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let their attempts do no more mischief than an arrow which is broken 8 in discharging it. As a snail (which) melteth, which consumes
itself by its own motion, let [every one of them] pass away : [like) the untimely birth of a woman, [that] they may not see
the sun ; let their projects against me be like an untimely birth 9 that never comes to perfection. Before your pots can feel the
thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both live ing, and in (his) wrath ; some shall be destroyed suddenly, be car
ried away as with a whirlwind, violently and irresistibly, and while 10 in the greatest prosperity. The righteous shall rejoice when he
seeth the vengeance : he shall wash his feet in the blood of the 11 wicked, shall be victorious, and trample upon them.* So that a
man shall say, even the meanest of the people shall be compelled to acknowledge, that Verily [there is) a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. There is a beautiful contrast between the first verse and this : they were unjust judges, but God is a righteous judge, who will reward or punish according to men's deserts.
1. LIOW lamentable is the case of those who will not hearken
IT to kind and friendly admonitions. In all ages there have been some of these deaf adders, of those who have stopped their ears ; that could not be charmed with the incomparable wisdom of the prophets and apostles, yea, of Christ himself, though never man spake like him. Let not ministers and parents wonder if they meet with such instances ; if they have under their care some minds that no reason will work upon, no kindness mollify, no friendship bring to a better temper; for what are we better than our fathers ? While we lament ll.is as the case of others, we should be careful that it is not our own ; and thankfully receive reproof and instruc. tion, and show ourselves wise by attending to and improving them.
2. Let the wicked, especially unjust, slanderous, and mischievous men, be warned by the judgments of God. He sometimes surprizes such men with unexpected and terrible judgments ; hurries them away with his whirlwind when they are green, and in the greatest prosperity ; and there is no resisting his power. Sometimes he destroys them gradually, and all their glory departs ; at least their peace is gone, and they become a prey to those very turbulent pas. sions, which led them to treat others unjustly and cruelly. Indeed such persons need no worse torment than their own bitter, ill natured disposition, without any extraordinary punishment from God.
3. Let no present disorders in the world about us shake our faith in a universal providence and a universal judgment. We may see as it were David outlawed, and Saul and his counsellors triumphant, the righteous oppressed, and the wicked prospering.
* Here is an allusion to a person returning triumpliant after a battle, and wetting his feet in the blood of his enemies as he walks over the field of battle.
We may see the seat of judgment, that iniquity is there, and hear the cries of the oppressed, without seeing that they have any helper. But the judgments of God against cruel oppressors, and his inter. positions for the righteous, are sometimes so plain and evident, that Those who before denied or doubted a providence, cannot but own it ; and when this is not the case, we may rest assured upon the highest authority, that there is a God that judgeth in the earth ; that there is a day coming, when all causes shall be rejudged, and when there shall be a reward for the righteous, an ample, everlasting re. ward, whatever they may lose or suffer here. To the supreme Judge let us refer all those events which seem mysterious to us, and be solicitous to secure his favour, from whom our own judgment, and the judgment of every man, is finally to proceed.
To the chief musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when Saul
sent, and they watched the house to kill him, I Sam. xix. 11,
David might compose this psalm while he knew his house was beset,
and was waiting for intelligence when it was proper to retire. In this view it shows the admirable composure of his temper, and is a fine example of faith and devotion.
ELIVER me from mine enemies, O my God : defend 2 I me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from
the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men ; from 3 those whom nothing bryi my blood will satisfy. For, lo, they lie in
wait for my soul : the mighty are gathered against me ; men of great, power and interest at court have formed a confederacy against me; but I can appeal to thee that it is not (for) my trans. gression, nor (for) my sin, O LORD, They run and prepare
themselves, without [my] fault ; they take a great deal of pains 5 to execute their designs : awake to help me, and behold. Thou
therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen ; a people who are as bad as heathens in their
conduct : be not merciful to any wicked transgressors ; obstinate, 6. malicious persecutors and sinners. Selah. They return at
evening : they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city : after I have escaped Saul's fury in the day, they return at
evening, like a dog snarling and threatening, and watching every 7 where that I may not escape. Behold, they belch out with their mouth : swords [are) in their lips ; they utter slanders and
threats : for who say they,] doth hear? or, if any do hcar, who 8 shall call us to account, as we have Saul's warrant. But thou, ()
LORD, who seest and hearest, shalt laugh at them ; thou shalt
have all the heathen in derision ; shalt disappoint them, and 9 make them ridiculous. (Because of] his strength, the strength
of Saul and my other enemies, will I wait upon thee : for God [is] 10 my defence. The God of my mercy shall prevent me : God
shall let me see (my desire) upon mine enemies ; he who hath
already shown himself the God of my mercies, shall surround me, 11 and let me see their designs defeated. Slay them not, let their
punishment be gradual, lest my people forget : scatter them by thy power ; and bring them down, O LORD, our shield ; let them first be exposed, then scattered and reduced to distress, that
being by thy repeated judgments made spectacles of thy displeas12 ure, others may learn useful instruction from it. (For) the sin of
their mouth [and] the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride ; let them be punished for their insolent and injurious
speeches : and for cursing and lying (which] they speak; 13 especially for their perjury and falsehood. Consume (them) in
wrath, consume (them) gradually, that they (may] not (be). found : and let them know by experience that God ruleth in
Jacob unto the ends of the earth ; that thou art the righteoua 14 governor of the world. Selah. And at evening let them return;
[and] let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the
city ; what they did voluntarily to compass my ruin, v. 6. let them 15 now be constrained to do for their own subsistence. Let them
wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfi. ed ; or, as the margin reads it, Let them stay all night and not be
sa!isfied ; let them find it as difficult to get a lodging as food. 16 But, though they would take me and put me to death, I will sing
of thy protecting power ; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in
the morning : for thou hast hitherto been, and wilt still be my 17 defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my
strength, will I sing : for God [is] my defence, [and] the God of my mercy.
1. L OW happy will innocence and devotion make a good man
11 in the greatest extremity ! What composure of spirit does David here show, when in the greatest distress! His house was beset with formidable enemics, and none durst take his part ; yet with how much satisfaction does he appeal to God, that it was not for his transgression, nor for his sin ; that he was without fault as to the things laid to his charge. Innocence will not secure a man from slander and mischievous attempts ; but it will support him under them, and give him confidence in his appeals and prayers to God. Let us learn from David to cast our heaviest burdens upon God, and be watchful that our intercourse with him be not interrupted, nor our hope in him shaken, by any distresses, enemies or fears.
I rather think these two verses are a further description of their rage against David. Let then go on in their wicked designs against me, and wander up and down, not for meat, but to devourme; let them stay all nicht; neither cold nor darkness will hinder them from pursuing their designs against me.
2. We are taught the wise design of God's awful judgments upon sinners : to convince them, and all who see or hear of their calamities, that God reigneth to the ends of the earth ; gives laws to his creatures, knows their thoughts, observes their conduct, and can control them, be they ever so mighty. It is in wisdom and goodness that his judgments upon them are slow, and that they consume and destroy gradually. Hasty executions would soon be forgotten ; but when they carry the marks of divine displeasure upon them a long time, it tends to awaken others, and preserve them from those sins, which are the cause of those awful judgments. The Lord is known by the judgments that he executeth.
• 3. We should present our morning praises to God for the repose and security of the night. When we think of the distressing circumstances which David was in ; his house beset with enemies, who were employed and encouraged by the king ; who thirsted for his blood, and did not scruple to commit acts of injustice or perfidy to destroy him ; it should make us thankful that God preserves us by night and by day ; that he delivers us from wicked and unrea. sonable men ; and that we lie down, and none make us afraid. His mercies are new every morning ; every morning therefore let us sing aloud of his mercy.
4. Let us habitually regard the blessed God as our shield, and defence, and the God of our mercies. He has been our refuge in trouble ; delivered us in many dangers which we perceived, and many which we were not aware of. He is the God of our mercies, the author of all the good we possess ; and is disposed and able to make us easy and happy. To him therefore let our eyes be directed ; and because of his strength let us wait continually upon him ; for the Lord God is a sun and shield ; a light and a defence ; he will give grace and glory i no good thing will he withhold from them who walk uprightly.
To the chief musician upon Shushaneduth, * Michtam of David,
to teach some remarkable matter to the church and people of God : when he strove with Aramnaharaiin, the Syrians of Mesopotamia, and with Aramzobah, the Syrians of Zobah, when Joab returned and smote of Edom in the valley of Salt twelve thousand. See 2 Sam. viii. 3. 1 Chron, xviii. 3, 12.
in GOD, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou
hast been displeased ; especially when the army of Israel was defeated by the Philistines, at the time of Saul's drath ; O 3 turn thyself to us again. Thou hast made the earth, or land, to
tremble ; thou hast broken it ; thrown it into great confusion, by
* Whether this was an instrument or a tune, the learned are not agreed.
foreign invasions and civil dissensions : heal the breaches thereof;
the divisions in the kingdom ; for it shaketh, some being attached 3 to the house of Saul, and others to David Thou hast showed
thy people hard things'; caused them 80 undergo grievour and painful trials : thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment : filled us with horror, so that we have madly destroyed one unother : but now Thou hast given a banner to them that feared thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth ; thou hast
united the kingdom under my administration, and they are animated 5 as one man to come to my standard. Selah. That thy beloved
people may be delivered from the oppression of their neighbours ;
save [with] thy right hand, and hear me ; make me an instru6 ment in their salvation. God hath spoken in, piromised and sworn
by his holiness to settle the kingdom uron me and my seed ; and thereupon I will rejoice in assurance of the accomplishment of his promises ; I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth ; that part of the land which belonged to those who ad
hered first to the house of Saul, and set proper officers and governors 7 over it. Gilead [is] mine, and Manasseh[is] mine, though for some time they were under Ishbosheth ; Ephraim also[is] the strength
of mine head, will sufiply me with brave troofis ; Judah [is] my 8 lawgiver, will furnish me with able counsellors and judges. Moab
[is] my wash pot; I shall completely conquer the Moabiles, and use · them in the meanest offices ; over Edom will I cast out my shoe ;
I will walk over the Edomites and tread them down : Philistia, triumph thou because of me ; or rather, triumph over me if thou
canst, as thou didst over Saul and his army: see what thy triumphs 9 will come to now. Who will bring me [into) the strong city ? who will lead me into Edom? When I consider the power of my
enemies, I may well say, though I have already vanquished them 10 in the field, how shall I take their strong cities? Wilt not thou, o
God, (which) hadst cast us off ? and [thou] O God, [which)
didst not go out with our armies, but now hast graciously began to 11 return to us and show us mercy again? Give us help from trouble,
especially that which the Syrians occasion : for vain [is] the help 12 of man, without chine assistance. Through God we shall do val
iantly ; or, considered as an exhortation to his soldiers, Through God let us do valiantly : for he [it is that] shall tread down our enemies, and give us a complete victory. '!"
1. I ET us learn from David to make serious and careful ob:
U servations on the providence of God. He recollected what they and their fathers had suffered, and the present happy alteration in their circumstances. It is good to reflect upon the dealings of God with us and our fathers ; the sufferings and disappointments of the nation ; that we may be humbled at the remembrance of thein ; and rejoice with trembling in the greatest prosperity. Let' us acknowledge every kind appearance of providence for us, VOL. IV.