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Psalms 86:1 « A Prayer of David. » Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I [am] poor and needy.
A prayer ] Left for a form, for a help to devotion, as was also Psa 102:1 title.
Ver. 1. Bow down thine ear, O Lord ] As the careful Physician doth to his feeble patient; so Basil glosseth here.
For I am poor and needy ] Having nothing to live on but what my friends privately send me, or what I can get by plundering from the Lord’s enemies, 1 Samuel 30:26 .
Psa 86:2 Preserve my soul; for I [am] holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
Ver. 2. Preserve my soul, for I am holy ] Or, a favourite, a saint, merciful, such a one as upon whose heart the tender mercies of the Almighty, shed forth abundantly, do leave a compassionate frame. David had the Divine nature transfused into him; he was holy as God is holy; and merciful as God is merciful (in quality though not in equality), but all of free grace; and this he pleadeth for his own safety.
Save thy servant ] Serva servum tuum, thy devoted servant, and not thy beneficiary only.
Psa 86:3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
Ver. 3. Be merciful unto me ] Lest any should, by the former words (I am holy), suspect him to be a merit monger, he beggeth mercy, with instancy and constancy of request.
Psa 86:4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Ver. 4. Rejoice the soul of thy servant ] True and solid joy entereth the soul by the door of fervent prayer. Pray that your joy may be full.
I lift up my soul ] In prayer, Psalms 25:1 , and confident expectation of an unmiscarrying return thereof, as Deuteronomy 24:15 .
Psa 86:5 For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Ver. 5. For thou, Lord, art good, &c. ] Lord, I am hell, but thou art heaven, said that martyr; faith wrappeth herself up in the promise, and goeth boldly to God by prayer.
And plenteous in mercy ] Both to forgive sin and to give good, Hosea 14:2 .
Psa 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
Ver. 6. Give ear, O Lord, &c. ] The hearing of our duties is earnestly to be sought and reckoned among our chiefest mercies.
Psa 86:7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
Ver. 7. In the day of my trouble, &c. ] God’s petitioners must pray and believe, and believe and pray, quasi in circulo. David had said, Psalms 86:5 , God is much in mercy to all that call upon him; here he assumeth and concludeth, but I in the day of my trouble will call upon him; therefore he will answer me.
Psa 86:8 Among the gods [there is] none like unto thee, O Lord; neither [are there any works] like unto thy works.
Ver. 8. Among the gods ] Whether deputed or reputed.
There is none like unto thee ] Either in essence or in operation. See Exodus 15:11 .
Psa 86:9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
Ver. 9. All nations whom thou hast made shall come, &c. ] It were fit they should, Revelation 4:11 ; it is to be hoped they shall, Isaiah 11:10 ; Isaiah 43:9 ; not by change of place, but of heart, renouncing their irreligions, and yielding unto Christ the obedience of faith. Some understand this text of that general assembly at the last day.
Psa 86:10 For thou [art] great, and doest wondrous things: thou [art] God alone.
Ver. 10. For thou art great ] Great is the Lord without quantity, good without quality, everlasting without time, omnipresent without place, containing all things without extent; within all things, and contained of nothing; without all things, and sustained of nothing, &c. Now, the least glimpse of this knowledge is worth all the gleams of human wisdom.
And doest wondrous things ] The schools have laid down a threefold way of knowing God: first, negation of imperfections; secondly, affirmation of perfections; thirdly, causation of great works.
Psa 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Ver. 11. Teach me thy way ] David knew much of God, and yet he desireth to be taught more; delivering himself up to God’s discipline, and saying, as once Solon did,
γηρασκω δε αιει πολλα διδασκομενος
Unite my heart to fear thy name ] i.e. To serve thee with simplicity and godly sincerity, 2 Corinthians 1:12 , cleaving to thee with full purpose of heart, Acts 11:23 , and attending upon thee without distraction, 1 Corinthians 7:35 . As thou art God alone, Psa 86:10 so let my heart be toward thee alone. Behold, I find it divided, disjointed, and so disabled for duty (for anima dispersa fit minor ), Oh do thou unite it, I beseech thee, giving me that one heart thou hast promised, until we all come unto that oneness of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, &c., Ephesians 4:13 .
Psa 86:12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
Ver. 12. I will praise thee ] While he prayed, he found his prayer answered; and therefore thus breaketh forth into praises.
Psa 86:13 For great [is] thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Ver. 13. Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell ] That is, from deadly and desperate dangers. Some understand it to be the damnation of hell which David had deserved by his sins. The Rabbis’ gloss is, A loco adulteris appropriato.
Psa 86:14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent [men] have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
Ver. 14. O God, the proud ] The strangers, some read it (by the change of a letter in the original), who are commonly cruel.
And the assemblies of violent men ] Nebulonum, some render it, sturdy varlets, fastuosi ac feroces.
Psa 86:15 But thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Ver. 15. But thou, O Lord, art a God full, &c. ] These are part of those thirteen attributes of Almighty God, set down and proclaimed by himself, Exodus 24:6 . Middoth, the Rabbis call them, that is, properties.
Psa 86:16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
Ver. 16. O turn unto me ] Or, look toward me; the life of a believer consisteth in the light of God’s countenance.
Give thy strength unto thy servant ] Master, pray lend me your hand, saith the servant to his master when he wants help.
And save the son of thine handmaid ] q.d. I was born in thy house, came of religious parents, &c., therefore do me good for their sakes at least, as Ishmael was blessed for Abraham’s.
Psa 86:17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see [it], and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
Ver. 17. Show me a token for good ] Make me king, as thou hast promised; and meanwhile so deliver me, that my greatest adversaries may be convinced of their malice and madness. At the death of some of the martyrs strange tokens were shown, as they had foretold: Latimer, Hauks, Smith, Samuel, &c., for instance. Son of God, shine upon me, said Hunter at the stake, and the sun shone out of a dark cloud so full, that he was forced to look another way (Acts and Mon. 1544, 1547, 1398).
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 86". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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