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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 116

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-19

It is scarcely doubted but David is the author of this psalm, and that he wrote it when in exile from Saul’s persecution, or when Absalom rebelled, or on some similar occasion of danger and grief. It is a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance. He loved the Lord, because he had heard the voice of his supplication.

Psalms 116:3 . The sorrows of death. See Psalms 18:4.

Psalms 116:6 . The Lord preserveth the simple. Hebrews פתאים pethayim, the hasty, or those who offend, not through malice, but frail impetuosity. Parkhurst. The Versions read, “the little ones,” the weak of his flock, whose angels do always behold the face of their Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10.

Psalms 116:7 . Return unto thy rest. Be composed, after the storm of Absalom’s rebellion, and rest in the ample perfections of thy God. The temple was the rest which God had chosen. “To him shall the gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10. David would approach with humility, and pay his vows to the Lord in Jerusalem, as in the following verses.

Psalms 116:9 . I will walk before the Lord. I will be more circumspect than ever I was in former life.

Psalms 116:11 . I said in my haste. The LXX, εκστασει , exstacei, in the excess of my grief, depression and fear.


Every fresh mercy is a fresh argument to piety, praise and love. We ought indeed to love the Lord when he puts off our prayers, and covers himself with a cloud, through which they cannot pass; but his gifts and answers to prayer revive the soul, and quicken our returns of grateful affection and love.

To heighten his gratitude, and excite similar sentiments in the church, David describes his danger and anguish. The sorrows, or rather the snares or cords of death, entangled him. He was in great trouble and brought low, but the Lord helped him through. He charged his soul to return to its rest, and to be grateful and obedient. The divine perfections are the proper rest of the soul; the atonement of Christ is the rest of the conscience; and on taking refuge there, love, joy and peace inundate the soul with the earnest of an eternal rest.

David encourages others to trust in the Lord. I believed, therefore have I spoken; though there was a moment when he seemed not to believe, but said, all men are liars. Either thinking Samuel deceived, who had promised him a kingdom, or in after troubles accounting all his courtiers no better than traitors, St. Paul applies this text to the preaching of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:13.

While reviewing past mercies he was so deeply impressed with gratitude, that he scarce knew how to praise the Lord sufficiently. But he would take the cup of salvation, he would drink a little, and make a libation of the rest on the altar. So our blessed Lord took the cup, and gave thanks; which cup was his most precious blood about to be shed on the altar of Calvary.

He would pay his vows to the Lord, not merely in additional sacrifices, but by praise and obedience. And how many are our obligations to the like fidelity? We are the Lord’s creatures, we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, we have been devoted by our parents, and by our personal vows oft repeated. Besides, the Lord has preserved us in a thousand dangers, and precious in the sight of the Lord are both the life and the death of his saints.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 116". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-116.html. 1835.
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