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INTRODUCTION TO PSALM III.
PSALM OF DAVID.
The first night of terror having passed, the king arose from his brief slumber, refreshed and in safety. God had protected him. The counsel of Ahithophel had been defeated, and his foes had been kept afar. With the return of day came better hope, and a more calm and settled faith. It was fit that he should mention this special loving-kindness of the Lord.
“I laid me down and slept;
His early orisons and complaints are poured forth in song, in which gratitude, faith, and joyful hope now rise, like a bow of promise, above the dark storm-cloud of his fears and his SOrrows.
PS ALM III.
WRITTEN ON THE MORNING AFTER HIS ENCAMPMENT EAST of JORDAN, DURING ABSALOM'S REBELLION.
David complains of his numerous enemies, 1,2; he confides in God, 3; the security of the Divine protection, 4–6; he anticipates future deliverance, 7, 8.
T A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
* LoRD, how are they increased that trouble me!
a Gen. 15, 1. 1 Or, about. b Psa. 27. 6. • Psa. 84. 4. d Psa 2.6, and 48 &
5 I* laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LoRD sustained me. 6 If will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, That have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O Lord! save me, O my God! For sthou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongeth unto the LoRD: Thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah!
e Lev. 26. 6. Prov. 8, 24. h Prov. 21. 31. Isa. 43.11. Jer. 8. 23.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS IW AND LXI.
PSALMS OF DAVID.
The second day after his departure from the capital, the king and his army, by a forced march, reached Mahanaim, in the mountains of Gilead, about thirty miles from the place of encampment the previous night, in the plain of Jordan. Here, worn down with fatigue, anxiety, and mental anguish, he was met by Shobi, son of Nahash, king of Ammon, and by Machir, son of Ammiel of Lo-debir, and also by the venerable and faithful Barzillai, who lived as a prince among the Gileadites. These brought ample supplies of food and other comforts for David and his men; “For,” said they, “the people are hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.” This proof of fidelity at such a crisis, from personages so renowned, and from so powerful a tributary as the king of Ammon, gave peculiar joy to the king, and was one of the methods by which Providence revived his sinking spirits, and threw a happier light over the aspect of his affairs.
Meanwhile, Absalom, with a numerous army, passes the Jordan, in pursuit. The country is everywhere thrown into the greatest agitation and alarm. The father, a gray-haired hero, inured to war and accustomed to conquer, is about to meet the son, a bold aspirant, whose pretensions to the throne have strangely gained him a wide and sudden popularity. The former is surrounded by veteran troops; the latter swells his army by innumerable recruits, drawn together by the momentary attraction of his cause. Every hour swells the ranks of either army. From all parts of the realm men are hastening to join in the grand and fatal issue. The chances of war are nicely calculated, while each one anxiously endeavours to forestall the result. The mass of the people, ever fickle and selfish, are always ready to flood along with the majority, vainly imagining that superior strength must necessarily result from superior numbers, and that the voice of the multitude is the voice of God. Thus, while the enthusiasm of the moment seduced many from their allegiance to join the standard of rebellion, the truer and the deeper hearted of the nation fled to the defence of their beloved and rightful sovereign. Every hour was big with results, as the two armies, within a day's march of each other, were extending their ranks and approaching the decisive moment. The opinions of men differ as to the prospects of the king. Some have hope, but the greater part yield to the sinister augurings of fear. In this hour of conflicting passions and opinions, David looks to God for help. In the midst of all, he is more calm than on the previous night, and his mind is more steadily assured of the Divine protection. His language now is:
“Stand in awe, and sin not:
Night again approaches, and he concludes his evening song in language of composed faith:
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep;
Read 2 Samuel xvii, 24–29.
PS ALM IV.
oN THE FIRST NIGHT AT MAILANAIM, DURING ABSALOM's REBELLION.
David prayeth to be heard, 1; he reproveth his enemies, 2,3; he cautions his friends against hasty words, and exhorts them to trust in the Lord, 4, 5; he pleads for the Divine favour, 6; he professes his joy and confidence in God, 7,8.
T To the chief Musician on Neginoth [i. e., the stringed instruments.] A. Psalm of David. 1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; "Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. * O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah! *But know that "the LoRD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: The LORD will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand "in awe, and sin not: Commune “with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah! * Offer "the sacrifices of righteousness, And “put your trust in the LoRD. *There be many that say, “Who will show us any good?” LoRD,"lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. * Thou hast put & gladness in my heart, More than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. *I* will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; For ‘thou, LoRD, only makest me dwell in safety.
* Or, be gracious unto me. d Deut. 33. 19. Psa. 50. 14. g Isa. 9. 3. a 2 Tim. 2. 19. 2 Peter 2.9. e Psa. 87. 3. h Job 11. 18. 19. bEph. 4. 26. f Num. 6. 26. Psa. 80. 8, Psa. 3. 5.
c Psa. T. 6. 2 Cor. 18. 5. 7, 19. i Lev. 25. 18, 19.
ON THE FIRST NIGHT AT MAHANAIM, DURING ABSALOM'S REBELLION.
David, overwhelmed in grief, and in a distant part of his kingdom, crieth unto
God 1,2; he expresseth confidence in God in view of former Divine protection, 3,4;
and of covenant promises and vows, 5, 6; he prayeth and promiseth future praise and obedience, 7, 8.
T To the chief Musician upon Neginah [i. e., upon the stringed instrument.] A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my cry, O God!
* From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
* For thou hast been a shelter for me,
* I will abide in thy tabernacle forever:
5 For thou, O God! hast heard my vows:
6 "Thou wilt prolong the king's life: And his years as "many generations.
7 He shall abide before God forever: O prepare mercy" and truth, which may preserve him.
8 So will I sing praise unto thy name forever, That I may daily perform my vows.
a Prov. 18, 10. * Heb. Thou shalt add days * Heb. Generation and generation. 1 Or, make my refuge. to the days of the king. b Psa. 40. 11. Prov. 20. 28.