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This Psalm is of the same complexion with the two preceding; and belongs most probably to the times of the captivity, though some have referred it to David in his persecutions. In the five first verses the author prays for support against his enemies, who appear to have acted treacherously against him. In the sixth and seventh he is supposed to have gained the victory, and returns with songs of triumph. The eighth is a chorus of the people sung to their conquering king. The ninth is the prayer of the king for his people.
Verse Psalms 28:1. O Lord my rock — צורי tsuri not only means my rock, but my fountain, and the origin of all the good I possess.
If thou be silent — If thou do not answer in such a way as to leave no doubt that thou hast heard me, I shall be as a dead man. It is a modern refinement in theology which teaches that no man can know when God hears and answers his prayers, but by an induction of particulars, and by an inference from his promises. And, on this ground, how can any man fairly presume that he is heard or answered at all? May not his inductions be no other than the common occurrences of providence? And may not providence be no more than the necessary occurrence of events? And is it not possible, on this skeptic ground, that there is no God to hear or answer? True religion knows nothing of these abominations; it teaches its votaries to pray to God, to expect an answer from him, and to look for the Holy Spirit to bear witness with their spirits that they are the sons and daughters of God.
Verse Psalms 28:2. Toward thy holy oracle. — דביר קדשך debir kodshecha; debir properly means that place in the holy of holies from which God gave oracular answers to the high priest. This is a presumptive proof that there was a temple now standing; and the custom of stretching out the hands in prayer towards the temple, when the Jews were at a distance from it, is here referred to.
Verse Psalms 28:3. Draw me not away — Let me not be involved in the punishment of the wicked.
Verse Psalms 28:4. Give them — Is the same as thou wilt give them; a prophetic declaration of what their lot will be.
Verse Psalms 28:5. They regard not the works of the Lord — They have no knowledge of the true God, either as to his nature, or as to his works.
He shall destroy them, and not build them up. — This is a remarkable prophecy, and was literally fulfilled: the Babylonian empire was destroyed by Cyrus, and never built up again; for he founded the Persian empire on its ruins. Even the place where Babylon stood is now no longer known.
Verse Psalms 28:7. The Lord is my strength — I have the fullest persuasion that he hears, will answer, and will save me.
Verse Psalms 28:8. The Lord is their strength — Instead of למו lamo, to them, eight MSS. of Kennicott and De Rossi have לעמו leammo, to his people; and this reading is confirmed by the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, AEthiopic, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon. This makes the passage more precise and intelligible; and of the truth of the reading there can be no reasonable doubt. "The Lord is the strength of his PEOPLE, and the saving strength of his anointed." Both king and people are protected, upheld, and saved by him.
Verse Psalms 28:9. Save thy people — Continue to preserve them from all their enemies; from idolatry, and from sin of every kind.
Bless thine inheritance — They have taken thee for their God; thou hast taken them for thy people.
Feed them — רעה raah signifies both to feed and to govern. Feed them, as a shepherd does his flock; rule them, as a father does his children.
Lift them up for ever. — Maintain thy true Church; let no enemy prevail against it. Preserve and magnify them for ever. Lift them up: as hell is the bottomless pit in which damned spirits sink down for ever; or, as Chaucer says, downe all downe; so heaven is an endless height of glory, in which there is an eternal rising or exaltation. Down, all down; up, all up; for ever and ever.
There are three parts in this Psalm: -
I. A prayer, Psalms 28:1-6.
II. A thanksgiving, Psalms 28:6-9.
III. A prayer for the Church, Psalms 28:9.
I. The first part is a prayer to God; in which he first requests audience, Psalms 28:2: "Hear me." And his prayer is so described, that it sets forth most of the conditions requisite in one that prays: -
1. The object - GOD: "Unto thee, O Lord, do I cry."
2. His faith: "To thee I cry, who art my rock."
3. His fervour: It was an ardent and vehement prayer: "I cry."
4. Humility; it was a supplication: "Hear the voice of my supplication."
5. His gesture: "I lift up my hands."
6. According to God's ORDER: "Towards thy holy temple."
1. The argument he uses to procure an audience; the danger he was in: "Lest, if thou be silent, I become like them that go down to the pit."
2. Then he expresses what he prays for, which is, that either
1. He might not be corrupted by the fair persuasions of hypocrites:
2. Or that he might not be partaker of their punishments: "Draw me not away with the wicked." Upon whom he sets this mark: "Who speak peace - but mischief is in their hearts."
3. Against whom he uses this imprecation, which is the second part of his prayer: "Give them according to their own deeds," c.
4. For which he gives this reason: They were enemies to God and to his religion far from repentance, and any hope of amendment: "They regard not the words of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands; therefore he shall destroy them, and not build them up."
II. Then follows an excellent form of thanksgiving, which he begins with "Blessed be the Lord;" and assigns the reasons, which express the chief parts of thanksgiving.
I. That God heard him: "He hath heard the voice of my supplication."
2. That he would be his Protector: "The Lord is my strength and my shield."
3. For his grace of confidence: "My heart trusted in him."
4. That from him he had relief: "I am helped."
5. The testification and annunciation of this gratitude: "Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." He remembers the indenture: "I will DELIVER THEE, - thou shalt PRAISE ME." And, therefore, with heart and tongue he gives thanks.
6. And that God might have all the honour, he repeats what he said before: "The Lord is their strength," c., that is, of all them that were with him.
III. He concludes with a prayer, in which he commends the whole Church to God's care and tuition.
1. "Save thy people," in the midst of these tumults and distractions.
2. "Bless thine inheritance" that they increase in knowledge, piety, and secular prosperity.
3. "Feed them:" Give them a godly king.
4. "Lift them up for ever:" Make their name famous among the Gentiles; let them increase and multiply till thy Church embraces all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. This hath the Lord promised.
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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany