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Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.


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12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation He cannot dismiss his grief of mind until he have obtained peace with God. This he declares once and again, for David had no sympathy with those who can indulge themselves in ease when they are lying under the divine displeasure. In the latter clause of the verse, he prays as in the verses preceding, that the Holy Spirit might not be taken away from him. There is a slight ambiguity in the words. Some take תסמכני, thismecheni, to be the third person of the verb, because רוח, ruach, is feminine, and translate, let the Spirit uphold me. The difference is immaterial, and does not affect the meaning of the passage. There is more difficulty in fixing the sense of the epithet נדיבה, nedibah, which I have translated free As the verb נדב, nadab, signifies to deal liberally, princes are in the Hebrew called, by way of eminence, נדיבים, nedibim, which has led several learned men to think that David speaks here of a princely or royal spirit; and the translators of the Septuagint rendered it accordingly ἡγεμονικον. The prayer, in this sense, would no doubt be a suitable one for David, who was a king, and required a heroical courage for the execution of his office. But it seems better to adopt the more extensive meaning, and to suppose that David, under a painful consciousness of the bondage to which he had been reduced by a sense of guilt, prays for a free and cheerful spirit. 269269     Some commentators refer the clause, upon which Calvin is here commenting, to the Holy Spirit, and others to the qualities of mind with which David desired to be endued. The translators of our English Bible understand the expression in the first sense, reading, “thy free Spirit.” The word thy is a supplement, but it does not appear to be liable to any material objection. Fry, who adopts the same view, reads, “bountiful or spontaneously flowing Spirit;” and observes, that the word נדיבה, nedibah, “is more still than spontaneously flowing: it signifies to flow both spontaneously and plentifully: ‘prae uberitate succi sponte fluens.’ This epithet of the indwelling Spirit will be best explained from our Lord’s own words, John 4:14, and 7:38.” Others refer the expression to the mind of the Psalmist. Mudge reads, “And let a plentiful effusion of spirit support me.” Dimock, “Let a free spirit sustain me;” “that is,” says he, “let me not be enslaved, as I have been, by my sinful passions.” Green, “And support with a cheerful spirit.” French and Skinner, “And may a willing spirit uphold me;” by which they understand, “a spirit devoted to the service of God.” Walford, following the Septuagint, reads, “And with a princely spirit sustain me.” “David,” says this critic, “was so overwhelmed by the consciousness of his extreme iniquity, so broken in spirit, courage, and fortitude, as to feel altogether incompetent to the discharge of his office, as the King of Israel. He therefore addresses this petition to God, in the hope that he would grant to him a renewal of that powerful energy by which he had at first been fitted for an employment so every way unsuitable to his lowly descent, and his employment as a shepherd.” This invaluable attainment, he was sensible, could only be recovered through divine grace.