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54. Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

2Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

3For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

4Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

6I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O Lord; for it is good.

7For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

4. Behold! God is my helper Such language as this may show us that David did not direct his prayers at random into the air, but offered them in the exercise of a lively faith. There is much force in the demonstrative adverb. He points, as it were, with the finger, to that God who stood at his side to defend him; and was not this an amazing illustration of the power with which faith can surmount all obstacles, and glance, in a moment, from the depths of despair to the very throne of God? He was a fugitive amongst the dens of the earth, and even there in hazard of his life — how, then, could he speak of God as being near to him? He was pressed down to the very mouth of the grave; and how could he recognize the gracious presence of God? He was trembling in the momentary expectation of being destroyed; and how is it possible that he can triumph in the certain hope that Divine help will presently be extended to him? In numbering God amongst his defenders, we must not suppose that he assigns him a mere common rank amongst the men who supported his cause, which would have been highly derogatory to his glory. He means that God took part with those, such as Jonathan and others, who were interested in his welfare. These might be few in number, possessed of little power, and cast down with fears; but he believed that, under the guidance and protection of the Almighty, they would prove superior to his enemies: or, perhaps, we may view him as referring, in the words, to his complete destitution of all human defenders, and asserting that the help of God would abundantly compensate for all. 291291     The phrase, אדני בסמכי, Adonai besomkey, which Calvin renders, “The Lord is with them that uphold,” is translated by Hammond, “The Lord among the sustainers;” and he remarks, that this form of expression, which is not unusual among the Hebrews, signifies no more than “God is my upholder; not one of many upholders, but my only upholder.” Thus, when Jephtha (Judges 11:35) tells his daughter, “Thou art among the troublers of me,” or “one of them that trouble me,” the meaning simply is, that she very much grieved and troubled him. So Psalm 55:18, “There were many with me;” i e., “God was with me,” which is as good as the greatest multitude. This is the sense in which the learned Castellio understands the passage, rendering it, “Dominus is est qui mihi vitam sustentat;” “The Lord is he who sustains my life;” and he defends it by the above and like arguments. With this the Septuagint agrees: “Κυριος ἀντιλήπτωρ τὢς ψνχὢς μου,” “The Lord is the defender of my soul;” and also the Syriac, Arabic, and Aethiopic.


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