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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 71

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 71:0.

David, in confidence of faith and experience of God's favour, prayeth both for himself, and against the enemies of his soul: he promiseth constancy: he prayeth for perseverance: he praiseth God, and promiseth to do it cheerfully.

This psalm is so similar to the former, that, perhaps, says Mr. Mudge, as it is without a title, it is a continuation of that psalm: The author acknowledges the continued series of God's goodness to him, even from his birth, and implores him not to leave him now in his old age to the malice of his enemies, but to grant him his protection. Towards the end he is assured of this, and at length obtains it, and praises God for it. The Jews who were carried captive into Babylon, with king Joachim, made use of this psalm, as appears from the title of the Vulgate and LXX. See Psalms 31:0.

Verse 2

Psalms 71:2. Deliver me, &c.— Of thy clemency rescue me, and deliver me: Incline, &c.

Verse 3

Psalms 71:3. Be thou, &c.— Be thou unto me for a rock of repose.

Verse 7

Psalms 71:7. I am as a wonder That is, "as a frightful spectacle to a great many, who were afraid to come near me;" As a gazing stock to the multitude, Green renders it.

Verse 15

Psalms 71:15. For I know not the numbers thereof Though I know not the number of them; i.e. of thy righteousness or mercies, or thy salvation and deliverances; they being so numerous, that it is not possible to count them, I will go, in the next verse, is rendered by Mudge, I will come; that is, into thy temple, by virtue of these acts of prowess which God has exerted in my favour.

Verses 17-18

Psalms 71:17-18. O God, thou hast taught me O God, thou hast conducted me from my youth, and thus far may I declare thy wondrous works; Psa 71:18 and even to old age and grey hairs, O God, forsake me not: So far, that I may declare thy arm to every generation that is to come: Mudge.

Verse 20

Psalms 71:20. And shalt bring me up again, &c.— This is an allusion to men who are fallen into a deep pit of water. The meaning is, "Thou shalt draw me out of the extreme danger in which I am plunged, and wherein I shall perish without thy help."

Verse 22

Psalms 71:22. I will also praise thee Therefore will I praise thee.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The longer the faithful soul has been found in the good ways of God, the stronger it grows. Instaurabit iter vires—the powers will be renovated by the journey. Thus David here appears.

1. He professes his confidence in God, amid the sharp trials with which he was now exercised. In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; delighting to repeat the pleasing subject, and dwelling upon the glorious foundation on which his hope was built; a rock, no tempest could shake; a fortress, no foe could scale; a strong refuge, where he was safe from danger; a strong habitation, where he rested in comfort. Note; They who know God, his faithfulness and grace, will with comfort and confidence be engaged to trust him in every time of need.

2. He remembers to the glory of God, and for his own present encouragement, the past deliverances that he had experienced. From the womb he had been holden up, protected amidst the dangers of infancy and the perils of youth; and therefore now he has a divine confidence that God will not fail to save him, and resolves never to cease from praising him. Note; The more we reflect on what God hath done for us, it will the more engage our trust in him, and awaken our praises for him.

2nd, Filled with hope and joy, the Psalmist is happy in the midst of all his sorrows, and the greatest of his troubles cannot silence his incessant praise.
1. He expresses his lively hope in a variety of instances; I will hope continually, at all times, and in all situations; when others despair of my recovery, my heart shall not fear. (1.) God's power and promise are his grand supports; I will go in the strength of the Lord God, disclaiming all self-sufficiency, and strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; for duty I shall be enabled, and in danger be secure. I will make mention of thy righteousness only, his fidelity to his word. Note; Though we have neither strength nor righteousness in ourselves by nature, there is such fulness of both in the Redeemer, that we may be always most confident in him, when most despairing of ourselves. (2.) His past experience encourages his present hopes. God had been the guide of his youth, and he had hitherto acknowledged his wonderous preservation; therefore in his old age, he trusts, God will not forsake him, but enable him to leave with the rising generation, a testimony of God's faithfulness and care, as a grateful acknowledgement to his glory, and an engagement to them to make him their hope and trust. Note; [1.] Early impressions of divine grace are a singular mercy, and demand suitable improvement. [2.] The longer we live under the Divine protection and favour, the more earnest should we be in commending these good ways of God in which we have walked, to the generations to come. (3.) In many great and sore troubles he had been supported, therefore in the present he trusts he shall not faint; thou shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth; though he seemed as one dead and buried in his grave, he was assured that his case was not beyond the Divine power, nor his circumstances so desperate, but God could retrieve them. Note, [1.] Great and sore troubles are here often the portion of the righteous; but he who permits them to fall into these difficulties can and will safely extricate them out of them. [2.] Though the faithful go down at death into the grave, and the earth closes upon them, they have a hope still full of immortality, a resurrection-day shall quicken their dust, and bring them from these depths of the earth again. (4.) He not only expects deliverance from his troubles, but an increase of his greatness and consolations. Thus the darkness of our troubles, like the cloud which covers the sun, serves but to heighten our joys; where at God's word the cloud vanishes, the sun of divine grace shines with double lustre, and the trial of our faith contributes to the increase of our honour and glory. (5.) His enemies, who sought his hurt, must with shame retire, and find it vain to contend with him whom God protects. Note; All the spiritual enemies of the faithful shall at last gnash in despair, when they see them set above their malice, and receive the eternal desert of their deeds.

2. He exults in joyful praises. All the day would he be shewing forth God's righteousness and his salvation; His justice in the destruction of the wicked, his enemies; his faithfulness and mercy in his own preservation; and, above all, the great redemption wrought out by Christ through his death on the cross, on account of the merit of which alone salvation is offered to sinners: these deserved continual thanks; therefore he resolves, I will praise thee more and more, or add to all thy praise; since every day afforded some new occasions, called for increasing acknowledgments, and left him far behind, unable to keep pace even in gratitude with the mercies continually showered upon him, the number of which surpassed his comprehension. They were like the God who bestowed them, very high, above all blessing and praise, and without parallel; for in heaven or earth none can compare with him, or do as he doth. With joy therefore, surpassing great, his soul within, redeemed by divine grace and truth, shall swell with gratitude too big for utterance; his voice be heard aloud in praise; and, calling in the sacred aid of music to assist the expressions of his enraptured spirit, the psaltery and harp should pour forth a flood of harmony, and raise his song high as heaven's arch, and rival the angelic choir above. Note; (1.) Praise is the natural expression of the grateful heart, the bounden duty of every believer, and an acceptable sacrifice to a gracious God. (2.) When we sing with our lips, let us be careful to make melody with our hearts, and not forget the sense in the sound. They sacrifice profanely who merely love to hear their own voices; and music is not harmonious to God, which draws off our attention from the divine object of our praises, to the manner and performance of it. (3.) It is the joyful hope of every faithful believer, however feeble now his efforts, that shortly he shall be enabled to offer more worthy praises, when, with his golden harp before the throne, he shall have learnt the song of Moses and the Lamb, and shall join those heavenly hosts, whose ceaseless songs fill God's eternal temple with seraphic harmony.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 71". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-71.html. 1801-1803.
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