Psalm 56:12
Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Thy vowsi.e., vows made to Thee, but the form is most unusual. For the thought comp. Psalm 22:25; Psalm 50:14.

I will renderi.e., in fulfilment of the vows.

Psalm 56:12-13. Thy vows are upon me — As I have prayed to thee, and am assured that thou wilt deliver me, so, in confidence thereof, I have made vows to express my gratitude to thee, and I acknowledge myself obliged thereby, and do resolve to perform them. For thou hast delivered my soul from death — Which my enemies designed to bring upon me, and of which I was in extreme danger. Wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling? — I am confident that thou wilt, because of thy promises, and my former experience; that I may walk before God — That I may please, serve, and glorify thee, which is the great end for which I desire life; in the light of the living — In this life here, which is opposed to the death last mentioned; and in heaven hereafter.

56:8-13 The heavy and continued trials through which many of the Lord's people have passed, should teach us to be silent and patient under lighter crosses. Yet we are often tempted to repine and despond under small sorrows. For this we should check ourselves. David comforts himself, in his distress and fear, that God noticed all his grievances and all his griefs. God has a bottle and a book for his people's tears, both the tears for their sins, and those for their afflictions. He observes them with tender concern. Every true believer may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and then I will not fear what man shall do unto me; for man has no power but what is given him from above. Thy vows are upon me, O Lord; not as a burden, but as that by which I am known to be thy servant; as a bridle that restrains me from what would be hurtful, and directs me in the way of my duty. And vows of thankfulness properly accompany prayers for mercy. If God deliver us from sin, either from doing it, or by his pardoning mercy, he has delivered our souls from death, which is the wages of sin. Where the Lord has begun a good work he will carry it on and perfect it. David hopes that God would keep him even from the appearance of sin. We should aim in all our desires and expectations of deliverance, both from sin and trouble, that we may do the better service to the Lord; that we may serve him without fear. If his grace has delivered our souls from the death of sin, he will bring us to heaven, to walk before him for ever in light.Thy vows are upon me, O God - The word "vow" means something promised; some obligation under which we have voluntarily brought ourselves. It differs from duty, or obligation in general, since that is the result of the divine command, while this is an obligation arising from the fact that we have "voluntarily" taken it upon ourselves. The extent of this obligation, therefore, is measured by the nature of the promise or vow which we have made; and God will hold us responsible for carrying out our vows. Such voluntary obligations or vows were allowable, as an expression of thanksgiving, or as a means of exciting to a more strict religious service, under the Mosaic dispensation Genesis 28:20; Numbers 6:2; Numbers 30:2-3; Deuteronomy 23:21; 1 Samuel 1:11; and they cannot be wrong under any dispensation. They are not of the nature of "merit," or works of supererogation, but they are

(a) a "means" of bringing the obligations of religion to bear upon us more decidedly, and

(b) a proper expression of gratitude.

Such vows are those which all persons take upon themselves when they make a profession of religion; and when such a profession of religion is made, it should be a constant reflection on our part, that "the vows of God are upon us," or that we have voluntarily consecrated all that we have to God. David had made such a vow

(a) in his general purpose to lead a religious life;

(b) very probably in some specific act or promise that he would devote himself to God if he would deliver him, or as an expression of his gratitude for deliverance. Compare the notes at Acts 18:18; notes at Acts 21:23-24.

I will render praises unto thee - literally, "I will recompense praises unto thee;" that is, I will "pay" what I have vowed, or I will faithfully perform my vows.

12. I will render praises—will pay what I have vowed. As I have prayed to thee, and am assured that thou wilt deliver me; so in confidence thereof I have made vows to express my gratitude to thee, and I acknowledge myself obliged and do resolve to perform them.

Thy vows are upon me, O God,.... Which he had made to him in the time of his distress and trouble, and which he looked upon himself under obligation to perform; they were debts upon him he ought to pay off; they were with him; they were fresh in his mind and memory; he had not forgot them, which is often the case when trouble is over; and he found his heart inclined to make them good;

I will render praises unto thee; which explains what he meant by his vows; namely, sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: when he was in distress, he had vowed and promised, that, if the Lord would deliver him, he would praise his name, and give him all the glory; and now he resolves to fulfil what he had promised.

{h} Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

(h) Having received that which I required, I am bound to pay my vows of thanksgiving as I promised.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Thy vows &c.] Vows made to Thee. The Psalmist acknowledges his obligations. Cp. Psalm 66:13; Acts 21:23.

praises] R.V., thank offerings, in addition to the votive offerings.

12, 13. Concluding vows of thanksgiving.

Verses 12, 13. - The psalm ends with an expression of thankfulness to God for the deliverance, which is so confidently expected, that it is looked upon as assured, and even spoken of as past (ver. 13). Verse 12. - Thy vows are upon me, O God. The psalmist, under his affliction, has made vows to God; i.e. promises of thank offerings if God would come to his aid, and save him from his enemies. These vows he considers to be now due, and himself to be under the obligation of paying them. Accordingly, he announces his intention of speedily discharging his obligation - I will render praises (rather, thank offerings) unto thee. Psalm 56:12In prospect of his deliverance the poet promises beforehand to fulfil the duty of thankfulness. עלי, incumbent upon me, as in Proverbs 7:14; 2 Samuel 18:11. נדריך, with an objective subject, are the vows made to God; and תּודות are distinguished from them, as e.g., in 2 Chronicles 29:31. He will suffer neither the pledged שׁלמי נדר nor the שׁלמי תּודה to be wanting; for - so will he be then able to sing and to declare - Thou hast rescued, etc. The perfect after כּי denotes that which is then past, as in Psalm 59:17, cf. the dependent passage Psalm 116:8. There the expression is ארצות החיּים instead of אור החיּים (here and in Elihu's speech, Job 33:30). Light of life (John 8:12) or of the living (lxx τῶν ζώντων) is not exclusively the sun-light of this present life. Life is the opposite of death in the deepest and most comprehensive sense; light of life is therefore the opposite of the night of Hades, of this seclusion from God and from His revelation in human history.
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