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71. Psalm 71

1In thee, O Jehovah, do I take refuge:

Let me never be put to shame.

2Deliver me in thy righteousness, and rescue me:

Bow down thine ear unto me, and save me.

3Be thou to me a rock of habitation, whereunto I may continually resort:

Thou hast given commandment to save me;

For thou art my rock and my fortress.

4Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,

Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

5For thou art my hope, O Lord Jehovah:

Thou art my trust from my youth.

6By thee have I been holden up from the womb;

Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels:

My praise shall be continually of thee.

7I am as a wonder unto many;

But thou art my strong refuge.

8My mouth shall be filled with thy praise,

And with thy honor all the day.

9Cast me not off in the time of old age;

Forsake me not when my strength faileth.

10For mine enemies speak concerning me;

And they that watch for my soul take counsel together,

11Saying, God hath forsaken him:

Pursue and take him; for there is none to deliver.

12O God, be not far from me;

O my God, make haste to help me.

13Let them be put to shame and consumed that are adversaries to my soul;

Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor that seek my hurt.

14But I will hope continually,

And will praise thee yet more and more.

15My mouth shall tell of thy righteousness,

And of thy salvation all the day;

For I know not the numbers thereof.

16I will come with the mighty acts of the Lord Jehovah:

I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

17O God, thou hast taught me from my youth;

And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

18Yea, even when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not,

Until I have declared thy strength unto the next generation,

Thy might to every one that is to come.

19Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high;

Thou who hast done great things, O God, who is like unto thee?

20Thou, who hast showed us many and sore troubles,

Wilt quicken us again,

And wilt bring us up again from the depths of the earth.

21Increase thou my greatness,

And turn again and comfort me.

22I will also praise thee with the psaltery,

Even thy truth, O my God:

Unto thee will I sing praises with the harp,

O thou Holy One of Israel.

23My lips shall shout for joy when I sing praises unto thee;

And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

24My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long;

For they are put to shame, for they are confounded, that seek my hurt.

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7. I have been as a prodigy to the great ones. He now makes a transition to the language of complaint, declaring that he was held in almost universal abhorrence by reason of the great calamities with which he was afflicted. There is an apparent, although only an apparent, discrepancy between these two statements; first, that he had always been crowned with the benefits of God; and, secondly, that he was accounted as a prodigy on account of his great afflictions; but we may draw from thence the very profitable doctrine, that he was not so overwhelmed by his calamities, heavy though they were, as to be insensible to the goodness of God which he had experienced. Although, therefore, he saw that he was an object of detestation, yet the remembrance of the blessings which God had conferred upon him, could not be extinguished by the deepest shades of darkness which surrounded him, but served as a lamp in his heart to direct his faith. By the term prodigy 107107     Green reads, “I am become a gazing-stock to the multitude.” Horsley, “‘I am become a prodigious sight to the many.’ A prodigious sight, ‘a sign which shall be spoken against,’ Luke 2:34.” “‘I am become, as it were, a portentous sign unto many.’ Many are willing to persuade themselves that my trials proceed directly from God’s wrath, and are intended to warn them against pursuing a like course of conduct.” — French and SkinnerA monster, i e., the supposed object of God’s signal displeasure. Comp. Isaiah 20:3; Ezekiel 12:6; 24:24, 27.” — Cresswell But others suppose that כמופת, hemopheth, as a prodigy, implies that the great and many dangers to which he had been exposed, and the extraordinary deliverances from them which he had experienced, marked him out as an object of wonder, so that men looked upon him as if he were exempted from the common lot of mankind, as if he possessed a charmed life, and were invulnerable to all assaults; and the second member of the verse has been viewed as the reason why he was so regarded: “for thou art my strong refuge.” is expressed no ordinary calamity. Had he not been afflicted in a strange and unusual manner, those to whom the miserable condition of mankind was not unknown would not have shrunk from him with such horror, and regarded him as so repulsive a spectacle. It was, therefore, a higher and more commendable proof of his constancy, that his spirit was neither broken nor enfeebled with sham but reposed in God with the stronger confidence, the more he was cast off by the world. The sentence is to be explained adversatively, implying that, although men abhorred him as a monster, yet, by leaning upon God, he continued in despite of all this unmoved. If it should be thought preferable to translate the word רבים, rabbim, which I have rendered great ones, by the word many, the sense will be, That David’s afflictions were generally known, and had acquired great notoriety, as if he had been brought forth upon a stage and exposed to the view of the whole people. But in my opinion it will be more suitable to understand the word of great men, or the nobles. There is no heart so strong and impervious to outward influences as not to be deeply pierced when those who are considered to excel in wisdom and judgment, and who are invested with authority, treat a suffering and an afflicted man with such indignity, that they shrink with horror from him, as if he were a monster. In the next verse, as if he had obtained the desire of his heart, he expresses it to be his resolution to yield a grateful acknowledgement to God. To encourage himself to hope with the greater confidence for a happy issue to his present troubles, he promises loudly to celebrate the praises of God, and to do this not only on one occasion, but to persevere in the exercise without intermission.