David complains in this psalm, that he is reduced to such circumstances of distress that he is like a man in despair. But after having recounted the calamities with which he was so severely afflicted, he emerges from the abyss of temptations, and gathering courage, comforts himself with the assurance of deliverance. At the same time, he sets before us, in his own person, a type of Christ, who he knew by the Spirit of prophecy behoved to be abased in marvellous and unusual ways1 previous to his exaltation by the Father. Thus the psalm, in the two parts of which it consists, explains that prophecy of Isaiah, (Isaiah 53:8,) "He was taken from prison and from judgment:and who shall declare his generation?"

To the chief musician. Upon the hind of the morning. A psalm of David.

This inscription is obscure; but interpreters have needlessly perplexed themselves in seeking after I know not what sublime mystery in a matter of small importance. Some are of opinion that the word tlya, ayeleth, means the morning star;2 others that it denotes strength3 but it is more correctly rendered hind. As it is evident, from the testimony of the apostles, that this psalm is a prophecy concerning Christ, the ancient interpreters thought that Christ would not be sufficiently dignified and honored unless, putting a mystical or allegorical sense upon the word hind, they viewed it as pointing out the various things which are included in a sacrifice. Those, also, who prefer translating the original words, rxsh tlya, ayeleth hashachar, the dawn of the day or morning,4 have endeavored to do the same thing. But as I find no solidity in these subtleties, it will be better to take that view of the title which is more simple and natural. I think it highly probable that it was the beginning of some common song; nor do I see how the inscription bears any relation to the subject-matter of the psalm. From the tenor of the whole composition, it appears that David does not here refer merely to one persecution, but comprehends all the persecutions which he suffered under Saul. It is, however, uncertain whether he composed this psalm when he peaceably enjoyed his kingdom, or in the time of his affliction; but there is no doubt that he here describes the thoughts which passed through his mind in the midst of his troubles, perplexities, and sorrows.

1 "En toutes les sortes qu'il est possible de penser." -- Fr. "In every way which it is possible to conceive."

2 And this title they say is prefixed to the psalm, because the whole of it is concerning Christ the morning star.

3 Those who render it strength derive the word from lya, eyl, strength, and observe, that the cognate word in verse 20, ytwlya, eyaluthi, is rendered by the Septuagint thn bohqeian mou, my aid or strength. By the strength of the morning they understand the dawning of the day.

4 This is the sense in which Lightfoot understands the words.