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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Psalms 69

 

 

Verse 1-2

Psalms 69:1-2. Save me, O God — O most mighty God, in whom alone I trust for safety, deliver me from these distresses; for the waters — Of tribulation; are come unto my soul — Have reached my vital parts, so that I am ready to expire, and my soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. I sink in deep mire — Hebrew, ביון מצולה, in the mud of the deep. I am not in the shallows, or nigh the bank, but in the middle and deepest parts, and sinking in the very mire which is at the bottom of the waters. Where there is no standing — No firm and sure footing, but I sink deeper and deeper, and without thy speedy and almighty help I shall be overwhelmed and perish.


Verse 3-4

Psalms 69:3-4. I am weary of my crying — I have prayed and cried to God long and fervently, and yet God seems to neglect and forsake me. My throat is dried — With loud and frequent cries. Mine eyes fail — With looking to God for that aid and deliverance which he hath promised, and which I confidently expected, but hitherto in vain. They that hate me without a cause — Without any injury or occasion given them by me; are more than the hairs of my head — Are grown more formidable, both for their number, which is exceeding great, and for their power, for they are mighty — So that, if thou do not interpose for my deliverance, they are well able to destroy me, to which they do not want the will, having conceived an implacable and undeserved hatred against me. Though “I have been so far from provoking their malice, that I restored that which I took not away — For I was content, rather than quarrel with them, to part with my own right, and make them satisfaction for a wrong which I never did them.” — Bishop Patrick. Under this one kind of ill usage he comprehends all those injuries and violences which they had practised against him.


Verse 5

Psalms 69:5. O God, thou knowest my foolishness — Hebrew, אולתי, ivalti, rendered in the Liturgy version, my simpleness. As if he had said, Thou knowest the simplicity and uprightness of my heart, that I have never intentionally injured those that thus cruelly hate and persecute me, but have always designed and endeavoured to act right toward them. And my sins are not hid from thee — But, O Lord, although I have been innocent toward mine enemies, yet I must confess I am guilty of many sins and follies against thee, and have given thee just cause to punish me by giving me up into their hands, and by denying or delaying to help me.


Verse 6

Psalms 69:6. Let not them that wait on thee — The truly pious, who believe thy promises, and look to thee for the fulfilment of them; who are conscious of their own weakness, and of the insufficiency of all human aid, and therefore apply to thee, and trust in thee for the help they want; be ashamed — That is, frustrated of their just and reasonable expectations, which would make them ashamed of their past confidence in thee, and either to look up to thee in future, or to look upon their enemies with assurance, when they shall reproach them for their trust in thee; for my sake — Because of my sad disappointments. For, if they see me forsaken, they will be discouraged by this example; or, let them not hang down their heads for shame to see me, who am thy worshipper, deserted of thee. He was afraid, if God did not appear for him, it would be a discouragement to other pious people, and give their enemies cause to triumph over them; and it was his earnest desire, whatever became of himself, that all the true people of God might retain their confidence and hope in God, and their boldness in his cause, and neither be discouraged in themselves, nor exposed to contempt from others.


Verses 7-9

Psalms 69:7-9. Because for thy sake — For my trust in thy promises, obedience to thy commands, and zeal for thy glory; “because I adhere to thee, and will use no unlawful means to right myself;” I have borne reproach — For they turn all these things into matter of contempt and derision. I am become a stranger to my brethren, &c. — They behave themselves toward me as if I were a perfect stranger, or a man of another country and religion. For the zeal of thy house — That fervent love which I have for thy house and service, and glory, and people; hath eaten me up — Exhausted my spirits. And this is the reason of that alienation of my brethren and others from me, because there is a great difference and contrariety in our dispositions, desires, and designs. For they regard not thy service and glory, nor the concerns of religion; but are wholly taken up with the world, and the cares and pursuits of it. And the reproaches of them that reproached thee — That spoke contemptuously or wickedly of thy name, or providence, or truth, or worship, and service; are fallen upon me — I have been as deeply affected with thy reproaches as with my own. This whole verse, though truly belonging to David, yet was also directed by the Spirit of God in him to a higher use, to represent the disposition and condition of Christ, in whom this was more truly and fully accomplished than in David; and to whom, therefore, it is applied in the New Testament, the first part of it, John 2:17, and the latter, Romans 15:3.


Verses 10-12

Psalms 69:10-12. When I wept — For their impiety, and the reproaches they cast upon God and godliness; and chastened my soul with fasting — That is, either my body or myself; that was my reproach — They derided me for my piety and devotion, and for my faith in God’s promises and hopes of assistance from him. I made sackcloth also my garment — In token of my humiliation and hearty sorrow, as the manner then was in days of fasting. I became a proverb to them — They used my name proverbially of any person whom they thought to be vainly and foolishly religious. They that sit in the gate — That is, as it is generally interpreted, the judges and magistrates, the gates of cities being the places of judicature. But it seems better to agree with the design of the psalmist, and to suit with the next clause, to suppose that he rather meant vain and idle persons, that spent their time in the gates and markets; or such as begged at the gates of the city, as St. Hilary interprets it. And I was the song of the drunkards — Of the scum of the people; of all lewd and debauched persons.


Verse 13

Psalms 69:13. But my prayer is unto thee — While they scoff, I will pray, and not be driven from thee, nor from prayer and other duties, by all their reproaches, or any other discouragements. In an acceptable time — Hebrew, עת רצון, gneet ratzon, in a time of grace, of good will, or good pleasure. These words may be joined, either, 1st, With the following, by way of limitation, thus: Hear me in thy accepted time, that is, I do not limit thee to any time; but when thou seest it will be best, hear and help me. Or rather, with the foregoing, as an argument to enforce his prayer: as if he had said, I pray in a time of grace, or acceptance; I seek thee when thou mayest be found, (see Psalms 32:6; Isaiah 55:6,) in a good day, as they said, 1 Samuel 25:8, in the day of grace and mercy: or, in a time of great trouble, which is the proper season for prayer, Psalms 50:15; and while I have thee engaged to me by promises, which thy honour and truth oblige thee to perform. I come not too late, and therefore do thou hear me. In the truth of thy salvation — That is, for, or according to, thy saving truth, or faithfulness; whereby thou hast promised to deliver those who trust in thee.


Verses 14-18

Psalms 69:14-18. Let me be delivered from them that hate me — By thus speaking, he explains his meaning in the metaphors here used of mire, waters, deep, and pit. For thy loving-kindness is good — Is eminently and unspeakably good; is gracious, or bountiful; the positive degree being put for the superlative: it is most ready to communicate itself to miserable and indigent creatures: the Hebrew word חסד, chesed, here used, signifying abundance of goodness, or mercifulness. Draw nigh unto my soul — To support and relieve it, O thou who seemest to be departed far away from me. Deliver me because of mine enemies — Because they are enemies to thee as well as to me, and if they succeed, will triumph, not only over me, but in some sort over thee and over religion.


Verse 19-20

Psalms 69:19-20. Thou hast known my reproach, &c. — Thou seest how much of it I suffer, and that for thy sake. Mine adversaries are all before thee — Thou knowest them thoroughly, and all their injurious and wicked devices, and implacable malice against me. None of them, nor of their secret plots and subtle lies, whereby they seek to defame and undo me: are hidden from thy all-seeing view: nor art thou unacquainted with their impiety and contempt of thee and thy truth. Reproach hath broken my heart — Reproach is the most grievous to those whose spirits are the most generous and noble; and this was the highest degree and the worst kind of reproach, being cast upon him for God’s sake, and upon God also for his sake. I looked for some to take pity, but there was none — That is, few or none; for whether it be understood of David or of Christ, there were some who pitied both of them. Dr. Delaney, who considers the distress which David was now in as being occasioned by his fall, observes, “There were two circumstances of it which, though they are beyond all question the greatest and severest which human nature, can suffer, are not sufficiently considered. The first is, the distress he endured on account of the obloquy and reproach brought upon the true religion and the truly religious by his guilt; and the second, the reproach and endless insults brought upon himself, even by his repentance and humiliation before God and the world. Let any ingenuous man, who feels for virtue and is not seared to shame, put the question to himself: I appeal to his own heart, whether he would not infinitely rather die than endure the state now described one day; forsaken by his friends, scorned by his enemies, insulted by his inferiors, the scoff of libertines, and the song of sots? What then must we think of the fortitude and magnanimity of that man who could endure all this for a series of years? Or rather, how shall we adore that unfailing mercy and all- sufficient goodness which could support him thus, under the quickest sense of shame and infamy, and deepest compunctions of conscience; which could enable him to bear up steadily against guilt, infamy, and the evil world united; from a principle of true religion! and, in the end, even rejoice in his sad estate; as he plainly perceived it must finally tend to promote the true interest of virtue, and the glory of God; that is, must finally tend to promote that interest, which was the great governing principle and main purpose of his life.” — Life of David, b. 3. vol. 3. pp. 30-33.


Verse 21

Psalms 69:21. They gave me gall for my meat — Instead of affording me that pity and comfort which my condition required, they barbarously added to my affliction. These words were only metaphorically fulfilled in David, but were properly and literally accomplished in Christ; the description of whose sufferings, it seems, was principally intended here by the Holy Ghost, who therefore directed David’s pen to these words. And hence what follows may as truly, and perhaps more properly, be considered as predictions of the punishment which should be inflicted on the persecutors of our Lord, than as imprecations of David against his enemies.


Verse 22

Psalms 69:22. Let their table, &c. — Dr. Waterland renders the verse, Their table shall be for a snare before them, and their peace-offerings for a trap. “This and the following verses are to be read in the future tense, and considered as predictions rather than as imprecations. The meaning of the whole verse seems to be, The oblations and prayers of those who have dealt thus barbarously with me, shall be so far from pacifying God, or being accepted of him, that, like the offerings made to false gods, styled the preparing a table, Isaiah 65:11, they shall provoke God, and turn to their mischief: see Romans 11:9.” — Dodd. The sacrifices, peace- offerings, and other oblations of the Jews, were, in a remarkable manner, a snare to them, in that their dependence on them, and their conceit of the everlastingness of the Mosaic dispensation, was one chief cause of their rejection of Christ.


Verse 23

Psalms 69:23. Let their eyes, &c. — Their eyes shall be darkened — Not the eyes of their bodies, (for, in that sense, the prediction was neither accomplished in David’s nor in Christ’s enemies,) but of their minds, that they will not discern God’s truth, nor their own duty, nor the way of peace and salvation. As they shut their eyes and will not see, so they shall be judicially blinded. This was most solemnly threatened, or rather foretold, Isaiah 6:9-12, and most awfully fulfilled: see the margin. “They who loved darkness rather than light,” says Dr. Horne, “were permitted by the righteous judgment of God to go on in darkness, while the blind led the blind. And such still continues to be the state of the Jews, notwithstanding that intolerable weight of wo which made their loins to shake, and bowed down their backs to the earth. The veil remaineth yet upon their hearts, in the reading of the Old Testament, nor can they see therein the things which belong to their peace.”


Verse 24

Psalms 69:24. Pour out — Thou wilt pour out thine indignation upon them, &c. — Thou wilt, on a sudden, bring so many evils upon them, that they shall not be able to escape; but will feel that they suffer the most dismal effects of thy severest and lasting displeasure. How terribly and awfully has God fulfilled this threatening also! “Never was indignation so poured out, never did wrath so take hold on any nation, as on that which once was, beyond every other, beloved and favoured. The wrath, says St. Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, is come upon them to the uttermost, εις τελος, to the end, to the very last dregs of the cup of fury. Let every church, which boasts of favours bestowed, and privileges conferred upon her, remember the consequences of their being abused by Jerusalem; let every individual do the same.”


Verse 25

Psalms 69:25. Let their habitation — Hebrew, שׂירתם, tiratham, their palace, as the same word is rendered Song of Solomon 8:9, or castle, as Genesis 25:16, and Numbers 31:10. It is meant either of their temple, in which they placed their glory and their confidence for safety, or more generally of their strong and magnificent buildings and houses in which they dwelt, as it follows in the next clause. And let none dwell in their tents — None of their posterity, or none at all. Let the places be accounted execrable and dreadful. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase is, “Let their most magnificent structures be laid waste; and root them out so entirely, that there may not be a man left to dwell in their poorest cottages.” This verse had a most eminent completion in the final destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish state and nation, according to the predictions of the Lord Jesus, Matthew 23:36-38; Luke 21:6, &c. Jerusalem has indeed been again partly rebuilt, and inhabited by Gentiles, by Christians, and by Saracens, but no more by the Jewish people.


Verse 26

Psalms 69:26. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten — Christ was he whom God had smitten, for it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and he was esteemed stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted, Isaiah 53:4-5; and him the Jews persecuted with a rage which reached up to heaven, crying, Away with him; crucify him, crucify him. And the psalmist is here assigning the cause of the forementioned calamities inflicted on them; namely, that, instead of mourning and sympathizing with him, when the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all, they, by reproaches and blasphemies, aggravated his sufferings to the uttermost; and afterward continued to persecute his disciples in the same manner.


Verse 27

Psalms 69:27. Add iniquity to their iniquity — Or, give or permit, as תנה, tenah, may be properly rendered. The old version expresses the psalmist’s meaning accurately, Let, or permit, them to fall from one wickedness to another. It is not unusual with God, as a punishment of some great sin or sins, though not to infuse into men any evil, yet, by withdrawing his grace, and leaving them to themselves, to suffer them to commit more sins, and to be so far from being reformed, as daily to grow worse and worse, and at last to become quite obdurate and irreclaimable. The words, however, may be rendered, Add punishment to their punishment, (for the word עוןis often put for the punishment of iniquity.) Send one judgment upon them after another, without ceasing. And let them not come into thy righteousness — Into that way of obedience which thou requirest, and which thou wilt accept, the obedience of faith in the Messiah and his gospel, producing love, and universal holiness and righteousness; or, to thy mercy, thy pardoning mercy, as the original word frequently signifies, so as to be made partakers of it. Let them not obtain an interest in the everlasting righteousness which the Messiah shall bring into the world, Daniel 9:24; the righteousness of God by faith, revealed in the gospel, and witnessed by the law and the prophets, Philippians 3:9; Romans 1:17; and Romans 3:9, &c., according to which God justifies the ungodly, and accepts them as righteous in his sight. For this was the righteousness which the Jews rejected, Romans 10:3, according to this prediction. Thus, as the first branch of this verse foretels their being guilty of many sins, and adding iniquity to iniquity, so this predicts their rejection of, and therefore their exclusion from, an interest in the only remedy, the remission of sins through faith in the Mediator, and the holiness and happiness consequent thereon.


Verse 28

Psalms 69:28. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living — “Let them be cut off before their time, and enjoy none of the blessings which thou hast promised to the righteous.” — Bishop Patrick. The psalmist is thought to allude to registers or catalogues, in which the names of living men used anciently to be recorded, and out of which the names of those who died were blotted. This was awfully fulfilled with respect to the unbelieving Jews, vast multitudes of whom fell by the sword and famine, while none of those who embraced the Christian faith perished among them. The nation, as a nation, was blotted out of the list of nations, and became not a people. The words may also be understood, as they are by many commentators, of their rejection from God’s covenant, and the privileges of it, which is the book of the truly living, or the book of life. “Let the commonwealth of Israel itself, Israel according to the flesh, now become alienated from that covenant of promise, of which it has hitherto had the monopoly.” —

Henry. This has long been the case with the degenerate and apostate Jews, who are no longer the peculiar people of God, nor have they any part or portion in the inheritance of his children. Thus Ezekiel, speaking of the false prophets, They shall not be in the assembly of my people, nor shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9. This accords well with the next clause, Let them not be written with the righteous — Let them not have, or, they shall not have, a place in the congregation of the saints, when they shall all be gathered in the general assembly of those whose names are written in heaven.


Verses 29-31

Psalms 69:29-31. But I am poor, &c. — Bishop Hare reads it, “But as for me, though I am low and full of pain,” (Hebrew, כואב, choeeb; rendered, in the plural, they were sore, Genesis 34:25,) “thy salvation, O God, shall protect me.” I will praise, &c. — I will not be unmindful of the benefit, but praise thy power and goodness in joyful hymns. This shall please the Lord better than an ox, &c. — This sincere and hearty sacrifice of praise is, and shall be, more acceptable to God than the most costly legal sacrifices. So such moral and spiritual services ever were, (1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6,) and such were to be offered, and would be accepted, when those ritual ones should be abolished. That hath horns and hoofs — “These are mentioned as being conspicuous in an ox going to be sacrificed; being probably gilded and adorned with flowers, as among the Romans and other people.” — Dodd.


Verse 32-33

Psalms 69:32-33. The humble shall see this — Shall see, in my case, how ready God is to hear the poor and distressed when they cry to him, and to grant their petitions, and how far he is from despising his prisoners, namely, those who are in prison or affliction for his sake, though men despise them; and be glad — Not only because, when one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it, but because it would be an encouragement to them in their straits and difficulties to trust in God. It will revive the hearts of those who seek God to see more seals to this truth, that God never said to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain.


Verses 34-36

Psalms 69:34-36. Let the heaven and earth praise him — Let angels and men, the visible and invisible world, and all creatures contained therein, join together to celebrate him with their highest praises; for “the mercies of God in Christ are such, that they cannot worthily be praised by any thing less than a universal chorus of the whole old and new creation; and what should such a chorus celebrate but those mercies by which all things have been made, preserved, and redeemed.” — Horne. For God will save Zion The city of Zion, or Jerusalem; and his church and people, which are frequently expressed by that title, and the salvation and edification of which were the consequence of the sufferings and resurrection of Christ. He will save Zion, the holy mountain, where his ordinances are administered, and his service performed. He will save all that are sanctified and set apart for him, all that employ themselves in his worship, and all those over whom the once suffering, but now exalted, Saviour reigns, for he is the king set upon the holy hill of Zion. He will do great things for the gospel-church; in which let all, who wish well to it, rejoice. For, 1st, It shall be peopled and inhabited. There shall be added to it such as shall be saved. The cities of Judah shall be built — Which is to be understood figuratively, as well as literally; particular churches shall be formed, and incorporated according to the gospel model, that there may be a remnant to dwell there, and have it in possession — To enjoy the privileges conferred upon it, and to pay the tributes and services required from it. 2d, It shall be perpetuated and inherited. Christianity was not to be res unius ætatis, an affair of one age; no, the seed of his servants shall inherit it — God will secure and raise up for himself a seed to serve him, and they shall inherit the privileges of their fathers. The land of promise shall never be lost for want of heirs; for God can out of stones raise up children to Abraham, and will do it rather than the entail shall be cut off. David shall never want a man to stand before him. The Redeemer shall see his seed, and prolong his days in them, till the mystery of God shall be finished and Christ’s mystical body be completed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 69:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-69.html. 1857.

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Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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