not recorded, from the Idumeans having penetrated so far as the valley of salt, which he considers not more than a day's journey from Jerusalem. These victories, however, completely changed the aspect of affairs; but this animated song of triumph seems to have been written prior to the victories, and to have been rather the language of faith in their anticipation, than of thanksgiving afterwards. What is said of the earth, or the land of Israel (as the Chaldee explains it,) being made to tremble, must be taken metaphorically,
for the convulsions into which the country had been thrown by the threats and invasions of the enemy.
Of the places here mentioned, Shechen was near Samaria; the valley of Succoth, the land of Gilead, &c. were on the east side of Jordan. These places had probably been invaded by their enemies, lying in the most exposed parts of the country; of them he not only anticipates the recovery, but also the subjugation (in part at least) of Moab, Edom, and Philistia, as in the sequel came to pass: but the epithets here made use of may require some explanation. The mention of Gilead and Manasseh intimates that all Israel had now submitted to David's government. Ephraim, as a powerful and warlike tribe, mainly contributed to the strength of his kingdom; it was his strength or horn. Judah being the tribe of David, who was now king, may be said to have given law to the whole country, and therefore is called the lawgiver. Moab having fallen into a state of degrading idolatry, is compared to a vessel for washing the feet-a "wash-pot." Casting the shoe over Edom was an ancient form of taking possession. (See Ruth iv.7.) But the apostrophe to Philistia is the language of irony, and of defiance: "Philistia, triumph thou over me!" as if he had said, "Thou hast been used to insult and triumph over me; but circumstances are now reversed, and it is my turn to shout and triumph over thee." (See Psalm cviii. 9.)
Such seems the literal import of this interesting psalm; but we must not conclude here. As David was a type of Christ, so was the Jewish of the Christian church; and this psalm has evidently a prospective view to the future triumphs of Messiah, when Jews and Gentiles shall be united under his government, and there shall be but "one Lord, and his name one, in al the earth." (Zech. xiv. 9.)
PSALM LXI. Title-Upon Neginah, or Neginath; the singular of Neginoth, title of Ps. iv. vi. &c. Ver. 2. Higher than I.-That is, than I can climb to. Ainsworth.
Ver. 4. I will trust-Marg, "Make my refuge,"
See Note on Ps. lvii. 1.
Ver. 6. Thou wilt prolong, &c.-Heb. .shalt add days to the king's days: his years (sha
be) as generation and generation.
[trusting in man.
down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.
5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times: ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
12 Also unto thee, O LORD, belongeth mercy for thou renderest to every man according to his work. (N)
(M) The psalmist triumphs in the divine protection. This psalm is generally, and naturally supposed to have been written by David, while excluded from the metropolis by Absalom. When driven from place to place, and from rock to rock for shelter, he prays to be directed to a rock higher than he could reach; that is, that the Lord himself would be his rock, his shelter, and his tower. "Such, (says he,) thou hast been, therefore will I return to thy tabernacle, to pay the vows offered in my distress, and there abide for ever." Such expressions can scarcely be restrained to a frail and mortal life, which seldom exceeds the bounds of seventy years, but must necessarily include a reference to another life, another tabernacle, another king, of whom he considered himself a type only: a king, whose life should endure to many generations, and of whose dominion there
should be no end. So the Chaldee applies it to the king Messiah.
"O lead me to the rock
(N) David encourages himself in the divine power and mercy.-The occasion of this psalm is unknown; but it was evidently written when he was in a happy frame of mind, trusting in God, and encouraging others to trust in him also;-to wait in silence, and with patience, the fulfilment of his promises, and to pour out their hearts in prayer before him. The doctrines of the latter part of the psalm are chiefly two: 1. The folly and danger of putting our trust in man. "Men of low degree are vanity!" they have no stability. "Men of high degree are a lie," which is still worse they have no regard to truth; no