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Psalm 63:5-8

5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips. 6. I shall surely 432432     “Ou, quand,” etc. — Fr. marg. “Or, when I shall remember thee.” remember thee upon my couch: I will meditate upon thee in the night watches, 433433     Among the Hebrews the night was divided into portions of three or four hours each, which were denominated vigils or watches. 7. Because thou hast been my help: and I will rejoice in the shadow of thy wings. 8. My soul has cleaved hard after thee: thy right hand will uphold me.

 

5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow, etc. In accordance with what was said in the foregoing verse, David expresses his assured persuasion of obtaining a rich and abundant measure of every blessing that could call for thanksgiving and praise. At the period of composing this psalm, he may have been already in the enjoyment of ease and plenty; but there is reason to believe that he cherished the persuasion referred to, even when wandering in the wilderness in a state of poverty and destitution. If we would evidence a strong faith, we must anticipate the divine favor before it has been actually manifested, and when there is no present appearance of its forthcoming. From the instance here set before us, we must learn to be on our guard against despondency, in circumstances when we may see the wicked wallowing and rioting in the abundance of the things of this world, while we ourselves are left to pine under the want of them. David, in the present pressure to which he was exposed, might have given way to despair, but he knew that God was able to fill the hungry soul, and that he could want for nothing so long as he possessed an interest in his favor. It is God’s will to try our patience in this life, by afflictions of various kinds. Let us bear the wrongs which may be done us with meekness, till the time come when all our desires shall be abundantly satisfied. It may be proper to observe, that David, when he speaks in figurative language of being filled with marrow and fatness, does not contemplate that intemperate and excessive indulgence to which ungodly men surrender themselves, and by which they brutify their minds. He looks forward to that moderate measure of enjoyment which would only quicken him to more alacrity in the praises of God.

6 I shall surely remember thee, etc. It may be read also, when, or, as often as I remember thee, I will pray in the night watches. But as the Hebrew particle here used is occasionally taken for an adverb of affirmation, as well as of time, I have adhered to the commonly received translation, In this case, his remembering God is to be understood as the same thing with his meditating upon him; and the one clause contains just a repetition of the sentiment expressed in the other. If the particle be taken in the different sense formerly mentioned, the words intimate, that as often as the name of God recurred to his mind, he would dwell upon it with pleasure, and speak of his goodness. He particularly mentions the night watches, as, when retired from the sight of our fellow-creatures, we not only revert to what may have given us anxiety, but feel our thoughts drawn out more freely to different subjects. We have next the reason assigned for the engagement or declaration he has just made, which is, that he owed to God his preservation. The experience of the divine goodness should dispose us to prayer as well as praise. “I will come into thy house,” says the Psalmist in another place, “in the multitude of thy mercy,” (Psalm 5:7.) The second part of the seventh verse is expressive of the lively hope with which he was animated. He was resolved to rejoice and triumph under the shadow of God’s wings, as feeling the same peace and satisfaction in reliance upon his protection as he could have done had no danger existed.

8 My soul has cleaved hard after thee The Hebrew verb means also to apprehend, or follow, especially when in construction with the preposition which is here joined to it, and therefore we might very properly render the words, — My soul shall press or follow after thee. 434434     Dr Adam Clarke renders, “My soul cleaves, or is glued after thee.” “This phrase,” says he, “not only shows the diligence of the pursuit, and the nearness of the attainment, but also the fast hold he had got of the mercy of his God.” But even should the other translation be retained, the sense is, that David’s heart was devoted to God with steadfast perseverance. The phrase, after thee, is emphatical, and denotes that he would follow with unwearied constancy, long as the way might be, and full of hardships, and beset with obstacles, and however sovereignly God might himself seem to withdraw his presence. The latter clause of the verse may be taken as referring simply to the deliverance which he had previously mentioned as having been received. He had good reason to persevere, without fainting, in following after God, when he considered that he had been preserved in safety, up to this time, by the divine hand. But I would understand the words as having a more extensive application, and consider that David here speaks of the grace of perseverance, which would be bestowed upon him by the Spirit. To say that he would cleave to God, with an unwavering purpose, at all hazards, might have sounded like the language of vain boasting, had he not qualified the assertion by adding, that he would do this in so far as he was sustained by the hand of God.


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