Psalm 56:9
When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.When I cry unto thee - This expresses strong confidence in prayer. The psalmist felt that he had only to cry unto God, to secure the overthrow of his enemies. God had all power, and his power would be put forth in answer to prayer.

Then shall mine enemies turn back - Then shall they cease to pursue and persecute me. He did not doubt that this would be the ultimate result - that this blessing would be conferred, though it might be delayed, and though his faith and patience might be greatly tried.

For God is for me - He is on my side; and he is with me in my wanderings. Compare the notes at Romans 8:31.

9. God is for me—or, "on my side" (Ps 118:6; 124:1, 2); hence he is sure of the repulse of his foes. When I have no other arms or force, which is my present case, my prayers shall be sufficient to overthrow mine enemies.

When I cry unto thee,.... In prayer;

then shall mine enemies turn back; great is the strength of prayer; the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much against their enemies: when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel prevailed: the cases of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, prove it; this David was assured of, and knew it to be true by experience, his prayer being often the prayer of faith in this respect;

this I:know: for God is for me; he knew that when he prayed his enemies would flee; because God was on his side, who is greater than they; or by this he knew that God was for him, and was his God, by hearing his prayers, and causing his enemies to turn back: or, however, let things go how they will, this he was assured of, that he had a covenant interest in God, and who would be his God and guide even unto death.

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Then shall mine enemies turn back in the day when I call:

This I know, that [or, for] God is on my side.

For the emphatic then cp. Psalm 2:5. The certainty that God is on his side is the ground of his assurance that his enemies will be put to flight. Cp. Psalm 9:3; Psalm 118:6.

Verse 9. - When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me; literally, in the day that I call upon thee. Psalm 56:9What the poet prays for in Psalm 56:8, he now expresses as his confident expectation with which he solaces himself. נד (Psalm 56:9) is not to be rendered "flight," which certainly is not a thing that can be numbered (Olshausen); but "a being fugitive," the unsettled life of a fugitive (Proverbs 27:8), can really be numbered both by its duration and its many temporary stays here and there. And upon the fact that God, that He whose all-seeing eye follows him into every secret hiding-place of the desert and of the rocks, counteth (telleth) it, the poet lays great stress; for he has long ago learnt to despair of man. The accentuation gives special prominence to נדי as an emphatically placed object, by means of Zarka; and this is then followed by ספרתּה with the conjunctive Galgal and the pausal אתּה with Olewejored (the _ of which is placed over the final letter of the preceding word, as is always the case when the word marked with this double accent is monosyllabic, or dissyllabic and accented on the first syllable). He who counts (Job 31:4) all the steps of men, knows how long David has already been driven hither and thither without any settled home, although free from guilt. He comforts himself with this fact, but not without tears, which this wretched condition forces from him, and which he prays God to collect and preserve. Thus it is according to the accentuation, which takes שׂימה as imperative, as e.g., in 1 Samuel 8:5; but since שׂים, שׂימה ,שׂים, is also the form of the passive participle (1 Samuel 9:24, and frequently, 2 Samuel 13:32), it is more natural, in accordance with the surrounding thoughts, to render it so even in this instance (posita est lacrima mea), and consequently to pronounce it as Milra (Ewald, Hupfeld, Bttcher, and Hitzig). דמעתי (Ecclesiastes 4:1) corresponds chiastically (crosswise) to נדי, with which בנאדך forms a play in sound; and the closing clause הלא בּספרתך unites with ספרתּה in the first member of the verse. Both Psalm 56:9 and Psalm 56:9 are wanting in any particle of comparison. The fact thus figuratively set forth, viz., that God collects the tears of His saints as it were in a bottle, and notes them together with the things which call them forth as in a memorial (Malachi 3:16), the writer assumes; and only appropriatingly applies it to himself. The אז which follows may be taken either as a logical "in consequence of so and so" (as e.g., Psalm 19:14; Psalm 40:8), or as a "then" fixing a turning-point in the present tearful wandering life (viz., when there have been enough of the "wandering" and of the "tears"), or "at a future time" (more abruptly, like שׁם in Psalm 14:5; Psalm 36:13, vid., on Psalm 2:5). בּיום אקרא is not an expansion of this אז, which would trail awkwardly after it. The poet says that one day his enemies will be obliged to retreat, inasmuch as a day will come when his prayer, which is even now heard, will be also outwardly fulfilled, and the full realization of the succour will coincide with the cry for help. By זה־ידעתּי in Psalm 56:10 he justifies this hope from his believing consciousness. It is not to be rendered, after Job 19:19 : "I who know," which is a trailing apposition without any proper connection with what precedes; but, after 1 Kings 17:24 : this I know (of this I am certain), that Elohim is for me. זה as a neuter, just as in connection with ידע in Proverbs 24:12, and also frequently elsewhere (Genesis 6:15; Exodus 13:8; Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 11:4; Isaiah 29:11, cf. Job 15:17); and לי as e.g., in Genesis 31:42. Through Elohim, Psalm 56:11 continues, will I praise דּבר: thus absolutely is the word named; it is therefore the divine word, just like בּר in Psalm 2:12, the Son absolutely, therefore the divine Son. Because the thought is repeated, Elohim stands in the first case and then Jahve, in accordance with the Elohimic Psalm style, as in Psalm 58:7. The refrain in Psalm 56:12 (cf. Psalm 56:5) indicates the conclusion of the strophe. The fact that we read אדם instead of בּשׂר in this instance, just as in Psalm 56:11 דּבר instead of דּברו (Psalm 56:5), is in accordance with the custom in the Psalms of not allowing the refrain to recur in exactly the same form.
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