Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 27

Verse 1

Psalms 27.

David sustaineth his faith by the power of God, by his love to the service of God, and by prayer.

A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד ledavid. The Greek title is, "A Psalm of David before he was anointed," alluding to 2 Samuel 2:4. But what Bishop Patrick observes concerning this Psalm seems more probable from the contents of it; namely, that David wrote it soon after his deliverance from that imminent danger mentioned 2 Samuel 21:17 when, by his pursuing the enemy too far, he was hemmed in, and would have been killed if Abishai had not succoured him. Upon this, we read, his subjects requested of him not to go out to battle any more; in which view the Psalm represents David as breathing out the sentiments of a brave and good old man, who seems not conscious, that, though his spirits might hold out, yet his strength was much impaired by age, and therefore he was become very unfit to undergo the hazards of war. Thus then, we may suppose him to bespeak those who made the request before mentioned; The Lord is my light, &c.

Verse 2

Psalms 27:2. To eat up my flesh See Job 31:31. This expresses the utmost rancour or envy. There is the same expression in Ecclesiastes 4:5 where, as it should be translated, the fool is said to sit lazily with folded arms, and out of envy to eat the flesh of his diligent neighbours, whom he sees to thrive. Mudge.

Verse 3

Psalms 27:3. In this will I be confident Yet would I rely upon this; namely, upon the divine protection; which is described in the two next periods, in the figurative terms of being admitted to dwell in the house of the Lord, where no enemy could approach to hurt him. See Psalms 31:21; Psalms 91:1 and Green.

Verse 4

Psalms 27:4. The beauty of the Lord i.e. The cheering countenance of God, whose presence was more conspicuously manifested in his temple.

Verse 8

Psalms 27:8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, &c.— The words, when thou saidst are not in the original. Bishop Hare inserts the word אלהים elohim, and reads it thus, To thee, O my soul, God said, Seek ye my face; thy face, Lord, I will seek. Houbigant renders it, To thee said my heart, seek ye my face; thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Verse 13

Psalms 27:13. I had fainted, unless, &c.— The words I had fainted, are not in the Hebrew. Dr. Hammond observes, that there is a very remarkable elegance in the original; which, by the use of a beautiful figure, makes an abrupt breaking off in the midst of the speech. He compares it to that celebrated threat of Neptune in Virgil:

Quos ego——Sed motos praestat componere fluctus; Whom I——but first I'll calm the waves again. PITT.

And he rightly adds, that the beauty of this figure, consisting in the abrupt breaking off, is wholly lost and spoiled by adding that which the divine poet purposely omitted or concealed. The Chaldee translation preserves this beauty; but all the rest, by filling up the break, or altering the sense a little, destroy it.

Verse 14

Psalms 27:14. Wait on the Lord The Psalmist here admonishes any person who shall fall into such straits as his, to learn by his example not to be impatient, or to despond, much less despair of relief, if God do not happen to send it just when it is expected. Woe unto you that have lost patience; and what will you do when the Lord shall visit you? says the son of Sirach. There is no misery so strong and grievous, no devotion so fervent and powerful, as can bring God to article for the time of his deliverance; if we will not wait, he will not come. It may be one of the greatest ends for which the affliction that we labour under is applied to us, to reform and reduce, and root out the passion and impatience of our nature; and God is too good a physician to remove the medicine before it has wrought its effect, or to put us out of his hand before he has cured us. Indeed, he has great reason to teach us this lesson thoroughly; since, when he has given us the deliverance we pray for, all that we can desire in this life, there is still somewhat more, and of more value than that which he has given us, which we must wait for: it is the claim and protestation which we must appear with at the day of judgment; Lo this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us. Isaiah 25:9. If we have no confidence in him, and of enjoying those pleasures with him in which he himself takes delight, it is no wonder if we faint, and have not courage enough to wait; but if we have that cordial, a belief, that, after all our humiliation here below, and after all the violence of our enemies, and being trampled on by them, we shall at last be so far lifted above them as to fit by him on his heavenly throne, the talk will not be greater than we can through grace undergo, patiently to wait his time for the accomplishment of so transcendant an honour and favour to us.

REFLECTIONS.—If God be for us, who can be against us? If he be our salvation, how impotent the malice of every foe? We have here,

1. David's triumph over his enemies, through his interest in God's love. The Lord is my light, to point out my way, to cheer my heart, and to preserve me from all the darkness of evil and sin; and my salvation, whose grace watches over me, whose power protects me, and in whose arms I am safe from every danger; whom shall I fear under such a guardian? The Lord is the strength of my life, preserving me from every deadly blow that is aimed against me by my temporal or spiritual foes. My numerous adversaries have tried their utmost malice, but stumbled and fell; and, though they should renew their desperate attacks, no fear shall dismay me: my confidence is placed on him who cannot fail. Note; (1.) Without the light of God's word and Spirit, we must quickly stumble; but if these lead us, then shall we walk safely. (2.) Our fears are often apt to beset us from the views of the multitude or greatness of our dangers; but if our faith fail not, our fears cannot prevail. (3.) Christ is our life; till the well-spring which is in him fails, the faithful believer cannot faint. (4.) It is our duty and comfort to despair of ourselves, and be confident in God.

2. His prayer. One thing have I desired of the Lord; not to return to his own house, not to be reinstated at court, but to be admitted to the more desirable courts of the Lord's house; there he could wish to dwell for ever, such delight had he in the ordinances of the sanctuary; to behold the beauty of the Lord, the priests in their vestments, the sacrifices smoking on the altar, and all the glory of that worldly sanctuary; and from these outward symbols to contemplate the glories of the great high-priest, and perfect sacrifice of the Messiah, to whom all this shadowy service pointed; and to inquire in his temple, to ask direction in every difficulty; and in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make his requests known unto God. There he promised himself safety and security, hid under the sacred pavilion of the Divine Majesty, and firmly seated, as on a rock, which all his enemies, like boisterous waves, assail in vain. Therefore, because of such protection, will I offer in his tabernacle, though now absent from it, yet confident of again returning, sacrifices of joy, the grateful overflowings of a heart filled with the love, and big with the praises, of a gracious God. Note; (1.) God's sanctuary is the believer's delight; he would dwell there now, and he hopes to have his abode in it shortly for ever. (2.) They who are hid under the wing of Almighty grace, and are blest with manifestations of the beauty of the Lord as their God and Saviour, are not only safe, but happy, amidst a host of enemies. (3.) Praise is the just tribute that we owe, and should daily render, for mercies without number and without end.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 27". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.