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WHEN THE ARMY OF DAVID HAD GONE OUT TO BATTLE WITH THE ARMY OF ABSALOM.
David, in confidence of faith, and experience of God's favour, prayeth both for him. self and against the enemies of his soul, 1-13; he promiseth perseverance, 14–16; he prayeth for the continuance of the Divine favour, 17–19; he encourageth his soul in hope and confidence, 20–21; he promiseth praise, 22–24.
1 In "thee, O Lord! do I put my trust: Let me never be put to confusion. * Deliver "me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: Incline “thine ear unto me, and save me. * Be thou 'my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; For thou art my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 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. * Let my mouth be filled with thy praise And with thine honour all the day. 9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; Forsake me not when my strength faileth. a Psa. 25.2, 8. * Heb. to me for a rock • Psa. 22.9, 10. Isa. 46, 3.
b Psa. 31.1. of habitation. f Isaiah 8, 18. Zech. 8, 8. e Psa. 17. 6. d Jer. 17. 7, 17. 1 Cor. 4, 9.
10 For mine enemies speak against me; And they that “lay wait for my soul stake counsel together, 11 Saying, “God hath forsaken him: Persecute and take him; For there is none to deliver him.” 12 Oh God, be not far from me! O 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 show forth thy righteousness And thy salvation all the day; For I know not the numbers thereof. 16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. 17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth; And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 18 Now also 'when I am old and gray-headed, O God! forsake me not; Until I have showed “thy strength unto this generation, And thy power to every one that is to come. * Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, Who hast done great things: O'God, who is like unto thee! * Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, Shalt "quicken me again,
* Heb. watch, or, observe. k Psa 85. 28. * Psa. 85. 10; 86.8; & 2 Sam. 17.1. Mat. 27.1. * Heb. unto old age and 89. 6, 8. h Psa. 22, 11, 19. gray hairs. m Hos. 6. 1, 2.
i Psa. 35. 4, 26. * Heb. thine arm.
And shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. * Thou shalt increase my greatness, And comfort me on every side. * I will also praise thee with the psaltery, Even thy truth, O my God! Unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou "Holy One of Israel! * My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; And my soul, which thou hast redeemed. * My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the
day long; For they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, That seek my hurt. * Heb, with the instrument of psaltery. Psa. 92.1–8. a 2 Kings 19. 22. Isa. 60.9.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM CXLIV.
PSALM OF DAVID.
The hostile armies met. Brother with brother fought in deadly strife. The battle raged, and spread over the face of the country. The veteran troops were with the generals of David, and the names of Joab and Abishai were a terror upon the field of battle that day. Skilled in war and accustomed to conquer, with justice and the cause of their country on their side, they everywhere bore down upon the ranks of the rebel army with resistless fury, breaking and scattering them like chaff before the whirlwind. Twenty thousand men fell dead and dying upon the field. Absalom attempts to escape by flight upon a mule, but is caught by his hair in the branches of one of the evergreen oaks with which the country abounds, and while he thus hung quivering and helpless, the lionhearted Joab thrusts him through with three darts.
The death of the young prince terminated the slaughter of the day. The rebel army fled in confusion, re-passed the fords of Jordan, disbanded, and returned to their homes, while Joab led back his victorious men to Mahanaim. The news of the death of Absalom had preceded them, and they found the king buried in grief at the unhappy fate of his son, and uttering for him loud and heart-rending lamentations. The pride of the monarch was lost in the anguish of the father, and for a while he seemed to forget his duty as a sovereign, until nature had paid her tribute to the hapless doom of the now lost Absalom. It was apparent to the people and the army that the king was displeased. His orders to “deal gently with the young man, even with Absalom,” had been disregarded; and though the achievements of the day had restored to him the kingdom, and forever broken the power of his enemies, yet no voice of triumph was heard, no rejoicings of victory through all the city. The army had bravely perilled their lives and wrought noble deeds of valour for their sovereign, and now their cool reception from the field of battle cast the gloom of disappointment and chagrin over all minds. They were, indeed, even premeditating desertion and a return to their quiet homes, when the bold and just rebukes of Joab brought the king to a proper appreciation of his duty to his subjects. He now makes his public appearance at the gate of the city. Thither the troops repair. The king commends them, and by his smile once more diffuses joy throughout the city. As he awakes from the torpor into which his private grief had betrayed him, and surveys the political aspect of his kingdom, he perceives that a great deliverance has been wrought. IIis prayers have been answered, his hopes realized, his fears dispelled, his enemies destroyed. God has again remembered him, and again his fruitful pen records in song the honours of Jehovah, his shield and his deliverer.
The similarity of many of the expressions of this Psalm to Psalm xviii, has inclined some to the opinion that they both belong to the same occasion. But this would not necessarily follow. The same author, on different occasions, which, however, in many respects were similar, might use many expressions and metaphors corresponding to each other, but we could not suppose him to compose, on the same occasion, two poems of striking similarity of expression, without tameness and tautology. In Psalm cyliv, David speaks like the sovereign and father of his people. He had abundant cause for the reflections on the vanity of human life and human greatness in verses 3, 4; while the antithesis of verses 11, 12, shows that he had bitterly felt the curse of “strange children”—children of the stranger— children alienated, as if they had been the sons of a stranger. Verse 12 supplies his idea of what children ought to be. Read 2 Samuel xix, 1–8.
A THANKSGIVING ODE OF DAVID FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF ABSALOM'S REBELLION.
David blesseth God for his safety and success in battle, 1,2; for the Divine condescension in visiting man, 3, 4; he prayeth for signal interferences of power against his enemies, 5–8; he praiseth God for deliverance past, 9, 10; he prayeth for the future prosperity of his kingdom, 11–15,
* Blessed be the LoRD my 'strength, Which teacheth my hands 'to war, and my fingers to fight! * My 'goodness, and my fortress; My high tower, and my deliverer; My shield, and he in whom I trust; Who subdueth my people under me. * LoRD, "what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! 4 Man "is like to vanity: His “days are as a shadow that passeth away. * Bow "thy heavens, O Lord! and come down: Touch “the mountains, and they shall smoke.
1 Heb. rock. Psa. 18.2, 81. a Job. 7.17. Psa. 8, 4. Heb. 2.6. d Psa. 18. 19. * Heb. to the war, &c. b Job. 4. 19. Psa. 89.5. Isa. 64. 1. * Or, mercy. c Psa. 102.11. e Psa. 104. 32.