Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 10th, 2023
the Second Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 57

Henry's Complete Commentary on the BibleHenry's Complete


This psalm is very much like that which goes next before it; it was penned upon a like occasion, when David was both in danger of trouble and in temptation to sin; it begins as that did, "Be merciful to me;" the method also is the same. I. He begins with prayer and complaint, yet not without some assurance of speeding in his request, Psalms 57:1-6. II. He concludes with joy and praise, Psalms 57:7-11. So that hence we may take direction and encouragement, both in our supplications and in our thanksgivings, and may offer both to God, in singing this psalm.

Verses 1-6

Prayer in Affliction.

Verses 7-11

Prayer Turned to Praise.

7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. 8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. 9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. 10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. 11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

How strangely is the tune altered here! David's prayers and complaints, by the lively actings of faith, are here, all of a sudden, turned into praises and thanksgivings; his sackcloth is loosed, he is girded with gladness, and his hallelujahs are as fervent as his hosannas. This should make us in love with prayer, that, sooner or later, it will be swallowed up in praise. Observe,

I. How he prepares himself for the duty of praise (Psalms 57:7; Psalms 57:7): My heart is fixed, O God! my heart is fixed. My heart is erect, or lifted up (so some), which was bowed down, Psalms 57:6; Psalms 57:6. My heart is fixed, 1. With reference to God's providences; it is prepared for every event, being stayed upon God,Psalms 112:7; Isaiah 26:3. My heart is fixed, and then none of these things move me,Acts 20:24 If by the grace of God we be brought into this even composed frame of spirit, we have great reason to be thankful. 2. With reference to the worship of God: My heart is fixed to sing and give praise. It is implied that the heart is the main thing required in all acts of devotion; nothing is done to purpose, in religion, further than it is done with the heart. The heart must be fixed, fixed for the duty, fitted and put in frame for it, fixed in the duty by a close application, attending on the Lord without distraction.

II. How he excites himself to the duty of praise (Psalms 57:8; Psalms 57:8): Awake up my glory, that is, my tongue (our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when it is employed in praising God), or my soul, that must be first awakened; dull and sleepy devotions will never be acceptable to God. We must stir up ourselves, and all that is within us, to praise God; with a holy fire must that sacrifice be kindled, and ascend in a holy flame. David's tongue will lead, and his psaltery and harp will follow, in these hymns of praise. I myself will awake, not only, "I will not be dead, and drowsy, and careless, in this work," but, "I will be in the most lively frame, as one newly awakened out of a refreshing sleep." He will awake early to this work, early in the morning, to begin the day with God, early in the beginnings of a mercy. When God is coming towards us with his favours we must go forth to meet him with our praises.

III. How he pleases himself, and (as I may say) even prides himself, in the work of praise; so far is he from being ashamed to own his obligations to God, and dependence upon him, that he resolves to praise him among the people and to sing unto him among the nations,Psalms 57:9; Psalms 57:9. This intimates, 1. That his own heart was much affected and enlarged in praising God; he would even make the earth ring with his sacred songs, that all might take notice how much he thought himself indebted to the goodness of God. 2. That he desired to bring others in to join with him in praising God. He will publish God's praises among the people, that the knowledge, and fear, and love of God might be propagated, and the ends of the earth might see his salvation. When David was driven out into heathen lands he would not only not worship their gods, but he would openly avow his veneration for the God of Israel, would take his religion along with him wherever he went, would endeavour to bring others in love with it, and leave the sweet savour of it behind him. David, in his psalms, which fill the universal church, and will to the end of time, may be said to be still praising God among the people and singing to him among the nations; for all good people make use of his words in praising God. Thus St. John, in his writings, is said to prophesy again before many peoples and nations,Revelation 10:11.

IV. How he furnishes himself with matter for praise, Psalms 57:10; Psalms 57:10. That which was the matter of his hope and comfort (God shall send forth his mercy and his truth,Psalms 57:3; Psalms 57:3) is here the matter of his thanksgiving: Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, great beyond conception and expression; and thy truth unto the clouds, great beyond discovery, for what eye can reach that which is wrapped up in the clouds? God's mercy and truth reach to the heavens, for they will bring all such to heaven as lay up their treasure in them and build their hopes upon them. God's mercy and truth are praised even to the heavens, that is, by all the bright and blessed inhabitants of the upper world, who are continually exalting God's praises to the highest, while David, on earth, is endeavouring to spread his praises to the furthest, Psalms 57:9; Psalms 57:9.

V. How he leaves it at last to God to glorify his own name (Psalms 57:11; Psalms 57:11): Be thou exalted, O God! The same words which he had used (Psalms 57:5; Psalms 57:5) to sum up his prayers in he here uses again (and no vain repetition) to sum up his praises in: "Lord, I desire to exalt thy name, and that all the creatures may exalt it; but what can the best of us do towards it? Lord, take the work into thy own hands; do it thyself: Be thou exalted, O God! In the praises of the church triumphant thou art exalted to the heavens, and in the praises of the church militant thy glory is throughout all the earth; but thou art above all the blessing and praise of both (Nehemiah 9:5), and therefore, Lord, exalt thyself above the heavens and above all the earth. Father, glorify thy own name. Thou hast glorified it, glorify it yet again."

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Psalms 57". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mhm/psalms-57.html. 1706.
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