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Psalm 142:5-7

5. I cried unto thee, O Jehovah! I said thou art my hope and my portion in the land of the living. 6. Attend unto my cry, for I labor very much under affliction: deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. 7. Rescue my soul from prison, that I may praise thy name; the righteous shall crown me, for thou wilt recompense me.

 

5. I cried unto thee, O Jehovah! With a view to hasten God’s interposition, David complains of the low estate he was reduced to, and of his extremity; the term cry denoting vehemence, as I have elsewhere noticed. He speaks of deliverance as being plainly needed, since he was now held a prisoner. By prison some suppose he alludes to the cave where he was lodged, but this is too restricted a meaning. The subsequent clause, the righteous shall compass me, is translated differently by some, they shall wait me. I have retained the true and natural sense. I grant that it is taken figuratively for surrounding, intimating that he would be a spectacle to all, the eyes of men being attracted by such a singular case of deliverance. If any consider the words not to be figurative, the sense will be, That the righteous would not only congratulate him, but place a crown upon his head in token of victory. Some explain the passage, They will assemble to congratulate me, and will stand round me on every side like a crown. As the words literally read, they will crown upon me, some supply another pronoun, and give this sense, that the righteous would construe the mercy bestowed upon David as a glory conferred upon themselves; for when God delivers any of his children he holds out the prospect of deliverance to the rest, and, as it were, gifts them with a crown. The sense which I have adopted is the simplest, however, That the mercy vouchsafed would be shown conspicuously to all as in a theater, proving a signal example to the righteous for establishment of their faith. The verb גמל, gamal, in the Hebrew, is of a more general signification than to repay, and means to confer a benefit, as I have shown elsewhere.

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