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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Psalms 86

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 86.

David strengtheneth his prayer by the conscience of his religion, by the goodness and power of God: he desireth the continuance of former grace: complaining of the proud, he craveth some token of God's goodness.

A Prayer of David.

Title. לדוד תפלה tephiltah ledavid. This Psalm seems to have been composed by David during his afflictions under Saul. It was afterwards, as the Jews relate, made use of by Hezekiah, when the Assyrians made an attempt upon Jerusalem. The first words of it are indeed the time with Hezekiah's in 2 Kings 19:16 and the 8th and 9th verses may be very fitly accommodated to that history; but the rest a great deal better to David; who, in this psalm, personates his great root and offspring the man Christ Jesus, labouring in the spirit of prophesy to express something of that earnestness and humility with which he poured out his soul, while he dwelt here in the form of a servant, pursued by cruel men, and bearing our iniquities. See Fenwick.


Verse 2

Psalms 86:2. For I am holy For I am thy favoured one. Mudge. For I am merciful. Green; which seems a very proper translation; and is as if the Psalmist had said, "Shew that mercy to me which I am so ready and willing to shew to others." It appears, however, from Psalms 16:10 that the same word is peculiarly appropriated to Christ, the Holy one of God: in which sense it may well be understood, according to what we have observed on the title.


Verse 9

Psalms 86:9. All nations, &c.— This, if applied to Hezekiah, may signify all the neighbouring nations. See 2 Chronicles 32:23. But it may also be considered as a prediction of the calling of the Gentiles under the Messiah. See Romans 15:9.


Verse 11

Psalms 86:11. Unite my heart, &c.— Keep close my heart, Mudge. The expression denotes the contrary to hypocrisy, or to an insincere and partial obedience, as commonly expressed by a double heart.


Verse 13

Psalms 86:13. Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell Thou hast delivered my life from the grave beneath. Green. "Thou hast often snatched me from extreme dangers, (See 1 Samuel 23 : &c.) which, like an abyss and bottomless pit, were ready to swallow me up."


Verse 17

Psalms 86:17. Shew me a token for good Vouchsafe me a token of thy goodness, that they who hate me may see it and be ashamed, and be convinced that thou, O Lord, art he who helpest me and comfortest me. Bishop Hare and Green.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The same composition may breathe the language of prayer and praise, and our hymns speak our request for mercy, as well as our thankfulness for what we have received.

1. He intermixes his prayers and pleas for mercy and salvation. Bow down thine ear, O Lord, and hear me, speaking after the manner of men, and intimating the great condescension of God, when he takes notice of such poor worms as we are, and vouchsafes a hearing to our imperfect supplications; for I am poor and needy; this is his plea, for God hath promised to hear such, and will be magnified in his mercy towards them who have nothing but their wants and miseries to bring to him. Preserve my soul, or my life, the life of his body, from Saul's enmity, or the more precious life of his spirit, which, in his sojourning among idolaters, amid temptations, and far from the ordinances of the sanctuary, was in danger; for the greatest saint, without God's continual preservation, would quickly fall. His plea is, for I am holy, innocent of all the accusations laid against him by Saul and his courtiers; and also being renewed by divine grace, he pleads it as an argument for God's carrying on his work in his soul. Note; However poor we are, yet, if rich in grace, we need never repine at our lot. O thou, my God, save thy servant; he expected not salvation in any other, but hoped to find it in him, his reconciled God; in whose love he had a precious interest, as being his servant, and therefore entitled to his protection; and that trusteth in thee, not in his own holiness, but God's grace, and therefore God's faithfulness was engaged to him for the fulfilment of his promises. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for merit he utterly disclaimed, and now in time of need sought the promised mercy; for I cry unto thee daily, and therefore, waiting on God in his appointed way, was emboldened to expect the help he wanted. Rejoice the soul of thy servant with discoveries of thy pardoning love, with thy comforting Spirit, and with deliverance from his present trouble: and he urges this argument, for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul, as an oblation on God's altar, devoted to his service; and whoever thus continues instant in prayer, will be sent away rejoicing in God.

2. He expresses his confidence in God's grace and help. For thou, Lord, art good, essentially so in himself, and manifesting in innumerable instances his goodness to his believing people, and ready to forgive, which is an especial proof of it, nothing being so desirable to a guilty soul as the pardon of sins; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee: knowing the riches of God's grace, his heart rested satisfied in him, and left his case contentedly in God's hands. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications; and being fully persuaded of God's willingness to hear and help him, he professes it as his continual purpose to wait upon God, In the day of my trouble; for such must every faithful soul more or less expect, from temptation, opposition, and affliction. I will call upon thee, committing all the concerns of body and soul into thy hands; for thou wilt answer me, of this I rest assured, and therefore wait in confidence to see the salvation of God.

2nd, Having professed his own dependance upon God, the Psalmist,

1. Ascribes to him the glory due unto his name, and therein shews what ground he had to trust, and not be afraid, when this glorious God was his support. Among angels, or men, none can be found comparable with him, or who can presume to rival his stupendous works of creation, providence, and redemption. All nations are the work of his hands, and must own him their great Creator: They shall come and worship him alone, and glorify his name, by yielding themselves up to his service, in body, soul, and spirit, as bound for ever to approve themselves his faithful servants, which prophesy will receive its full and most glorious accomplishment in the latter days of the Messiah's kingdom. Infinitely great in his adorable perfections, he worketh wonders in nature, providence, and grace; which angels, as well as men, behold with admiration: and as there is none like him, neither is there any besides him: thou art God alone!

2. He prays for a heart to fear and follow him. Teach me thy way, O Lord; for we are blind and ignorant without divine teaching, and never else could know the way of salvation. I will walk in thy truth; when taught of God what is truth, he would follow it, particularly when instructed in the knowledge of Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, in whom we must walk, believing in him, and expecting happiness from him. Unite my heart to fear thy name, solely and sincerely attached to God, fearing nothing but to offend him, desiring nothing so much as to please him; and this can only be received from God, whose grace can alone enable us thus to walk.

3. He acknowledges the everlasting obligations lying on him to bless and praise God's name, and declares it is his full purpose of heart to do so. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart, most cordially, and with delight; and I will glorify thy name for evermore, whilst I have a being upon earth, and through the days of eternity; and with abundant reason: For great is thy mercy toward me, yea, greater than I am able to express; and to me in such an astonishing manner declared; thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell, when by his sins, especially in the matter of Uriah, he had so justly deserved the wrath of God, and yet had obtained mercy, and, plucked as a brand from the burning, stood a monument of God's infinitely rich and free grace. Note; The greatest saints of God reflect with deepest gratitude on the mercies they have experienced; and it heightens the songs of heaven, when those who are advanced to that glorious place look down on the flames beneath, and see on what a precipice of misery they stood when God snatched them from the everlasting burnings.

4. He lodges his complaint with God against his enemies. O God, the proud are risen against me, who could not bear the thoughts of his exaltation; and the assemblies of violent men, or terrible ones, have sought after my soul, confederate to destroy him, plotting his ruin, and with cruelty and malice breathing forth slaughter; and have not set thee before them, regardless of God's omniscience, and fearless of his vengeance. Note; (1.) Proud men cannot bear the rebuke of a holy conversation, and therefore turn persecutors of the righteous. (2.) Though the wicked forget God, he does not forget them; but will, to their confusion, return their mischievous devices upon their own heads.

5. He professes his dependance on God's kindness, to save him from their malice. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious; though they were cruel, he was kind; though they persecuted, he would protect: longsuffering, even to the wicked, and much more to his believing people; plenteous in mercy, to redeem them from every misery, and truth, to engage their reliance on the faithfulness of his promises. Note; They who are under the care of this good God, need not fear the enmity of evil and malicious men.

6. He renews his prayer. O turn unto me with kind regard, and have mercy upon me, for thereon my hope is placed; give thy strength unto thy servant, for my own is weakness itself, but thine almighty, and save the son of thine handmaid, as one born in God's house, from days of infancy devoted to his service, and who had taken the Lord by choice for his blessed master. Shew me a token for good, both for his own comfort, and visibly for his enemies' confusion, that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed of their malice and enmity; because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me; and therefore in fighting against his believing servant, they will find they have been impotently struggling against that omnipotent arm which protected him. Note; (1.) All our spiritual strength is from God alone; without him, we are weak and helpless as infancy. (2.) Whom God helps, he comforts; his assistance being the pledge of his love. (3.) Sooner or later the enemies of God's people will be ashamed of their impotent malice.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 86:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-86.html. 1801-1803.

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