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Psalm 4

Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.


Answer me when I call, O God of my right!

You gave me room when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.



How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?

How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah


But know that the L ord has set apart the faithful for himself;

the L ord hears when I call to him.



When you are disturbed, do not sin;

ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah


Offer right sacrifices,

and put your trust in the L ord.



There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!

Let the light of your face shine on us, O L ord!”


You have put gladness in my heart

more than when their grain and wine abound.



I will both lie down and sleep in peace;

for you alone, O L ord, make me lie down in safety.

4. Tremble then. Now he exhorts his enemies to repentance, if peradventure, their madness was not wholly incorrigible. In the first place, he bids them tremble, or be troubled; a word by which he rebukes their stupidity in running headlong in their wicked course, without any fear of God, or any sense of danger. And certainly the great presumption of all the ungodly in not hesitating to engage in war against God, proceeds from their being hardened through an infatuated security; and by their thoughtlessness, they render themselves stupid, and become more obdurate by forgetting both God and themselves, and following whithersoever lust leads them. He tells them that the best remedy to cure their rage, and prevent them from sinning any longer, would be to awaken from their lethargy and begin to be afraid and tremble; as if he had said, As soon as you shall have shaken off your drowsiness and insensibility, your desire of sinning will abate; for the reason why the ungodly are troublesome to the good and the simple, and cause so much confusion, is because they are too much at peace with themselves.

He afterwards admonishes them to commune with their own heart upon their bed, that is, to take an account of themselves at leisure, and as it were, in some place of deep retirement; 5454     “Et estans retirez a part pour sonder leurs consciences.” — Fr. And being retired by themselves to probe or examine their consciences. an exercise which is opposed to their indulgence of their unruly passions. In the end of the verse he enjoins them to be still. Now, it is to be observed, that the cause of this stillness is the agitation and trembling, of which he before made mention. For if any have been hurried into sin by their infatuated recklessness, the first step of their return to a sound mind is to awaken themselves from their deep sleep to fearfulness and trembling. After this follows calm and deliberate reflection; then they consider and reconsider to what dangers they have been exposing themselves; and thus at length they, whose audacious spirits shrink at nothing, learn to be orderly and peaceable, or, at least, they restrain their frantic violence.

To commune upon one’s bed, is a form of expression taken from the common practice and experience of men. We know that, during our intercourse with men in the day time, our thoughts are distracted, and we often judge rashly, being deceived by the external appearance; whereas in solitude, we can give to any subject a closer attention; and, farther, the sense of shame does not then hinder a man from thinking without disguise of his own faults. David, therefore, exhorts his enemies to withdraw from those who witnessed and judged of their actions on the public stage of life, and to be alone, that they may examine themselves more truthfully and honestly. And this exhortation has a respect to us all; for there is nothing to which men are more prone than to deceive one another with empty applause, until each man enter into himself, and commune alone with his own heart. Paul, when quoting this passage in Ephesians 4:26, or, at least when alluding to the sentiment of David, follows the Septuagint, “Be ye angry and sin not.” And yet he has skilfully and beautifully applied it to his purpose. He there teaches us that men, instead of wickedly pouring forth their anger against their neighbors, have rather just cause to be angry with themselves, in order that, by this means, they may abstain from sin. And, therefore, he commands them rather to fret inwardly, and be angry with themselves; and then to be angry, not so much at the persons, as at the vices of others.

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