30. I will celebrate the name of God in a song, and I will magnify him in praise. 1 31. And this will please Jehovah more than a young bullock that hath horns and hoofs. 32. The afflicted have seen it, and those who seek God shall rejoice at it; and your heart shall live. 33. For Jehovah hath hearkened to the afflicted; and hath not despised his prisoners.
30. I will celebrate the name of God in a song. The Psalmist now elevated with joy, and sustained by the confident hope of deliverance, sings the triumphant strains of victory. This psalm, there is every reason to believe, was composed after he had been delivered from all apprehension of dangers; but there can be no doubt that the very topics with which it concludes were the matter of his meditation, when trembling with anxiety in the midst of his troubles; for he laid hold upon the grace of God by assured faith, although that grace was then hidden from him, and only the matter of his hope. God is here said to be magnified by our praises; not because any addition can be made to his dignity and glory, which are infinite, but because by our praises his name is exalted among men.
31. And this will please Jehovah more than a young bullock. The more effectually to strengthen himself for this exercise, David affirms that the thanksgiving which he is about to tender, will be to God a sacrifice of a sweet and an acceptable savor. There cannot be a more powerful incitement to thanksgiving than the certain conviction that this religious service is highly pleasing to God; even as the only recompense which he requires for all the benefits which he lavishes upon us is, that we honor and praise his name. This sets in a stronger light the inexcusableness of those who are so sluggish as, by their silence or forgetfulness, to suppress the praises of God. David neither omitted nor despised the outward sacrifices which the law enjoined; but he very justly preferred the spiritual service, which was the end of all the Levitical ceremonies. This subject I have treated at greater length on Psalm 50:14. By the way, the humility of David is worthy of being noticed, who, although he rose so high as to be a heavenly pattern, yet disdained not to humble himself for the common benefit of the Church, as if he had belonged to the common class of the people, that by the figures of the law he might learn the truth which has since been more clearly manifested in the gospel; namely, that the praises of God, in so far as they proceed from our mouths, are impure, until they are sanctified by Christ. But how gross and stupid is the superstition of those who would again bring into use the outward pomp of ceremonies which were abolished by the one sacrifice of Christ's death, and think that God is truly pacified when they have wearied themselves with doing nothing! What does this amount to, but to obscure or cover, by the intervention of thick veils, this legitimate service of thanksgiving, which David had no hesitation in greatly preferring to the Mosaic ceremonies, although these were of divine appointment? By a young bullock, he means one of the most choice or select and the idea which he intends to convey is, that there was no sacrifice or victim, however valuable or precious, that he could offer, in which God would take so great delight as in thanksgiving.
32. The afflicted have seen it. He here shows that the blessed effects of his deliverance will extend to others as well as to himself, a point which he frequently insists on in the Psalms, as we have seen in Psalm 22:23, 26, and in many other places. And his object in doing this is, partly to commend the goodness and grace of God to true believers, and partly that by this as an argument he may prevail with God to succor him. Besides, he does not mean that God's people would rejoice at this spectacle merely on the ground of brotherly friendship, but because, in the deliverance of one man, a pledge would be given to others, affording them also assurance of salvation. For this very reason he terms them the afflicted. Whoever seek God, (says he,) although they may be subjected to afflictions, will nevertheless take courage from my example. The first and the second clauses of the verse must be read together; for a connected sense would not be preserved were we not to understand the meaning to be this, That the example of David would afford a ground of rejoicing to all the faithful servants of God when they should seek a remedy for their afflictions. He very properly conjoins the desire of seeking God with affliction; for all men do not so profit under the chastening hand of God as to seek salvation from him in the exercise of a sincere and ardent faith. In the concluding part of this verse there is a change of person: And your heart shall live. But this apostrophe is so far from rendering the sense obscure, that, on the contrary, it expresses it the more forcibly, as if a thing present were described. In addressing those who were so much under the pressure of affliction as to be laid prostrate like dead men, he exhibits to their view a kind of image of the resurrection; as if he had said, O ye who are dead! unto you new vigor shall be restored. It is not meant that faith perishes in the children of God, and remains entirely dead until it is quickened into life again by the example of the deliverance of others; but that the light which was quenched is rekindled, and thus, so to speak, recovers life anew. The Psalmist immediately after (verse 33) describes the means by which this will be brought about in the children of God, which is, that believing the deliverance of David to be a common token or pledge of the grace of God presented before them, they will confidently come to the conclusion, that God regards the needy, and does not despise the prisoners. We thus see that he considers what was done to one man, as a clear indication on the part of God that he will be ready to succor all who are in adversity. 2
1 Venema and others conjecture, that what follows, from this verse to the end of the psalm, was added during the captivity of the Jews in Babylon; while others, from the expressions occurring in these verses, refer the whole psalm to that period; and observe, that the Hebrew letter
2 "Tous ceux qui seront oppressez a tort." -- Fr. "All who shall be wrongfully oppressed."