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116. Psalm 116

1I love Jehovah, because he heareth

My voice and my supplications.

2Because he hath inclined his ear unto me,

Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

3The cords of death compassed me,

And the pains of Sheol agat hold upon me:

I found trouble and sorrow.

4Then called I upon the name of Jehovah:

O Jehovah, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

5Gracious is Jehovah, and righteous;

Yea, our God is merciful.

6Jehovah preserveth the simple:

I was brought low, and he saved me.

7Return unto thy rest, O my soul;

For Jehovah hath dealt bountifully with thee.

8For thou hast delivered my soul from death,

Mine eyes from tears,

And my feet from falling.

9I will walk before Jehovah

In the land of the living.

10I abelieve, for I will speak:

I was greatly afflicted:

11I said in my ahaste,

All men are liars.

12What shall I render unto Jehovah

For all his benefits toward me?

13I will take the cup of salvation,

And call upon the name of Jehovah.

14I will pay my vows unto Jehovah,

Yea, in the presence of all his people.

15Precious in the sight of Jehovah

Is the death of his saints.

16O Jehovah, truly I am thy servant:

I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid;

Thou hast loosed my bonds.

17I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,

And will call upon the name of Jehovah.

18I will pay my vows unto Jehovah,

Yea, in the presence of all his people,

19In the courts of Jehovah's house,

In the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

aPraise ye Jehovah.

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7 Return, O my soul! unto thy rest. He now exhorts himself to be of good courage; or rather, addressing his soul, tells it to be tranquil, because God was propitious towards him. By the term rest, some commentators understand God himself, but this is an unnatural interpretation. It is rather to be regarded as expressive of a calm and composed state of mind. For it is to be noticed, that David confesses himself to have been sorely agitated and perplexed amid an accumulation of ills, in the same way as each of us is conscious of his own inquietude, when the terrors of death encompass us. Although, therefore, David possessed unusual fortitude, he was yet distressed by reason of the conflict of grief, and an inward tremor so distracted his mind, that he justly complains of being deprived of his peace. He declares, however, that the grace of God was adequate to quiet all these troubles.

It may be asked, whether the experience of the grace of God alone can allay the fear and trepidation of our minds; since David declares, that, having experienced relief from Divine aid, he would, for the future, be at rest? If the faithful regain their peace of mind only when God manifests himself as their deliverer, what room is there for the exercise of faith, and what power will the promises possess? For, assuredly, to wait calmly and silently for those indications of God’s favor, which he conceals from us, is the undoubted evidence of faith. And strong faith quiets the conscience, and composes the spirit; so that, according to Paul, “the peace of God, which passeth all understandings” reigns supremely there, Philippians 4:7. And hence the godly remain unmoved, though the whole world were about to go to ruin. What is the import of this returning unto rest? I answer, that however much the children of God may be driven hither and thither, yet they constantly derive support from the word of God, so that they cannot totally and finally fall away. Confiding in his promises, they throw themselves upon his providence; and still they are sorely distressed by disquieting fears, and sadly buffeted by the storms of temptation. No sooner does God come to their assistance, than not only inward peace takes possession of their minds, but, from the manifestation of his grace, they are supplied with grounds for joy and gladness. Of this latter kind of quietness David here treats — declaring that, notwithstanding of all the prevalence of agitation of mind, it was now time for him to delight himself calmly in God. The term גמל, gamal, is improperly rendered to reward; because, in Hebrew, it usually signifies to confer a favor, as well as to give a recompense; which is confirmed by him in the following verse, in which he says that his soul was delivered from death. This, then, properly speaking, is the recompense; namely, that God, in delivering him from death, had wiped away the tears from his eyes. The arrangement of the words is transposed; for, according to our idiom, we would rather have said, he hath delivered my feet from falling; and mine eyes from tears, and then he hath delivered my soul from death; for we are wont to follow that arrangement, by which the most important circumstance comes to be mentioned last. Among the Hebrews such a collocation of the words, as in this passage, is by no means improper. This is their import: God has not only rescued me from present death, but also treated me with farther kindness, in chasing away sorrow, and stretching out his hand to prevent me from stumbling. The grace of God is enhanced, in that he restored to life one who had been almost dead.