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Psalms 63:1 « A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. » O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
When he was in the wilderness of Judah ] That is, of Idumea, saith Genebrard, which bordered upon the tribe of Judah; but better understand it either of the forest of Hareth, 1 Samuel 22:5 , or of the wilderness of Ziph, 1 Samuel 23:14 , where David was, In deserto desertus exul, et omnis fere consolationis inept, not only destitute of outward comforts, but in some desertion of soul; Et sic miserrimus, et calamitosissimus oberravit, saith Beza.
Ver. 1. O God, thou art my God ] And that is now mine only comfort; Divini mellis alvearium, the bee hive of heavenly honey.
Early will I seek thee ] Now they who seek God early have a promise that they shall find him. Aben-Ezra rendereth it, Sicut mercator gemmas, inquiram re, I will diligently seek thee, as a merchant doth the precious stones סוחד (Mercator).
My soul thirsteth for thee ] Thirst is Taclith hattaavah, say the Rabbis, the perfection of desire. The whole life of a Christian is nothing else but Sanctum desiderium, saith Austin. How many broken spirits spend and exhale themselves in continual sallies, as it were, and egressions of affection unto God, thirsting after, not only a union, but a unity with him?
My flesh longeth for thee ] Non habet haec vex secium, saith Aben-Ezra; this word is here only found. It is a notable metaphor, saith another interpreter, taken from women with child, to express the earnest affection that he had to God-ward. The Septuagint rendereth it ποσαπλως , Quam multipliciter. His soul, his flesh, all was on a light fire, as it were, with ardent affection towards God (R. Solomon).
In a dry and thirsty land ] Where I am hardly bestead, and at a great fault for outward accommodations, but much more for sweet and spiritual communion with thee in holy ordinances; there lieth the pinch of my grief.
Psa 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so [as] I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Ver. 2. To see thy power and thy glory ] To feel those heart-ravishing apprehensions of thine incomparable excellencies from thyself immediately; who canst be to thy people in their banishment as a little sanctuary, Ezekiel 11:16 , and supply all their wants out of thine all sufficiency, who art rich in mercy to all that call upon thy name.
So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary ] Where were to be seen the house of God, Exodus 25:8 Deuteronomy 12:5 , the throne of glory from the beginning, Jeremiah 17:12 , the ark of the covenant, Exodus 25:22 , the tables of the covenant laid up in the ark, Exodus 28:21 , the mercy seat, Exodus 25:21 , the oracle, Exo 25:22 Numbers 7:89 , the ceremonies that showed the estate of the faithful both by nature and by grace, and indeed were their gospel, and Christ in figure. These were glorious sights and signals which, therefore David dearly desired, and more bewailed the want of them, than of all outward comforts and contentments.
Psa 63:3 Because thy lovingkindness [is] better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Ver. 3. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life ] Mr Bradford, being threatened by Stephen Gardiner (then Lord Chancellor), answered, I know to whom I have committed my life, even into his hands which will keep it, so that no man may take it away before it be his pleasure, therefore his goodwill be done; life in his displeasure is worse than death, and death in his true favour is true life (Acts and Mon. fol. 1459). This made him and the rest of the holy martyrs that they loved not their lives unto the death, Revelation 12:11 . The sight of God, though but in that dark glass of the ceremonies, would have been better to David than life with the appurtenances, those Bιωτικα , riches, honours, pleasures, &c. See Psalms 4:7-8 .
My lips shall praise thee ] God’s love shed abroad in the heart cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak, Song of Solomon 7:9 .
Psa 63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
Ver. 4. Thus will I bless thee while I live ] I will divide my time between praises and prayers, and so drive a holy trade between heaven and earth. See Psalms 18:3 .
I will lift up my hands ] i.e. Pray, as Psalms 141:2 1 Timothy 2:8 .
In thy name ] i.e. Cleaving to thy goodness and mercy. Fretus tuo auxilio.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as [with] marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise [thee] with joyful lips:
Ver. 5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness ] Heb. as with fatness and fatness; bis, ad corroborandum, saith Aben Ezra, q.d. I shall be top full of comfort, animo adipe et medullis sanctissimarum deliciarum tuarum saginato. A soul taken up with God’s praises cannot but over abound exceedingly with joy, Ita ut inter Dei laudationem et nostram consolationem sit quasi circulus perpetuus et infinitus, saith one; praises increase joy, and joy causeth perpetual praises.
And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips ] Heb. with lips of jubilations or exultations, labiis canoris, as if I were in a rapture of ecstasy, Toto gutture laudes tuas personabo.
Psa 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, [and] meditate on thee in the [night] watches.
Ver. 6. When I remember thee upon my bed ] Heb. beds, in the plural; because he took up his lodging in many places, having heaven sometimes for his canopy; and well content to break his sleep for God’s service.
In the night watches ] The ancients divided the night into certain watches, Mark 13:35 .
Psa 63:7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Ver. 7. Because thou hast been my help ] This was the matter of his meditation, and hereby he helped his faith.
Therefore in the shadow of thy wings, &c, ] Metaphora a pullis pipientibus sub alis Matrum, saith Junius.
Psa 63:8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Ver. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee ] Adhaesit anima mea post te. As hard as mine enemies do after me, even hard at heels, as we say; Sic trahit sua quemque voluptas. A Christian’s close cleaving to God is the continent cause of all his comfort. This we must beg of God, Jeremiah 13:11 , sc. that we may cleave to God with full purpose of heart, Acts 11:23 , and if he seem to withdraw, to follow him hot foot, and press his footsteps.
Thy right hand upholdeth me ] For otherwise I should faint and fail in the pursuit of thee; my short legs and pursy heart would never hold on.
Psa 63:9 But those [that] seek my soul, to destroy [it], shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Ver. 9. But those that seek my soul to destroy it ] Heb. Ad pracipitium, to hurl it down headlong, shall themselves be laid low enough, even in the slimy valley where are many already like them, and more (shall come after them), Job 21:31-32 . And this assurance of his enemies’ downfall David had gotten by his meditations on God, Psalms 63:6 .
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth ] i.e. Into the grave at least, if not into hell; they shall be abyssed into hell, into eternal perdition, saith Diodati.
Psa 63:10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
Ver. 10. They shall fall by the sword ] Heb. They shall make him run out (like water) by the hand of the sword. A plain prophecy of Saul’s death, and the manner of it. See alike phrase Jer 18:21 Ezekiel 35:5 .
They shall be a portion for foxes ] Or for any other "beasts of prey"; they shall not have the honour of burial, but lie above ground, to be devoured by beasts and birds. See this fulfilled upon Saul’s complices, 1 Samuel 31:1-13 , and the antichristian rout, Revelation 19:21 .
Psa 63:11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
Ver. 11. But the king shall rejoice in God ] i.e. I shall, who am anointed and appointed king after Saul, and therefore doubt not to speak thus of myself, as if I were king already. Wicked men praesumendo sperant, et sperando pereunt, hope groundlessly, and perish by their presumption; but true believers trust God upon his bare word, and that against sense in things invisible, and against reason in things incredible, and according to their faith so is it unto them.
Every one that sweareth by him shall glory ] By whom? not by the king (though the Egyptians did so of old, and the Spaniards to this day, in the pride of their monarchs, swear by the life of their king), but by God, the sole and proper object of an oath; for to swear by his name in due manner is a special piece of his service, and is here put for the whole. So, then, every one that sincerely serveth God shall be glad and thankful to God that David reigneth; for now παντα καλως εσται (as the raven is said to have crouped from the Capitol when Augustus came to the empire), all shall go well with them, according to their own heart’s desires (Dio).
But the mouth of them that speak lies ] A fault whereof Saul’s courtiers were deeply guilty. Some take this for a general description of all graceless and godless persons, who are liars habitually at least; as godly men are right swearers, and fearers of God’s name.
Shall be stopped ] Either with shame and confusion, or with death, as was Saul’s and his flatters’. Saunders’s foul mouth was stopped with famine (as hath been above noted), that had uttered so many blasphemies against God, and so many lies against men.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 63". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18