Verse 17. "Unto thee, O my strength " - A similar sentiment to that expressed, ver. 9. But the words are very emphatic: God is my strength; God is my elevation. My God is my mercy. I have nothing good but what I have from God. And all springs from his dwelling in me. God, therefore, shall have all the glory, both now and for ever.
As many persons may still think that the inscription to this Psalm is correct, the following analysis may be applied in that way; or considered as containing a general resolution of the Psalm, without referring it to any particular occasion.
ANALYSIS OF THE FIFTY-NINTH PSALM
The contents of this Psalm are: - I. The psalmist's prayer for deliverance, ver. 1, 2, and against his foes, ver. 5.
II. He complains of and expresses his enemies' cruelty and improbity, ver. 3-8.
III. He comforts himself, being confident of his own preservation, ver. 8-10.
1. And of their punishment, for which he prays, ver. 14.
2. And of their vain endeavours, for which he insults over them, ver. 14, 15.
IV. He concludes with thanks, ver. 16, 17.
I. He begins with a petition for deliverance, defense, salvation; and urges it from the qualities of his enemies.
1. "Deliver me, defend me from mine enemies:" 1. "Them that rise up against me." 2. "From the workers of iniquity." 3. "From bloody men." These considerations make him pray, "O my God, deliver," &c.
2. And yet, more particularly, he expresses their cruelty and treachery; to aggravate which he pleads his innocence towards them.
II. 1. Their cruelty: "Lo, they lie in wait for my soul." 2. Their treachery: "The mighty are gathered against me." They run and prepare themselves.
3. 1. They are diligent about it: "They return at evening." 2. Mad, and set to do it: "They make a noise like a dog," and threaten boldly. 3.
Unwearied and obdurate in their purpose: "They go round about the city." 4. Impudent, and brag what they will do to me: "Behold, they belch out with their mouth." 5. And their words are bloody: "Swords are in their lips." 4. And the cause of this is, that they are proud and atheistical. Who, say they, doth hear? They think themselves secure, supposing they may contemn God and man; neither regarding what is done or becomes of poor David.
5. In the midst of which aggravations he asserts his own innocence: "They gather themselves together, not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord." Then he renews his petition: - 1. Awake to help me, and behold: "Thou, therefore, the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel." 1. The Lord God of hosts; therefore, powerful. 2. The God of Israel; therefore, merciful.
2. "Awake to visit all the heathen," i, e., punish the heathen; and the Israelites, in this no better.
3. And be not merciful to any wicked transgressors, i.e., obstinate nations.
III. To this rage and implacable hatred of his enemies he now begins to oppose the comfort he had in God's promises. This I know: - 1. "Thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them." As it were in sport, destroy them, be their power never so great; "Thou wilt laugh them to scorn." 2. Them and all that are like them: "Thou shalt have all the heathen in derision." 3. I confess that Saul's strength is great; but my Protector is greater: "Because of his strength will I wait upon thee, for God is my defense." 4. This I am assured also, "that the God of my mercy," that hath hitherto showed me mercy, "shall prevent me," come in season to my help. "And God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies." And to the 16th verse he expresses what his desires were: - 1. Negatively; he would not have them slain and eradicated; and he gives his reason for it: "Slay them not, lest my people forget;" for a dead man is quickly out of mind, and his punishment also, and few the better for it.
2. Positively; the first degree of which is dispersion, vagrancy, banishment. Scatter them which however severe a judgment, let the Jews witness.
2. Humiliation: "Bring them down, O Lord, our shield." Bring them from their power, command, honour, to a low degree, which is no small heart-breaking to a great spirit. Fuimus Troes, is never remembered without a groan.
And now he assigns the cause why he would have them scattered, and brought low; that their blasphemies and lies may never be forgotten, but stand as a terror to all liars and blasphemers.
1. "For the sin of their mouth, and the words of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride;" the Jews cried Beelzebub, nolumus hunc; and they were taken.
2. "And for cursing and lying which they speak." They cursed themselves: "His blood be upon us;" and upon them, indeed, it was.
3. He goes on in his desires. "Consume them, O Lord," emphatically, "consume them in wrath, that they may not be;" which, at first sight, appears contrary to the first desire, "Slay them not:" but he speaks not of their life as if he would have it consumed; but he desires only a consumption of their power, royalty, command. And so these words are a farther explication of his second desire, "Bring them down." He would have them brought down in their strength, dignity, command, wealth, riches, which made them proud; that they might never be able to oppose God any more, hurt his people, trample upon religion and his Church; but he would have them live.
4. And shows the end why he would have them live, and still remain-that they might know by their calamities and miseries, that "it is God that ruleth in Jacob, and unto the ends of the earth;" that he doth wonderfully govern and preserve his Church that is scattered over all the earth.
5. And now by a bitter epitrope, or rather synchoresis, he insults over them. In the sixth verse he showed their double diligence to do mischief.
1. "They return at evening." Well, esto; be it so; "At evening let them return." 2. "They make a noise like a dog." Well; "let them make a noise like a dog." 3. "And go round about the city." Well; "let them go round about the city." They know that they shall be in a miserable poor mean condition: - 1. "Let them wander up and down for meat." Let them find no settled habitation, but seek necessary food in a strange nation.
2. "And grudge if they be not satisfied." Let them be always grudging, if they have not content. If they be not satisfied, they will stay all night; be importunate and unmannerly beggars.
IV. The conclusion is a doxology, and contains David's thanks that God is his defense his refuge, his strength. Of him, therefore, he makes his song.
1. "I will sing of thy power." 2. "I will sing of thy mercy." 1. "Aloud." 2. "In the morning." 3. The reason he gives: "For thou hast been my refuge and defense in the day of my trouble." Both he repeats again: - 1. "Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing." 2. The reason: "For God is my defense, and the God of my mercy." And he joins these two attributes, strength and mercy. Take away strength from him, and he cannot, remove mercy, and he will not, protect. Both must go together; power that he can, mercy that he will; otherwise it is in vain that we hope for help from him. David found God to be both, and for both he extols him.