Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 71

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Psalms 71:1-24.-Introduction, from Psalms 31:1-24. Prayer for deliverance on the ground of God's righteousness (Psalms 71:1-3); as God has manifested His grace to the sufferer from youth (Psalms 71:4-8), he trusts that God will not cast him off in old age (Psalms 71:9-13); hope and praise resting on prayer (Psalms 71:14); resolution to go in the strength and righteousness of the Lord alone (Psalms 71:15-21). Promise of thanks for deliverance. The suffering Messiah and His people are the theme. Psalms 71:9; Psalms 71:18, the prayer not to be cast off in old age applies to Israel, the ancient people, whom Messiah represents. Himself never reached old age. Isaiah 46:3-4, is Yahweh's answer to Israel's prayer, (cf. Psalms 129:1, etc.) She is still, in her old age, invisibly upheld by Yahweh for ultimate deliverance. The first-person, "I ... me," implies designed consolation to the individual believer in trials and old age.

Let me never be put to confusion - by being disappointed in my hope of deliverance from thee.

Verse 2

Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Be thou my strong habitation - (Psalms 90:1.) In Psalms 31:2 it is "my strong rock," designedly varied by the author, as often elsewhere, when he repeats former psalms.

Whereunto I may continually resort - in every need.

Thou hast given commandment to save me (note, Psalms 44:4; Psalms 68:28) - the basis of the prayer-God's authoritative and efficacious word of promise.

Verse 4

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked - (cf. title, Psalms 18:1-50.)

Out of the hand - `the grasp ( mikap (H3709)); a different Hebrew word from the previous "hand" ( miyad (H3027)).

Of the ... cruel man - primarily, 'sour, Hengstenberg translates, 'the abandoned;' but Gesenius translates, 'the violent man.'

Verses 5-8

For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.

-The prayer in Psalms 71:4 is followed, first, by the basis on which it rests (Psalms 71:5-8); then by an expanded form of it (Psalms 71:9-13).

Verse 5. For thou art my hope - i:e., my object of hope (Psalms 40:4).

O Lord God - 'Adonaay (H136) Yahweh (H3068), implying a fullness of power, dominion, and unchangeable faithfulness, which fits Him for being his constant trust.

My trust from my youth. He does not hereby commend his own trust or faith, but the God in whom he had put his trust, and whose trustworthiness he had experienced from youth (literally, plural, the various stages of youth).

Verse 6. By thee have I been holden up from the womb - (Psalms 22:9-10.)

Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels - literally, 'thou hast been my going forth out of my mother's bowels;' i:e., the Author of my going forth. Psalms 22:9 establishes the English version against the Septuagint [skepastees], 'Protector,' 'Benefactor' (Gesenius, from an Arabic root).

My praise shall be continually of thee - (Psalms 22:25; Psalms 44:8.)

Verse 7. I am as a wonder unto many - because of my great sufferings (Deuteronomy 28:46; Isaiah 52:14, "Many were astonished at thee (Messiah); His visage was so marred more than any man"). So also Messiah's people (1 Corinthians 4:9).

But thou my strong refuge - great as are my afflictions, greater is thy power of deliverance: therefore I have good hope (Psalms 71:14).

Verse 8. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day - i:e., Let my mouth be still given, by thy now delivering me, fresh cause to praise thee as heretofore (Psalms 71:6, end). The answer follows in Psalms 71:15, "My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness (or faithfulness to thy word, which is thy glory; answering to "thy honour" here) and thy salvation (answering to "thy praise," the salvation vouchsafed being the theme of the praise) all the day."

Verse 9

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.

Cast me not off in the time of old age - since thou hast been my support, and therefore "my trust from my youth" (Psalms 71:5), I confidently ask thee not to cast me off in my old age. My very weakness, through years, is a strong plea with thee for vouchsafing thy strength. God answers this prayer of the individual believer, of the Church, and of the literal Israel (primarily meant there) in Isaiah 46:3-4. 'The remnant of Israel' in the last days (the nation's old age) shall be 'delivered' by the God.

Verses 10-11

For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,

For mine enemies speak against me ... God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him. The ungodly persecute the saints most when they think, because of the sufferings of the latter, that they are given up by God (Psalms 3:2; Psalms 41:7-8). So Ahithophel spake as to David when fleeing from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:2).

For there is none to deliver him - (Psalms 7:2.)

Verse 12

O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.

O God, be not far from me - (Psalms 22:11.)

O my God, make haste for my help - (Psalms 40:13.)

Verse 13

Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.

Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul. "Adversaries" in Hebrew is the plural of Satan, which means the adversary, (Psalms 109:6, margin.) On this verse, cf. Psalms 35:4; Psalms 35:26; Psalms 40:14.

Verse 14

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

Here hope succeeds to prayer. The hope is summarily stated in Psalms 71:14; and then in Psalms 71:15-21 is expressed, in a developed form, confident determination to go in the strength of the Lord God.

But I will hope continually - I will never cast away my hope in thee (Psalms 71:5).

And will yet praise thee more and more - literally, 'I will add upon all thy praise;' I will add over and above the praise wherewith I have been heretofore accustomed to praise thee. The past causes for praise which thou hast given me are the assurance that thou wilt give me fresh occasions for praise.

Verse 15

My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.

My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day. Here he gets from God the assurance of what he had prayed for (Psalms 71:8), "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day;" whence it appears that here the subject of "praise" God's graciously-vouchsafed "salvation;" and God's "honour" is God's "righteousness," or faithfulnes to His promises.

For I know not the numbers thereof - thy favours are innumerable (Psalms 40:5; Psalms 139:17-18; Psalms 36:6).

Verse 16

I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

I will go in the strength of the Lord God - literally, 'strengths,' plural 'I will go (in the discharge of public and private duties alike, Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 28:6; I will go out and come in), relying solely on the manifold strength of the Lord Yahweh' (Kimchi). The Septuagint and the ancient versions translate, 'I will enter into the powers [Hebrew, the mightinesses, gªburowt (H1369)] of the Lord ( 'Adonaay (H136)) Yahweh (H3068);' i:e., I will entirely cling to, and outer into Yahweh's manifold strength as a sure citadel (Menochius). Or as Hengstenberg, not so well, 'I will go forward with the great deeds (the hero-like exploits) of the Lord, praising them, or making them know.' I prefer the English version, with which cf. Ephesians 6:10; Psalms 73:26.

Verse 17

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth - namely, to praise thee (cf. the second clause, and Psalms 71:18, second clause). God's power, exercised continually in the sufferer's behalf, gave him cause for praise; and God's Spirit taught his heart hitherto how to praise aright.

Verse 18

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

Now also when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not - Hebrew, 'And even unto old age and hoar hairs;' to which Isaiah 46:3-4 refers. He repeats the prayer of Psalms 71:9, with the beautiful variation which brings into view God's strength as supporting the petitioner's failing strength - "forsake me not when MY strength faileth" (Psalms 71:9).

Forsake me not, until I have showed thy strength - literally, 'thy arm,' not my arm (Psalms 44:3).

Unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come - (Psalms 22:31.)

Verse 19

Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high - literally, 'is even to the height' (Psalms 36:5; Psalms 57:5; Psalms 57:10).

O God, who is like unto thee! Exodus 15:11 is the fundamental passage. Compare David's own words, 2 Samuel 7:22 - an undesigned coincidence.

Verse 20

Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

(Thou), which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again. So the Qeri' and the ancient versions, the Septuagint, Vulgate, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Syriac; but the Kethibh reads, 'us ... us ... us;' and so the Chaldaic Targum. The Qeri' evidently changed the us into me, to make it accord with the first person singular going before. The transition to 'us' from "I" and "me" heretofore, shows that the application of the psalm is not limited to the individual sufferer, but extends to the whole Church, and also to the literal Israel, in affliction. Messiah, the son of David, represents the whole people. 'Quicken us' - i:e., revive us after we have been as it were dead with calamities (Hosea 6:1-2; Deuteronomy 32:39).

Again ... again - literally, 'shalt return and quicken us ... shalt return and bring us.'

From the depths of the earth - `from the abysses (the deep floods) of the earth.' The deliverance of godly Noah from the overflowing deluge is a pledge of the deliverance of all God's people out of the floods which threaten them (Psalms 29:10; Psalms 32:6; Psalms 36:6).

Verse 21

Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

Thou shalt increase my greatness - even to a greater height than it attained before. The Septuagint, Vulgate, Ethiopic, and Arabic translate, 'thy' instead of "my." So Hengstenberg understands it, 'Thou shalt multiply my great deeds' - i:e., the great deeds wrought by thee for me. Compare Psalms 71:19, end; Psalms 145:3; Psalms 40:5; and David's words, 2 Samuel 7:23, "God went ... to do for you great things." But the Chaldaic and Syriac support the English version. So the greatness of the Antitype, Messiah, was increased after His sufferings (Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:8-9).

And comfort me on every side - literally, 'Thou shalt surround ... thou shalt comfort me.' The old versions and the most weighty authorities translate [ ticob (H5437)], 'Thou wilt turn thyself (to me and) comfort me.'

Verses 22-24

I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

-Promise of thanks for the deliverance anticipated by faith.

Verse 22. I will also praise thee - rather, 'I also will praise thee.' Even as thou increasest my greatness, I also, on my part, will praise thee.

O thou Holy One of Israel - (Psalms 22:3.)

Verse 23. My lips shall greatly rejoice ... and my soul, which thou hast redeemed - (Psalms 34:22.) Vain is the praise of the lips, if the soul does not join in concert.

Verse 24. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness - Hebrew, 'shall meditatively talk' (Psalms 35:28).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 71". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-71.html. 1871-8.
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