Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Michtam, or, by the change of one letter, Michtab--a "writing,"
such as a poem or song (compare
Such a change of the letter m for b was not unusual. The
position of this word in connection with the author's name, being that
usually occupied by some term, such as Psalm or song, denoting the
style or matter of the composition, favors this view of its meaning,
though we know not why this and Psalms 56-60 should be specially,
called "a writing." "A golden (Psalm)," or "a memorial" are
explanations proposed by some--neither of which, however applicable
here, appears adapted to the other Psalms where the term occurs.
According to Peter
this Psalm relates to Christ and expresses the feelings of His human
nature, in view of His sufferings and victory over death and the grave,
including His subsequent exaltation at the right hand of God. Such was
the exposition of the best earlier Christian interpreters. Some moderns
have held that the Psalm relates exclusively to David; but this view is
expressly contradicted by the apostles; others hold that the language
of the Psalm is applicable to David as a type of Christ, capable of the
higher sense assigned it in the New Testament. But then the language of
cannot be used of David in any sense, for "he saw corruption." Others
again propose to refer the first part to David, and the last to Christ;
but it is evident that no change in the subject of the Psalm is
indicated. Indeed, the person who appeals to God for help is evidently
the same who rejoices in having found it. In referring the whole Psalm
to Christ, it is, however, by no means denied that much of its language
is expressive of the feelings of His people, so far as in their humble
measure they have the feelings of trust in God expressed by Him, their
head and representative. Such use of His language, as recorded in His
and even that which He used in Gethsemane, under similar modifications,
is equally proper. The propriety of this reference of the Psalm to
Christ will appear in the scope and interpretation. In view of the
sufferings before Him, the Saviour, with that instinctive dread of
death manifested in Gethsemane, calls on God to "preserve" Him; He
avows His delight in holiness and abhorrence of the wicked and their
wickedness; and for "the joy that was set before Him, despising the
encourages Himself; contemplating the glories of the heritage appointed
Him. Thus even death and the grave lose their terrors in the assurance
of the victory to be attained and "the glory that should follow"
1. Preserve me, &c.--keep or watch over my interests.
in thee . . . I . . . trust--as one seeking shelter from pressing
2. my soul--must be supplied; expressed in similar cases
(Ps 42:5, 11).
my goodness . . . thee--This obscure passage is
variously expounded. Either one of two expositions falls in with the
context. "My goodness" or merit is not on account of Thee--that is, is
not for Thy benefit. Then follows the contrast of
(but is), in respect, or for the saints, &c.--that is, it enures to
them. Or, my goodness--or happiness is not besides
Thee--that is, without Thee I have no other source of happiness.
Then, "to the saints," &c., means that the same privilege of
deriving happiness from God only is theirs. The first is the most
consonant with the Messianic character of the Psalm, though the latter
is not inconsistent with it.
3. saints--or, persons consecrated to God, set apart from others to
in the earth--that is, land of Palestine, the residence of God's
chosen people--figuratively for the Church.
excellent--or, "nobles," distinguished for moral excellence.
4. He expresses his abhorrence of those who seek other sources of
happiness or objects of worship, and, by characterizing their rites by
drink offerings of blood, clearly denotes idolaters. The word for
"sorrows" is by some rendered "idols"; but, though a similar word to
that for idols, it is not the same. In selecting such a term, there may
be an allusion, by the author, to the sorrows produced by idolatrous
5-7. God is the chief good, and supplies all need
portion of mine inheritance and of my cup--may contain an allusion to
the daily supply of food, and also to the inheritance of Levi
(De 18:1, 2).
maintainest--or, drawest out my lot--enlargest it.
carries out this idea more fully.
7. given me counsel--cared for me.
my reins--the supposed seat of emotion and thought
(Ps 7:9; 26:2).
instruct me--or, excite to acts of praise
(Isa 53:11, 12;
8. With God's presence and aid he is sure of safety
(Ps 10:6; 15:5;
Joh 12:27, 28;
Heb 5:7, 8).
9. glory--as heart
for self. In
after the Septuagint, "my tongue" as "the glory of the
frame"--the instrument for praising God.
flesh--If taken as opposed to soul
it may mean the body; otherwise, the whole person (compare
Ps 63:1; 84:2).
rest in hope--(compare Margin).
10. soul--or, "self." This use of "soul" for the person is frequent
(Ge 12:5; 46:26;
Ps 3:2; 7:2; 11:1),
even when the body may be the part chiefly affected, as in
Ps 35:13; 105:18.
Some cases are cited, as
Nu 6:6; 9:6, 10; 19:13;
&c., which seem to justify assigning the meaning of body, or
dead body; but it will be found that the latter sense is given by some
adjunct expressed or implied. In those cases person is the
wilt not leave . . . hell--abandon to the power of
the state or region of death, and so frequently--or the grave
(Job 14:13; 17:13;
So the Greek Hades (compare
Ac 2:27, 31).
The context alone can settle whether the state mentioned is one of
suffering and place of the damned (compare
Pr 5:5; 7:27).
wilt . . . suffer--literally, "give" or "appoint."
one who is the object of God's favor, and so a recipient of divine
grace which he exhibits--pious.
to see--or, "experience"--undergo
corruption--Some render the word, the pit, which is possible, but
for the obvious sense which the apostle's exposition
(Ac 2:27; 13:36, 37)
gives. The sense of the whole passage is clearly this: by the use of
flesh and soul, the disembodied state produced by death
is indicated; but, on the other hand, no more than the state of
death is intended; for the last clause of
is strictly parallel with the first, and Holy One corresponds to
soul, and corruption to hell. As Holy One,
(Ac 13:36, 37),
which denotes the person, including soul and body, is used for
body, of which only corruption can be predicated (compare
so, on the contrary, soul, which literally means the immaterial
part, is used for the person. The language may be thus paraphrased, "In
death I shall hope for resurrection; for I shall not be left under its
dominion and within its bounds, or be subject to the corruption which
11. Raised from the dead, he shall die no more; death hath no more
dominion over him.
Thou wilt show me--guide me to attain.
the path of life--or, "lives"--the plural denoting variety and
abundance--immortal blessedness of every sort--as "life" often denotes.
in thy presence--or, "before Thy faces." The frequent use of this
plural form for "faces" may contain an allusion to the Trinity
(Nu 6:25, 26;
Ps 17:15; 31:16).
at thy right hand--to which Christ was exalted
In the glories of this state, He shall see of the travail
(Isa 53:10, 11;
of His soul, and be satisfied.