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There is a close resemblance between this psalm and the twenty-second. In the opening verses, David complains of the barbarous cruelty of his enemies, and of the grievous wrongs which they had inflicted upon him. 6363 The particular enemies of whom he speaks are uncertain; some referring the occasion of the composition of the psalm to his persecution by Saul, and others to the rebellion of Absalom. But to whatever part of David’s eventful life the psalm primarily refers, it may be concluded, from the frequency with which it is quoted and applied to Christ in the New Testament, that it was prophetic of him, of whom David, rejected and persecuted, was an eminent type. It is quoted in the New Testament at least seven times; the 4th verse in John 15:25; the 9th verse in John 2:17, and Romans 15:3; the 21st verse in Matthew 27:34, 48, and John 19:28, 29; the 22d and 23d verses in Romans 11:9, 10; and the 25th verse in Acts 1:16, 20. But his mind, he affirms, was not hereby reduced to such a state of distress as to prevent him from patiently relying on the protection of God, or to discourage him from continuing in the undeviating course of a holy and an upright life. He rather testifies that his piety, and the courage and activity which he had manifested in maintaining the interests of the divine glory, were the cause of the hostility borne to him by the generality of men. After having again complained of being not less shamefully than cruelly oppressed by his enemies, he invokes God to visit them with deserved punishment. In the close, exulting as if he had obtained his highest wishes, he engages to yield to God a solemn sacrifice of praise.
To the chief musician upon Shoshannim of David.
We have already spoken elsewhere of the word Shoshannim. Its proper meaning is uncertain and obscure; but the most probable conjecture is, that it was the commencement of some song. If, however, any would prefer considering it as the name of some musical instrument, I have no objections. But the opinion held by some that this psalm was composed at the season of spring, when the lilies begin to blossom, is altogether unfounded and frivolous. 6464 They rest this opinion upon the meaning which they attach to the word ששנים, Shoshannim, in the title of the psalm, which they translate lilies Before proceeding farther, we would have you to observe that David wrote this inspired ode not so much in his own name, as in the name of the whole Church, of whose Head he was an eminent type, as will be more dearly brought out in the sequel. This is highly worthy of our notice, that from this consideration we may be led to contemplate with the greater attention the representation which is here given of the common condition of all the people of God. Besides, it is highly probable that David did not here comprehend only one kind of persecution, but all the evils which he had suffered during the course of many years.
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