Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
The Psalmist is again before the throne in this Psalm. Though in distress from men, yet happy in communion with God. His plea is for the Lord to comfort him, while his enemies buffet him. And in the review of past mercies he finds confidence for future deliverances.
To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.
I cannot begin this Psalm without first taking notice of the title. It is addressed to the chief musician. I have already thrown out my views of who this chief musician is. The next object is what it is upon: Jonath-elem-rechokim, which some translate the silent or peaceful dove not nigh. In the book of the Songs, Christ calleth his church by this name of Dove. Song of Solomon 2:14. The next observation is, that this Psalm is among the Michtams, that is, the golden sayings, such things as were very precious to him; and what could be equally precious to David with Christ, and the things which treat of him? If we keep these considerations in remembrance as we go through the Psalm, I conceive it will make the meditation of it sweet.
The Psalm opens with a general cry for grace in proportion to the enemy's violence. And were not the cries of Jesus strong in the days of his flesh? Did not Jesus, like the dove or the lamb, exercise dumbness, when the foe raged most clamorously? Isaiah 53:7.
Reader, do remark how suited this case is to every exercised soul. It corresponds to the case of the Redeemer, and to his church upon all occasions.
Surely we must see Christ here eminently set forth. Not only at his trial, but upon many occasions, we are told they sought to catch him in his words. Matthew 26:59, etc. Luke 20:20, etc.
What a sweet thought is here suggested of God's remembrance of his people's affliction! It is an interesting figure of speech, of bottling their tears: but the sense is, they are remembered. And woe will be to the man that offends one of God's little ones on His account. What are now bottles of tears, will be poured out in the end as so many vials of wrath. But, Reader, think how the tears of Jesus have been treasured up, which he shed for the sins of his people.
Blessed thought! all the redeemed of God have the vows of God upon them. They are, as the Israelite's house was appointed to be, with the label upon the gate, that every traveler going by might read the inscription, and say, Here dwelleth one of God's people: Deuteronomy 6:9. And as sure as Christ dwelleth in our hearts by faith, and is formed in our hearts by grace the hope of glory, so equally sure shall we live before him now in praise, and hereafter dwell with him forever in glory. Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 3:4.
How blessed it is to read the Michtams of David with an eye to Christ. They are golden things indeed, when they become the medium of opening to our view the Lord as our surety; and when they bring home to our souls the tokens of his love and undertaking for his people. Yes! blessed Lord, thou wert indeed all this, and infinitely more, as set forth in this Psalm, when thou hadst engaged in those suretyship engagements for thy people. How exposed to the malice of men! how persecuted by the wrath of hell! and how sustaining, the just desert of our sins from the righteous judgment of God! But oh! thou heavenly Redeemer, how precious were thy tears in the sight of God! How were they all counted and marked down. And most assuredly, blessed God, all must again be accounted for; and thy people remembered and saved by virtue of thy complete redemption-work, when the enemies of our God and of his Christ come to be recompensed for their deadly opposition to thee, and to thy righteous cause.
Help me, gracious Lord, in thy strength to be strong, and in thy righteousness to make my boast. Let men oppose, let devils rage, and all the enemies of thy great salvation threaten. The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusteth in him, and I am helped. I shall still walk before my God in the land of the living; and by and by, in and through Jesus, I shall walk before God forever and ever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 56 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-56.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent