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INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 69
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, [A Psalm] of David. Of the word "shoshannim", :-, title. The Targum renders it,
"concerning the removal of the sanhedrim;''
which was about the time of Christ's death. The Talmudists t say, that forty years before the destruction of the temple, the sanhedrim removed, they removed from the paved chamber, c. But it can hardly be thought that David prophesied of this affair nor of the captivity of the people of Israel, as the Targum, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Arama, and R. Obadiah interpret it: and so Jarchi takes the word "shoshannim" to signify lilies, and applies it to the Israelites, who are as a lily among thorns. But not a body of people, but a single person, is spoken of, and in sorrowful and suffering circumstances; and, if the Jews were not blind, they might see that they are the enemies of the person designed, and the evil men from whom he suffered so much. And indeed what is said of him cannot be said of them, nor of any other person whatever but the Messiah: and that the psalm belongs to Christ, and to the times of the Gospel, is abundantly evident from the citations out of it in the New Testament; as
Psalms 69:4 in John 15:25;
Psalms 69:9 in John 2:17;
Psalms 69:21 in Matthew 27:34;
Psalms 69:22 in Romans 11:9;
Psalms 69:25 in Acts 1:16.
The inscription of the psalm in the Syriac version is,
""a psalm" of David, according to the letter, when Shemuah (Sheba), the son of Bichri, blew a trumpet, and the people ceased from following after him (David); but the prophecy is said concerning those things which the Messiah suffered, and concerning the rejection of the Jews.''
And Aben Ezra interprets Psalms 69:36 of the days of David, or of the days of the Messiah.
t T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 8. 2. & Roshhashanah, fol. 31. 1, 2.
Save me, O God,.... The petitioner is Christ; not as a divine Person, as such he is blessed for ever, and stands in no need of help and assistance; but as man, and in distressed and suffering circumstances. As a priest, it was part of his work to intercede, as well as to offer sacrifice; and though he did not offer a sin offering for himself, yet he offered up supplications, with strong cryings and tears; and, as the surety of his people, he prayed, in point of right and justice, both for himself and them; see John 17:4. The person petitioned is God the Father, who was able to save him, and always heard him; and did in this petition, Hebrews 5:7; which perfectly agrees with some petitions of Christ, recorded in the New Testament,
John 12:27. These show the weakness of the human nature, the weight of sin upon him, and his sense of the wrath of God; and which, notwithstanding, were made with limitations and restrictions, and even with a correction. Moreover, this may also design help and assistance from his divine Father, which was promised him, and he expected and had, in the acceptable time, in the day of salvation: and he was so saved in death, as that he abolished that, and destroyed him that had the power of it; and was quickly raised from the grave, and thereby saved out of it. And this he could have done himself, but he would be saved in a legal way, in a way of justice; and as a point of honour, when he had done the work, he, as a surety, engaged to do. The reasons enforcing this petition follow:
for the waters are come in unto [my] soul: the Messiah represents his case, in these words, and in Psalms 69:2, as like to that of a man standing up to his chin in water, and the waters running into his mouth, just suffocating him; and that in a miry place, where he could not set his feet firm, nor get himself out; and even overflowed with the floods, and immersed in the deep waters, and so in the most imminent danger. These overwhelming waters may signify the floods of ungodly men that encompassed him, the assembly of the wicked that enclosed him; and the proud waters that went over his soul, the Gentiles and people of Israel, that were gathered against him to destroy him; and so the Targum interprets it of the camp of sinners, that pressed him on every side, as water: the whole posse of devils may also be designed, for now was the hour and power of darkness; Satan, and his principalities and powers, came in like a flood upon him, to swallow him up; innumerable evils, the sins of his people, came upon him from every quarter, and pressed him sore; the curses of the law fell upon him, which may be compared to the bitter water of jealousy that caused the curse. These entered into him, when he was made a curse for his people; and the wrath of God went over him, and lay hard upon him, and came about him like water, into his very soul, which made him exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
I sink in deep mire, where [there is] no standing,.... Which signifies not despair of mind, but difficult and distressed circumstances; the Messiah now bearing the filthy sins of his people, and the punishment of them, and so was got into the horrible pit, the mire and clay; :-;
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me: as afflictions are often compared to waters in Scripture, Christ's sorrows and sufferings are very aptly signified by deep waters and overflowing floods; and therefore rightly called a baptism, as by himself,
Luke 12:50, when he was as one immersed in and overwhelmed with water.
I am weary of my crying,.... In his distress; when, bearing the punishment both of loss and sense, he cried unto God; he prayed earnestly, with great intenseness and fervency of spirit; he offered supplications, with strong cryings and tears, insomuch that he calls it a roaring: and whereas there was a seeming delay of answer to his cries, he cried till he was weary of crying; and yet it is remarkable that his last cry was with a loud voice, which surprised the centurion; see Psalms 22:1;
my throat is dried; with crying, so that he was hoarse; or "burnt" u; with inward heat of a fever, which usually attended persons crucified; see Psalms 22:15;
mine eyes fail while I wait for my God; God the Father was the God of Christ, as he was man; he prepared a body for him, and anointed his human nature with the Holy Spirit; he supported and upheld him: and as such Christ loved him, believed in him, prayed to him, and waited and looked for help and salvation from him; this being delayed, his eyes failed with intense looking about for it, as well as with grief and tears. Ainsworth observes, that failing of the eyes is one of the curses of the law, Leviticus 26:16, and it shows how in every thing Christ was made a curse for his people.
u נחר "adustum", Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.
They that hate me without a cause,.... As the Jews did; see
John 15:18; for he did no injury to the persons or properties of men; but went about continually doing good, both to their souls and bodies; so that he merited their highest esteem and love, and not their hatred; and yet they were his implacable enemies; see Luke 19:14;
are more than the hairs of mine head; they were a multitude that came to take him in the garden; and it was the multitude that the priests and Pharisees instigated to ask for the release of Barabbas, and the crucifixion of Jesus; and a vast number of people followed him to the cross, and insulted him on it; the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together against him;
they that would destroy me; as the Jews sought to do often before his time was come;
[being] mine enemies wrongfully; without cause, as before; or through lies and falsehoods told of him, and spread about concerning him:
are mighty; lively and strong, as David's enemies were, Psalms 38:19. The great men of the earth, kings and princes, as Herod and Pontius Pilate, and also the infernal principalities and powers, who were concerned in contriving those lies, and putting them into the minds of men; for Satan is the father of lies and falsehood;
then I restored [that] which I took not away; by rapine, force, and violence, as the word w signifies; and which was done by others. Thus, for instance, Christ restored the glory of God, of which he was robbed, and which was taken away by the sin of man; by veiling his own glory, not seeking that, but his Father's; and by working out the salvation of his people, in such a manner as that all the divine perfections were glorified by it; hence, "glory to God in the highest", Luke 2:14. He satisfied justice he had never injured, though others had; he fulfilled a law, and bore the penalty of it, which he never broke; and made satisfaction for sins he never committed; and brought in a righteousness he had not taken away; and provided a better inheritance than what was lost by Adam: and all this was done at the time of his sufferings and death, and by the means of them.
w גזלתי "rapui", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness,.... Not that there was real foolishness in him, who, as man, from his infancy was filled with wisdom, and increased in it; and, as Mediator, had the spirit of wisdom on him, and the treasures of wisdom in him; and, as a divine Person, he is the Wisdom of God, and the only wise God; and, as in our nature, there was no foolishness in his heart, nor in his words, nor in his actions: but this is to be understood either of what was accounted so by others; he and his followers were reckoned foolish and illiterate men, and the Gospel preached by him and his apostles was foolishness to them that perished; or of what he was charged with by his enemies; even with immorality, heresy, blasphemy, and sedition; of all which he was innocent, and therefore could appeal to his divine Father, who knows all things, that he was clear of all such folly; for it may be rendered, "thou knowest as to my foolishness" x, with respect to what he was charged with, that there was none in him; or else it regards the foolishness of his people imputed to him, the sin that folly of follies, together with all the foolishness in the heart, lip, and lives of his people, before and after conversion; these were all reckoned to him, and reckoned by him, as his own in some sense; and which is confirmed by what follows:
and my sins are not hid from thee; meaning not any committed by him; for then he could not have said what he does in Psalms 69:4; but the sins of his people imputed to him, which be calls his own,
Psalms 69:4- :: these must be known to his divine Father, since he is God omniscient, and since he laid them upon him, and he made satisfaction for them to him; and which he observes to enforce his petition, Psalms 69:1; with this compare Isaiah 53:11.
x לאולתי "tu nosti ut res se habeat quoad stultitiam meam", Gussetius, p. 312.
Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake,.... Of their expectation of redemption and salvation by the Messiah, they have been waiting upon the Lord for; when they shall see him in suffering circumstances, and even dead and laid in the grave, without any hope of his rising again; which was the case of the two disciples travelling to Emmaus, Luke 24:19; whose trust in him, and expectation of him, as the Redeemer of Israel, were almost gone. The people of God, and believers in Christ, are described by such that "wait on the Lord"; for the coming of Christ, and salvation by him; who would be in danger of being put to shame and in confusion, when they should see him under the power of death and the grave; wherefore in this petition Christ addresses his divine Father as "the Lord God of hosts", of armies above and below, as God omnipotent; partly to encourage their trust and confidence in him, and partly to encourage his own faith as man, that this petition would be answered;
let not those that seek thee: in the word and ordinances, by prayer and supplication, with all their hearts, in Christ, in whom the Lord is only to be found, and for life and happiness:
be confounded for my sake; that is, through his sufferings and death, as before:
O God of Israel; the covenant God of the spiritual Israel, whom he has chosen, the Messiah redeems, and the Spirit makes Israelites indeed.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach,.... Being reckoned a sinner, called a deceiver, said to be a Samaritan, and to have a devil; with many other reproaches, which he bore patiently for the sake of the word and worship of God, and for the sake of the glory of God, which he all along sought; and to repair the loss of it, which was sustained through the sin of man;
shame hath covered my face; when he was spit upon by some, and smote by others with a rod upon his cheek; and when he was blindfolded, and bid to prophesy who smote him; see Isaiah 50:6.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren,.... Not only to the Jews in general, who were his own people and nation, to whom he came, and of whom he came; who received him not, hid as it were their faces from him, and rejected him as the Messiah; but also to such who were still nearer akin to him, according to the flesh, who did not believe in him, John 7:5; and even in some sense to his disciples and followers; some of which having heard some doctrines delivered by him not agreeable to them, withdrew from him, and walked no more with him, John 6:60; yea, to his apostles, whom he often called his brethren: one of these betrayed him, another denied him with oaths and cursing, and all of them forsook him and fled, when he was taken by his enemies, and about to suffer death;
and an alien unto my mother's children; which is the same as before, in other words. The Targum is,
"as the son of the Gentiles to my mother's children;''
that is, as an Heathen to them; see Matthew 18:17.
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,.... Of the house of the sanctuary, as the Targum; that is, the temple, which was Christ's Father's house, where he was worshipped and dwelt; and zeal for his Father, and his glory in it, and indignation against those that made it an house of merchandise, inflamed him; put him upon driving out the buyers and sellers in it, whereby this passage had its accomplishment, John 2:14; and this may be applied to the church of God which is the house of God, of his building, and where he dwells; and zeal may design the fervent affection of Christ for it, for the doctrine, discipline, and salvation of it. His zeal for the Gospel appeared in his warm and lively preaching it, in his assiduity and constancy in it; in the wearisome journeys he took to spread it, in the risks he run, and dangers he exposed himself to, for the sake of it; in the miracles he wrought to confirm it, and in the care he took to free it from calumny and reproach: his zeal for the worship and discipline of God's house was shown by his asserting the purity of worship in spirit and truth; by his severe inveighing against the traditions, superstition, and will worship of men, and against the vices and corruptions of professors of religion, the Scribes and Pharisees: his zeal for the salvation of his people is easily seen in his suretyship engagements for them; in coming into this world to do the will of him that sent him; in his early regards unto it, and vehement desire, even of suffering death, in order to accomplish it, and in his voluntary and cheerful submission and obedience, even to the death of the cross: this zeal of his was according to knowledge, and was cordial, hearty, and unfeigned; and this "eat [him] up": inflamed like fire his spirit and affections; consumed his time and strength, and even life itself;
and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me: the same persons that reproached the one reproached the other; and the reproaches of his divine Father were as cutting to him as if cast on himself; it went to his heart that his Father's house should be made an house of merchandise; that his doctrine should be despised, his worship neglected, and his glory lessened; to have the name of God, his ways and truth, evil spoken of, were not pleasing to him; he took all reproach of this kind to himself, and bore it becomingly; and yet showed zeal for his Father's glory, and indignation against those that reproached him; see Romans 15:1.
When I wept,.... Because of the sins of his people imputed to him; the hardness and unbelief of the Jews that rejected him; their impiety and profaneness in polluting the temple with their merchandise: he wept at the grave of Lazarus, and over the city of Jerusalem, on account of the blindness of its inhabitants, and the ruin coming upon them; and in his prayers at different times, especially in the garden and on the cross, which were offered up with strong crying and tears; see John 11:35;
[and chastened] my soul with fasting; or "my soul [being] in fasting" y. The Targum renders it, "in the fasting of my soul"; the word "chastened" is supplied from Psalms 35:13; and "soul" is put for the body, or for the whole person. Christ fasted forty days and nights in the wilderness; and often, through neglect of himself, and multiplicity of business, in preaching, and in healing diseases, was without food for some time: he seems to have been fasting the day that he suffered, when he made atonement for sin; and so answered the type on the day of atonement, when every man was to afflict his soul with fasting,
Leviticus 16:29; hence the Jews taunting at him gave him gall for his meat, and vinegar for his drink, Psalms 69:21; and it follows,
that was to my reproach; if he ate and drank, he was charged with being a glutton and a winebibber; and if he wept and fasted, as John his forerunner did, they reproached him with madness, and having a devil,
Matthew 11:18; and, as may be reasonably supposed, after this manner;
"can this poor creature, that weeps, and mourns, and fasts, be thought to be the Son of God, a divine Person, as he makes himself to be, and his followers believe he is?''
and so the blind Jews reason to this day.
y בצום נפשי "cum esset in jejunio anima mea", Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, De Dieu.
I made sackcloth also my garment,.... Though we nowhere read that Jesus put on sackcloth upon any occasion, yet it is not improbable that he did; besides, the phrase may only intend that he mourned and sorrowed at certain times, as persons do when they put on sackcloth: moreover, as the common garb of his forerunner was raiment of camels' hair, with a leathern girdle; so it is very likely his own was very mean, suitable to his condition; who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor;
and I became a proverb to them; a byword; so that when they saw any person in sackcloth, or in vile raiment, behold such an one looks like Jesus of Nazareth.
They that sit in the gate speak against me,.... The princes, magistrates, and judges, who sat in the gates of cities, heard and tried causes, and executed judgment there; the elders of the city; see Ruth 4:1; the civil rulers among the Jews are meant; and also their ecclesiastical ones, the Scribes and Pharisees that sat in Moses's seat; though some think men of lower characters are designed, idle persons that saunter about, and sit in gateways, and corners of streets, and in marketplaces; spending their time, like the Athenians, in hearing and telling of news, and prating about this and the other person, and their affairs; but the former sense seems best, since these are rather intended in the next clause: now such men of rank and figure spoke against Christ; against his person as the Son of God, against his office as the Messiah, against his doctrines and ordinances, and against his people and followers: or they spake together "of him" z; they confabulated and consulted together how to seize him, and take away his life, as the chief priests and elders frequently did; and when they had taken him they gave their voice against him, and unanimously condemned him, when they sat in judgment upon him;
and I [was] the song of the drunkards; or "of them that drink strong drink" a; be it made of what it will; that is, to excess: these, while they played on their instruments of music, as the word b here used signifies, sung songs, and Christ was the subject of them; as Job complains was his case, Job 30:8; very probably the common people that were employed in taking of Jesus might have plenty of liquor given them by the priests and elders, to encourage them; and this being a festival time too, might come at it more easily than usual, and drink more freely; and this might be the case of the Roman soldiers, when they made Christ the subject of their mirth and diversion in Pilate's hall.
z בי "de me", Tigurine version, Junius Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. a שחר "sechar", Montanus siceram, Tigurine version, Cocceius; "potum inebriantem", Junius Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis. b נגינות "cantiones ad instrumenta musica", Vatablus "pulsationes", Gejerus.
But as for me, my prayer [is] unto thee, O Lord,.... Christ betook himself to prayer in these circumstances, and not to railing and reviling again: he applied to his divine Father, and committed himself to him that judgeth righteously, and prayed both for himself and for his enemies too: and this he did
[in] an acceptable time; or "a time of good will" c; which was the time of his sufferings and death; so called, because the good will and pleasure of God was seen therein; in not sparing his Son, his own and only begotten Son, his beloved Son, and delivering him up to justice and death for the worst of sinners; and because at this time the good will of God was done: Christ laid down his life by the commandment of his Father, offered himself a sacrifice by the will of God, and hereby the law of God was fulfilled, justice satisfied, and the work of man's redemption finished; which was the pleasure of the Lord, that prospered in his hands; and therefore this must be an acceptable time to God. The sufferings of Christ were well pleasing to him; the sacrifice of Christ was for a sweet smelling savour; the righteousness of Christ was acceptable to him, the law being magnified and made honourable by it: peace was now made by the blood of his cross; the perfections of God were glorified, his purposes executed, his promises fulfilled, his covenant confirmed, and his people saved; and so a proper time for the Mediator to offer up his supplications and prayers, in which he was heard, as appears from Isaiah 49:8;
O God, in the multitude of thy mercy; these words, according to the accents in the Hebrew text, should be rendered in connection with the preceding words, thus: "in the time of good will, O God"; or "in the time of the good will of God, through the multitude of thy mercy"; and then the sense is, that the acceptable time was owing to the greatness of divine mercy; it was from hence that the dayspring from on high visited men; or Christ came in the flesh, and suffered in the room and stead of sinners; in which there was a wonderful display of the abundant mercy of God to men; for otherwise there was none shown to the surety and Saviour; he was not spared, but delivered up; and then it follows,
hear me, in the truth of thy salvation; or "because of", or "by thy true salvation" d; that which God contrived in council, and secured in covenant, and sent his Son to effect, and which he is become the author of, is a true and real salvation; not figurative and shadowy, as the salvation of Israel out of Egypt and Babylon were: or because of the truth and faithfulness of God, who had promised salvation to the Messiah, that he should be carried through his sufferings, be raised from the dead, and be crowned with glory and honour; and therefore he prays he might be heard on this account, and his prayer follows, and the several petitions in it.
c עת רצון "tempus beneplaciti", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c. d באמת ישעך "per salutem tuam veram", Gejerus.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink,.... In which he was sinking, Psalms 69:2; and accordingly he was delivered out of it,
Psalms 11:2; even out of all the mire of sin, the sins of his people that were upon him, from which he was justified when raised from the dead; and so will appear without sin, when he comes a second time:
let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters; these phrases design the same, even the enemies of Christ; such that hated him, compared to deep waters: these are the floods of the ungodly, and the many waters out of which he was drawn and delivered,
Let not the water flood overflow me,.... The enemy, Satan, that came in like a flood upon him, with his whole posse of devils; or the wrath of God, which came upon him like a flood overwhelming him:
neither let the deep swallow me up: as Jonah by the whale, and Dathan and Abiram in the earth:
and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me; either the pit of hell; so the Targum interprets it: for Christ, when he endured the curses of the law, and the wrath of God, suffered the same for kind as the damned in hell; only the mouth of this pit could not be shut upon him, or he be continued under such wrath and curse: or else the pit of the grave, where his divine Father left him not, or suffered him to be so long in it as to see corruption; this pit was not shut upon him, but he was delivered out of it, and will die no more.
Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness [is] good,.... His lovingkindness to him, not only as his Son, but as Mediator; and which is a love of complacency and delight, and was from eternity, and will be to eternity: and this is "good", as appears by the effects and evidences of it; such as putting all things into his hands, showing him all that he does, concealing and keeping nothing from him, appointing him to be the Saviour of his people, the Head of the church, and the Judge of the world; and this lovingkindness shown to him is a reason why he might expect to be heard by his God and Father; see John 17:24; and the loving kindness of God to his people, and the members of Christ, is also good: it arises from the good will and pleasure of God; it is pleasantly and delightfully good to the saints, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and have had his love shed abroad in their hearts; it is profitably good unto them; it has prepared and laid up good things for them, both for time and eternity, even all the blessings of grace and goodness: it has promised good things unto them in covenant, and it gives Christ, and all good things along with him; it has a good influence on the graces of the Spirit, faith, hope, and love, to encourage them; and engages believers to a cheerful obedience to all the divine commands; to which may be added the duration of it, it lasts for ever: and it is so good, that it is better than any temporal good thing without it; it is better than life, and all the comforts of it, Psalms 63:3;
turn unto me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies; his divine Father had turned away his face from him, and turned his fury upon him; he had awoke his sword of justice against him, pointed it at him, and thrust it into him; and now, satisfaction being made, he desires he would turn unto him in a way of grace and favour; that he would have respect unto him, and look upon him with his paternal countenance, and in a kind and tender manner, as well pleased with him, and with his righteousness and sacrifice. Of the phrase, "according to the multitude of that tender mercies", Psalms 63:3- :.
And hide not thy face from thy servant,.... This is a character that is frequently given to Christ as Mediator; he is a servant of God's choosing, calling, and appointing; of his sending, bringing forth, and supporting; who is an obedient, diligent, righteous, and prudent one; who always reverenced and honoured him whose servant he was, Isaiah 42:1; now, when he was on the cross, suffering in the room and stead of his people, his Father hid his face from him; which he here deprecates, and desires he would not continue to do, seeing he was his servant, now doing his service, and about to finish it, even the great work of man's redemption; and for a reason following;
for I am in trouble; in straits and difficulties; pressed on every side, enclosed with the assembly of the wicked, who were mocking of him, and with the whole posse of devils, who were throwing their fiery darts at him; having the sins of his people and the curses of a righteous law on him, and the wrath of God in him; and what increased his trouble was, he was forsaken by him;
hear me speedily; or "make haste to hear" e; and answer me; his case required haste; see Psalms 22:19.
e מהר ענני "festina exaudire me", Vatablus.
Draw nigh unto my soul,.... God his father, while he was suffering, stood afar off from him; wherefore he desires that he would draw nigh to him in the manifestations of his love and favour to him; which he did, when he made known to him the way of life, and made him full of joy with his countenance;
[and] redeem it: that is, from the power of the grave; not leave it there, but raise him from the dead, and give him glory, as he did;
deliver me, because of mine enemies; that they might not triumph over him, as if, being dead, he should rise no more; and so the Targum,
"that mine enemies might not lift up themselves against me.''
Or the meaning is, deliver me from the grave, raise me from the dead, that I may requite mine enemies, and take vengeance on them; see
Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour,.... A heap of words to express the greatness of the contempt that was cast upon him, and the injury that was done to his person and character; which was all known to God: as how he was vilified by wicked words and blasphemous speeches; how he was exposed to shame and dishonour by deeds; by spitting upon him, buffeting him, veiling his face, stripping him of his garments, and scourging and crucifying him naked;
mine adversaries [are] all before thee; in his sight: he knew their persons, the malice and wickedness that were in their hearts; and all the evil words that were spoken, and the evil actions that were done by them. Or, "are all against thee" f; for they that were against Christ were against his Father.
f נגרך "coram te, vel contra te", Cocceius.
Reproach hath broken my heart,.... This was his case when his soul was exceeding sorrowful unto death, and his heart like wax melted in the midst of his bows is, Matthew 26:38;
and I am full of heaviness; as he was in the garden, Mark 14:33; or, "very sick, [yea], incurably sick", as the word g signifies; see
2 Samuel 12:15. For what cure is there for a broken heart?
and I looked [for some] to take pity, but [there was] none; and for comforters, but I found none: his disciples forsook him and fled; the priests, scribes, and common people, that attended him at the cross, mocking him; the thieves that were crucified with him reviled him; and his Father hid his face from him; only a few women stood afar off and lamented.
g ואנושה "adeo ut afficiar aegritudine", Junius Tremellius, Piscator "dolui vel aegritudine affectus sum", Gejerus.
They gave me also gall for my meat,.... Either some bitter herb mentioned with wormwood and hemlock, Deuteronomy 29:18; or the gall of some animal The Targum renders it,
"the gall of the heads of serpents:''
the poison of some serpents is in their heads, and the word that is here used signifies the head; see Deuteronomy 32:33. This was literally fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 27:34; and showed that he bore the curse of the law; that being given to him for food, which was not fit to be eaten; thereby intimating, that he deserved not to have the common food and necessaries of life; which is the case of those in whose place and stead he suffered: and this may be a rebuke to such who, through fulness and affluence, are apt to slight and contemn some of the good creatures of God, which ought to be received with thanksgiving; let them remember the gall that was given Christ for meat. And this may serve to reconcile poor Christians to that mean fare and low way of living they are obliged to; though they, have but a dinner of herbs, or bread and water, it is better fare than their Lord's; it is not gall;
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink; Christ, when on the cross, was athirst, which was occasioned by a fever that usually attended persons in his circumstances; see Psalms 22:15; and, that this Scripture might be fulfilled, he signified it, saying, "I thirst"; upon which vinegar was given to him, as all the evangelists relate;
Matthew 27:48. This shows the truth of Christ's human nature; that it was a true and real body that he assumed, which was subject to hunger and thirst, and was supported by food and drink, as our bodies are; also the truth of divine revelation; since such a minute circumstance as this, predicted so many hundred years ago, should, after so long a time, be exactly fulfilled; and likewise the truth of the Messiahship of Jesus, in whom this, and every thing else said Messiah, in the Law, the Prophets, and the book of Psalms, were fully accomplished; and therefore it may be strongly concluded that this is he of whom they spoke. Moreover, this expresses the inhumanity of the enemies of Christ, to use him in this manner, when he was suffering and dying; see Proverbs 31:6.
Let their table become a snare before them,.... This and the following imprecations were not the effects of a spirit of private revenge; of which there was no appearance in Christ, but all the reverse who prayed for his enemies, while they were using him as above related: but they are prophecies of what should be, being delivered out under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Acts 1:16. Wherefore some versions render the words, "their table shall become a snare" h; and therefore are not to be drawn into an example by us, to favour and encourage a revengeful spirit: and they are very just and righteous, according to "lex talionis", the law of retaliation; since, inasmuch as they gave Christ gall for his meat, and vinegar for his drink, it was but right that the same measure should be meted out to them again; and their table mercies and blessings be cursed; that they should have them not in love, but in bitter wrath. Or that they should be left to be overcharged with them, and surfeit upon them; and so the day of their destruction come upon them as a snare: or that they should want the common necessaries of life, and be tempted to eat what was not lawful; and even their own children, as some did; see Malachi 2:2 Lamentations 4:10. The Targum gives the sense of the words thus;
"let their table, which they prepared before me, that I might eat before them, be for a snare;''
meaning a table spread with vinegar and gall. Of the figurative sense of these words, Lamentations 4:10- :; where apostle cites this passage, and applies it to the enemies of Christ;
and [that which should have been] for [their] welfare, [let it become] a trap; the word translated, "for [their] welfare", comes from שלמ, which signifies both "to be at peace", and "to recompense"; and so is differently interpreted. Some think the "shelamim", or peace offerings, are meant; see Exodus 24:5; and so the Targum,
"let their sacrifices be for a trap, or stumbling block;''
as they were, they trusting in them for the atonement of sin: and so neglected the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and his righteousness; which was the stumbling block at which they stumbled, and the trap into which they fell, and was their ruin. And it is observable, that while they were eating the sacrifice of the passover, they were surrounded by the Roman army, and taken as birds in a net, and as beasts in a trap. Others render the words, "to them that are at peace" i, let their table be "for a trap"; while they are living in security, and crying, Peace, peace, let sudden, destruction come upon them; as it did. But the apostle has taught us how to render the word "for a recompence",
Romans 11:9; as the word, differently pointed, is in Isaiah 34:8. The true rendering and meaning of the whole seem to be this, "let their table become a snare before them"; and let their table be "for recompences" unto them, or in just retaliation; let the same food, or the like unto it, be set upon their tables, they gave to Christ, and let their table "become a trap"; for all relate to their table.
h יהו "erit", Pagninus, Montanus; "fiet vel fiat", Gejerus. i לשלומים "tranquilli", Gejerus; so some in Michaelis.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not,.... Not literally, the eyes of their bodies; but figuratively, the eyes of their understanding; which were so darkened, and they given up to such judicial blindness, that they could not discern the signs of the times that the Messiah must be come, Daniel's weeks being up; could not see any glory, excellency, and comeliness in Christ; could not see the evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus in the miracles he wrought; nor in the prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in him: that book was a sealed book unto them; the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, were hid from them, even from the wise and prudent among them; yea, also those things which belonged to their temporal peace; they were so blinded and infatuated, they could not see what was for their outward good and happiness: and, in proof of this their blindness, the words are cited by the apostle in Romans 11:7; see Matthew 16:3;
and make their loins continually to shake; weaken their loins, in which a man's strength lies, that they may not be able to rise up against their enemies; and that they might not be able to flee and escape from them; see Deuteronomy 33:11; or fill them with horror, dread, and trembling, as they will be when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven; and they shall see him whom they have pierced, Revelation 1:7. The apostle renders the words "bow down their back alway"; Revelation 1:7- :.
Pour out thine indignation upon them,.... Not a few drops of it only, but a flood of it, sweeping away and bearing down all before it; which was done when wrath came upon them to the uttermost, in the destruction of their city, temple, and nation, 1 Thessalonians 2:16;
let thy wrathful anger take hold of them; follow after them, overtake them, seize upon them, and hold them fast, that they may not escape. It denotes the severity of God towards them; the fierceness and fury of his wrath upon them; and that their destruction would be inevitable, and an entire and utter one.
Let their habitation be desolate,.... Which is applied to Judas, Acts 1:20; but not to the exclusion of others; for it must be understood of the habitations of others; even of their princes and nobles, their chief magistrates, high priest and other priests, scribes, and doctors of the law: for the word may be rendered, "their palace" or "castle" k, as it is by some; and so may denote the houses of their principal men, the members of their sanhedrim; their houses great and fair, of which there were many in Jerusalem when it was destroyed; see Isaiah 5:9; as well as the habitations of the meaner sort of people, which all became desolate at that time; and particularly their house, the temple, which was like a palace or castle, built upon a mountain. This was left desolate, as our Lord foretold it would,
[and] let none dwell in their tents; the city of Jerusalem was wholly destroyed and not a house left standing in it, nor an inhabitant of it; it was laid even with the ground, ploughed up, and not one stone left upon another, Luke 19:44.
k טירתם "palatium eorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Michaelis; "castella eorum", Junius Tremellius, Piscator "palatium vel casteilum eorum", Gejerus; so Ainsworth.
For they persecute [him] whom thou hast smitten,.... Meaning the Messiah, who was not only smitten and scourged by men, but was stricken and smitten of God; according to his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, and agreeably to his will and plea sure; with the rod of his justice for the satisfaction of it; for the sins of his people, whose surety he was. Him the Jews followed with reproaches and calumnies; pursued after his life, and persecuted him unto death; and which was the cause of their ruin and destruction; see 1 Thessalonians 2:15;
and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded; or, "of thy wounded ones" l; not wounded by him, but wounded for his sake, on his account, and for their profession of faith in his son Jesus Christ. These, as they were led to the slaughter, had trial of cruel mockings, which aggravated their sufferings, and were very grieving to them; especially such talk as reflected upon their dear Redeemer, for whose sake they were put to death.
l חלליך "vulneratorum tuorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Musculus; so Ainsworth.
Add iniquity to their iniquity,.... Let them alone in sin; suffer them to go on in it; lay no restraints upon them; put no stop in providence in their way; let them proceed from one evil to another, till they fall into ruin: to their natural and acquired hardness of heart, give them up to a judicial hardness; that they may do things that are not convenient, and be damned. Suffer them not to stop at the crucifixion of the Messiah; let them go on to persecute his apostles and followers; to show the utmost spite and malice against the Christian religion; to embrace false Christs, and blaspheme the true one; to believe the greatest lies and absurdities, and commit the foulest of actions; as seditions, rapines, murders, c. as they did while Jerusalem was besieged that they may fill up the measure of their sins, and wrath may come upon them to the uttermost, 1 Thessalonians 2:15. The word עון, rendered "iniquity", sometimes signifies "punishment", as in Genesis 4:13; and, according to this sense of it, the words may be differently rendered, and admit a different meaning; either, "give punishment for their iniquity" m; so Kimchi; that is, punish them according to their deserts, as their sins and iniquities require: or, "add punishment to their punishment" n; to their present temporal punishment before imprecated, relating to their table mercies, their persons, and their habitations, add future and everlasting punishment; let them be punished with everlasting destruction, soul and body, in hell;
and let them not come into thy righteousness; meaning, not his strict justice or righteous judgment; into that they would certainly come; nor was it the will of the Messiah they should escape it: but either the goodness, grace, and mercy of God, which is sometimes desired by righteousness, as in Psalms 31:1; and the sense is, let them have no share in pardoning grace now, nor obtain mercy in the last day; but be condemned when they are judged, Psalms 109:7. Or rather, the righteousness of Christ, which is called the righteousness of God, that is, the Father; because he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his people without works: and seeing the Jews sought for justification by their own works, and went about to establish their own righteousness, and submitted not to Christ's, but despised and rejected it; it was but just that they should be excluded from all benefit and advantage by it, as is here imprecated. The Targum is,
"and let them not be worthy to come into the congregation of shy righteous ones;''
neither here, nor at the last judgment; see Psalms 1:5.
m תנה עון על עונם "da punitionem iniquitatis", Pagninus; "appone illis poenam pro iniquitate", Muis. n So Junius & Tremellius.
Let them be blotted out of the book of life,.... Which some understand of this animal life, or of the catalogue of living saints; of their being not written among the living in Jerusalem, or in the writing of the house of Israel, Isaiah 4:3. The Targum is,
"let them he blotted out of the book of the memory of the living.''
Let their names rot and perish, being buried in everlasting oblivion. Aben Ezra interprets this book of the heavens; where, he says, all things that should come to pass were written, at the time they were created; see Luke 10:20. But this is the book of divine predestination or election, often in the New Testament called the book of life; in which the names of some persons are written, and others not, Philippians 4:3; so called, not with respect to the present life, and the affairs of it, which belong to the book of Providence; but with respect to the life of the world to come, or eternal life, as Kimchi explains it. It is no other than God's ordination or foreappointment of men to eternal life; which being called a book, and names written in it, show that election is personal or particular; the exact knowledge God has of his chosen ones; his great care of them, and value for them; his constant remembrance of them, and the certainty of their salvation; for such whose names are written here in reality can never be blotted out: this would be contrary to the unchangeableness of God, the firmness of his purposes, and the safety of his people. Wherefore the design of this imprecation is, that those persons who had, in their own conceits, and in the apprehensions of others, a name in this book; that it might appear, both to themselves and others, they had none, by the awful ruin and destruction that should be brought upon them;
and not be written with the righteous; neither in the book of life with them; by which it appears, that to be blotted out, and not be written, are the same: nor in a Gospel church state; so they were the branches broken off: nor be among them at the resurrection of the just, and in the judgment day. Kimchi observes, that it is the same thing in different words; to be blotted out is the same as not to be written.
But I [am] poor and sorrowful,.... The Messiah was poor in a literal sense, as it was foretold he should, Zechariah 9:9; so he was in his private life; born of poor parents, and brought up in a mean way: and in his public life, having no certain dwelling place, and ministered to by others; and when on the cross, being stripped of his garments; and nothing to eat and drink but gall and vinegar; and nothing to leave to his mother, but commits her to the care of his beloved disciple. Though this phrase in general may denote the low estate of Christ in his humiliation, being in the form of a servant, humbled and obedient to death; and the character of "sorrowful" well agrees with him, who was a man of sorrows all his days; and in the garden his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and when on the cross he had sorrow enough; what with the sins of his people on him, the flouts and jeers of his enemies at him; the pains of body he endured, the wrath of God, the hidings of his face, and the curses of his righteous law. After this declaration of his low and distressed state, a petition follows:
let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high: meaning either the salvation of the Lord's people, so called, because concerted and appointed of God, and is what he sent his Son to effect, and he approves of; this being wrought out was the way and, means of the exaltation of Christ; both by his divine Father, who on this account exalted him at his right hand; and by his people, who exalt him in their hearts, and with their tongues, and give him all the glory of their salvation. Or else this means the salvation of Christ out of the hands of all his enemies, whom he conquered on the cross; and particularly death, from which he was saved by his resurrection, and was the first step to his exaltation and glory; after which he ascended on high, and sat down at the right hand of God; where no mere creature, angels or men, were ever admitted; and where angels, principalities, and powers, are subject to him. The whole may be rendered thus; "though I am poor and sorrowful, thy salvation, O God, will set me up on high" o; and so is expressive of the Messiah's faith in his resurrection and exaltation, notwithstanding his sorrows and sufferings; on account of which he determines to praise the Lord, as follows.
o תשגבני "elevabit me", Pagninus, Montanus; so Gejerus, Michaelis.
I will praise the name of God with a song,.... The "name" of God is himself, his perfections and attributes; which are to be "praised" by all his creatures, and especially his saints; and here by the Messiah, who sung the praise of God with his disciples at the supper, a little before his death; and in the great congregation in heaven, upon his ascension thither, having finished the great work of man's redemption. For as it was no lessening of his glory, as Mediator, to pray to God when on earth, it is no diminution of it to praise him in our nature in heaven; see Psalms 22:22. This being said to be done with a song agrees with Hebrews 2:12; and is an instance of praising God this way, and which could not be prayer wise; as well as is a confirmation of the practice of New Testament churches, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, by the example of our Lord;
and will magnify him with thanksgiving: to "magnify" is to make great; but God cannot be greater than he is. He is great above all gods; he is greater than all. But he is magnified when his greatness is owned and declared, and that is ascribed unto him; and particularly when "thanks" are given to him for favours; for then is he acknowledged by men to be the Father of mercies, the author and giver of them; and that they are unworthy of them, and that all the glory belongs to him. Christ, as man, not only prayed, but gave thanks to his Father when on earth,
Matthew 11:25; nor is it unsuitable to him, as such now in heaven, to give thanks and praise for being heard and helped in a day of salvation; or at the time when he wrought out the salvation of his people, and glorified all the divine perfections.
[This] also shall please the Lord,.... That is, this song of praise and thanksgiving. The Targum has it,
as if it retorted to Psalms 69:29; but what is expressed in Psalms 69:30 seems to be the proper antecedent to this, and which is a sacrifice; see Psalms 50:14; and more acceptable to God than any of the legal sacrifices, even when they were in force; and much more, now they are abrogated; and especially as offered up by the Messiah himself, all whose offerings are well pleasing to God; particularly the offering up of himself, which was for a sweet smelling savour to him, and in virtue of which all spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise become acceptable unto God;
better than an ox [or] bullock that hath horns and hoofs; that is, than the best of legal sacrifices; as an ox or bullock was, whose horns and hoofs were grown; one of three years old, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe: the words may be literally rendered, "than an ox, than a bullock, than horns, than hoofs"; not only better than an ox or a bullock, but than any creature that has horns and hoofs; that is, than the lawful sacrifice of any animal whatever, as Junius renders and explains it.
The humble shall see [this, and] be glad,.... The resurrection and exaltation of Christ, Psalms 69:29; the meek and humble followers of Christ, as his disciples were, saw him risen from the dead, saw him alive, to whom he showed himself forty days after his resurrection; they saw his hands, and feet, and side, and the prints of the nails and spear in them; they saw him go up to heaven, to be set on high at the right hand of God; and humble believers now see him by faith, crowned with glory and honour; and as the disciples were glad, and rejoiced when they saw him again, and when he was parted from them, and went up to heaven, John 20:20; so true believers in Christ, who have a spiritual sight of a risen, ascended, and exalted Saviour, are glad, and rejoice in him with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, 1 Peter 1:8; they rejoice in the righteousness he has brought in, in the atonement that he has made, and in the salvation he has wrought out, which is so suitable for them; and because they do or will share in all the blessings of his resurrection, ascension, and exaltation; such as regeneration, justification, every supply of grace, and perseverance in it, the resurrection of their bodies, and eternal glorification: and "humble" ones are such as are humbled under a sense of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it, in a view of their own righteousness, and its insufficiency to justify them before God: they ascribe all they have and are to the free grace of God; and all boasting is excluded from them, save in Christ; they are such that learn of him, who is meek and lowly; and behave humbly before men, esteem others better than themselves; and are in their own account the chief of sinners, and the least of saints: and as they are, for the most part, "afflicted", and so some render the word p here; they are humble under the mighty hand of God, and patiently bear it;
and your heart shall live that seek God; that seek his face and favour, his gracious presence, and communion with him; that seek, by prayer and supplications, blessings from him; that seek him in Christ, where he is to be found; that seek Christ, and righteousness and salvation by him, and that early, earnestly, and diligently; that seek the things of Christ, the honour of his name, and the good of his interest; and who, in a word, are the true and spiritual worshippers of God; these seek him, and he seeks them. The Targum is,
"that seek doctrine from before God;''
and the hearts of those revived, who were as dead men before, as were the two disciples travelling to Emmaus, when they found that Christ was risen, Luke 24:17; just as the spirit of old Jacob revived, when he understood that his son Joseph was alive, Genesis 45:27; see Psalms 22:26.
p ענוים "afflicti", Vatablus, Musculus; "miseri", Gejerus; "mansueti ac miseri", Michaelis.
For the Lord heareth the poor,.... The prayer of the poor, as the Targum; of the poor disciples of Christ, who were together mourning, weeping, and praying, when their Lord was dead, and laid in the sepulchre, Mark 16:10; this epithet agrees with all the followers of Christ, who for the most part are literally poor, and are all of them so in a spiritual sense; they are poor in spirit, and are sensible of it; they are full of wants, and these daily return upon them; wherefore they constantly apply to the throne of grace for help in time of need; and the Lord regards them, his eye is upon them, his heart is towards them, his thoughts are about them, his ears are open to their cries, and his hand is ready to supply their wants;
and despiseth not his prisoners; the same disciples of Christ; who being assembled together, the doors were shut for fear of the Jews,
John 20:19; it may be applied to such who are the Lord's prisoners; that is, for his sake, in a literal sense, as the Apostle Paul is called the prisoner of the Lord, Ephesians 3:1; and there were many, both under the Old and under the New Testament, that suffered imprisonment for their profession of religion; and these the Lord despises not, though men may, but highly esteems and honours; and it may be understood mystically and spiritually of such as are, in their nature state, prisoner of sin and Satan, and the law, and, when called, are prisoners of hope; these the Lord has a regard unto, and opens the prison doors and sets them at and directs them to the strong hold,
Let the heaven and earth praise him,.... As those, by a prosopopoeia, are often called upon to do, to express the greatness of the favour enjoyed, and to excite those that are possessed of it to greater joy and thankfulness; see Psalms 96:11; or the inhabitants of the heavens and earth may be meant, as the angels of heaven; and so the Targum interprets it; who, as they praised the Lord at the incarnation of Christ, Luke 2:14; so doubtless they did at his ascension, when he was seen and accompanied by them, 1 Timothy 3:16
Psalms 68:17; and also the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven, who were there when Christ was received into it; and the inhabitants of the earth, as the Targum also paraphrases it; of the continent, particularly the Roman empire, when the Gospel was sent thither, which brought the good news of an incarnate, suffering, risen, ascended, and exalted Saviour;
the seas, and everything that moveth therein; the inhabitants of the isles in the seas, such as ours of Great Britain and Ireland, who waited for the doctrine of the Messiah, and to whom he calls to listen to what he says; and which is a sufficient reason for praise and thanksgiving in them; even in as many as have spiritual life and motion, who are quickened, influenced, and moved by the Spirit of God; see Isaiah 42:4.
For God will save Zion,.... The church of Christ, as it is often called; :-; this is to be understood not so much of the salvation of the people of God, by Christ, from sin and Satan, and the world, law, hell, and death, as of the preservation and continuance of the Gospel church state, notwithstanding all the opposition and persecution of the Jews and Gentiles; and especially of the deliverance of the Lord's people, in the latter day, from the cruelty, captivity, and bondage of antichrist, by the destruction of him; which will occasion joy and praise, Revelation 18:4;
and will build the cities of Judah: erect Gospel churches in the Roman empire, and in the several parts of the world; as were in the first times of the Gospel, and will be in the latter day, when the cities of God shall be yet spread abroad through prosperity, Zechariah 1:17; of which the saints are citizens, and enjoy in them many privileges and immunities: these may be said to be "built", when they are built upon Christ, and on their most holy faith; when the members of them are edified and multiplied; when purity of faith, discipline, and worship, prevails among them; and though this is usually by the ministers of the Gospel, as instruments, yet the Lord is the chief builder; for, unless he builds, in vain do the builders build, Psalms 127:1;
that they may dwell there, and have it in possession; the men of Judah, such as confess the name of Christ, as the word "Judah" signifies; who profess to believe in him with their hearts; these have a name and a place, and an inheritance in the churches, and an abiding one; they shall never go out, but dwell in the house of God for ever; Gospel churches being erected and built up for their sakes, and for such ends and purposes.
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it,.... Not their natural, but spiritual seed, or a succession of converts in the churches; see Psalms 45:16; who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; not of corruptible, but incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever, John 1:13; these are the proper and rightful inheritors of the Gospel church state, and all its privileges, in all successive generations, quite down to the New Jerusalem church state, wherein will dwell only righteous persons, and whose names are in the Lamb's book of life. Aben Ezra's note upon it is,
"they shall inherit it, they and their children, in the days of David, or in the days of the Messiah;''
and they that love his name shall dwell therein; that love the person, Gospel, truths and ordinances of Christ; see Song of Solomon 1:3; these shall have an abiding place in Zion, the church of God; in the cities of Judah, particular congregational churches; and in the city of the New Jerusalem, where will be the tabernacle of God among men, and he shall dwell among them, and they with him.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 69". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26