Psalms 57PSALM 57 OVERVIEW Title . To the Chief Musician. So glad a song as this becomes ere it closes, should be in the keeping of the most skilled of all the temple minstrels. Altaschith, i.e., DESTROY NOT. This petition is a very sententious prayer, as full as it is brief, and well worthy to be the motto for a sacred song. David had said, "destroy not," in reference to Saul, when he had him in his power, and now he takes pleasure in employing the same words in supplication to God. We may infer from the spirit of the Lord's prayer, that the Lord will spare us as we spare our foes. There are four of these "Destroy not" Psalms, namely, the 57th, 58th, 59th, and 75th. In all of them there is a distinct declaration of the destruction of the wicked and the preservation of the righteous, and they all have probably a reference to the overthrow of the Jews, on account of their persecution of the great Son of David: they will endure heavy chastisement, but concerning them it is written in the divine decree, "Destroy them not." Michtam of David. For quality this Psalm is called golden, or a secret, and it well deserves the name. We may read the words and yet not know the secret joy of David, which he has locked up in his golden casket. When he fled from Saul in the cave. This is a song from the bowels of the earth, and, like Jonah's prayer from the bottom of the sea, it has a taste of the place. The poet is in the shadow of the cave at first, but he comes to the cavern's mouth at last, and sings in the sweet fresh air, with his eye on the heavens, watching joyously the clouds floating therein. Divisions . We have here prayer, Psalms 57:1-6 , and praise, Psalms 57:7-11 . The hunted one takes a long breath of prayer, and when he is fully inspired, he breathes out his soul in jubilant song. EXPOSITION Verse 1 . Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me. Urgent need suggests the repetition of the cry, for thus intense urgency of desire is expressed. If `he gives twice who gives quickly,' so he who would receive quickly must ask twice. For mercy the psalmist pleads at first, and he feels he cannot improve upon his plea, and therefore returns to it. God is the God of mercy, and the Father of mercies, it is most fit therefore that in distress he should seek mercy from him in whom it dwells. For my soul trusteth in thee. Faith urges her suit right well. How can the Lord be unmerciful to a trustful soul? Our faith does not deserve mercy, but it always wins it from the sovereign grace of God when it is sincere, as in this case where the soul of the man believed. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge. Not in the cave alone would he hide, but in the cleft of the Rock of ages. As the little birds find ample shelter beneath the parental wing, even so would the fugitive place himself beneath the secure protection of the divine power. The emblem is delightfully familiar and suggestive. May we all experimentally know its meaning. When we cannot see the sunshine of God's face, it is blessed to cower down beneath the shadow of his wings. Until these calamities be overpast. Evil will pass away, and the eternal wings will abide over us till then. Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. When we are under the divine shadow, the passing over of trouble cannot harm us; the hawk flies across the sky, but this is no evil to the chicks when they are safely nestling beneath the hen. EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS Title . This Psalm was composed, as the title notes, by David prayer wise, when he hid himself from Saul in the cave, and is inscribed with a double title, Altaschith, Michtam of David. Altaschith refers to the scope, and Michtam to the dignity of the subject matter. The former signifies destroy not, or, let there be no slaughter; and may either refer to Saul, concerning whom he gave charge to his servants not to destroy him; or rather it hath reference to God, to whom in this great exigence he poured out his soul in this pathetic ejaculation; Altaschith, destroy not. The latter title, Michtam, signifies a golden ornament, and so is suited to the choice and excellent matter of the Psalm, which much more deserves such a title than Pythagoras' golden verses did. John Flavel (1627-1692), in "Divine Conduct, or the Mystery of Providence." Title . A Psalm composed when David fled from Saul in the cave, which is referred to in Psalm 143, and which, because it is without any other distinction called "the cave," is probably that celebrated cave where David with his six hundred followers lay concealed when Saul entered and David cut off the skirt of his robe. The king, accompanied by three thousand followers, chased him to the loftiest alpine heights -- "to the sheepcotes," where the cattle were driven in the hottest summer months only -- to hunt him in every hiding place. There was a cave, in the darkened cool of which David and his men were hid. Such caves in Palestine and the East are frequently enlarged by human hands, and so capacious that they accommodate thousands of people. This song of complaint was written during the hours of suspense which David spent there, to wait until the calamity was overpast ( Psalms 57:2 ); in which he only gradually gains a stout heart ( Psalms 57:8 ). His life was really suspended by a hair, if Saul or any of his attendants had espied him! Agustus F. Tholuck. Title . The cave. There appear good grounds for the local tradition which fixes the cave on the borders of the Dead Sea, although there is no certainty with regard to the particular cave pointed out. The cave so designated is at a point to which David was far more likely to summon his parents, whom he intended to take from Bethlehem in to Moab, than to any place in the western plains... It is an immense natural cavern, the mouth of which can be approached only on foot along the side of the cliff. Irby and Mangles, who visited it without being aware that it was the reputed Cave of Adullam, state that it "runs in by a long, winding, narrow passage, with small chambers or cavities on either side. We soon came to a large chamber with natural arches of great height; from this last there were numerous passages, leading in all directions, occasionally joined by others at right angles, and forming a perfect labyrinth, which our guides assured us had never been perfectly explored -- the people being afraid of losing themselves. The passages are generally four feet high by three feet wide, and were all on a level with each other." ... It seems probable that David as a native of Bethlehem, must have been well acquainted with this remarkable spot, and had probably often availed himself of its shelter, when out with his father's flocks. It would, therefore, naturally occur to him as a place of refuge when he fled from Gath. John Kitto (1804-1854), in "A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature." Whole Psalm . Mystically this hymn may be construed of Christ, who was in the days of his flesh assaulted by the tyranny both of spiritual and temporal enemies. His temporal enemies, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and people of Israel, furiously raged and took counsel together against him. The chief priests and princes were, saith Hierome, like lions, and the people like the whelps of lions, all of them in a readiness to devour his soul. The rulers laid a net for his feet in their captious interrogatories, asking (Mt 22:17), "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" and ( John 8:5 ) whether the woman taken in the very act of adultery should be stoned to death or no. The people were "set on fire," when as they raged against him, and their teeth and tongues were spears and swords in crying, "Crucify him, crucify him." His spiritual enemies also sought to swallow him up; his soul was among lions all the days of his life, at the hour of his death especially. The devil in tempting and troubling him, had laid a snare for his feet; and death, in digging a pit for him, had thought to devour him. As David was in death, so Christ the Son of David was in the grave. John Boys, 1571-1625. Verse 1 . Be merciful unto me , O God, etc. This excellent Psalm was composed by David when there was enough to discompose the best man in the world. The repetition notes both the extremity of the danger, and the ardency of the supplicant. Mercy! Mercy! Nothing but mercy, and that exerting itself in any extraordinary way, can now save him from ruin. The arguments he pleads for obtaining mercy in this distress are very considerable. He pleads his reliance upon God as an argument to move mercy. My soul trusteth in thee, etc. This his trust and dependence upon God, though it be not argumentative in respect of the dignity of the act; yet it is so in respect both of the nature of the object, a compassionate God who will not expose any that take shelter under his wings, and in respect of the promise, whereby protection is assured to them that fly to him for sanctuary. Isaiah 26:3 . He pleads former experiences of his help in past distresses, as an argument encouraging hope under the present strait ( Psalms 57:2 ). John Flavel. Verse 1 . Be merciful unto me . According to the weight of the burden that grieveth us, is the cry that comes from us. How do poor condemned prisoners cry to their judges, "Have pity upon us, have pity upon us!" David, in the day of his calamities doubles his prayer for mercy: Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee, etc., Until these calamities be overpast. It was not a single calamity, but a multitude of calamities which compassed David, and therefore he compasseth the Lord about with petitions. His spirit being up in prayer, like a bell that rings out, he strikes on both sides, Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me. Joseph Caryl. Verse 1 . Be merciful unto me . The first clause contains the prayer itself in a very forcible word ygnx, properly, "Show thy most tender affection to me," such as animals, with a humming sound, show to their young. Hermann Venema. Verse 1 . For my soul trusteth in thee . The best reason with God, who "taketh pleasure in those that hope in his mercy." Psalms 147:11 . Poole's Synopsis. Verse 1 . Soul . His soul trusted in God; and this is a form of expression the force of which is not to be overlooked; for it implies that the trust which he exercised proceeded from his very innermost affection -- that it was of no volatile character, but deeply and strongly rooted. He declares the same truth in figurative terms, when he adds his persuasion that God would cover him with the shadow of his wings. John Calvin. Verse 1 . In the shadow of thy wings I will trust; properly , I will seek for protection. The very delightful figure here employed, is taken from the chicken lying safely hid under the mother's wings; at the same time it seems to have reference to the wings of the cherubim, by which the mercyseat was covered. Simon de Muis, 1587-1644. Verse 1 . The shadow of thy wings . Compare Psalms 17:8 61:4; and Matthew 23:37 ; and the Apocalyptic imagery, describing the church fleeing from the dragon in the wilderness; and "to her are given the two wings of the great eagle," and she is delivered from the dragon, who desires to swallow her up. See Revelation 12:6,15-16 . Christopher Wordsworth, 1868. Verse 1 . Until these calamities be overpast . He compares his afflictions and calamity to a storm that cometh and goeth; as it is not always fair weather with us in this life, so not always foul. Athanasius said of Julian furiously raging against the Lord's Anointed, "Nubecula est, cito transibit," he is a little cloud; he will soon pass away. Man is born to labour and dolour, to travail and trouble; to labour in his actions, to dolour in his passions; and so, "Great are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of all." If we put our trust in him and cast all our care upon him, he will in his good time bring it to pass, that all our afflictions shall overpass. He will either take them from us or us from them, and then we shall assuredly know that the troubles of this life present are not worthy of the glory which in the life to come shall be showed unto us. For as the globe of the earth, which improperly for his show of bigness we term the world, and is, after the mathematician's account, many thousand miles in compass; yet, being compared unto the greatness of the starry sky's circumference, is but a centre or little prick: so the travail and affliction of this life temporal, in respect of the joys eternal in the world to come, bear not any proportion, but are to be reputed in comparison a very nothing, as a dark cloud that cometh and goeth in a moment. John Boys. Verse 1-3 . In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge , until these calamities be overpast, etc. As if he had said, Lord, I am already in the cave and in the holds, and in the shadow of it, but yet for all that I think not myself safe indeed, till I have made my refuge in the shadow of thy wings: that is therefore the course I resolve and build upon. It was wisely done of him: and mark what course he takes to do it, Psalms 57:2 , I will cry unto God most high, I will by prayer put myself under the shadow of God's wings: and mark what success should follow, Psalms 57:3 , He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. When we send prayers up to heaven, God will send help down from heaven. But yet David prays to God, as well as trusts in God. And unless we pray as well as trust, our trust will fail us, for we must trust to God for that we pray for. Jeremiah Dyke, 1620. HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS Verse 1 . (first clause). Repetition in prayer. Its dangers. May degenerate into "vain repetitions." Carried to excess painfully suggests the idea, God is unwilling. Its uses. Eases the soul like tears. Manifests intense emotion. Enables those of less mental activity to join in the general supplication. R. A. Griffin. Verse 1 . Here are -- Calamities. War. Pestilence. Privations. Sin, greatest of all. Death. Curse of a broken law. Here is a refuge from these calamities. In God. Specially in the mercy of God. There is flying to that refuge. By faith; My soul trusteth in thee; Under the shadow, etc. By prayer; "Be," etc. Here is continuance both in faith and prayer; until, etc. G. R. Verse 1,4,6-7 . Note the varying condition of the same heart, at the same time. My soul trusteth in thee... My soul is among lions... My soul is bowed down... My heart is fixed. WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE FIFTY-SEVENTH PSALM IN SPURGEON'S DAY The Works of JOHN BOYS, D.D., "Deane of Canterburie," 1629, folio, pp. 834-40, contains an Exposition of Psalm 57. In CHANDLER'S "Life of David," Vol. 1., pp. 176-9, there is an Exposition of this Psalm. EXPOSITION Verse 2 . I will cry. He is quite safe, but yet he prays, for faith is never dumb. We pray because we believe. We exercise by faith the spirit of adoption whereby we cry. He says not I do cry, or I have cried, but I will cry, and indeed, this resolution may stand with all of us until we pass through the gates of pearl; for while we are here below we shall still have need to cry. Unto God most high. -- Prayers are for God only; the greatness and sublimity of his person and character suggest and encourage prayer; however high our enemies, our heavenly Friend is higher, for he is Most high, and he can readily send from the height of his power the succour which we need. Unto God that performeth all things for me. He has cogent reason for praying, for he sees God performing. The believer waits and God works. The Lord has undertaken for us, and he will not draw back, he will go through with his covenant engagements. Our translators have very properly inserted the words, "all things," for there is a blank in the Hebrew, as if it were a carte blanche, and you might write therein that the Lord would finish anything and everything which he has begun. Whatsoever the Lord takes in hand he will accomplish; hence past mercies are guarantees for the future, and admirable reasons for continuing to cry unto him. EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS Verse 1-3 . In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge , until these calamities be overpast, etc. As if he had said, Lord, I am already in the cave and in the holds, and in the shadow of it, but yet for all that I think not myself safe indeed, till I have made my refuge in the shadow of thy wings: that is therefore the course I resolve and build upon. It was wisely done of him: and mark what course he takes to do it, Psalms 57:2 , I will cry unto God most high, I will by prayer put myself under the shadow of God's wings: and mark what success should follow, Psalms 57:3 , He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. When we send prayers up to heaven, God will send help down from heaven. But yet David prays to God, as well as trusts in God. And unless we pray as well as trust, our trust will fail us, for we must trust to God for that we pray for. Jeremiah Dyke, 1620. Verse 2 . Unto God that performeth all things for me . God's favours already received are a pledge that he will complete his work of love "upon l[ me." The beginning is the earnest of the completion. His word is a guarantee for the performance of "all things" that I need. (Compare Psalms 57:3 56:4 1 Samuel 2:9 3:12 1 Samuel 23:17 24:21 Psalms 128:8 Job 10:3,8 14:15 Philippians 1:6 Isaiah 26:12 ). A. R. Fausset. Verse 2 . God that performeth all things for me . Hebrew, that performeth (or perfecteth, or finisheth, as this word is rendered, Psalms 138:8 ; i.e., will certainly perform or finish), for, or towards, or concerning me. He doth not express what he performeth, or perfecteth, or fulfileth, but leaveth it to be understood, as being easy to be understood. He performeth or perfecteth, to wit, all that he hath promised; engages himself to perform what he hath begun to do, or what is yet to be performed; it being usual in the Hebrew language to understand a verbal noun after the verb. He implies that God is not like men, who make large promises, but either through inability, or carelessness, or unfaithfulness, do not perform them, but will certainly be as good as his word. Matthew Poole, 1624-1679. Verse 2 . (last clause) . The word which we translate performeth comes from a root that signifies both to perfect and to desist or cease. For when a business is performed or perfected, the agent then ceases and desists from working: he puts to the last hand when he finishes the work. To such a happy issue the Lord hath brought all his doubtful and difficult matters before; and this gives him encouragement that he will still be gracious, and perfect that which concerneth him now, as he speaks, Psalms 138:8 , "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." The Septuagint renders it by ton euergetm sonta me, who profits or benefits me. And it is a certain truth, that all the results and issues of providence are profitable and beneficial to the saints. But the supplement in our translation well conveys the importance of the place; "who performeth all things; and it involves the most strict and proper notion of providence, which is nothing else but the performance of God's gracious purposes and promises to his people." And therefore Vatablus and Muis supply and fill up the room with the conciseness of the original leaves, with quae promisit: I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth the things which he hath promised. Payment is the performance of promises. Grace makes the promise, and providence the payment. Piscator fills it with benignitatem et misericordiam suam; "unto God that performeth his kindness and mercy." But still it supposes the mercy performed to be contained in the promise, and much more so in the providential performance of it to us. John Flavel. Verse 2 . (last clause) . David even then when he fled from Saul in the cave he looks upon God as having performed all things for him. The word is, he hath perfected all things; and it is observable that David uses the same expression of praising God here when he was in the cave, hiding himself to save his life, as he did when he triumphed over his enemies -- Psalm 6 and Psalm 108. Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646. Verse 2 . (last clause) . The Targum curiously paraphrases this clause: "Who ordered the spider that wrought the web, on my account, at the mouth of the cave;" applying a later historical fact, which, however, may have had its prototype in David's history. Andrew A. Bonar, in "Christ and his Church in the Book of Psalms," 1859. HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS Verse 2 . Prayer to the performing God. He performs all his promises, all my salvation, all my preservation, all needed between here and heaven. Here he reveals his omnipotence, his grace, his faithfulness, his immutability; and we are bound to show our faith, patience, joy, and gratitude. Verse 2 . Strange reasons. The psalmist in the depth of distress, cries to God, because he is most high in glory. Surely this thought might well paralyse him with the fear of divine inaccessibility, but the soul quickened with suffering, sees through and beyond the metaphor, rejoices in the truth, "Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly." He cries to God for help, because God is performing all things for him. Why urge him then? Prayer is the music to which "the mighty man of war" goes forth to battle. R. A. G. EXPOSITION Verse 3 . He shall send from heaven. If there be no fit instruments on earth, heaven shall yield up its legions of angels for the succour of the saints. We may in times of great straits expect mercies of a remarkable kind; like the Israelites in the wilderness, we shall have our bread hot from heaven, new every morning; and for the overthrow of our enemies God shall open his celestial batteries, and put them to utter confusion. Wherever the battle is more fierce than ordinary, there shall come succours from headquarters, for the Commander in chief sees all. And save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. He will be in time, not only to rescue his servants from being swallowed up, but even from being reproached. Not only shall they escape the flames, but not even the smell of fire shall pass upon them. O dog of hell, I am not only delivered from thy bite, but even from thy bark. Our foes shall not have the power to sneer at us, their cruel jests and taunting gibes shall be ended by the message from heaven, which shall for ever save us. Selah. Such mercy may well make us pause to meditate and give thanks. Rest, singer, for God has given thee rest! God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. He asked for mercy, and truth came with it. Thus evermore doth God give us more than we ask or think. His attributes, like angels on the wing, are ever ready to come to the rescue of his chosen. EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS Verse 1-3 . In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge , until these calamities be overpast, etc. As if he had said, Lord, I am already in the cave and in the holds, and in the shadow of it, but yet for all that I think not myself safe indeed, till I have made my refuge in the shadow of thy wings: that is therefore the course I resolve and build upon. It was wisely done of him: and mark what course he takes to do it, Psalms 57:2 , I will cry unto God most high, I will by prayer put myself under the shadow of God's wings: and mark what success should follow, Psalms 57:3 , He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. When we send prayers up to heaven, God will send help down from heaven. But yet David prays to God, as well as trusts in God. And unless we pray as well as trust, our trust will fail us, for we must trust to God for that we pray for. Jeremiah Dyke, 1620. Verse 3 . Him that would swallow me up . If I were to take you to my house, and say that I had an exquisite fat man, and wished you to join me in eating him, your indignation could be restrained by nothing. You would pronounce me to be crazy. There is not in New York a man so mean that he would not put down a man who should propose to have a banquet off from a fellow man, cutting steaks out of him, and eating them. And that is nothing but feasting on the human body, while they will all sit down, and take a man's soul, and look for the tender loins, and invite their neighbours in to partake of the little titbits. They will take a man's honour and name, and broil them over the coals of their indignation, and fill the whole room with the aroma thereof, and give their neighbour a piece, and watch him, and wink as he tastes it. You all eat men up... You eat the souls, the finest elements of men. You are more than glad if you can whisper a word that is derogatory to a neighbour, or his wife, or his daughter... The morsel is too exquisite to be lost. Here is the soul of a person, here is a person's hope for this world and the world to come, and you have it on your fork, and you cannot refrain from tasting it, and give it to some one else to taste. You are cannibals, eating men's honour and name and rejoicing in it -- and that, too, when you do not always know that the things charged against them are true; when in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the probabilities are that they are not true. Henry Ward Beecher, 1870. Verse 3 . God shall send forth his mercy and his truth , viz., to save me. That is to say, God, to manifest his mercy, and vindicate the truth of his promises, will save me. The reader will observe, that mercy and truth are here poetically represented as ministers of God, standing in his presence, ready to execute his pleasure, and employed by him in the salvation of his people. Samuel Chandler. Verse 3 . His mercy and his truth . He need not send down angels, he need send but mercy and truth down, which elsewhere it is said he prepares in the heavens. Psalms 61:7 . He prepares commissions for them, and sends them down with them for execution. Thomas Goodwin. HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS Verse 3 . The saints comfort in adversity. All contingencies are provided for: He shall (or will) send. The highest resources are available: from heaven. The worst foes will be overcome in the end: him that would swallow me up. By the holiest means: mercy and truth. R. A. G. Verse 3 . The celestial messengers. What they are. The certainty of their being sent. Their efficient operation. The grateful receiver. Verse 3 . (last clause). The harmony of the divine attributes in salvation. Mercy founded on truth, truth vindicating mercy. Mercy without injustice, justice honoured in mercy. EXPOSITION Verse 4. My soul is among lions. He was a very Daniel. Howled at, hunted, wounded, but not slain. His place was in itself one of extreme peril, and yet faith made him feel himself secure, so that he could lie down. The cave may have reminded him of a lion's den, and Saul and his band shouting and yelling in their disappointment at missing him, were the lions; yet beneath the divine shelter he finds himself safe. And I lie even among them that are set on fire. Perhaps Saul and his band kindled a fire in the cavern while they halted in it, and David was thus reminded of the fiercer fire of their hate which burned within their hearts. Like the bush in Horeb, the believer is often in the midst of flames, but never consumed. It is a mighty triumph of faith when we can lie down even among firebrands and find rest, because God is our defence. Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Malicious men carry a whole armoury in their mouths; they have not harmless mouths, whose teeth grind their own food as in a mill, but their jaws are as mischievous as if every tooth were a javelin or an arrow. They have no molars, all their teeth are canines, and their nature is canine, leonine, wolfish, devilish. As for that busy member the tongue, in the case of the malicious, it is a two edged, keen, cutting, killing sword. The tongue, which is here compared to a sword, has the adjective sharp added to it, which is not used in reference to the teeth, which are compared to spears, as if to show that if men were actually to tear us with their teeth, like wild beasts, they could not thereby wound us so severely as they can do with their tongues. No weapon is so terrible as a tongue sharpened on the devil's grindstone; yet even this we need not fear, for "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS Verse 4. My soul is among lions. This may also be construed of the church, and that both in respect of her spiritual enemies and temporal. As for her ghostly foes, the devil is a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), and our sins are the whelps of lions, ready to devour us. And concerning outward enemies, the church in this world is like Daniel in the lion's den, or as "the sucking child playing upon the hole of the asp." Isaiah 11:8. She hath here no visible power or outward help to fly to for succour, all her trust is in the Lord, and "under the shadow of his wings is her refuge, till this evil is overpast."... And surely, beloved, if the church had not any other enemies, but only these monstrous Antichrists of Rome, yet she might truly complain with our prophet here, My soul is among lions. Eleven popes had that name, whereof all, excepting two or three, were roaring lions in their Bulls, and ravening lions in seeking after their prey. Leo the tenth so pilled (Pill -- peel, to pillage, plunder, strip) and polled (Poll, used synonymously with peel) the goodly nations of Germany with his unpardonable pardons and merciless indulgences, as that his insupportable cruelty gave the first occasion of the Reformation of religion in that country. John Boys. Verse 4. (first clause). Mudge translates literally, I lie with my soul amidst lionesses. This agrees with the opinion of Bochart, who thinks that the animals here intended are lionesses, properly, when giving suck to their young, a time when they are peculiarly fierce and dangerous, "nor need we wonder," he observes, "that the lioness is reckoned among the fiercest lions; for the lioness equals, or even exceeds, the lion in strength and fierceness;" and this he proves from the testimonies of ancient writers. James Anderson's Note to Calvin in loc, 1846. Verse 4. And I lie even among them that are set on fire. The whole pith lies in the word hbkfa, I will recline, which denotes a tranquil and secure condition of body and mind, like a man reclining and sleeping, as Psalms 3:5; I laid me down and slept, I awaked; and lived composedly; Psalms 4:9; I will both lay me down in peace, etc. Hermann Venema. Verse 4. The horrors of a lion's den, the burning of a fiery furnace, and the cruel onset of war, are the striking images by which David here describes the peril and wretchedness of his present condition. John Morison. HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS Verse 1,4,6-7. Note the varying condition of the same heart, at the same time. My soul trusteth in thee... My soul is among lions... My soul is bowed down... My heart is fixed. Verse 4. My soul is among lions. How came I there? If for God's sake, then I may remember --
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