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tongue shall speak of thy word : for all thy commandments 173 [are) righteorisness : Let thine hand help me ; for I have
chosen thy precepts as my treasure and guide, that is, I will keep 174 them and be guided by them. I have longed for thy salvation,
O Lord; and thy law (is) my delight, while that salvation is de. 175 layed. Let my soul live, prolong this temporal life, and give me
greater affection in the spiritual life, and it shall praise thee, yea,
my eternal life shall be employed in thy praise : and let thy judg176 ments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep ; seek
thy servant ; amidst all these declarations of my piety, I humbly
The great use we are to make of this psalm, is, to have our reneration and love for the law of God increased, as that which will afford us the noblest delight and the best instruction ; and conside ering what a small part of the scriptures David had, in comparison of what we are favoured with, and how much more excellent that part is which he had not, we shall be inexcusable if we are strangers to the word of God, and do not make it our study and delight. The servant who knoweth his lord's will, and doeth il not, shall be beaten with many stripes.
A Song of degrees.
This and the fourtecen following 118alms are called Songs of Degrees,
It is not material to know what this means, since the learned are not agreed, nor can the Jewish writers give us any light in the mai. ter : whether they were to be sung on the stairs of the Temple, Neh, ix. 4. as is generally sufiposed, or only with a loud voice. They are all short, but the hundred and thirty second, which might be used as a token of gratitude to David and his memory, who liad made such preparations for building the temple. This hundred and twentieth pisalm was written by David in the wilderness of Paran, and schen sojourning among or near the Arabians. LTV my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, [and] from a 3 deceitful tongue. What shall be given unto thee? or what
shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? what treasure dost 4 thou hulle to heas ur by it ? Sharp arrows of the mighty, the
dreadful punishment of almighty God, with coals of juniper, a 5 wood that burns fiercely, and keeps fire a long time. Wo is me,
that I sojourn in Mesech, [that] I dwell in the tents of Kedar ! that I am forced to continue a long time among this inhospitable
and barbarous people ; or it may refer to wicked men in Israel, 6 who are as bad as any that dweli in this country. My soul hath 7 long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I sam for) peace : but
when I speak, they (are) for war; when I make proposals of peace, or take any pains to bring them to a better temper, they are for carrying on the war with so much the more eagerness.
"ROM hence we are taught, that a peaceable, quiet situation,
be obliged to sojourn among those who fear not God, nor love truth ; but who tell lies, devise mischief, and sow discord by slandering and evil speaking ; who love litigation and contention, and are all for war. If we have not the vexation and perplexity of such neighbours, we should bless God for it. If we have, let us consider it as an affliction ; patiently bear it, and endeavour, by being peace. able ourselves, by rendering good for evil, and abounding in friendly offices, to disarm their rage, and promote their thoderation. Les u8 not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. It is no un. common thing for men to complain of a bad neighbourhood, when they are themselves the worst neighbours in it.
A Song of degrees,
Composed by David during some great affliction, probably Absalom's
rebellion, as he refers 10 mouni Zion, which was not in the hands of the Israelites, nor the seat of the ark, till a little before that event. 'I
cometh my help ; Though I am driven from my palace, and thy tabernacle, yet I lift up mine eyes toward mount Zion and No2 riah, where God dwells. My help [cometh] from the LORD,
which made heaven and earth, and has all things at his command. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved : he that keepeth thee 4 will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither
slumber nor sleep; the protector of Israel and all good men will noz 5 neglect thee a moment, much less entirely abandon thee. The LORD
[is] thy keeper : the LORD (is) thy shade upon thy right hand 6 10 refresh and protect thee. The sun shall not smite thee by day
with his excessive heat, nor the moon by night, though thou should7 est be forced to lodge in the open air. The LORD shall prescrie thee from all evil : he shall preserve thy soul, that is, thy life,
and not suffer thee to fall into ihe hands of Ahithophel and Absalom, 8 who would take it away, The LORD shall preserve thee in thy
going out and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore, even to the end of thy days.
TROM this psalm we may learn, thankfully to acknow).
has been universally called the traveller's psalm ; and it is indeed an excellent companion upon our journies. Let us adore the goodness of God that he will be the guardian of his people, and the keeper of Israel ; and when we are leaving our habitations and going abroad, we should take encouragement from hence to trust in God to take care of us and them. In dependence upon this encouragement, let us cheerfully prosecute the proper business of life ; and not be slavishly afraid of enemies and danger by day or by night. God's eye is every where ; we and our friends may sleep, but God never slumbers nor sleeps. Let this then engage us to be cheer: ful; he has hitherto preserved and kept us, and we may comfort. ably conclude that, He will preserve us safe to his heavenly kingdom.
A Song of degrees of David.
'I WAS was glad when they said unto me, at the approach of
the sabbath, or solemn feasts, Let us go into the house of the 2 Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerụsalem. 3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together, not eal. 4 tered and divided ;* Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the
LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, 10 worship before the ark, in which the table of testimony was kept, and by which God testified. his dwelling in Israel, and hiş relation to them; thither they repair for the administration of justice, as well as to give thanks unto the 5 name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the
thrones of the house of David ; the courts of judicature are there,
where David and his 'sons administer justice.t. Whenever you 6 come up there, Pray for the peace and happiness of Jerusalem : 7 they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls,
(and) prosperity within thy palaces; may plenty of all good things
• David bad filled the valley between the upper and lower city with buildings, so that the city was now regular.'
+ We are told, ? Sam. viii. 1&. that David made his sons chief rulers. The temple might be made the place of judgment, to lead the people to thankfulness that God had given them a prince, by whom and by his family jostice was distributed ;' and to engage those young prisces to do it with diligence and integrity.
8 be found within thee. For my brethren and companions' sakes, 9 I will now say, Peace [be] within thee. Because of the house
of the LORD our God I will seek thy good ; not only pray for it, but do what I can lo promote it.
E are taught from this psalm to love God's house, and seek
its prosperity. No particular place is now the center of worship and unity, as Jerusalem then was, but wherever christians meet, there is a church, a house of God, a holy place. Let us quicken and stir up one another to go there, for we all need to be quickened. Let us earnestly embrace the call, love the habitation of God's house, esteem a day in his courts better than a thousand other days ; pray for its peace and prosperity ; that God would be the guardian of our churches; and continue their liberty and tranquillity. This should be done from a principle of love to God, a concern for the edification and happiness of our brethren ; and a regard to all the pleasure which results from social devotion. Let a spirit of piety and religious fellowship animate us to offer up our prayers and perform every good deed for the house of God; for in the peace thereof we shall have peace ; and God is not unrighteous to forget our works of faith and labours of love, or blot out our good deeds for the house of our God.
A Song of degrees.
If this psalm was composed by David, it was probably one of the first
that he penned. Israel was then under great oppression by the Philistines; there was no spear nor sword among them ; and they were obliged to go down to the forges of the Philistines to sharpen their instruments of husbandry : at those times they would banter the Israelites for their dependence upon a God, who, they thought, could not save them. David might go on these occasions, and this psalm be some of the first breathings of his pious and generous souh, on sceing his country thus oppressed.
U , (
NTO thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in 2
the hand of their masters, (and) as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, either for help and defence against those who wrong them, or to receive the signals of their will ; or rather, as expressing their resolution to submit to their correction ; so our
eyes (wait] upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy 3 upon us, and remove the affliction. Have mercy upon us, o
LORD, we earnestly entreat thee, have mercy upon us : for we
are exceedingly filled with contempt, and are hardly able to bear 4
up under it, as in 2 Kings xviii. 23, 24. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, [and] with the contempt of the proud, who are in peace and prosperity, and enjoy not only the good of their orun land, but of ours also.
TE should be led by reading this psalm to adore the divine
goodness, that our enemies are not oppressing us, lording it over us, insulting us with cutting reproaches and cruel mockings. Yet many who are serious and good, will meet with the scorn and contempt of the wicked and the freethinkers of the age. Let them when in such a case, keep their eyes fixed upon God; and derive support and encouragement from his mercy and that assurance of his favour, which he has given to all who hold fast their integrity.
A Song of degrees of David.
Composed perhaps on occasion of the victory David gained over the
Philistines in the beginning of his reign, see 2 Sam. v. 19. It is pirobable that they were overcome by thunder, or some other remarka able interposition of Providence,
1 F (it had not been] the LORD who was on our side, now may 2 Israel say ; If [it had not been] the Lord who was on our 3 side, when men rose up againt us : Then they had swallowed
us up quick, that is, alive, when their wrath was kindled against 4 us : Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone 5 over our soul : Then the proud waters had gone over our soul, 6 Blessed (be) the LORD, who hath not given us [as] a prey to 7 their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of 8 the fowlers : the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our
help (is) in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth ; in qhuse power and goodness, illustrated by this deliverance, we will for ever trust.
E are taught from this psalm, that national deliverances
demand our fervent gratitude. Many circumstances hare occurred in this nation, especially that we commemorate on the fifth of November, and some which have happened within our own memory, when our danger has been extreme, and God's interpositio. remarkable, that may properly be celebrated in the language of this psalm. These considerations should keep us from unreasone