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* The "humble shall see this, and be glad; And y your heart shall live that seek God. * For the LoRD heareth the poor, And despiseth not “his prisoners. * Let "the heaven and earth praise him, The seas, "and everything that "moveth therein. * For “God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah; That they may dwell there, and have it in possession. * The "seed also of his servants shall inherit it; And they that love his name shall dwell therein.
This Psalm represents its author, at the time of writing, as in great distress, and soon to be engulfed in hopeless ruin if God does not interpose for his help. Already a gleam of hope breaks through the thick clouds about him, and either by faith, or the appearance of some fortunate omen, he looks forward for full deliverance. This is indicated by verses 6–9, which Ewald and Hitzig suppose to have been written after the danger had gone past. The Psalmist at this time is absent from Jerusalem and the sanctuary, but still prays with his face toward Jerusalem, and his hands outspread “toward the holy oracle,” (verse 2.) His enemies are not only powerful, but treacherous and crafty, (verse 3.) “The contents of the Psalm throughout,” says Hengstenberg, “apply very well to David during the time of Absalom's rebellion, when, to all appearance, the design of God was that the lots of the righteous and the wicked should be changed.” There are, however, no external allusions sufficiently definite to determine with certainty. I place it in this connexion from the internal proofit bears of belonging here. PS ALM XXVIII.
DURING ABSALOM'S REBELLION, WHILE DAVID was AT MAHANAIM.
David prayeth earnestly against his enemies, 1–5; he blesseth God, 6-8; he prayeth for the people, 9.
* A Psalm of David.
1 Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock! Be not silent 'to me: Lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. * Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, When "I lift up my hands toward 'thy holy oracle. *Draw me not away with the wicked, And with the workers of iniquity, Which "speak peace to their neigbours, But mischief is in their hearts. 4 Give “them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavours: Give them after the work of their hands; Render to them their desert. * Because "they regard not the works of the LoRD, Nor the operation of his hands, He shall destroy them, and not build them up. 6 Blessed be the LoRD, Because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 7 The LoRD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in him, and I am helped: Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; And with my song will I praise him. * Heb. from me. * Or, the oracle of thy e 2 Timothy 4, 14.
a 1 Kings 6, 22, 28; sanctuary. Rev. 18, 6. and 8.28, 29. b Jeremiah 9, 8. d See Job. 84. 27.
* The LoRD is 'their strength,
9 Save thy people, and bless “thine inheritance:
How long David remained at Mahanaim, awaiting the approach of Absalom's army, we are not informed. Probably, however, not more than two days. We may suppose that on the third or fourth day after David's flight from Jerusalem, the insurgent prince was ready to offer battle. The two armies met east of Jordan, in Gilead, in a forest called “the wood of Ephraim.” As this “wood” was beyond the tribal limits of Ephraim, it is not known for what cause it took this name. Dr. Wells supposes it might be because “it lay over against the tribe of Ephraim;” others that it was here the forty-two thousand Ephraimites were slain by Jephthah, (Judges xii, 6;) others that here the Ephraimites were in the habit of crossing the Jordan to pasture their flocks and herds.
Here, however, in the forest, on the western slope of Gilead, the two armies met to decide the fate of the kingdom. As the army of David that morning marched out of the city of Mahanaim, “the king stood by the gate-side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab, and Abishai, and Attai, [his generals, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.’ And all the people heard when the king gave charge to all the captains concerning Absalom.” His last duty to his kingdom and to his rebellious son was now fulfilled. He had acted the part of a prudent general, a faithful sovereign, and a compassionate father. He now commits his cause to God. The king was old, and the people had remonstrated against his adventuring in person into the field of battle. He, therefore, retires to pray, and to await the issue. It was a moment of intense interest. The destiny of the king and kingdom trembled in the balance. A few short hours would determine all. If God does not help him now, all is lost. His cry is, “Make haste to help me, O Lord!” Psalm lxx is almost word for word like the last five verses of Psalm xl. It was probably at first a part of Psalm lxxi, and they are thus written in twenty-seven manuscripts. The general tone and sentiment of both are remarkably alike, indicating that they had their origin in a common occasion. The author, at the time of writing, was in extrême peril, his affairs had reached a crisis, and there was no time to delay help. He was the object of popular reproach and scorn; his enemies treacherous, powerful, and contemptuous. The phrase, “Aha! ahal” (Psalm lxx, 3,) is expressive of extreme contempt, denoting insult and triumph at the same time. The “unrighteous and cruel man,” Ahithophel, filled a large place in his thoughts, (Psalm lxxi, 4,) and the “gray hairs” of the monarch plead eloquently for his cause, (verses 9–18.) As he concludes his mournful song, his soul rises to the sublime elevation of victorious faith, and he exclaims:
“My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long,
These Psalms are generally referred to the time of the rebellion of Absalom, and I have inserted them at this particular point as befitting the crisis of David's affairs at that time. There is nothing improbable in supposing David to have borrowed from himself, and to have adopted on this occasion language which had given vent to his feelings in a former season of distress. This may account for the repetition of Psalm xl, 13–17, in Psalm lxx. Read 2 Samuel xvii, 24–26, and xviii.
WHEN THE ARMY OF DAVID HAD GONE OUT TO BATTLE WITH THE ARMY OF ABSALOM.
David entreateth God for speedy deliverance, the destruction of his enemies, and the preservation of the godly.
T To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.
1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
* Let them be ashamed and confounded
* Let "them be turned back for a reward of their shame That say, Aha! ahal
* 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'
* But I am poor and needy:
* Heb. to my help. a Psa. 40. 15, &c.