Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
In this Psalm a celebration of God's deliverance is followed by a
profession of devotion to His service. Then follows a prayer for relief
from imminent dangers, involving the overthrow of enemies and the
rejoicing of sympathizing friends. In
&c., Paul quotes
as the words of Christ, offering Himself as a better sacrifice. Some
suppose Paul thus accommodated David's words to express Christ's
sentiments. But the value of his quotation would be thus destroyed, as
it would have no force in his argument, unless regarded by his readers
as the original sense of the passage in the Old Testament. Others
suppose the Psalm describes David's feelings in suffering and joy; but
the language quoted by Paul, in the sense given by him, could not apply
to David in any of his relations, for as a type the language is not
adapted to describe any event or condition of David's career, and as an
individual representing the pious generally, neither he nor they could
properly use it (see on
below). The Psalm must be taken then, as the sixteenth, to express the
feelings of Christ's human nature. The difficulties pertinent to this
view will be considered as they occur.
1-3. The figures for deep distress are illustrated in Jeremiah's
Patience and trust manifested in distress, deliverance in answer to
prayer, and the blessed effect of it in eliciting praise from God's
true worshippers, teach us that Christ's suffering is our example, and
His deliverance our encouragement
(Heb 5:7, 8; 12:3;
as if to catch the faintest sigh.
3. a new song--(See on
fear, and . . . trust--revere with love and faith.
(Ps 1:1; 2:12).
respecteth--literally, "turns towards," as an object of confidence.
turn aside--from true God and His law to falsehood in worship and
5. be reckoned up in order--(compare
Ps 5:3; 33:14;
too many to be set forth regularly. This is but one instance of many.
The use of the plural accords with the union of Christ and His people.
In suffering and triumph, they are one with Him.
6-8. In Paul's view this passage has more meaning than the mere
expression of grateful devotion to God's service. He represents Christ
as declaring that the sacrifices, whether vegetable or animal, general
or special expiatory offerings, would not avail to meet the demands of
God's law, and that He had come to render the required satisfaction,
which he states was effected by "the offering of the body of Christ"
for that is the "will of God" which Christ came to fulfil or do, in
order to effect man's redemption. We thus see that the contrast to the
unsatisfactory character assigned the Old Testament offerings in
is found in the compliance with God's law (compare
Ps 40:7, 8).
Of course, as Paul and other New Testament writers explain Christ's
work, it consisted in more than being made under the law or obeying its
precepts. It required an "obedience unto death"
and that is the compliance here chiefly intended, and which makes the
mine ears hast thou opened--Whether allusion is made to the custom of
boring a servant's ear, in token of voluntary and perpetual enslavement
or that the opening of the ear, as in
Isa 48:8; 50:5
(though by a different word in Hebrew) denotes obedience by the
common figure of hearing for obeying, it is evident that the clause is
designed to express a devotion to God's will as avowed more fully in
and already explained. Paul, however, uses the words, "a body hast thou
which are found in the Septuagint in the place of the words,
"mine ears hast thou opened." He does not lay any stress on this
clause, and his argument is complete without it. It is, perhaps, to be
regarded rather as an interpretation or free translation by the
Septuagint, than either an addition or attempt at verbal
translation. The Septuagint translators may have had reference
to Christ's vicarious sufferings as taught in other Scriptures, as in
at all events, the sense is substantially the same, as a body was
essential to the required obedience (compare
7. Then--in such case, without necessarily referring to order of time.
Lo, I come--I am prepared to do, &c.
in the volume of the book--roll of the book. Such rolls,
resembling maps, are still used in the synagogues.
written of me--or on me, prescribed to me
The first is the sense adopted by Paul. In either case, the Pentateuch,
or law of Moses, is meant, and while it contains much respecting Christ
Ge 3:15; 49:10;
and, indirectly, in the Levitical ritual, there is nowhere any allusion
9, 10. I have preached--literally, "announced good tidings."
Christ's prophetical office is taught. He "preached" the great truths
of God's government of sinners.
11. may be rendered as an assertion, that God will not withhold
12. evils--inflicted by others.
iniquities--or penal afflictions, and sometimes calamities in the
wide sense. This meaning of the word is very common
(Ps 31:11; 38:4;
that of Sodom;
of the witch of En-dor; also
Isa 5:18; 53:11).
This meaning of the word is also favored by the clause, "taken hold of
me," which follows, which can be said appropriately of
sufferings, but not of sins (compare
Thus, the difficulties in referring this Psalm to Christ, arising from
the usual reading of this verse, are removed. Of the terrible
afflictions, or sufferings, alluded to and endured for us,
and the narrative of the scenes of Calvary.
my heart faileth me--
"My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."
cannot look up--literally, "I cannot see," not denoting the depression
of conscious guilt, as
but exhaustion from suffering, as dimness of eyes (compare
Ps 6:7; 13:3; 38:10).
The whole context thus sustains the sense assigned to
14, 15. The language is not necessarily imprecatory, but rather a
though the former sense is not inconsistent with Christ's prayer for
the forgiveness of His murderers, inasmuch as their confusion and shame
might be the very means to prepare them for humbly seeking forgiveness
15. for a reward--literally, "in consequence of."
Ps 35:21, 25).
love thy salvation--delight in its bestowal on others as well as
17. A summary of his condition and hopes.
thinketh upon--or provides for me. "He was heard," "when he had
offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto
Him that was able to save him from death"