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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
Nave's Topical Bible - Praise; Thompson Chain Reference - Divine; God; God's; Hand, Divine; The Topic Concordance - God; Rejoice; Righteousness; Salvation;
Verse Psalms 118:15. The voice of rejoicing — Formerly there was nothing but wailings; but now there is universal joy because of the salvation-the deliverance, which God has wrought for us.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-118.html. 1832.
Psalms 118:0 A procession of thanksgiving
Originally this hymn was apparently sung by a combination of the temple singers, the congregation and the king, to mark some great national occasion such as a victory in battle. The scene is set in the temple, where the royal procession enters the gates and moves to the altar (see v. 19,20,27).
The singers call Israel to worship, and the congregation responds with praise to God for his steadfast love (1-4). The king then recounts how, in answer to prayer, God saved him from his enemies (5-7). The people respond that God is worthy of people’s trust (8-9). The king describes the hopeless position he had been in, with enemies attacking him on every side, but with God’s help he overthrew them (10-14). The people respond that God is all-powerful (15-16).
After expressing his confidence in God and his gratitude for God’s chastening, the king commands that the temple gates be opened to him (17-19). The gatekeepers open the gates, but add the reminder that only the righteous can enter God’s temple (20). The king responds by thanking God for his righteous salvation, for this alone enables him to enter God’s presence (21).
The people then sing their rejoicings. When the king had been on the edge of shameful defeat, he seemed like a useless builder’s brick that the builders had thrown away in disgust. Now, with his triumph, the same brick seems to have been brought back and made the chief cornerstone, giving perfection and character to the building (22-25).
From the altar in the temple courtyard, the priests sing their welcome as the worshippers, in procession and waving branches of palm trees, draw near. The palm branches give the appearance of binding the worshippers together as they surround the altar in preparation for the sacrifice (26-27). Before the sacrificial ceremony commences, the king, followed by the congregation, offers a final thanksgiving (28-29).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/psalms-118.html. 2005.
The voice of rejoicing and salvation - Rejoicing for salvation; song, praise, thanksgiving. Luther renders this beautifully; “They sing with joy for victory in the houses of the righteous.”
Is in the tabernacles of the righteous - The tents of the righteous; their dwellings. That is,
(a) it is a fact that the voice of joy and rejoicing is there;
(b) it is appropriate that it should be so, or that a righteous family should be happy - the dwelling-place of praise;
(c) God will add to the happiness of the righteous, or will make their habitation happy, peaceful, blessed.
There is nothing that diffuses so much happiness through a family as religion; there is no joy like that when a member of a family is converted; there is no place on earth more happy than that where a family bows before God with the feeling that all are children of God and heirs of salvation.
The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly - Hebrew “Doeth strength.” That is, God does great things, laying the foundation for joy and praise.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-118.html. 1870.
15.The voice of shouting and salvation is in the tabernacles of the just. He affirms that the kindness which God had conferred upon him was so extensive, that it would not do to render thanks to him privately. In the benefits which he had received, God’s power appeared both remarkable and memorable, and the fruit of it also was extended to the whole Church. Therefore, as David’s deliverance was wonderful and advantageous generally to all the godly, he promises that he would make a public thanksgiving; and invites them to join him in this holy exercise. By this circumstance, he chiefly aims at magnifying the grace of God, and also by its effects to demonstrate, that not merely his individual preservation, but that of the whole Church, in his person, was accomplished. Intercommunion among believers does, indeed, bind them alternately to render thanks to God for each other; in David’s case, there was the specific reason which I have mentioned, his wonderful preservation from many deaths, and his having assigned to him the sovereignty of God’s chosen people. It is worthy of notice, that he combines the voice of joy and gladness with the praise of God, by which he shows that believers ought to mingle with their mirth a sense of the grace of God. To do valiantly, is tantamount to a magnificent display of his power, so that there may be a bright manifestation of its effulgence. God ofttimes secretly, and when apparently feeble, grants deliverance to his faithful people, that they may be sensible that it comes from him; but this is not so well known to others. Here, however, David asserts that the operation of God was so plainly developed, no one could doubt whence his safety came. The other phrase, that the right hand of God was exalted, refers to the same subject, because, by working powerfully and unwontedly, God had exalted his hand.
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-118.html. 1840-57.
As we get into Psalms 118:1-29 , the last of the Hallel psalms.
O give thanks unto the LORD ( Psalms 118:1 );
Again, the exhortation, praise and thanks, "O give thanks unto the Lord."
for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever ( Psalms 118:1 ).
Again, the cause of thanksgiving is the goodness of God and the mercy of God. How often in the psalms we are called upon to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and for His mercy.
Let Israel now say, his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, let his mercy endureth for ever. Let them now that fear the LORD say, his mercy endureth for ever. Now I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what man can do unto me? ( Psalms 118:2-6 )
Paul the apostle, in Romans the eighth chapter, takes up much the same thing as he declares, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who has justified. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who has died, yea rather, is risen again, and he's even at the right hand of the Father, making intercession" ( Romans 8:33-34 ). Paul exclaims, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" ( Romans 8:31 )
Now growing up as a child and growing up in church, somehow I did not always receive the concept that God was for me. I felt that God was against me many times. That He was just sort of waiting for me to make a mistake so He could punish me. That He was ready to cancel me out of the kingdom. In fact, I felt that I was cancelled out of the kingdom all the time. And I could hardly wait for Sunday night to come around so I could go forward and get saved again and get back into the kingdom, because I really wanted to be a Christian. I really didn't want to go to hell. And in my heart I really loved the Lord and my spirit indeed was willing to serve the Lord, but my flesh was weak. And somehow a concept developed in my mind that God was against me.
Oh, what Romans 8:1-39 did for my own personal Christian experience is hard to describe. When I discovered that God wasn't against me but that God was for me. And that God wasn't laying anything to my charge. God wasn't charging my account with all of my failures and all of my weaknesses and failings. That God had stamped irrevocably on my account, "Justified!" He wasn't finding fault, nor was Jesus Christ condemning me. Far be it from condemning me, He was interceding for me.
Now if I were good and perfect, He wouldn't have to intercede. I could stand before God in my own perfection. And I could say, "Here I am, Lord, perfect little me." The fact that He is interceding takes into account my weaknesses and my failures. The necessity for intercession. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ who has died, yea, rather, is risen again and even at the right hand of the Father making intercession. What shall we say to these things? Oh, if God be for us, who can be against us?"
So here the psalmist, "The Lord is on my side." How comforting that is. How reassuring that is. God is for me. God is for my part. God is on my side. Therefore, I will not fear what man shall do.
Now, man condemns me. Man finds fault with me. I often find fault with myself and condemn myself. But I need not fear what man will do because the Lord is on my side.
The LORD taketh the part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me ( Psalms 118:7 ).
In other words, God is for me. He takes the part with those that help me. He becomes a part of those that are helping me. And therefore, we shall surely have victory over the enemy.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man ( Psalms 118:8 ).
Now as I read that, I immediately, in my heart that strikes a responsive kind of an accord. I say, "Yeah, that's sure true." Man has let me down so many times. The Lord has never let me down. Yes, that's so true. It's better to put my trust in the Lord than my confidence in man. And yet when I'm in trouble, I'm always looking for the help of man, the arm of flesh. And yet I realize that it's better to put my trust in the Lord than my confidence in man. How many times have I been discouraged and defeated though I had the promises of God. And then some man comes along, he says, "Oh, I'll take care of that for you." Oh, all right, praise the Lord. Glory to God! You know, it's all taken care of." And I've put my confidence now in the word of some man that he's going to take care of it.
There are certain people who have a penchant for making great promises that they are really not capable of fulfilling. Now there are some who are just pathological liars and they'll make all kinds of promises and they, you know, they didn't even know they made the promise. I mean, it's just quirk of their own nature. But there are other people who have sort of a quirk that they do make promises that when they make them, they really intend to fulfill them. But they just don't have the capacity to fulfill them. We've all met these kind of people, too. And it's amazing how many people and how many times we put our confidence in man and have been let down.
Better to put your trust in the LORD than your confidence in princes. Now all nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I'll destroy them ( Psalms 118:9-10 ).
And then he just sort of amplifies on that.
They compassed me about; yes, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. They compassed me about like bees ( Psalms 118:11-12 );
Swarm of bees.
they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation ( Psalms 118:12-14 ).
I love that verse. "The LORD is my strength." I've learned to rely upon His strength. It doesn't say the Lord will give me strength. It says, "The Lord is my strength." He's my song. How many times I find myself whistling or humming, or even singing when I'm not even aware of it. And when I become aware of it, I realize it's a song of worship or praise unto the Lord. And it's just thrilling to realize that it's just so woven into the warp and the woof of my own being that it's just a part of even the subconscious of my own life. The Lord is my song. "I have no song to sing but that of Christ my King. To Him my praise I'll bring forevermore. I have no other... " Let's see. "I have no delight in other songs, my melody of love to Him belongs." And how glorious when we sing our praises unto Him. He's become my salvation.
The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous ( Psalms 118:15 ):
Or in the tents of the righteous. So, you don't live in tents anymore. So, in the houses of the righteous.
There should be the voice of rejoicing in your home. I think that music has a tremendous influence and part in our lives. And I do feel that it is important that we surround ourselves in a spiritual environment. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. If you sow to the flesh, you're going to reap of the flesh; if you sow to the Spirit, you'll reap of the Spirit" ( Galatians 6:7-8 ). I think that it's valuable to have good music around the house. If you have a record player, I think that you should have the praise albums and just good, Christ-centered music. Keep it in the atmosphere of your home, because it's planting into your spirit constantly. And what you sow, you're going to reap. If you're constantly listening to, "My baby left me, and is gone," and all this kind of stuff of the flesh, then you're going to be reaping that kind of stuff. But if we're sowing to the Spirit, it just has, it's just planting it into our hearts and into our lives. It's important that we do it.
The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly ( Psalms 118:16 ).
The right hand of the Lord...
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death ( Psalms 118:17-18 ).
We are told in the scriptures we're "not to despise the chastening of the Lord, for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth" ( Proverbs 3:11-12 ). Now there is a vast difference between correction and punishment. God has ordained punishment upon the wicked, but He has ordained correction for His children. The correction comes in the form of chastisement. "It was good for me that I was afflicted" ( Psalms 119:71 ), we'll read in the next Psalms 119:1-176. Good that God corrected me. It's a sign that I am His child. It's a sign that He does care about me. The chastening of the Lord. It is not penal. It is for the purpose of correction.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation ( Psalms 118:19-21 ).
Now I do not know but what the prophetic part of this psalm may begin with the nineteenth verse, "Open to me the gates of righteousness. I will go into them, and will praise the Lord." For there is in scripture other prophecies that relate to the east gate and the entering in of the Lord into the east gate. When Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He no doubt entered from the east gate, because He came down from the descent of the Mount of Olives and went into the temple precincts. And the gate that went from the Mount of Olives to the temple mount was the east gate. It was the one that entered right into the temple mount. So no doubt the gate through which Jesus entered when He went in on this triumphant entry. And in the forty-third chapter of Ezekiel, he said, "I was taken by the Spirit to the gate that is toward the east and it was shut. No people were going in or out by it." For the Lord, He went in and out by this gate and therefore it is shut and actually it won't be open until the Messiah comes again, and He will enter in through the east gate and He will eat bread with His people there in the porch of that gate.
So the reference here to the gate could be the reference to the triumphant entry by which He came in to the temple mount through the east gate. There is another Psalm, twenty-seven, about the opening of the gates and the King of glory shall come in. "Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle" ( Psalms 24:8 ). And the psalm of opening the gates in Psalms 27:1-14 which, again, seems to be sort of a prophetic. It's not twenty-seven either, but seems to be a prophetic type of a psalm. I'll take just a moment and see if I can find which psalm that is for you-twenty-four? Yes, it surely is.
"Lift up your head, O ye gates, and be ye lifted, ye everlasting doors. The King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates. Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors. The King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory." So the gate of the Lord into which the righteous shall enter, no doubt a reference to the east gate.
Now when we come again with Jesus Christ in His coming in power and glory, according to the scripture He will set His foot on that day on the Mount of Olives. And the Mount of Olives will split with a big valley that will be formed by the splitting of the Mount of Olives. And Jesus will come on in through the east gate into the city or into the city of Jerusalem, the old city of Jerusalem, the temple mount. And we will be coming with Him when He comes. So the gate will be open and the righteous shall enter in. So inasmuch as we go then into,
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner ( Psalms 118:22 ).
This is, of course, a prophecy of the rejection of Jesus Christ by Israel, the builders; the stone that was refused by the builders. Christ came according to the promise of God to the nation Israel to be the Messiah, not to be the Messiah, as the Messiah. And they refused Him. But the same has become the head of the corner, or the chief cornerstone. The chief cornerstone now upon which the church is built. "Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ( Matthew 16:18 ).
This scripture is referred to in the New Testament. It is referred to by Jesus Himself the day after He was rejected by the rulers. In Matthew 21:1-46 Jesus spake to them a parable about the householder who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, build a winepress or pit for the winepress in it. Turned it over to the servants as he went to a far country. And how that when he sought to gather the fruit, sent servants back to receive the fruit, how that they beat some, how they mistreated others, how they killed some. And finally, he said, "I will send my only son. Surely they will respect him." But when they saw his son, they said, "Oh, here's the heir. Let's kill him and then the vineyard will be ours." And Jesus said, "What will that lord do when he comes?" And the Pharisees answered, He will utterly destroy those wretches. And Jesus said, "That is true. Have you never read, 'The stone which was set at nought by the builders, the same has become the headstone of the corner or the chief cornerstone.'" And He said, "Whosoever falls upon this stone will be broken, but upon whomsoever this stone shall fall shall be crushed into powder."
So Jesus made reference to this psalm, making the application to Himself; making the application to the rejection of Him by the Jewish leaders. And yet the vineyard, He said, He will take away. He'll destroy these people, set them aside and He will give the vineyard unto others. And so to nations, He said, who will bring forth fruit. So the glorious Gospel and the church coming from actually among the Gentile nations. The Lord has created the church for the purpose that we might bring forth fruit unto Him.
So then Peter makes reference to it in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts when he was called before the council for the healing of the lame man and asked by what name he did it, he said, "By the name of Jesus does this man stand here before you whole. And He is the stone which was set of nought by you builders. But the same has become the chief cornerstone. Neither is there salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." And then Peter in his first epistle, chapter 2 makes the final reference to this stone that was set of nought by the builders.
Now there is an interesting story that is told of the building of Solomon's temple. It is declared that all of the stones for Solomon's temple were cut and quarried and carved away from the temple site. But each stone was perfectly hewn out and marked for the place in which it went into the wall. Now Solomon's quarries were up on the sort of northwest side of the city of Jerusalem near what is presently the Herod's Gate. And you can go into those quarries today and see where these stones, these massive stones were cut out for Solomon's temple. Also you can see the quarry, the area of the quarry for the temple that is now an Arab bus station and you can see where the stone was quarried out there.
Now according to the story, a stone was sent for the temple that was not marked and the builders didn't have any idea where it went. They concluded that it was just sent by mistake from the quarry. You see, the temple was put together without the sound of a hammer or a trowel. Every stone was cut away from the site and brought. And each stone just was fit in perfectly without even mortar. Just interlocking stones without the use of mortar. And so this one stone, they didn't know where it went; it didn't seem to fall in the sequence of their building. They cast it aside in the bushes and a few years later as they were completing the temple, they sent the message to the quarry, "We're all set for dedication. Where is the chief cornerstone?" And they sent back the message, "We've already sent it a long time ago. What did you do with it?" And the messages went back and forth from the quarry to the builders and finally, someone found over in the bushes, overgrown with shrubs the chief cornerstone which had been rejected by the builders but now was brought out and put in its place, the chief cornerstone of the building. That's the story that is told of the building of Solomon's temple. Whether or not that is so is not really a provable thing. But at any rate, here is the prophecy, and whether or not this related to the incident then, it does relate to Jesus Christ.
This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes ( Psalms 118:23 ).
Jesus quoted this to the Pharisees.
Now referring to the day of His triumphant entry.
This is the day that the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it ( Psalms 118:24 ).
And as He began His descent towards Jerusalem, the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise the Lord saying, "Hosanna," or
Save now, O LORD. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD ( Psalms 118:25-26 ).
So this whole portion has to do with the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, plus the stone being rejected as He came into Jerusalem was rejected by the Jews, the official coming of the Messiah, the official rejection of the Messiah here prophesied in Psalms 118:1-29 .
God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar ( Psalms 118:27 ).
And Jesus who came to be the Messiah became the sacrifice for us.
Thou art my God, I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good ( Psalms 118:28-29 ):
Now this being the traditional psalm that they sang at the Passover feast, it is interesting that as Jesus sang it with His disciples, they were actually already singing a psalm that had had its fulfillment a few days earlier. For a few days earlier they were crying, "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." A few days earlier, the stone was rejected by the builders. And so they were singing of that the night before His crucifixion. "Bind the sacrifice with cords to the altar." Very interesting indeed. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/psalms-118.html. 2014.
This is the last in this series of the Egyptian Hallel psalms (Psalms 113-118). It describes a festal procession to the temple to praise and sacrifice to the Lord. The historical background may be the dedication of the restored walls and gates of Jerusalem in Ezra and Nehemiah’s time, following the return from Babylonian captivity, in 444 B.C. [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 306.] It contains elements of communal thanksgiving, individual thanksgiving, and liturgical psalms. The subject is God’s loyal love for His people. The situation behind it seems to be God’s restoration of the psalmist after a period of dishonor. This would have been a very appropriate psalm to sing during the Feast of Tabernacles as well as at Passover and Pentecost. The Lord Jesus and His disciples probably sang it together in the Upper Room at the end of the Lord’s Supper (cf. Matthew 26:30).
"As the final psalm of the ’Egyptian Hallel’, sung to celebrate the Passover . . ., this psalm may have pictured to those who first sang it the rescue of Israel at the Exodus, and the eventual journey’s end at Mount Zion. But it was destined to be fulfilled more perfectly, as the echoes of it on Palm Sunday and in the Passion Week make clear to every reader of the Gospels." [Note: Kidner, Psalms 73-150, pp. 412-13.]
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2. Praise for Yahweh’s deliverance 118:5-21
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The psalmist had relied on the Lord as his strength and his source of joy, and He had saved him. Psalms 118:14 repeats the first line of the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:2), the song the Israelites sang just after they crossed the Red Sea successfully. The psalmist rejoiced in God’s saving strength. Temporary discipline had led to recent deliverance, and this provided hope for future salvation. The gates in view probably refer to the temple courtyard gates through which worshippers such as the writer entered to praise God.
What a comfort Psalms 118:15-18 would have been to the Lord Jesus as He sang them at His last Passover in the Upper Room! They assured Him that He would live again even though He would die.
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The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tabernacles of the righteous,.... In all the dwellings of good men, throughout the land of Israel, was heard nothing but the voice of joy, on account of David's accession to the throne; the deliverance of him from a persecuting Saul, and of them from his real administration; and the victories David obtained over all his enemies: for, "when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice", Proverbs 29:2. And still much more occasion is there of joy, in the dwelling places of the saints, though but cottages, and in the churches of God, the tabernacles of the most High, on account of the spiritual and eternal salvation Christ is the author of which joy is inwardly felt in the heart, and outwardly expressed by one saint to another; and in vocal prayer to God, and in singing his praises; which may be done in the houses of the saints, as well as in the house of God. What this voice, or the righteous with their voice, expressed in each of their dwelling houses, is as follows; for the word "saying" may be supplied, and the words connected thus:
[saying], the right hand of the Lord doth valiantly; or "acts powerfully" b; in helping and assisting David, in protecting and defending him, in raising him to the throne, and in giving him rest from all his enemies; and so in supporting the Messiah, his antitype, as man and Mediator, in his work and under his sufferings; in raising him from the dead, and exalting: him at his right hand; and which was done with his right hand, Acts 2:33. Jarchi refers this joy here expressed to future times, the times of the Messiah: and in an ancient c writing of the Jews the right hand of the Lord, three times mentioned in this verse and Psalms 118:16, is interpreted of the Messiah, the sort of David.
b עשה חיל "agit strenue", Junius Tremellius, Piscator so Cocceius. c Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Numb. fol. 64. 1.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-118.html. 1999.
|Goodness of God Celebrated; Grateful Acknowledgments.|| |
1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. 2 Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 4 Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. 5 I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? 7 The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. 8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. 10 All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. 11 They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 13 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. 18 The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
It appears here, as often as elsewhere, that David had his heart full of the goodness of God. He loved to think of it, loved to speak of it, and was very solicitous that God might have the praise of it and others the comfort of it. The more our hearts are impressed with a sense of God's goodness the more they will be enlarged in all manner of obedience. In these verses,
I. He celebrates God's mercy in general, and calls upon others to acknowledge it, from their own experience of it (Psalms 118:1; Psalms 118:1): O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is not only good in himself, but good to you, and his mercy endures for ever, not only in the everlasting fountain, God himself, but in the never-failing streams of that mercy, which shall run parallel with the longest line of eternity, and in the chosen vessels of mercy, who will be everlasting monuments of it. Israel, and the house of Aaron, and all that fear God, were called upon to trust in God (Psalms 115:9-11); here they are called upon to confess that his mercy endures for ever, and so to encourage themselves to trust in him, Psalms 118:2-4; Psalms 118:2-4. Priests and people, Jews and proselytes, must all own God's goodness, and all join in the same thankful song; if they can say no more, let them say this for him, that his mercy endures for ever, that they have had experience of it all their days, and confide in it for good things that shall last for ever. The praises and thanksgivings of all that truly fear the Lord shall be as pleasing to him as those of the house of Israel or the house of Aaron.
II. He preserves an account of God's gracious dealings with him in particular, which he communicates to others, that they might thence fetch both songs of praise and supports of faith, and both ways God would have the glory. David had, in his time, waded through a great deal of difficulty, which gave him great experience of God's goodness. Let us therefore observe here,
1. The great distress and danger that he had been in, which he reflects upon for the magnifying of God's goodness to him in his present advancement. There are many who, when they are lifted up, care not for hearing or speaking of their former depressions; but David takes all occasions to remember his own low estate. He was in distress (Psalms 118:5; Psalms 118:5), greatly straitened and at a loss; there were many that hated him (Psalms 118:7; Psalms 118:7), and this could not but be a great grief to one of an ingenuous spirit, that strove to gain the good affections of all. All nations compassed me about,Psalms 118:10; Psalms 118:10. All the nations adjacent to Israel set themselves to give disturbance to David, when he had newly come to the throne, Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Ammonites, c. We read of his enemies round about they were confederate against him, and thought to cut off all succours from him. This endeavour of his enemies to surround him is repeated (Psalms 118:11; Psalms 118:11): They compassed me about, yea, they compassed me about, which intimates that they were virulent and violent, and, for a time, prevalent, in their attempts against him, and when put into disorder they rallied again and pushed on their design. They compassed me about like bees, so numerous were they, so noisy, so vexatious; they came flying upon him, came upon him in swarms, set upon him with their malignant stings; but it was to their own destruction, as the bee, they say, loses her life with her sting, Animamque in vulnere ponit--She lays down her life in the wound. Lord, how are those increased that trouble me! Two ways David was brought into trouble:-- (1.) By the injuries that men did him (Psalms 118:13; Psalms 118:13): Thou (O enemy!) hast thrust sore at me, with many a desperate push, that I might fall into sin and into ruin. Thrusting thou hast thrust at me (so the word is), so that I was ready to fall. Satan is the great enemy that thrusts sorely at us by his temptations, to cast us down from our excellency, that we may fall from our God and from our comfort in him; and, if Go had not upheld us by his grace, his thrusts would have been fatal to us. (2.) By the afflictions which God laid upon him (Psalms 118:18; Psalms 118:18): The Lord has chastened me sore. Men thrust at him for his destruction; God chastened him for his instruction. They thrust at him with the malice of enemies; God chastened him with the love and tenderness of a Father. Perhaps he refers to the same trouble which God, the author of it, designed for his profit, that by it he might partake of his holiness (Hebrews 12:10); howbeit, men, who were the instruments of it, meant not so, neither did their heart think so, but it was in their heart to cut off and destroy,Isaiah 10:7. What men intend for the greatest mischief God intends for the greatest good, and it is easy to say whose counsel shall stand. God will sanctify the trouble to his people, as it is his chastening, and secure the good he designs; and he will guard them against the trouble, as it is the enemies' thrusting, and secure them from the evil they design, and then we need not fear.
This account which David gives of his troubles is very applicable to our Lord Jesus. Many there were that hated him, hated him without a cause. They compassed him about; Jews and Romans surrounded him. They thrust sorely at him; the devil did so when he tempted him; his persecutors did so when they reviled him; nay, the Lord himself chastened him sorely, bruised him, and put him to grief, that by his stripes we might be healed.
2. The favour God vouchsafed to him in his distress. (1.) God heart his prayer (Psalms 118:5; Psalms 118:5): "He answered me with enlargements; he did more for me than I was able to ask; he enlarged my heart in prayer and yet gave more largely than I desired." He answered me, and set me in a large place (so we read it), where I had room to bestir myself, room to enjoy myself, and room to thrive; and the large place was the more comfortable because he was brought to it out of distress, Psalms 4:1. (2.) God baffled the designs of his enemies against him: They are quenched as the fire of thorns (Psalms 118:12; Psalms 118:12), which burns furiously for a while, makes a great noise and a great blaze, but is presently out, and cannot do the mischief that it threatened. Such was the fury of David's enemies; such is the laughter of the fool, like the crackling of thorns under a pot (Ecclesiastes 7:6), and such is the anger of the fool, which therefore is not to be feared, any more than his laughter is to be envied, but both to be pitied. They thrust sorely at him, but the Lord helped him (Psalms 118:13; Psalms 118:13), helped him to keep his feet and maintain his ground. Our spiritual enemies would, long before this, have been our ruin if God had not been our helper. (3.) God preserved his life when there was but a step between him and death (Psalms 118:18; Psalms 118:18): "He has chastened me, but he has not given me over unto death, for he has not given me over to the will of my enemies." To this St. Paul seems to refer in 2 Corinthians 6:9. As dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed. We ought not therefore, when we are chastened sorely, immediately to despair of life, for God sometimes, in appearance, turns men to destruction, and yet says, Return; says unto them, Live.
This also is applicable to Jesus Christ. God answered him, and set him in a large place. He quenched the fire of his enemies; rage, which did but consume themselves; for through death he destroyed him that had the power of death. He helped him through his undertaking; and thus far he did not give him over unto death that he did not leave him in the grave, nor suffer him to see corruption. Death had no dominion over him.
3. The improvement he made of this favour. (1.) It encouraged him to trust in God; from his own experience he can say, It is better, more wise, more comfortable, and more safe, there is more reason for it, and it will speed better, to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man, yea, though it be in princes,Psalms 118:8; Psalms 118:9. He that devotes himself to God's guidance and government, with an entire dependence upon God's wisdom, power, and goodness, has a better security to make him easy than if all the kings and potentates of the earth should undertake to protect him. (2.) It enabled him to triumph in that trust. [1.] He triumphs in God, and in his relation to him and interest in him (Psalms 118:6; Psalms 118:6): "The Lord is on my side. He is a righteous God, and therefore espouses my righteous cause and will plead it." If we are on God's side, he is on ours; if we be for him and with him, he will be for us and with us (Psalms 118:7; Psalms 118:7): "The Lord takes my part, and stands up for me, with those that help me. He is to me among my helpers, and so one of them that he is all in all both to them and me, and without him I could not help myself nor could any friend I have in the world help me." Thus (Psalms 118:14; Psalms 118:14), "The Lord is my strength and my song; that is, I make him so (without him I am weak and sad, but on him I stay myself as my strength, both for doing and suffering, and in him I solace myself as my song, by which I both express my joy and ease my grief), and, making him so, I find him so: he strengthens my heart with his graces and gladdens my heart with his comforts." If God be our strength, he must be our song; if he work all our works in us, he must have all praise and glory from us. God is sometimes the strength of his people when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports when they want spiritual delights. But, if he be both to us, we have abundant reason to triumph in him; for, he be our strength and our song, he has become not only our Saviour, but our salvation; for his being our strength is our protection to the salvation, and his being our song is an earnest and foretaste of the salvation. [2.] He triumphs over his enemies. Now shall his head be lifted up above them; for, First, He is sure they cannot hurt him: "God is for me, and then I will not fear what man can do against me," Psalms 118:6; Psalms 118:6. He can set them all at defiance, and is not disturbed at any of their attempts. "They can do nothing to me but what God permits them to do; they can do no real damage, for they cannot separate between me and God; they cannot do any thing but what God can make to work for my good. The enemy is a man, a depending creature, whose power is limited, and subordinate to a higher power, and therefore I will not fear him." Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die?Isaiah 51:12. The apostle quotes this, with application to all Christians, Hebrews 13:6. They may boldly say, as boldly as David himself, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me; let him do his worst. Secondly, He is sure that he shall be too hard for them at last: "I shall see my desire upon those that hate me (Psalms 118:7; Psalms 118:7); I shall see them defeated in their designs against me; nay, In the name of the Lord I will destroy them (Psalms 118:10-12; Psalms 118:10-12); I trust in the name of the Lord that I shall destroy them, and in his name I will go forth against them, depending on his strength, by warrant from him, and with an eye to his glory, not confiding in myself nor taking vengeance for myself." Thus he went forth against Goliath, in the name of the God of Israel,1 Samuel 17:45. David says this as a type of Christ, who triumphed over the powers of darkness, destroyed them, and made a show of them openly. [3.] He triumphs in an assurance of the continuance of his comfort, his victory, and his life. First, Of his comfort (Psalms 118:15; Psalms 118:15): The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous, and in mine particularly, in my family. The dwellings of the righteous in this world are but tabernacles, mean and movable; here we have no city, no continuing city. But these tabernacles are more comfortable to them than the palaces of the wicked are to them; for in the house where religion rules, 1. There is salvation; safety from evil, earnests of eternal salvation, which has come to this house,Luke 19:9. 2. Where there is salvation there is cause for rejoicing, for continual joy in God. Holy joy is called the joy of salvation, for in that there is abundant matter for joy. 3. Where there is rejoicing there ought to be the voice of rejoicing, that is, praise and thanksgiving. Let God be served with joyfulness and gladness of heart, and let the voice of that rejoicing be heard daily in our families, to the glory of God and encouragement of others. Secondly, Of his victory: The right hand of the Lord does valiantly (Psalms 118:15; Psalms 118:15) and is exalted; for (as some read it) it has exalted me. The right hand of God's power is engaged for his people, and it acts vigorously for them and therefore victoriously. For what difficulty can stand before the divine valour? We are weak, and act but cowardly for ourselves; but God is mighty, and acts valiantly for us, with jealousy and resolution, Isaiah 63:5; Isaiah 63:6. There is spirit, as well as strength, in all God's operations for his people. And, when God's right hand does valiantly for our salvation, it ought to be exalted in our praises. Thirdly, Of his life (Psalms 118:17; Psalms 118:17): "I shall not die by the hands of my enemies that seek my life, but live and declare the works of the Lord; I shall live a monument of God's mercy and power; his works shall be declared in me, and I will make it the business of my life to praise and magnify God, looking upon that as the end of my preservation." Note, It is not worth while to live for any other purpose than to declare the works of God, for his honour and the encouragement of others to serve him and trust in him. Such as these were the triumphs of the Son of David in the assurance he had of the success of his undertaking and that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 118:15". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/psalms-118.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26