Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
A Prayer of the afflicted, &c.--The general terms seem to denote
the propriety of regarding the Psalm as suitably expressive of the
anxieties of any one of David's descendants, piously concerned for the
welfare of the Church. It was probably David's composition, and, though
specially suggested by some peculiar trials, descriptive of future
Poureth out--pouring out the soul--
The tone of complaint predominates, though in view of God's promises
and abiding faithfulness, it is sometimes exchanged for that of
confidence and hope.
1-3. The terms used occur in
17:1, 6; 18:6; 31:2, 10; 37:20.
so that I forget--or, "have forgotten," that is, in my distress
and hence strength fails.
5. voice . . . groaning--effect put for cause, my agony emaciates me.
6, 7. The figures express extreme loneliness.
8. sworn against me--or literally, "by me," wishing others as miserable
as I am
9. ashes--a figure of grief, my bread; weeping or tears, my drink
10. lifted . . . cast me down--or, "cast me away" as stubble by a
11. shadow . . . declineth--soon to vanish in the darkness of night.
12. Contrast with man's frailty (compare
thy remembrance--that by which Thou art remembered, Thy promise.
13, 14. Hence it is here adduced.
the set time, &c.--the time promised, the indication of which is the
interest felt for Zion by the people of God.
15-17. God's favor to the Church will affect her persecutors with fear.
16. When the Lord shall build--or better, "Because the Lord hath
built," &c., as a reason for the effect on others; for in thus acting
and hearing the humble, He is most glorious.
18. people . . . created--(compare
an organized body, as a Church.
19-22. For--or, "That," as introducing the statement of God's
condescension. A summary of what shall be written.
to loose . . . appointed--or, "deliver" them
21. To declare, &c.--or, that God's name may be celebrated in the
assemblies of His Church, gathered from all nations
and devoted to His service.
23-28. The writer, speaking for the Church, finds encouragement in
the midst of all his distresses. God's eternal existence is a pledge of
faithfulness to His promises.
in the way--of providence.
weakened--literally, "afflicted," and made fearful of a premature end,
a figure of the apprehensions of the Church, lest God might not perform
His promise, drawn from those of a person in view of the dangers of
early death (compare
as addressed to Christ in His divine nature. The scope of the Psalm, as
already seen, so far from opposing, favors this view, especially by the
The association of the Messiah with a day of future glory to the Church
was very intimate in the minds of Old Testament writers; and with
correct views of His nature it is very consistent that He should be
addressed as the Lord and Head of His Church, who would bring about
that glorious future on which they ever dwelt with fond delightful