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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Psalms 57

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 57.

David, in prayer fleeing unto God, complaineth of his dangerous case; he encourageth himself to praise God.

To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.

Title. תשׂחת אל Al-taschith Destroy not. This psalm is thus intitled, because some of David's men, observing the advantage that he had over Saul, would fain have dispatched him, if David had not forbidden the person who was ready to strike the blow, saying, Destroy not. The same title is prefixed to the two following, and to the 76th psalm, most probably to shew that they were to be sung to the same tune. See the history referred to 1 Samuel 24.


Verse 2

Psalms 57:2. Unto God, that performeth all things for me To the Divinity that completely covereth me all over: literally, that perfecteth all over, or around me: "That completely shelters me all around, namely, under his wing:" Mudge: and compare Psalms 138:8. Dr. Chandler observes, that the word גמר gomeir rendered performeth, signifies to perfect and consummate, or to do every thing necessary for a person in his particular station and character. Thus in the Syriac version of the New Testament the word is used of Christ's being made perfect by sufferings; Hebrews 12:2 and this rendering well suits the place before us. "It is God who effectually doth every thing concerning me: that is, which is necessary to my safety."


Verse 3

Psalms 57:3. He shall send from heaven, and save me, &c.— He will send from heaven, and save me: He defieth him who cometh upon me with open mouth: God shall send forth his favour and truth: though I lie with my soul among lions: Psalms 57:4. The sons of men are all on fire: their teeth spears, &c. Mudge. Others read, He hath put to shame him who would swallow me up, &c. Psalms 57:4. My soul, I lie among lions: the sons of men are set on fire, their teeth are spears, &c. compare Psalms 59:7. The reader will observe, that mercy and truth are here poetically represented as ministers of God; standing in his presence, ready to execute his pleasure, and employed by him in the salvation of his people.


Verse 5

Psalms 57:5. Be thou exalted, O God, &c.— "Manifest thyself to be the Lord of heaven and earth, by delivering me from this imminent danger." The verse may be rendered, Exalt, O God, above the heavens, above all the earth, thy glory.


Verse 6

Psalms 57:6. They have prepared a net for my steps The syntax here is thought to be irregular; but the literal rendering is, They have prepared a net for their steps: he boweth down my soul; referring to Saul, at the head of his troops, pursuing David to his ruin. This makes the construction regular; and the sense in connection will be, "They have prepared a net for me, that he (namely, Saul) may bow down my soul: may cause me to fall into the snare which is laid for me." Chandler.


Verse 7

Psalms 57:7. My heart is fixed Or, prepared, as in the Margin of our Bibles. He says, in the conclusion of the foregoing verse, that his enemies had fallen into the pit which they had prepared for him; as Saul, who sought his life, had fallen in the cave into David's hands, and put his life in his power. Therefore, in the triumph of his joy, he cries out, "My heart is fixed, and prepared to celebrate God's goodness:" and his repeating the words adds great emphasis to them.


Verse 8

Psalms 57:8. Awake up, my glory, &c.— My tongue, Psalms 16:9; Psalms 30:12. The Psalmist, in the next clause, by an elegant figure, calls upon his psaltery, or harp, as if they were endued with life, to awake with him; and, as it were, of themselves to join with him in making melody to God, and resounding his praise.—So Horace applies to his lyre:

——Age, dic Latinum, Barbite, carmen. Od. b. i. 32.

Come, and to Latian song, my lyre, adapt thy sound.

The reader will observe how suitable this psalm is to the circumstances of David which gave occasion to it. When he represents himself as encompassed with lions, or merciless men inflamed with rage, seeking his destruction, and laying snares for his ruin; in such a situation we cannot fail to admire the firmness of his hope in God, and full assurance of his deliverance, and can scarcely refrain from joining with him in the triumph of his gratitude, when his distresses were overpast; My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready; I will sing and give praise. Nor can we avoid being pleased with the images of taking refuge under the shadow of God's wings; of God's making truth and mercy the ministers of salvation to his people; of his address to his psaltery and harp; and his representation of God's dominion, extending to the heavens and the earth. See Chandler. The last clause of the verse may be rendered, I will awake the morning.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, We might have thought that David, when hunted as a partridge in the mountain, would have little time for prayer and praise, and that his harp would be hung on the willows; but when forced to fly to a cave for shelter, his soul more ardently fled to God for help and hope.

1. He describes his enemies as lions, such were Saul and his forces, furious and raging to swallow him up. Note; (1.) The tongue of secret slander is more hurtful than the sword of an open enemy. (2.) They who now in raging lusts and passions are set on fire of hell, must shortly burn there. (3.) The blessed Jesus was thus beset when seized by his bloody persecutors; and his people still, in many circumstances of opposition and temptation, can often with feeling propriety adopt these words, My soul is among lions.

2. His recourse is ever to God under his wants, and to him he never seeks in vain; he was bowed down, his calamities great; therefore he pleads that God would shew him mercy, and manifest his own glory in his protection, and the disappointment of his enemies; and, as he resolved to persevere in his supplications, he expected continually an answer of peace. Note; (1.) While we are praying for the mercies that we need, it becomes us to have an eye ever to God's glory, as what should be dearer to us than our own safety. (2.) Ceaseless prayer on earth is our duty; in heaven it will be exchanged for everlasting praise.

3. He cheerfully in faith commits his body and soul to God's sure keeping. The shadow of his wings was his refuge; under them he trusted he should be hid, till every storm was overpast. The Most High was able to preserve him, he had committed himself to his care, and expected the performance of his promises; while his enemies, exposed to deserved wrath, would fall into the pit which they had digged, and God would be magnified in the just judgments executed upon them. Note; (1.) The promise of God is a surer defence than a shield of adamant. (2.) They who have a heart to trust God, will ever find him faithful that hath promised. (3.) Whatever reproach lights on us upon earth, if we have the favour of God, we need not fear the revilings of men. (4.) The wicked, through God's just judgment, often perish in the snare which they laid for others.

2nd, Rising as it were from his knees, the Psalmist's believing heart, enraptured, bursts into a song of praise. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart it fixed, or prepared, fixed in confident dependance, prepared for every danger; my troubles vanish, and songs of gratitude and love flow from my heart. I will sing and give praise; awake up my glory, arise my soul, shake off dull sloth, and leave thy sorrows far behind; awake psaltery and harp, no longer mute, your swelling notes shall join my joyful song. I myself will awake early, prevent the dawn of day, eager to proclaim the praises of my God. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people, among the first of thy congregation my grateful voice shall be heard; I will sing unto thee among the nations, though driven to heathen lands, will never be silent or ashamed to tell the glories of Jehovah; for thy mercy, which I have experienced, is great into the heavens, beyond expression or conception, and thy truth unto the clouds, thy faithfulness inviolable in every promise, extending to the faithful not only through time but to eternity. Be thou exalted, therefore, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth; let the manifestations of it appear to the admiration of men and angels, and all the hosts above join to adore thy great name, exalted above all blessing and praise. Note; (1.) In God's worship our whole soul should be engaged, fixed attention should keep our wandering thoughts, enlivened devotion drive away all stupor and heaviness, and heart and voice unite in the blessed service. (2.) They who rejoice in God themselves, desire to diffuse their joys around, and induce others to come and taste their mercies, and join their songs. (3.) How feeble now are our warmer efforts, and how little a while can our affections fix intensely on the divine subject! Blessed be God, the faithful have a hope above the heavens, where their souls shall be seraphic as the song, and never faulter or be weary in the work of everlasting praise.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 57:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-57.html. 1801-1803.

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