Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David
Save me, O God;
For the waters are come in unto my soul.
2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing:
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried:
Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head:
They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty:
Then I restored that which I took not away.
5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness;
And my sins are not hid from thee.
6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake:
Let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.
7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach;
Shame hath covered my face.
8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren,
And an alien unto my mother’s children.
9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;
And the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting,
That was to my reproach.
11 I made sackcloth also my garment;
And I became a proverb to them.
12 They that sit in the gate speak against me;
And I was the song of the drunkards.
13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD,
In an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy
Hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink:
Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
15 Let not the waterflood overflow me,
Neither let the deep swallow me up,
And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy loving-kindness is good:
Turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies,
17 And hide not thy face from thy servant;
For I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it:
Deliver me because of mine enemies.
19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour
Mine adversaries are all before thee.
20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness:
And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none;
And for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat;
And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
22 Let their table become a snare before them:
And that which should have been for their welfare let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not;
And make their loins continually to shake.
24 Pour out thine indignation upon them,
And let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
25 Let their habitation be desolate;
And let none dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten;
And they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.
27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity:
And let them not come into thy righteousness.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living,
And not be written with the righteous.
29 But I am poor and sorrowful:
Let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
30 I will praise the name of God with a song,
And will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox
Or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
32 The humble shall see this, and be glad:
And your heart shall live that seek God.
33 For the LORD heareth the poor,
And despiseth not his prisoners.
34 Let the heaven and earth praise him,
The seas, and everything that moveth therein.
35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah:
That they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it:
And they that love his name shall dwell therein.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ITS CONTENTS AND COMPOSITION.—A cry of prayer for help (Psalm 69:1a) is based upon the greatness of the danger of his ruin (Psalm 69:1b, 2), the exhaustive duration of this peril (Psalm 69:3) and the number and power of those who are his enemies without cause (Psalm 69:4). It is true he is not innocent before God (Psalm 69:5), but he may hope that those who trust in God may not be ashamed or brought to shame in him (Psalm 69:6), for he bears the reproach for God’s cause (Psalm 69:7). Even his nearest relatives are estranged from him (Psalm 69:8) for his burning zeal for the house of God has brought him into such a position that the reproaches of the enemies of God fall on him, (Psalm 69:9), even his weeping, fasting and mourning serve to increase the scorn, (Psalm 69:10–12). This, however, intensifies his supplication (Psalm 69:13–15) for deliverance from great dangers, whilst God hears the prayer and graciously turns His countenance (Psalm 69:16–18) to the sufferer, whose miserable condition He knows as well as the cruel scorn of the enemies (Psalm 69:19–21). They are given over to the recompensing judgment of God in a double row of imprecations (Psalm 69:22–24 and 25–28), whilst the singer who has been lifted up by Divine help from the depths of his misery and pain, promises his song of thanksgiving, which is more acceptable to God than offerings (Psalm 69:29–31). He finally refers to the truth, which springs forth from these facts, to the refreshment and comfort of all the oppressed pious (Psalm 69:32, 33) and which forms the foundation in part for calling upon the whole world to praise God, in part for the promises to Zion and those who love the word of God (Psalm 69:34–36).—This Psalm is next to Ps. 22. the most frequently cited in the New Testament. The remark, John 19:29 sq., respecting the restorative (comp. Matth. 27:34, 48) refers alike to Ps. 22:15, and Ps. 69:21, their hatred without cause (John 15:25) refers to Ps. 35:19, and Ps. 69:4. Moreover the zeal of Jesus for God’s house in expelling the traders from the temple is according to John 2:17 a fulfilment of Ps. 69:9a. His willing and representative bearing of reproach is according to Rom. 15:3 the fulfilment of Ps. 69:9b; the imprecations of Ps. 69. Psalm 69:25a have, according to Acts 1:20, been fulfilled in the traitor Judas; those of Ps. 69:22 sq., according to Rom. 11:9 sq. in the rejection of Israel for a season. All these citations, however, are of such a character that they do not force us to a direct Messianic interpretation of the Psalm (most of the older interpreters). This, moreover, is at once excluded by the admission of folly and guilt (Psalm 69:5). The typical interpretation (Clauss., Stier) takes the true position, yet it is too general. It is best to regard the Psalm as typically prophetic ” in so far as it is a statement of a history of life and sufferings which have been made by God into a prophecy in fact of Jesus the Christ, and in so far as the spirit of prophecy has made this statement itself into a word of prophecy of the future sufferer,” (Delitzsch). Accordingly we are justified in putting Psalm 69:26 in the same connection with Is. 53. and Zech. 13:7, and to think in connection with Psalm 69:12 of the derision of Jesus by the soldiers, Matth. 27:27 sq. This interpretation holds fast to the historical foundation of the Psalm, and is more in accordance with its peculiar character than if we should suppose that David wrote this Psalm not so much in his own name as in the person of the entire Church, as a mirror, in which the common lot of all the pious should be set before us (Calvin), or in the ideal person of the suffering righteous (Hengst.), the features which occur separately in individual sufferers being brought together in a great representative martyr. Respecting the historical person of the Psalmist we can derive no safe results from the text alone; yet, on account of the reference mentioned above we must direct our view to a prominent and well-known person. If it is thought necessary to put this Psalm in a later period, it is easier to think of the prophet Jeremiah (Hitzig, Delitzsch is doubtful), than of some prophet at the time of the exile (Ewald) or indeed during the period of the Syrian persecution (Gurlitt in Pott. syll. Comment. 1:330 sq.) to which period Olsh. pushes it down. For the mention of the mire and the well may be taken historically in accordance with Jer. 38., and then other features may be applied very well. But these expressions may likewise be regarded as figurative; the time of the exile (Chald., Theod., Flam , Cleric. Rosenm., De Wette, Maurer, Hupf.) is not plainly and undoubtedly shown by the final clause, Psalm 69:35 sq., or the expression ‘ ‘prisoners,” Psalm 69:33 (Vid. exegesis of the verse); moreover, objections may be made to the supposition of its composition by Jeremiah, which cannot be removed (Keil, Kurtz). If now we inquire with which Psalms the present Psalm is most closely related, it is unquestionably with Ps. 40; and then with Pss. 22, 31, 35, 109; thus constantly with Psalms of David of the time of his persecution by Saul. This is very much in favor of the statement of the title. In connection with the translation of the ancients ” of the roses ” with their Messianic interpretation of the Psalm it was natural to suppose that this part of the title originated from this reason, because the Psalm of the white rose treats of the holy innocence of Christ, and that of the red rose of His most precious blood. Moreover there are many red lilies in Palestine, comp. Introduct., § 12, No. 13.
Str. I. [Psalm 69:1, 2. The waters are come even to my soul.—A flood is represented as coming upon the Psalmist, surrounding him unawares, rising up about him, even to his mouth, almost to take away his breath (life—soul) and fill his throat and nostrils. This figure is frequent in the Psalms. Comp. Pss. 18:4,16; 32:6; 42. 7. He has sunk in the mire of the depth, his feet cannot find a firm standing place in this miry bed of the flood, he has come into depths of water, the water becomes deeper and deeper about him, the flood has overwhelmed him (Shibboleth, Is 27:12). From this extreme peril he cries out: Help me, God.
Psalm 69:3. The figure changes from the external to the internal peril. He has cried out so long that he is weary of calling, his throat is parched by excessive exertion of voice (comp. Ps. 22:15). His eyes, which have looked so long to God, melting in tears, have failed, become exhausted, worn out (comp. Pss. 6:7; 31:9; 38:10; 119:82, 123).
Psalm 69:4. More than the hairs of my head.—This comparison used here with reference to those who hate him is used in Ps. 40:12, with reference to his iniquities.—C. A. B.]—Strong are my destroyers, mine enemies without reason.—Since the idea of this noun is elsewhere of entire extermination, many interpreters have found it objectionable, and have proposed alterations of the reading in order to translate, numerous instead of strong, and to get a stronger parallelism by not regarding the מ as a letter of the noun, but the preposition מִן, and thus getting the comparative, more numerous than. But then more numerous than what? Than my bones (Syr., Olsh.), than my looks (Venema, Munting., Ewald), than my head, properly: my foliage (Hupf.); thus they guess this and that. We prefer to abide by the text. At first the number of the enemies is mentioned, and then their terribleness (Hitzig).—What I did not rob I am then to restore.—This clause shows the groundlessness of their accusations in a different specification from that used in Ps. 35:10, but with a corresponding proverbial form. The ”then,” which is not to be changed into ”yet,” (Rosenm., Ewald), expresses the temporal and legal consequences (Hupf.) of the proposed robbery.
Str. II. Psalm 69:5 sq. Thou knowest about my folly and my faults,etc.—We would expect here, in connection with his appeal to God’s omniscience, a protestation of personal innocence. Many interpreters have artificially put this into the words of the text. The words are then either regarded as ironical (Calvin) or hypothetical (Dathe, similarly Aben Ezra), or are limited either with reference to those undertaken in order to the atonement, and not his own sins (the Messianic interpreters), or limited to others than those charged by his enemies (Venema, De Wette). But it is very evident that the reference is without doubt to his own folly and guilt. So likewise it is clear and without doubt from Psalm 69:26 that the speaker regards himself as one stricken by God, and in the class of those who are pierced through by God, that is, painfully smitten by His arrows (Lam. 3:12 sq.), and internally wounded (Jer. 8:18; Ps. 109:22). Accordingly he finds in the necessities that have come upon him, and threaten him with peril of death, not only the abuse of cruel enemies, but at the same time Divine visitation. Since however he resigns himself humbly, penitently, and in faith to God; he may hope in God’s favor and help (Psalm 69:13 sq.) the more confidently, as on the one side many of the pious look upon him and his fate as typical and instructive, on the other side the enemies show by their conduct that they are least of all servants of God. However it does not follow from this, that folly and guilt are here to be taken as ideas which can be interchanged with sufferings (Hupf.) The state of the case is rather this, that his sufferings awaken and strengthen in the Psalmist the feeling of his sinfulness and punishableness, his feelings of penitence and desire for salvation, involve likewise the corresponding expressions of these feelings, and thus characterize the sufferer as a pious martyr, whose very piety makes him the butt of the scoffings, and the assaults of the ungodly.
Str. III. [Psalm 69:8. Mothers’ children.—Barnes: ” In families where a man had many wives, as was common among the Hebrews, the nearest relationship would be denoted by being of the same mother rather than of the same father.”—C. A. B.]
Psalm 69:9. The house of Jehovah does not mean at once the congregation, but this at the same time with the sanctuary, Num. 12:7; Hos. 8:1. The zeal which consumes the Psalmist as burning fire, is not the external fire, the persecutions and injuries that have come upon him on this account, but the internal flame, Jer. 20:9; 23:9; Ps. 119:139.
Str. IV. Psalm 69:10. And I wept, in fasting(was)my soul.—It is easy to give this verse by a simple correction in accordance with Ps. 35:13, the sense: I humbled my soul by fasting (Sept., Olsh., Hupf., Böttcher). With the present reading it is necessary to accept, in accordance with the accents, two parallel clauses, and to regard the expression “ my soul ” as identical with “ I.” Leaving the accents out of view we could hardly translate: I wept in fasting, in my soul (J. D. Mich.), but rather: as regards my soul, or: my soul, as a second object explains the I, expressing the heartfelt weeping of deep fasting (Ewald), or: I wept in the fasting of my soul, that is, whilst my soul was in fasting (Chald., Isaki, Hitzig). An accusative of the object is inadmissible in connection with this verb, hence we cannot translate: I made weep, or I wept away my soul.
[Psalm 69:11, 12. Sackcloth.—Delitzsch: “The garment of sorrow as the fasting is an expression of sorrow for the public necessities, not as Ps. 35:13, for private injury. On account of this Sorrow, reproach upon reproach comes over him, and scornful words are coined upon him; above all he is satirized in the gates, the places of judgment and business, as in the drinking bouts (Lam. 3:14. Comp. 5:14; Job 30:9.”—C. A. B.]
[Str. V. Psalm 69:13. But as for me.—The pronoun is emphatic contrasting himself with the unrighteous scorner. The next clause is very differently divided. Ewald, followed by Riehm: connects the “ time of good pleasure, ”etc., with the “answer me.” Hupfeld, Moll, Perowne, et al., connect it with the prayer, Delitzsch making the first clause close with “ at the time of good pleasure,” Hupf., Moll, and Perowne, putting these words in the second clause.
Psalm 69:14,15. As the same figure recurs here from Psalm 69:1 and 2, no further explanation is necessary.—Let not the well shut its mouth to me.—He passes over from the figure of the flood to that of a well, the connecting idea being deep water. These wells were dug deep and covered with a large stone (Gen. 29:2, 3. Vid. Thomson, the Land and the Book, p. 589). The mouth was sometimes sealed up with a stone and mortar, for use in the dry season.—C. A. B.]
[Str. VI. Psalm 69:16. Thy lovingkindness is good.—Perowne: ”Good, i.e., either sweet, comforting, as in Ps. 63:3, or gracious, χρηστός. Comp. Ps.119:21. This appeal to God’s tender mercy, remarks Calvin, ‘ shows how great was the strait of the holy Prophet . . . and of a truth it is a very difficult matter to be sure that God is gracious while He is angry, and near while He is far off.’ ”—C. A. B.]
Str. VII. [Psalm 69:19. Thou knowest.—He appeals to the knowledge of God as in Psalm 69:5. This is followed by an enumeration of his severe distresses, and this is the basis for the imprecation which follows.
Psalm 69:20. Reproach hath broken my heart.—Barnes: “The reproaches, the calumnies, the aspersions, the slanders of others have crushed me. I am not able to bear up under them; I fail under the burden. Distress may become so great that life may sink under it, for many die of what is called ‘ a broken heart.’ Undeserved reproaches will be as likely to produce this result in a sensitive heart as any form of suffering, and there are thousands who are crushed to the earth by such reproaches.”—And I waited for sympathy, and there was none.—Perowne: “ This is the only place in the Psalter where the word translated sympathy is found. Properly speaking it is not a noun but a verb in the infin. Hence the periphrasis in the A. V., ‘ I looked for some to take pity,’ or, as in the margin ‘to lament with.’ The word sympathy has nowhere been employed by our translators, but it exactly conveys the force of the Hebrew word, inasmuch as it is used of sympathy in joy as well as in sorrow. See Job 42:11; Jer. 15:5; 16:5; 48:17.”4—C. A. B.]
Psalm 69:21. Gall.—The word רֹאשׁ means a poisonous plant (Hos. 10:4), and is parallel with wormwood (Jer. 8:14; 9:14; 23:15) with a figurative meaning of the addition and intensification of bitter and severe sufferings. There are no sufficient reasons for thinking particularly of water hemlock (Celsius) darnel (Michael.) colocynth (Œdmann), poppy (Gesenius), we are merely led to a plant with a fruit in the form of a head or umbrella. On this account the word may likewise mean the gall (Sept.) and the more as poison and bitterness appear to be interchanged, Deut. 32:32 sq.; Rev. 8:11.—Vinegar is in this connection not a cooling drink which quenches the thirst, but a synonym of sour wine.5
Str. VIII. Psalm 69:22. Their table before them.—The table standing before them, spread, is to become a net and snare for them. This figurative designation of ruin is in favor of the view that, the meaning is not, the poisoned dish is to poison those who have prepared it (Chald.), but the dish prepared for their own enjoyment is to prove the ruin of those who made it impossible for the Psalmist to enjoy the food necessary to sustain life, by their making it
bitter and sour (Calvin), and indeed at the very time when they were prepared to enjoy it, that is unexpectedly. They thus receive a judicial recompense, it is true, but the translation: and for a recompense (Sept. and other ancient versions, according to Rom. 11:9, and therefore Geier, J. H. Mich., et al.) instead of “and to the careless a snare ” may be obtained by changing the vocalization of the Hebrew word, but is against the parallelism. A reference to the Lord’s table (Luther, Melanchthon, Stier), is even with a limitation to devotional use, the less admissible, as there is here not a threatening or warning proclamation of the Divine judgment, but an imprecation bringing it about with increased excitement finally passing over into direct cursing. This may be conceived in the soil of the Old Covenant and explained in accordance with the canon of the retaliation of the Old Testament: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, and finds likewise its connection with David, e.g.1 Sam. 26:19; 2 Sam. 3:29; but it cannot be justified as a disposition and finds no place for a typical representation “ in the behaviour of the suffering Saviour on the cross who prayed for his enemies.6
[Psalm 69:23. Perowne: “The darkening of the eyes denotes weakness and perplexity, as the enlightening of the eyes (see Ps. 19:8) denotes renewed vigor and strength. Similarly, the shaking of the loins is expressive of terror and dismay and feebleness (Nah. 2:10; Dan. 5:6.) Or the first may mean the depriving of reason and understanding; the second, the taking away of all strength for action.”—C. A. B.]
Str. IX. [Psalm 69:25. Their encampment.—Perowne: “This is properly ‘the movable village of nomadic tribes,’ who usually pitch their tents in a circle. See Gen. 25:16, where terah is joined with chatsar, the former being the movable and the latter the stationary village, as Tuch (in loco) rightly explains. The expression is of course used here figuratively, in accordance with ‘ tents ’ in the parallelism.”7
Psalm 69:26. For him whom Thou hast smitten they persecute, and of the pain of Thy pierced ones do they tell.—Perowne: ” The reason of the imprecation is given because of the unpitying cruelty which delighted in adding to the pain and affliction of one whom God had already brought low,—they tell as if they counted one by one every blow that fell upon Him, every cry that He had uttered, only to turn it into mockery (comp. Ps. 59:12, 44:5).”8
Psalm 69:27. Add iniquity,etc.—Perowne: “Let it all stand against them in Thy book, one sin after another, as committed, not being blotted out, but only swelling the fearful reckoning. Comp. Jer. 18:23. This swelling of the catalogue of guilt is in fact swelling the punishment, but there is no need to render (as French and Skinner do): ‘Give them punishment upon punishment.’ ”—C. A. B.]
Psalm 69:28. From the book of the living.—Usage and the context show that the blotting out from the book of the living not only denotes ruin in general or death (De Wette, Hengst.), but exclusion from the kingdom and people of God. For the reference is to the book of God (Ex. 32:32), in which God Himself registers every one (Ps. 87:4–6), who is appointed to life (Is. 4:3), and in this book (Dan. 12:2), as the citizens of Israel in the genealogical tables, Jer. 22:30; Ezek. 13:9; comp. Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 21:27.
[Str. X. Psalm 69:29–31. The Psalmist is poor and miserable but he implores God to set him on high, in a place of safety, beyond the reach of his enemies and then he will praise God with songs of thanksgiving, which will be more acceptable to God than formal offerings.—Better than an ox, a bullock with horns and hoofs.—Perowne: “ The epithets are not merely otiose, as Hupfeld asserts. The first is mentioned in order to mark that the animal was not under three years old, and therefore of the proper age according to the Law; the last as intimating that it belonged to the class of clean four-footed animals, parting the hoof, Lev. 11; and the meaning is, that the most perfect and valuable of the sacrifices ordained by the law was not to be compared to the sacrifice of a grateful heart. See Pss. 50:51 ”—C. A. B.].
Str. XI. [Psalm 69:32. Seekers after God-may your heart live.—Alexander: “May you be revived and cheered by witnessing this exhibition of God’s power and goodness ! The wish that it may be so includes a promise that it shall be, as in Ps. 22:26, where the form of expression is the same.”—C. A. B.]
Psalm 69:33. And His prisoners He doth not despise.—These might very well be bound with the cords of misery (Job 36:8), or chained in torture and iron in general, Ps. 107:10; it is here rather to be regarded as parallel with the expression (Psalm 69:26): Thy smitten ones, Thy pierced ones. There is nothing to show a reference to the exiles. It would be easier to find a reference to these in the closing clause since there are real points of contact with Jer. 32.
Str. XII. Psalm 69:35. Build the cities of Judah,etc.—This does not expressly state a restoration of Zion and a repeopling of the cities of Judah. The words admit of being understood generally on the basis of the promise contained in the Law, of continuance and growth (Calvin et al.) and of our supposing that there is a prophetic glance at the fate of the land and people in individual experience, as Ps. 14:7; 22:30; 51:19. This is justified not only by the typical prophetical character of this Psalm in general, but by the position of the Psalmist in the redemptive economy so strongly employed in Psalm 69:6. The supposition that the closing words contain a later addition (Venema, Seiler, Dathe, Munting., Rosenm., I. Köster, Tholuck), is therefore as unnecessary as it is arbitrary.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The necessity of a pious man may be so great on earth that he is about to sink, and the Divine help may be postponed so long that the afflicted has cried himself hoarse in prayer and his eyes have become dull and fixed from long and uninterrupted looking in the strain of waiting. In this case the power of faith is proved and attested by taking ground in God, when the earthly ground slips from under his feet, and then when the waves of trouble beat together over his head, he struggles forth on high with a cry of prayer.
2. Fall and exaltation, ruin and redemption, sufferings and how they are received, endured and overcome—all this has to the congregation of God not only the significance of personal experience, but at the same time of Divine guidance and of typical history and is intensified in proportion to the importance of the person with reference to the history of the kingdom of God. The sufferer may apply this to himself to comfort him and to strengthen his faith. It serves as an exhortation and instruction to others when they perceive it and hear of it. He is heard moreover not because he prays, but because God is merciful and His omnipotence is effective in accordance with His faithfulness to the covenant on behalf of His suffering servants.
3. There is no inconsistency in the fact that one who has been attacked by men without cause and persecuted though innocent, should yet be reminded by his sufferings, of his guilt before God and awakened to confession of sin, and at the same time that this sinful man should be filled with a true and burning zeal for the house of the Lord and should be persecuted on account of his zeal and made sport of for his godly sorrow, so that he suffers for God’s sake and at the same time feels that he is smitten by God as well as by men. With the more fervency he turns to the mercy of God whilst the period of grace lasts and trusts in the truth of salvation.
4. It is certainly better to suffer as an innocent man than as guilty; yet it is a very severe cross to which most men cannot accommodate themselves. Even the Psalmist thus gets into such a carnal excitement that whilst he does not contend with God or murmur against Him, but on the contrary relies upon God and calls upon Him, yet in hungry zeal he calls down the power of God to the judgment and ruin of those enemies who ignore it. This belongs to that folly and guilt, of which the Psalmist is conscious, and is neither to be extenuated nor recommended. For there is a very great difference between obligatory proclamation of the Divine judgment, morally justifiable assent to the unavoidable consequences of this judgment and holy joy in the victory of righteousness on the one side, and passionate imprecation, revengeful cursing and an evilly disposed supplication for Divine judgment in order to the temporal ruin and everlasting destruction of certain persons, on the other side. In the latter case man does not give over retribution to the all-wise and holy God, but of his own will and power interferes with the course of the just government of God, yes really anticipates the final judgment. For this reason it is at least a zeal for God without knowledge even when no revengeful motives come in play and no personal interests are involved, but when the reference is to such men as put themselves in hostility to God and His word, sacraments, house, glory and congregation. Even Jesus has not anticipated for individual cases the condemnatory decisions of the final Judgment, but has merely proclaimed it as future, and indeed with the pain of love and in connection with the purpose of His coming not to destroy the souls of men but to save them. Accordingly He censured His disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven upon those who refused to receive Him. Luke 9:53–55. The zeal which consumed him was very different even from Elias, and it is not well to confound the ideas of the Old and New Testament. Moreover it is not the same thing whether the wish for the ruin and the damnation of all those who rise up against God is expressed as a prayer and as the counterpart of the blessing implored for all those who turn to God, as it was used by Luther and the Reformers, or whether imprecations of particular persons are expressed.
5. Even the ritual offerings brought in the perfect legal manner, have not the same value with God as the offering of thanks and the spreading abroad of God’s praise in the proclamation of His holy name, comp. Pss. 50:51. The latter on the basis of the blessed experience of God, acts of deliverance, which are of grace, of truth and of salvation gain constantly fuller recognition and greater compass (Ps. 22:24 sq.) in accordance with the tendency of the theocracy to become universal, for which cause God will never let land or people fail.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
When prayer is as earnest as the necessity, then God’s help will not fail, though it be delayed.—He who prays without ceasing must not put his trust in his own worthiness, but in his need and God’s grace.—In patient looking to God, the man’s senses may pass away if only his faith does not give way.—How is it consistent that one should be persecuted as innocent and yet punished as a sinner ? All the pious are interested in what concerns one of them.—It is better to suffer for God’s cause; then to be punished for sins but it is not easier.—Man may act strangely to us and our neighbors become our enemies if only God remains our friend.—To be on God’s side and to suffer persecution are for the most part combined.—Piety has nothing to expect from the world but hate and scorn.—The best answer of the pious to the scorn of the ungodly is to resign their persons to the mercy of God and their cause to His judgment.—The hostility of the world can-not injure us, if it increase our zeal for God’s house and urge us to deeper personal humility, patience and trust in God.—We have reason to examine ourselves earnestly, whether in our zeal for God there is more wrath against our enemies, than love to His person and care for the glory of His house.—He who relies in prayer upon the mercy and truth of God, has the surest foundation for His salvation and the best pledges of the hearing of his prayer.—As comforting as it is for the pious to put themselves in the gracious hands of God, it is as terrible for the ungodly to fall into the hands of the living God.—To be deprived of communion with God is the most fearful judgment.—To be accepted or rejected by God, in this consists the decision for time and for eternity: it is important above all to use this time of grace.—To offer thanks is an offering well pleasing to God.
AUGUSTINE: No punishment is more severe than when sin makes up the punishment of sin.—CALVIN: To suffer shame is harder for a noble man than to suffer a hundred deaths.—It is certainly very hard to imagine God as gracious when He is angry and near when He is afar off.
STARKE: The greater the necessity and anxiety of soul into which a Christian has fallen, the more fervently should he call upon God in accordance with the example of his Saviour.—If Christ who deserved so much of the world has been hated by it to the uttermost, then learn to bear the hate and unthankfulness of the world patiently after His example.—Sin is the greatest folly, because man by it has preferred the friendship of Satan to the friendship of God.—A Christian must never leave out of view the glory of God, but rather be ready to endure all kinds of reproach than that any reproach should come upon God.—The favor and friendship of God make up for all things else.—Who has known better how to avoid necessities than Jesus and see, He prays; follow Him.—Those are not blessings in appearance which are promised to the righteous; but as truly as they fear and love God, they will likewise share in the blessings of salvation purchased by Christ.
ARNDT: Although distress of water is very lamentable, and distress of fire is pitiable and distress of war deplorable and great; yet these only affect the body......But there are other waters which would drown the soul, these are waters of hell, such as fear, anxiety, terror, despair, which affect the soul; from this we should recognise the majesty and greatness of the sufferings of Christ which transcend all the sufferings of all men.—THOLUCK: Men who cannot weep over their own sins, how can they, understand the tears shed for the sins of others!—It is the curse of sin, that it begets new sins.—TAUBE: Zion, however much she must pass through the assaults of all times, has the promise of endurance because of the constant help of God.
[MATT. HENRY: Though we may be jeered for well doing, we must never be jeered out of it.—We cannot expect too little from men,—miserable comforters are they all,—nor can we expect too much from God, for He is “ the Father of Mercy, and the God of all comfort and consolation.”—It is a great comfort for us that humble thankful praises are more pleasing to God than the most costly pompous sacrifices are and ever were.—BARNES: We may feel that we have not wronged our fellow-men; yet even the treatment which we receive from them, however unjust so far as they are concerned, may be regarded as deserved by us at the hand of God, and as proper on His part as an expression of His displeasure for our transgressions against Him, and as a proof that we are Sinners.—C. A. B.]
[These words fitly express the feelings of tbe Messiah upon the cross who bore the shame of an ignominious death, the reproaches of violating the Liw, and the slanders of wicked enemies, who died broken-hearted, with no one to pity, alone in his shame and woe.—C. A. B.]
[Alexander: “Gall and vinegar are here put together to denote the most unpalatable torms of food and drink. The passion of our Lord was providentially so ordered as to furnish a remarkable coincidence with this verse. The Romans were accustomed to give sour wine with an infusion of myrrh to convicts on the cross for the purpose of deadening the pain. This practice was adhered to in our Saviour’s case (Mark 15:23). Though in itself not cruel, but the contrary, it formed part of the great process of murderous persecution. On the part of the Roman soldiery, it may have been an act of kindness; but considered as an act of the unbelieving Jews, it was giving gall and vinegar to one already overwhelmed with anguish. And so Matthew, in accordance with bis general method, represents it as a verification of this passage (Matt. 27:3). He does not contradict Mark’s account before referred to; but merely intimates that the wine and myrrh thus offered were to be regarded as identical with the gall and vinegar of this prediction. And in order to prevent the coincidence from being overlooked, our Lord, before He died, complained of thirst, and vinegar was admin-istered (Matt. 27:48; John 19:28),”—C. A. B.]
[Alexander: “’The imprecations in this verse and those following it are revolting only when considered as the expression of malignant selfishness. If uttered by God they shock no reader’s sensibilities, nor should they when considered as the language of an ideal person, representing the whole class of righteous sufferers, and particularly Him, who though He prayed for His murderers while dying (Luke 23:34), had before applied the words of this very passage to the unbelieving Jews (Matth. 23:38), as Paul did afterwards (Rom. 11:9, 10). The general doctrine of providential retribution, far from being confined to the Old Test., is distinctly taught in many of our Saviour’s parables. See Matth. 21:41, 22:7, 24:51.”—C. A. B.]
[Wordsworth: “St. Peter applies this prophecy to the traitor Judas (Acts 1:20), who was instar omnium, an embodiment and incarnation of those sins which brought misery on the Jews and who was like a personal representative of the Jewish nation in wickedness and punishment.’ ’—C. A. B.]
[Wordsworth: “How much light is shed upon these words as applied to Christ, when they are compared with Is. 53:4; ‘ Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried out orrows; yet we did . steeru Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;’ and Is. 51:6. ‘I gave thy back to the smiters;’ and Zech. 13:6: ‘ I was wounded (smitten) in the house of my friends;’ and Zech 13:7: Smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.’—In all these passages the tame word (nacah) is used.’ ’—C. A. B.]
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David. Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.