Psalms 28

PSALM XXVIII

A righteous man in affliction makes supplication to God, and

complains of the malice of his enemies, 1-4;

whom he describes as impious, and whose destruction he

predicts, 5.

He blesses God for hearing his prayers, and for filling him

with consolation, 6, 7;

then prays for God's people, 8, 9.

NOTES ON PSALM XXVIII

This Psalm is of the same complexion with the two preceding; and

belongs most probably to the times of the captivity, though some

have referred it to David in his persecutions. In the five first

verses the author prays for support against his enemies, who

appear to have acted treacherously against him. In the sixth and

seventh he is supposed to have gained the victory, and returns

with songs of triumph. The eighth is a chorus of the people sung

to their conquering king. The ninth is the prayer of the king for

his people.

Verse 1. O Lord my rock] tsuri not only means my rock,

but my fountain, and the origin of all the good I possess.

If thou be silent] If thou do not answer in such a way as to

leave no doubt that thou hast heard me, I shall be as a dead man.

It is a modern refinement in theology which teaches that no man

can know when God hears and answers his prayers, but by an

induction of particulars, and by an inference from his promises.

And, on this ground, how can any man fairly presume that he is

heard or answered at all? May not his inductions be no other than

the common occurrences of providence? And may not providence be

no more than the necessary occurrence of events? And is it not

possible, on this skeptic ground, that there is no God to hear or

answer? True religion knows nothing of these abominations; it

teaches its votaries to pray to God, to expect an answer from him,

and to look for the Holy Spirit to bear witness with their spirits

that they are the sons and daughters of God.

Verse 2. Toward thy holy oracle.] debir kodshecha;

debir properly means that place in the holy of holies from which

God gave oracular answers to the high priest. This is a

presumptive proof that there was a temple now standing; and the

custom of stretching out the hands in prayer towards the temple,

when the Jews were at a distance from it, is here referred to.

Verse 3. Draw me not away] Let me not be involved in the

punishment of the wicked.

Verse 4. Give them] Is the same as thou wilt give them; a

prophetic declaration of what their lot will be.

Verse 5. They regard not the works of the Lord] They have no

knowledge of the true God, either as to his nature, or as to his

works.

He shall destroy them, and not build them up.] This is a

remarkable prophecy, and was literally fulfilled: the Babylonian

empire was destroyed by Cyrus, and never built up again; for he

founded the Persian empire on its ruins. Even the place where

Babylon stood is now no longer known.

Verse 7. The Lord is my strength] I have the fullest persuasion

that he hears, will answer, and will save me.

Verse 8. The Lord is their strength] Instead of lamo, to

them, eight MSS. of Kennicott and De Rossi have

leammo, to his people; and this reading is confirmed by the

Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, AEthiopic, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon.

This makes the passage more precise and intelligible; and of the

truth of the reading there can be no reasonable doubt. "The Lord

is the strength of his PEOPLE, and the saving strength of his

anointed." Both king and people are protected, upheld, and saved

by him.

Verse 9. Save thy people] Continue to preserve them from all

their enemies; from idolatry, and from sin of every kind.

Bless thine inheritance] They have taken thee for their God;

thou hast taken them for thy people.

Feed them] raah signifies both to feed and to govern.

Feed them, as a shepherd does his flock; rule them, as a father

does his children.

Lift them up for ever.] Maintain thy true Church; let no enemy

prevail against it. Preserve and magnify them for ever. Lift them

up: as hell is the bottomless pit in which damned spirits sink

down for ever; or, as Chaucer says, downe all downe; so heaven is

an endless height of glory, in which there is an eternal rising or

exaltation. Down, all down; up, all up; for ever and ever.

ANALYSIS OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH PSALM

There are three parts in this Psalm:-

I. A prayer, Ps 28:1-6.

II. A thanksgiving, Ps 28:6-9.

III. A prayer for the Church, Ps 28:9.

I. The first part is a prayer to God; in which he first requests

audience, Ps 28:2: "Hear me." And his prayer is so described,

that it sets forth most of the conditions requisite in one that

prays:-

1. The object-GOD: "Unto thee, O Lord, do I cry."

2. His faith: "To thee I cry, who art my rock."

3. His fervour: It was an ardent and vehement prayer: "I cry."

4. Humility; it was a supplication: "Hear the voice of my

supplication."

5. His gesture: "I lift up my hands."

6. According to God's ORDER: "Towards thy holy temple."

1. The argument he uses to procure an audience; the danger he

was in: "Lest, if thou be silent, I become like them that go down

to the pit."

2. Then he expresses what he prays for, which is, that either

1. He might not be corrupted by the fair persuasions of

hypocrites:

2. Or that he might not be partaker of their punishments: "Draw

me not away with the wicked." Upon whom he sets this mark: "Who

speak peace-but mischief is in their hearts."

3. Against whom he uses this imprecation, which is the second

part of his prayer: "Give them according to their own deeds," &c.

4. For which he gives this reason: They were enemies to God and

to his religion; far from repentance, and any hope of amendment:

"They regard not the words of the Lord, nor the operation of his

hands; therefore he shall destroy them, and not build them up."

II. Then follows an excellent form of thanksgiving, which he

begins with "Blessed be the Lord;" and assigns the reasons, which

express the chief parts of thanksgiving.

I. That God heard him: "He hath heard the voice of my

supplication."

2. That he would be his Protector: "The Lord is my strength and

my shield."

3. For his grace of confidence: "My heart trusted in him."

4. That from him he had relief: "I am helped."

5. The testification and annunciation of this gratitude:

"Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I

praise him." He remembers the indenture: "I will DELIVER

THEE,-thou shalt PRAISE ME." And, therefore, with heart and tongue

he gives thanks.

6. And that God might have all the honour, he repeats what he

said before: "The Lord is their strength," &c., that is, of all

them that were with him.

III. He concludes with a prayer, in which he commends the whole

Church to God's care and tuition.

1. "Save thy people," in the midst of these tumults and

distractions.

2. "Bless thine inheritance;" that they increase in knowledge,

piety, and secular prosperity.

3. "Feed them:" Give them a godly king.

4. "Lift them up for ever:" Make their name famous among the

Gentiles; let them increase and multiply till thy Church embraces

all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. This hath the

Lord promised.

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