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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 57

 

 

Verse 1

1. Be merciful… be merciful—The repetition springs from a soul in agony.

Shadow of thy wings—The metaphor denotes protection and tenderness. Psalms 94:1; Psalms 94:4; Matthew 23:37.

Until these calamities be overpast—The plural noun with a singular verb denotes that it is to be taken distributivelyuntil every one of these calamities shall pass.


Verse 2

2. Unto God that performeth all things for me—The verb for “performeth” signifies to bring to an end, as Psalms 7:9; also, to complete; and in the judicial sense, to bring to a righteous determination. David expresses his confidence that God will adjudge and bring to a righteous termination all things concerning him, whether promises to himself or threatenings upon his enemies. See the same word in Psalms 138:8, and compare, doctrinally, Philippians 1:6


Verse 3

3. He shall send from heaven—David steadfastly refused to take vengeance into his own hands against Saul and his evil counsellors, but left the questions of his vindication and of his promised accession to the throne wholly with God.

The reproach—The slander of his enemies was the keenest edge of his sufferings.

Swallow me up—See on Psalms 56:1-2.

Mercy and… truth—See on Psalms 25:10, and compare “light and truth,” Psalms 43:3-4. David asked and desired no mercy which was against truth; but in the triumph of these lay all his hope.


Verse 4

4. Among lions— “Saul and his courtiers are here ‘lions’ to David, as were the kings of Asshur and Babel afterwards to Israel, (Jeremiah 1:17,) the Roman emperor to Paul, (2 Timothy 4:17,) and all wicked rulers over the poor people, (Proverbs 28:15.)”Ainsworth. The imagery of this verse is not unusual to David.

I lie—That is, I lie down to sleep.

Among them that are set on fire—Men inflamed with jealousy, envy, and malice. To lie down for rest in sorrow and fear was the emblem of calamity, (Job 7:4; Isaiah 50:11,) and the opposite of peace and happiness, (Leviticus 26:6; Job 11:19; Proverbs 3:24.)

Sharp sword—Malicious words cut deeper than the flesh.


Verse 5

5. Be thou exalted, O God—The cause of David was the cause of God. The manifested glory of God as supreme, implied David’s deliverance, and either implied the defeat of his enemies. His prayer against his enemies was, therefore, at once a prayer for deliverance and for the honour of God. The dawn of David’s deliverance appears in this verse, and fully breaks forth in Psalms 57:8


Verse 6

6. They have prepared a net—He returns to the artful designs of his enemies, which he illustrates by an eastern method of catching wild animals by snares and pitfalls. See Isaiah 24:17-18.

Into the midst whereof they are fallen—By faith David sees the retributive justice of God meeting out to them the evil they had plotted against himself. Saul had fallen into David’s hands, not David into Saul’s. Comp. 1 Samuel 24:2; 1 Samuel 24:8. The selah, or pause, which to the reader is a call to meditation on the import of what is said, and is nearly equal to the amen, closes this first division of the psalm, which otherwise might be ended with the refrain of Psalms 57:5


Verse 7

7. My heart is fixed, O God— “Fixed,” here, may take the sense either of established or of prepared. He was established in his faith and purposes not to be moved by any adversity; or, he was prepared for all the will of God. The Septuagint gives the latter, ( ετοιμη,) “my heart is ready.” Thus he was one with God, and would rejoice in this consciousness.


Verse 8

8. Awake up, my glory—Arouse, my soul. כבדי, (kebodee,) here rendered glory, is sometimes used for the soul as the most honourable and excellent part of man. It is used synonymously with נפשׁ, (nephesh,) soul, by the law of parallelism, (Genesis 49:6; Psalms 7:5,) and in the text it answers to I, myself. In Psalms 57:6 his soul is “bowed down,” now he calls upon himself to “awake,” arouse. See notes on Psalms 16:9; Psalms 30:12.

Awake early—Literally, I will awake the dawn. See on Psalms 63:1, where this is fulfilled while David was in the same region. This preceding the literal daybreak was not only helpful to praise and worship, but evidence of a willing and joyful heart.


Verse 9

9. People… nations—In each place the original word is the same. The repetition is for emphasis, and the plural (peoples, nations) must be understood of the Gentile nations. David’s deliverance should be so great, and its effects so public and glorious, that the nations around would be led to recognise the hand of God and to fear him. The psalmist suddenly rises to the sublime conception of the triumph of theocratic principles, which is the common stepping stone, as here, for an anticipation of the gathering of the nations by the gospel.


Verse 10

10. Unto the heavens… clouds—See on Psalms 36:5


Verse 11

11. The daydawn of triumph, which opened in Psalms 57:5, is here brought forward as a closing refrain.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 57:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-57.html. 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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