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David promises particular blessings to those who behave themselves charitably towards the afflicted, and complains of the cruelty of his enemies, and even of his friends, who, instead of compassionating his miseries, wished for his death, and said, that God punished him for his sins.
Reflections. In this Psalm, the blessing of God is promised to those who have compassion on the afflicted, who judge charitably of them, and comfort them in their sufferings. David assures the kind and charitable, that God will deliver them in their calamities, that he will heal them when they are sick and languishing, and that he will preserve them, and make them happy in this life. These promises ought to inspire us with sentiments of charity and compassion for the unfortunate, and engage us to comfort them, and contribute to their ease as far as we are able. On the the hand, what David says of the proceedings of his enemies, shows us that it is a great sin to insult the miserable, to wish evil, or to desire the death of any one, and to judge that all those whom God afflicts are punished because of their sins. This should teach us to avoid hard-heartedness and rash judgments, and to think always favourably of people in affliction, and especially of those who are remarkable for piety, and the fear of the Lord.
The prophet expresses, with great strength and energy, his unfeigned sorrow to see himself banished from the house of God, by the persecution of his enemies, and his hearty desire to return to it again, that he might serve God among the faithful; he likewise describes his alarms, and the conflict he had within himself, which he had overcome by confidence in the divine assistance.
In the earnest desire of the prophetic author of this Psalm, who was probably David, to come again to the house of God, which he was kept from, we see what sentiments true devotion and sincere piety inspire men with. The faithful desire nothing more sincerely, than to appear before God, and particularly, to worship in the assemblies of the saints, and to be edified by the company and good examples of godly men. In like manner, there is nothing grieves them more than to be deprived of that comfort, and to see the wicked impiously insult God, and scoff at the just man's trust in him. Observe next, that the author of this Psalm had been in exceeding great distress, and as it were sinking under the afflicting hand of God; in which condition his soul was distracted, and almost destitute of comfort; but that, nevertheless, his faith had raised and comforted him. This example ought to strengthen the righteous in their afflictions, comfort them in their greatest bitterness of soul, and make them say with David, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
In this Psalm, as well as the foregoing, the Psalmist, persecuted and driven from the tabernacle, begs God to deliver him from his enemies, and restore him the valuable blessing of serving and praising God in public, and comforts himself with the prospect of his assistance.
The reading of this Psalm shows, that if the prophet begged of God to deliver him from the malice of his enemies, it was chiefly with a view to return to the tabernacle, that he might praise God, and express his joy, love, and gratitude. This the children of God desire above all things, and this it is that supports and comforts them most effectually in all their trials arid afflictions. Lastly, the complaints and sighs of the prophet, in this and the foregoing Psalms, because he could not come into the house of God, should engage those who have the liberty to serve God in the religious assemblies, gladly to improve so inestimable a blessing.
This Psalm was composed ata time when the people of Israel were under affliction and persecution. The prophet here makes mention of the wonders God had wrought in bringing their forefathers into the land of Canaan, from whence he hopes that God would again display his power in behalf of the afflicted Israelites, and deliver them. He describes the sad condition they were in at that time, and the severe persecutions to which they were exposed.
I. The Israelites in their afflictions call to remembrance the many signal blessings which God had formerly conferred upon that nation. Thus should we, in our afflictions, comfort ourselves with the consideration of the goodness of the Lord, and the evident proofs he has in all ages given of his power and mercy. II. As the Jews acknowledged that their fathers had become masters of the land of Canaan, not by their own strength, but by the power of God; we should likewise give God the glory of all the privileges and blessings we enjoy, and confess that his favour is the happiness and security of nations, and particularly of the Church. III. The complaints the Jews make of their deplorable condition, show, that in all times the Church has been afflicted; and that God often permits his people to be delivered into the hands of the wicked, and the faithful to be cruelly persecuted. This is St. Paul's reflection, in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, where he applies to Christians these words of this Psalm; For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. God permits it so to be for the glory of his name, and to try and purify his church. Lastly, We see here, that the faithful, though God afflicts them, do not forget him, nor forsake his covenant; and therefore he is always ready to come to their assistance, and to hear them when they call upon him in time of need.
This Psalm is a nuptial song upon the marriage of king Solomon, and contains a description of the glory of that prince and his consort; it is likewise a prophetical Psalm, and relates to our Lord Jesus Christ.
This Psalm is to be considered in two lights, I. As a hymn designed to procure the divine blessing upon the marriage of Solomon, and upon his kingdom. II. As it properly relates to Jesus Christ, the husband and king of the Church. In this Psalm there is express mention made of his divinity, of his anointing, of his power, of the glory and duration of his kingdom. This St. Paul teaches us in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he applies to our Lord the words of this Psalm: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre cf righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom: God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. These words can properly suit no other but Christ Jesus; and as they describe his infinite power and glory, they engage us to reverence and adore him, and in all things to submit to him, that we may share in the blessings he pours upon his Church, and upon all those who have the happiness to live under his dominion.
This is a Psalm of thanksgiving, for the assistance God had granted his people, at a time when they had been attacked by several nations.
We are to learn from hence, that God is the protector of his Church, and that even when kings and nations, who are represented in this Psalm by floods and torrents, are confederate against it, God renders all their efforts vain, and powerfully delivers it. The Christian Church has still greater share in these promises and the divine protection than the ancient people had, since this is for ever to subsist. This the Church has always experienced; this the faithful should consider for their comfort, and the confirmation of their faith.
The prophet exhorts all the inhabitants of the earth to praise God, to adore his majesty and power, and acknowledge that the Lord, who had made a covenant with the children of Israel, was the king of the world, and that all the people ought to submit themselves to him.
This Psalm should excite us to praise God, and to celebrate his glory with holy transports, as he is the king of the whole earth, and deserves the adoration of all men; but above all, because he has chosen us to be his people and his inheritance. What we read in this Psalm is particularly applicable to the times of the Gospel, and especially to our Lord's triumphant ascension to the glory of his kingdom, and to the happiness which the several nations of the earth now enjoy in being accounted the people of God.