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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 71

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust — See Psalms 31:1 , see Trapp on " Psalms 31:1 " It appeareth by Psalms 71:9 ; Psalms 71:18 , that this psalm was written by David in his old age, when Absalom or Sheba was in rebellion against him, though haply for haste, and in that fright he could not superscribe it as he did the rest. The Greek title, viz. of David, a psalm of the sons of Jonadab, and of them that were first captived, hath no footing in the original Hebrew.

Verse 2

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

Deliver me in thy righteousness — Let my deliverance be the fruit of thy promise and of my prayer; and so it will be much the sweeter.

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.

Thou hast given commandmentsc. To thine angels, and all other thy creatures; or, thou hast commanded, that is, thou hast promised.

Verse 4

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

Out of the hand of the unrighteous — That seeketh by fraud to undermine me, and by force to overturn me.

And cruel manQui totus in fermento iacet; sour as leaven, sharp as vinegar.

Verse 5

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

For thou art my hope — Helpless I may seem, but hopeless I am not.

Verse 6

By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise [shall be] continually of thee.

By thee have I been holden up from the womb — As in the womb I lived upon thee, so from the womb. The same that breedeth us feedeth us; that matter that nourisheth the child in the womb striking up into the breasts, and by a further concoction becoming white, is made milk for it.

Thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels — Else I had never been born alive. That a child is born, fieri videmus, saith Galen, sed quomodo fiat, admirari tantum possumus. Avicenna calleth it, Opus supra mirabilia omnia mirabile, the greatest wonder in the world. Surely, if a child were born but once in a hundred years’ time, we should all run to see so strange a work, saith another.

Verse 7

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou [art] my strong refuge.

I am a wonder unto many — Or, unto the great ones, a monster to the mighty, quia credo quod non video, as Austin glosseth, because I believe what I yet see not, viz. that this storm shall blow over, and I be resettled in my throne.

Verse 8

Let my mouth be filled [with] thy praise [and with] thy honour all the day.

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise — Minister unto me still fresh matter for my spirit to work upon.

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 — For now I have most need of thee. The white rose is soonest cankered, so is the white head soonest corrupted.

Satan maketh a prey of old Solomon, Asa, Lot, others; whom when young he could never so deceive. The heathens, therefore, well warn us to look well to our old age, as that which cometh not alone, but is infested with many diseases both of body and mind. This David knew, and therefore prayed, as here, "Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth." He is a rare old man that can say with Caleb, Joshua 14:10-11 . Omnia fert aetas, animum quoque.

Verse 10

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

For mine enemies — Who, rather than their lives, would bereave me of mine; these would double murder me, first by detraction, and then by deadly practice.

Verse 11

Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for [there is] none to deliver [him].

God hath forsaken him — For his late sin against Uriah; and as may appear by his present distress, his forlorn proscribed condition.

Verse 12

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

O God, be not far from me — The insolence of his enemies sets an edge upon his prayers Oratio sine malis est avis sine alis. Our Saviour in his agony prayed the more earnestly, Luke 22:44 .

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 — Here he beginneth diris devovere, to devote his foes to destruction, who soon also found that these were not bruta fulmina, as the pope’s bulls are (wittily compared by one to a fool’s dagger, rattling and snapping without an edge), but that there was an energy in them, though haply not felt for present; and that they had better have angered all the witches in the country than occasioned David thus to curse them in the name of the Lord.

Verse 14

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

But I will hope continually — I will lengthen out mine hope, as a line drawn out. Tremellius renders it, I am in expectation still of completing thy praise, and will go on therein, viz. when thou shalt have completed my deliverance

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 — Lo, here, a sweet and comfortable conjunction of God’s righteousness and our salvation. See 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 .

For I know not the numbers thereof — Or, though I know not, …, by a modest correction, since they may be celebrated, but not enumerated.

Quotve soporiferum grana papaver habet:

Sylva feras quot alit, quot piscibus unda natatur,

Et tenerum pennis acra pulsar avis (Ovid.).

So many, and ten thousand times more, are God’s lovingkindnesses. The psalmist elsewhere venteth himself by an exclamation, Psalms 31:19 . See Trapp on " Psalms 31:19 "

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 GodIngrediar in potentia Domini, I will do what I can, with God’s help, in glorifying his name, though I cannot do as I would and as I ought; Narrabo res inenarrabiles, and then entreat those that hear me to think higher things of God than I am able to utter.

Even of thine only — For that is enough, and more than I can well do; I will not once mention (as profane persons use to do) mine own wisdom, valour, …; alas, they are not worthy to be named in the same day with thine.

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 — Happy David in such a school master. All the faithful are taught of God; outwardly by his word and works, inwardly by his Spirit: Et quando Christus magister quam cito discitur quod docetur? Nescit tarda molimina Spiritus Sancti gratia (Aug. Ambrose).

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 gray headed — Now, that the plum tree is full of blooms, the map of age is figured in my forehead, the calendar of death appeareth in the furrows of my face; let me do nothing to spot my white head. Let me, with the sun, give greatest glimpse at the going down, and, with the rose, retain my sweetness, though I have lost my colour. See Psalms 71:9 .

And thy power to every one that is to comeMirus fervor Davidis in celebranda bonitate Dei, saith Vatablus here. David would propagate God’s praise to all posterity.

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 — Far above the reach of human reason; yet for the strengthening of my hope, I will look up after it, though mine eye should be tired in the way.

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 troublesAngustias magnas et malas, and hast thereby taught me, Psalms 71:17 , Quae nocent, docent.

Shall quicken me again — And this is one singular height of thy righteousness, that thou carriest tby people through so many deaths, and causest them to ascend from the lowest ebb of affliction to the highest pitch of comfort. Stoics ascribe such occurrences to fate, epicures to fortune, but David to God alone.

Verse 21

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

Thou shall increase my greatnessMeam, id est Tuam, quam mihi dedisti, saith the Arabic gloss here; my greatness, that is, thy greatness which thou hast given me.

Verse 22

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.

I will also praise thee with the psalteryIn organo natali, with an instrument made like a bottle.

O thou Holy One of Israel — Who sanctifiest thine throughout, and art to be sanctified of thine throughout all eternity, Isaiah 5:16 .

Verse 23

My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

And my soul, which thou hast redeemed — Hearts and lips shall concur in this work. The voice which is made in the mouth is nothing so sweet as that which cometh from the depth of the breast. The deeper and hollower the belly of the lute or viol is, the pleasanter is the sound; the fleeter, the more grating and harsh in our ears.

Verse 24

My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness — Advisedly talk, and upon due deliberation. What a mad edict was that of Henry II of France, that men should not talk at all of Scriptural matters! And that of the Jesuits at Dola, forbidding any talk of God, either in good sort or in bad!

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 71". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-71.html. 1865-1868.
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