Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

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for my God.

4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head :
They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty :
Then I restored that which I took not away.

5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness ; and my sins are not hid from thee.

6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake :
Let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

206 PSALM Lxix. — Messiah's manifold sufferings

7 Because for thy sake I have boine reproach : shame hath covered my face.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's


9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up ;

And the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
Ill made sackcloth also my garment ; and I became a proverb to them.

12 They that sit in the gate speak against me ; and I was the song of the


13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time :

O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink :

Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.

15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up.
And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.

16 Hear me, O Lord ; for thy loviugkindness is good :

Turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.

17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me


18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it : deliver me because of mine


19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour :
Mine adversaries are all before thee.

20 Reproach hath broken my heart ; and I am full of heaviness :
And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none ;
And for comforters, but I found none.

21 They gave me also gall for my meat ; and in my thirst they gave me

vinegar to drink.

22 Let their table become a snare before them :

And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not ; and make their loins con-

tinually to shake.

24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take

hold of them.

25 Let their habitation be desolate ; and let none dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten ;

And they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast woitnded

27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity :

And let them not come into thy righteousness.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with

the righteous.

29 But I am poor and sorrowful : let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.

30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with


31 This also shall please the Lord better than an ox, or bullock that hath

horns and hoofs.

32 The humble shall see this, and be glad : and your heart shall live that

seek God.


33 For the Lord heareth the poor, and dcspisctli not his prisoners.

34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that

moveth therein.

35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Jndah :
That they may dwell there, and have it in possession.

36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it :
And they that love his name shall dwell therein.

A deeply plaintive song. It is seven times quoted (and no The titu-.
other Psalm is so often quoted) in the New Testament as the
utterance of Messiah. Why it is said to be " On Shoshan-
nim" we cannot tell, till we know more of what that instru-
ment was. It seems to speak of joy ; and if so, it suits this
Psalm so far that in it sorrow ends in joy.

The plan of it is very simple. There are three parts.

I. From verse 1-21, Messiah's sufferings are related by him- Theconte
self. What an embodiment of "prodigious passion" in the
cry " Save me" (ver. 1), from the lips of the Saviour ! Under
the sea of wrath, sinking in the slime at the very bottom of this
prisoner's dungeon (see Jer. xxxviii. 6), Messiah's voice is heard
ascending to the Father. The " slime and mire" represent the
loathing he felt toward sin. He is weary with crying, for in his
true, real humanity he has all the experience of one in pain,
who, during the slow, heavy hours of darkness and suffering,
feels as if it were never to end. He is spent with calling
on his God ; he is unsympathised with, for foes are on every
side, and all this at the very time when he is not taking from
them, but restoring the blessings which they had forfeited. (Ver.
4.) As to the folly and the trespass imputed to him, he lays it
before God —

" Lord, tJiou knowest as to my folly" (ThM^b)

Thou knowest the history of the folly and sin laid to my charge,
and why I stand charged therewith. He appeals to him as
able to help, for he is " God of hosts," and proved to be willing,
for he is " God of Israel" (ver. 6). While it is out of love to
man that he suffers, it is also to glorify God (ver. 7), " for thy
sake." He " weeps away his soul with fasting" (ver. 1 0), for
the good of men, and yet they mock at him. He pours his
sorrows into the bosom of his God (ver. 13), at a time when
(perhaps in Nazareth) he was '' the song of the drunkard," i. e.,
the iy\y^'^} satire (Ges,), as Job xxx. 9, Lam. iii. 14,

208 PSALM Lxix. — Messiah's manifold sufferings.

" Tliey who sat in the gate talk at me ;
Aiidthe songs of drunkards (do the same)."
" As for me, I pray to thee, O Jehovah."
And then he adds (though the punctuation in our version gives
the sense differently), in a passage which Isaiah xlix. 8 seems
to refer to —

" O God, in an acceptable time {i. e., a time when thou art favourable),
In the multitude of thy mercy, in tJte truth of thy salvation,
Ansiver me ! "

Hear and answer me when thou seest fit, when thou art well-
pleased. Let there be a time of acceptance. Jehovah, in Isa.
xlix. 8, replies to this cry — " In an acceptable time I have
heard thee" — well pleased with thy work, I give thee all thy
desire. The cry at verses 14-16 is parallel to Heb. v. 7, and
the complaiut of want of sympathy (ver. 20) reminds us how
even his three favoured disciples fell asleep during his agony ;
for here he seeks comforters with the cross in view (ver. 21).
True, his whole life might be said to be a life in which he fed
on gall, and drank vinegar, grief and bitterness being the every-
day portion of the Man of Sorrows — still, the chief reference
is to his life's closing scene, the scene of Calvary. And hence,
immediately after this, the strain changes, and we find our-
selves in another scene. He has finished his work ; and they
who crucified Him have gone away unmoved.

II. From ver. 22-28, the theme is, how these sufferings of
Messiah become the "savour of death" to the unbelieving.
It resembles Prov, i. 22, 23. He gives them up, saying, " Let
their table become a snare to them," since they give the Be-
loved Son only gall and vinegar, " and for a recommence and
for a trap." — (So Mendelssohn apud Phillips, and many others ;
and so Rom. xL 9). Ruin overtakes them at unthought-of
moments, like 1 Kings xiii. 20, in the case of the disobedient
prophet ; and their " habitation is desolate," as Matt, xxiii. 88
emphatically threatens.* The cup of iniquity is filling up, drojD
by drop, and Messiah does not interfere, but on the contrary,
says to Him who records it in his book, " Add iniquity to

* It has been proposed to understand " their Table " as the altar (Mai. i. 7),
and then the sentence is, " Let the letter kill them, since they refuse the spirit
let their ceremonial institutions become a trap to them ! " Their " habitation"
is the word in 2 Chron. vi. 54, for the enclosures fenced off for the sons of Aaron.


iniquity, and let them never be justified." Such is the " savour
of death." Instead of " Come to me I" it is now, " Let them
not come ! "

III. From ver. 29-36, the theme is, " the savour of life"
from Messiah's sufferings. Himself is delivered and glorified,
accepted of Jehovah as full type of, or fulfiller of every sacrifice
of clean animals, " ox, and horned bullock with cloven hoof,"
(ver. 81). The sinner who ceases from self, " the humble," finds
herein his source of joy, his acceptance with God. Men every-
where over all the earth may thus be blessed in him ; and
heaven and earth rejoice over the consummation. Israel, who
once rejected him, shall then be his, proving that he can soften
the most hardened, and pardon the most guilty. Such, then,
is this Psalm —

Messiah's manifold sufferings a savour of death to the
Unbelieving, and of life to the Believing.


To the chief Miisician. A Psalm of David, to bring to rcmemlirance.

1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me ; make haste to help me, Lord.

2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul :

Let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

3 Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say. Aha ! aha !

4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee :

And let such as love thy salvation say continually. Let God be magnified.

5 But I am poor and needy : make haste unto me, O God :
Thou art my help and my deliverer ; O Lord, make no tarrying.

It has been said by some that this Psalm is a prayer upon the
()9th. It may be so taken. The title seems to mean, a Psalm
" to put God in mind^' — Messiah himself being the chief of
God's Remembrancers. Compare this "T'DTH/ with Isa. Ixii. 6,
where they who pray unceasingly are called iviTV Jlhi Dppt^n-
The words are adopted from Psalm xl. 13.

We have in verse 1 , the cry ; in verses 2, 3, a reason for the
cry being heard, viz. the guilt of his foes ; in verse 4, another rea-
son for the same, viz. the benefit of those that love the Lord ; in
verse 5, a third reason, viz. his own claims on God for deliver-



ance from this state of humiliation and sorrow. And thus the
cry rises up to heaven on the wings of three strong arguments
certain to be answered in " The Glory that was to follow,"
implied in the " help."

It is such a Psalm as every member of the Church has often
had occasion to use, in sjrmpathy with David, and in which he
is sympathised with by the Son of David, whether asking pre-
sent help or hastening to the day of his Coming, which brings
full help and deliverance — " Tarry not ! " But still, it is most
of all Messiah whose voice is heard here. It might be called,
in reference to Heb. v, 7,

One of the Righteous One's strong cries for speedy help.


1 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust : let me never be put to confusion.

2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape :
Incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort :
Thou hast given commandment to save me ; for thou art my rock and my


4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked.
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

6 For thou art my hope, O Lord God : thou art my trust from my youth.

6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb :
Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels :
My praise shall be continually of thee.

7 I am as a wonder unto many ; but thou art my strong refuge.

8 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise, and with thy honour all the day.
Cast me not off in the time of old age ; forsake me not when my strength


10 For mine enemies speak against me ;

And they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,

11 Saying, God hath forsaken him : persecute and take him ; for there is none

to deliver him.

12 O God, be not far from me ! my God, make haste for my help.

13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul ;
Let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

15 My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness
And thy salvation all the day ;

For I know not the numbers thereof.


1() 1 will go ill the strength of the Lord God:

I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

17 O God, thou hast tanght me from my youth :
And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake mo not ;
Until 1 have shewed thy strength unto this generation,

And thy power to every one that is to come.

19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high,

Who hast done great things. O God, who is like unto thee !

20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me

And shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God :
Unto thee will I sing with the hai-p, O thou Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee ;
And my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long :

For they arc confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my

The Third Part of the Book of Psalms (according to the Jew- The tone and

. . . . .. ^''^ singer.

ish division) begins, not inappropriately, with a plaintive yet
pleasant song for the time of our sojourning here, embracing
both prospect and retrospect. Our Head could sing it too,
when in all our affliction he was afflicted. It will be asked,
however, how Christ could use such verses as verses 9 and
18, since these look forward apparently to the frailty of age.
The reply to this felt difficulty is, that these expressions are
used by him in sympathy with his members, and in his own
case denote the state equivalent to age. His old age was ere
he reached three-and-thirty years, as John viii. 57 is supposed
to imply ; for " worn-out men live fast." Barclay seems to give
the right sense in the following lines : —

" Grown old and weak with pain and grief
Before his years were half complete.*

Besides, the words signify, " Forsake me not from this time

* Parkhurst {apud Fry), remarks, that ]pT, " old age," rather expresses the
effect that age has on the body, than the time of life. Gesenius gives " de-
crepit, the chin hanging down," as the radical meaning, and compares it with
the Latin " senex" which is said to be an abbreviation of " seminex" half-
dead. In verse 18, also. n3''2J^ >s the head grown white

References I
old age.

The plan.


onward, even were I to live to grey hairs." This is a view that
conveys precious consolation to aged ones, who might be ready
to say that Christ could not altogether enter into their feehngs,
having never experienced the failing weakness of age, the de-
bility, the decay, the bodily infirmities so trying to the spirit.
But this Psalm shews us that in effect he did pass through
that stage of our sojourning, worn out and wasted in bodily
frame and feeling, by living so much in so short a time. The
aged members of his Church may find his sweet sympathy
breathed out in Isaiah xlvi, 3, 4 ; and here they may almost
see him learning the lesson in a human way, as he bends un-
der the weight of our frailties. For this reason, among others,
this jjsalm was specially prized by Robert Blair, one of our
godly forefathers. He used to call it " His psalm."

Such expressions as verse 6, " continually," verse 8, " all the
day," verse 1 5, " all the day," may be illustrated by Augus-
tine's comment : — " In prosperis, quia consolaris ; in adversis,
quia corrigis ; antequam essem, quia fecisti ; quum essem, quia
salutem dedisti : quum peccassem, quia ignovisti, quum con-
versus essem, quia adjuvisti : quum perseverassem, quia coro-

The plan of the Psalm is interesting. We have, from verses
1-4, prayer; verses 5-8, motives for confidence; verses 9-13,
prayer ; verses 14-17, confidence expressed ; verse 18, prayer ;
verse 19 to end, confidence largely declared.

In verse 7, " wonder " is q. d., a monster, a prodigious sight.

We are to understand verse 16 a little differently from our
version. It may read thus (as Ixvi. 13) —

" / will go forward (thinking) iipon the mighty deeds of the Lord Je-
I will celebrate thy righteousness (in working these mighty deeds) ;
Thee alone! "

Giving no glory to human skill and valour (Psalm xliv, 3), and
finding in Jehovah himself alone a sufficient theme for praise,
the Head and every member journeys on. His trust and theirs
look to the power, and wisdom, and love of him who guides the
vessel, not boasting of the frail vessel's strength to buffet the
billows of a tempest-lashed ocean.

his company.


There are precious glimpses given us of Messiah's childhood
in verses 5, 6, 17, when we listen to this Psalm as sung by his
lips. And then in the close, from verse 20 to 24, resurrection-
deliverance is the theme. The Head has enjoyed all that he
anticipated ; the members as surely will. Do we not see Messiah and
(verses 22-24) the ransomed company — the hundred and forty-
four thousand with the Lamb — on Mount Zion, and hear the
harpers harping with their harps in that day's unclouded bliss ?

" /, too (as well as angels), 2V'aise thee with the psaltery,
Thy truth, God !
I chant thee with the harp,

Holy One of Israel ! ?
My lips rejoice when I sing of thee,

And my soul which thou hast redeemed.
Yea, my tongue (as well as that of angels) all the day speaketh of thy

righteousness (see verse 16) :
For put to shame, sunk in confusion, are they who sought my hurt ! "

Antichrist and all foes are for ever ruined ; Christ and his
Church triumph and reign. This is the anticipation that leads
to these closing strains of rapturous exultation.

We may refer to Hebrews iii. 6, as suggesting the substance
of the whole Psalm ; for what else is it than

The Righteous One's confidence of hope to the end ?


A Psalm for Solomon.

1 Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the

king's son.

2 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judg-


3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by


4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the

And shall break in pieces the oppressor.
6 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all

6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass : as showers that

water the earth.


7 In his days shall the righteous flourish ;

And abundance of peace so long as the moon cndureth.

8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the

ends of the earth.

9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies

shall lick the dust.

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents :
The kings of Sheba and ISeba shall offer gifts.

11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him.

12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth ; the poor also, and him

that hath no helper.

13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence:
And precious shall their blood be in his sight.

15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba :
Prayer also shall be made for him continually ; and daily shall he be


16 There shall be an handful of com in the earth upon the top of the moun-

tains ;
The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon :
And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

17 His name shall endure for ever! his name shall be continued as long as

the sun :
And men shall be blessed in him : all nations shall call him blessed.
19 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous

19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever :

And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen.

20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

As 7 in all the other titles expresses the order, the title,
rtb7^7 i^ ^y many (such as Rosenmuller, Tholuck, Hengsten-
berg) rendered, "A Psalm of Solomon." But what then of
verse 20 ? It seems to leave just one alternative ; — the Psalm
is not David's directly (uttered, as some thmk, in connection
with 2 Sam. xxiii. 1-5), but it must be David's indirectly ;
dictated to Solomon, and given forth by Solomon, who re-
ceived it at David's lips for this end, and who says in the end,
that his father's prayer will all be completely answered when
this scene is realised. It would not ill suit the events of 1
Kings i., and it may be that the Holy Spirit gave this song to
David's harp, as he resigned it to Solomon along with his
crown, on occasion of his coronation in the valley of Gihon, so


near the Upper Pool where Isaiah afterwards stood foretelling
the birth of Immanuel, the true Solomon.

In verse 1 the subjects pray for their King, the Church for Thei.i
her Head, as in Psa. xx. They ask that their anointed King,
who is the Son of the King of kings,* may be sent forth to
govern them. They ask this by requesting that all regal
authority may be entrusted to him, and all regal qualifications
imparted. They are referring, in this request, to the Lord's
revealed will, to his decree given forth in Psa. ii. 6, 7, 8. " It is
as if they said,

" Put thy statute-book into the hands of Him who is our King ;
Clothe Him, thine oivn Son, with righteousness, that royal robe /"

At the same time, it may be the Psalmist himself praying —
David for Solomon, Messiah for himself And then follows the
glowing picture of anticipated blessedness, when this king be-
gins his reign of righteousness. Israel's poets and prophets
know of no golden age of which the very centre and life is not Mes-
siah, God incarnate. Restored paradise has streams ; Messiah
is their fountain-head. Restored paradise must have an Adam
that cannot fall, that its scenes may never suffer blight, nor its
bowers be invaded by the old serpent the devil. Dr Allix
rightly speaks of this Psalm being that of " The Church and
synagogue concerning the glorious kingdom of Messiah at his
Second Coming." How intensely tranquil, and yet intensely
glowing, are all the scenes ! If it be true that the mediaeval
hymn, " Dies irse, dies ilia," (a hymn of man's composition),
has exerted a solemnising and overawing influence upon thou-
sands in whose ears it has been sung, should not this glorious
burst of song leave its never-effaced impressions of noon-bright
hope, soon to be realised, on every saint who has a heart to feel ?

The hills and mountains (ver. 3) prominent in Israel's land,
the hills and mountains, too, of earth at large, generally so
barren, hills and mountains on which the feet of other messen-
gers have often stood (Isa. xl. 9), but never any messengers so
blest as those that visit them now — these hills and mountains
display the signs of peace, viz., abundant produce, " because
of righteousness" — because the Righteous One has come to
dwell in this New Earth. Antichrist and all oppressors are

* On Turkish coins, says Philipps, we find, " Sultan, son of the Sultan."


overthrown (ver. 4) ; earth's thick-peopled regions fear Him, and
shall go on fearing him in peace, so long as smi and moon re-
main, that sun and moon which at creation's dawn were ap-
pointed to light up earth and guide men to keep holy festivals
to the Lord, (Gen. i. 14). The Lord Jesus is there. Like
" plenty-dropping showers" that reach the very roots of the
mown grass (ver. 6), so is He to the earth after it has been
shorn by the scythe of war, and every form of ruin and wrath.
He revives it, as summer's genial rains cause grass to spring up
in new vigour, clothing the soil with a richer and thicker mantle
of verdure than before — as Layard* tells us how in the season
of spring the dusty soil of Mesopotamia will change its aspect,
in one night the tame plains turning to a bright scarlet, or to
deepest blue through the burst of flowers, while the meadows put
on the emerald green of the most luxuriant pastures, causing

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 20 of 42)