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The matter of this Psalm plainly showeth that it was written in a time of David’s great distress, and his old age, mentioned Psalms 71:9 and Psalms 71:18 which proves that it belongs not to Saul’s time, but rather to the time of Absalom’s rebellion, which happened in his old age.
The psalmist, in confidence of his faith, and in experience of past favours, prayeth unto God to deliver him, but consume his enemies, Psalms 71:1-13;
promising constancy of hope in him, Psalms 71:14-16;
praying for his persevering strength and power, Psalms 71:17,Psalms 71:18;
acknowledgeth his troubles to be from God, Psalms 71:19-21;
Promiseth thankfulness to him for his deliverance, Psalms 71:22-24.
This verse and the next are taken out of Psalms 31:1,Psalms 31:2.
Commandment; by which he understands God’s purpose and promise, and his providence watching to execute them; all which are as certain and powerful as a command.
From the womb, i.e. from the time when I came out of the womb.
My mother’s bowels, i.e. out of her womb; which he justly mentions as a great and wonderful, though a common and neglected, work of God’s power and goodness.
A wonder, or prodigy; either,
1. Of mercy, for the wonderful protections and deliverances which God hath given me. Or rather,
2. Of judgment, for my many and sore calamities, as appears from the next words. They wondered both at the calamities themselves which befell me; which were great, and various, and strange; and that they should befall me, one who have made it the chief care and business of my life to please, and serve, and glorify God; and one whom God hath owned in so eminent a degree, and crowned with such a constant succession of blessings and deliverances from time to time. That such a man should be forsaken by so gracious a God; and persecuted even to death by his own son, whom he had so tenderly loved; and deserted by the body of his own people, who had generally expressed so great an opinion of him and affection to him, and had so many obligations to him, and such singular benefits by his wise, and just, and pious government; this was indeed cause of wonder.
But thou art my strong refuge; but although men desert me, and look askew at me, God is a sure refuge to me.
Give me occasion to multiply my praises to thee, for delivering me out of my present distress.
When I am most feeble, and most need thy help, and one who is grown old in thy service.
Lay wait for my soul, or watch it, that they may find occasion to destroy it, and that it may not escape their hands.
God hath forsaken him, for his adultery, and murder, and other wickednesses, and therefore we shall certainly prevail against him.
For which I know thou wilt yet give me abundant occasion.
i.e. Of thy salvations and mercies vouchsafed to me, which being innumerable, oblige me the more to celebrate thy praises.
I will not sit down in despair, but I will go on or proceed in my business courageously and cheerfully, in making necessary provisions for my own defence; relying only upon thy strength, and not upon my own military preparations.
Make mention; partly to praise and celebrate it, and partly to support and comfort myself with the remembrance of it.
Of thy righteousness; either,
1. Of thy mercy and goodness. Or rather,
2. Of thy faithfulness in making good all thy promises to me, as this word is commonly used in this book. Of thine only; not of my subjects’ and friends’, who are false and perfidious to thee and to me; nor of my own; for I have been most unfaithful to thee, and have broken my covenant with thee.
Taught me; partly by thy word and Spirit, convincing and assuring me; and partly by my own experience of thy righteousness last mentioned, the wondrous effects whereof I have received and declared from time to time, as it here follows.
Thy strength; either,
1. This further act or instance of thy strength. Or rather,
2. Thy great power, which will more eminently appear in this than it hath done in former deliverances, as my danger is now greater, because this is a civil war, and the generality of mine own people are engaged against me, and my forces are very inconsiderable to theirs, and without thy help my case is desperate.
To every one that is to come, i.e. to all succeeding generations, to whom I will leave a lasting monument of this glorious example of all-sufficiency, such as this Psalm is.
Very high, i.e. most eminent and evident, as high things are.
i.e. From the grave; for I was like one dead and buried, and past all hope of deliverance, without thy almighty assistance.
I am assured that thou wilt not only restore to me that royal majesty which my son hath invaded, but also increase my honour and power.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 71". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter