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Psalm 57:7-11

7. My heart is prepared, O God! my heart is prepared: I will sing, and give praise. 8. Awake up, my tongue: awake, psaltery and harp: I myself shall be awaked 343343     “Ou, me resueilleray.” — Fr. marg. “Or, I will awake.” at dawn of day. 9. I will praise thee, O Lord! among the peoples: 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.

 

7. My heart is prepared, O God! 344344     This psalm consists of two parts. The preceding verses, which contain the first part, express deep distress and extreme danger, and are of a plaintive and imploring strain. But here, where the second part commences, there is an elegant transition suddenly made to the language of exultation and triumph, which continues to the close of the psalm. Some read fixed, or confirmed, and the Hebrew word נכון, nacon, bears that signification as well as the other. If we adopt it, we must understand David as saying that he had well and duly meditated upon the praises which he was about to offer; that he did not rush into a hurried and perfunctory discharge of this service, as too many are apt to do, but addressed himself to it with steadfast purpose of heart. I prefer, however, the other translation, which bears that he was ready to enter upon the service with all cheerfulness and cordiality. And although, wherever this spirit is really felt, it will lead to steadfastness of religious exercise, it is not without importance that the reader should be apprised of the force of the word which is here employed in the Hebrew. The ready heart is here opposed by David to the mere lip-service of the hypocrite, on the one hand, and to dead or sluggish service, on the other. He addressed himself to this voluntary sacrifice with a sincere fervor of spirit, casting aside sloth, and whatever might prove a hinderance in the duty.

8. Awake up, my tongue David here expresses, in poetical terms, the ardor with which his soul was inspired. He calls upon tongue, psaltery, and harp, to prepare for the celebration of the name of God. The word כבוד, cabod, which I have translated tongue, some have rendered glory; but although this is its more common signification, it bears the other in the sixteenth psalm, and in numerous places of Scripture. The context proves this to be its signification here, David intimating that he would celebrate the praises of God both with the voice and with instrumental music. He assigns the first place to the heart, the second to declaration with the mouth, the third to such accompaniments as stimulate to greater ardor in the service. It matters little whether we render the verb אעירה, airah, I will be awaked, or transitively, I will awake myself by dawn of day. 345345     Hammond reads, “I will awaken the morning.” Dr Geddes, Archbishop Secker, Street, and Fry, give a similar version. “The verb אעירח,” says Street, “is in the Hiphil conjugation; and therefore transitive; and the word השחר is the objective case after it.” As to translating שחר, early, Archbishop Secker says, “שחר is not elsewhere used adverbially, nor, I believe, with an ellipsis of כ;” and he observes, that “‘I will awaken the morning’ is more grammatical and poetical.” A similar thought frequently occurs in poetry. Thus Ovid says, “Non vigil ales ibi cristati cantibus oris evocat auroram.” “The cock by crowing calls not up the morning there.” And in Milton’s Allegro we meet with the following couplet: —
   “Oft listening how the hound and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn.”
But one who is really awaked to the exercise of praising God, we are here taught will be unremitting in every part of the duty.

9. I will praise thee, O Lord! among the peoples. As the nations and peoples are here said to be auditors of the praise which he offered, we must infer that David, in the sufferings spoken of throughout the psalm, represented Christ. This it is important to observe, as it proves that our own state and character are set before us in this psalm as in a glass. That the words have reference to Christ’s kingdom, we have the authority of Paul for concluding, (Romans 15:9,) and, indeed, might sufficiently infer in the exercise of an enlightened judgment upon the passage. To proclaim the praises of God to such as are deaf, would be an absurdity much greater than singing them to the rocks and stones; it is therefore evident that the Gentiles are supposed to be brought to the knowledge of God when this declaration of his name is addressed to them. He touches briefly upon what he designed as the sum of his song of praise, when he adds, that the whole world is full of the goodness and truth of God. I have already had occasion to observe, that the order in which these divine perfections are generally mentioned is worthy of attention. It is of his mere goodness that God is induced to promise so readily and so liberally. On the other hand, his faithfulness is commended to our notice, to convince us that he is as constant in fulfilling his promises as he is ready and willing to make them. The Psalmist concludes with a prayer that God would arise, and not suffer his glory to be obscured, or the audacity of the wicked to become intolerable by conniving longer at their impiety. The words, however, may be understood in another sense, as a prayer that God would hasten the calling of the Gentiles, of which he had already spoken in the language of prediction, and illustrate his power by executing not only an occasional judgment in Judea for the deliverance of distressed innocence, but his mighty judgments over the whole world for the subjection of the nations.


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