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cation that was wrought by the visible interposition
of the Most High.
3. Metonymy of the effect for the cause. said, I will love thee, Jehovah, my strength," v. 2. Strength is here put for the source or giver of strength. The effect of God's extraordinary dealings was to fill his heart with love, and to impress him with the feeling that he should continue to cherish it.
4, 5. Metaphors in the use of rock and fortress. "Jehovah is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer," v. 2. This imagery is suggested by the nature of the protection he had enjoyed. Had he been celebrating a preservation from pestilence or famine, it would have been unsuited to the species of danger from which he was shielded; but it is appropriate in the highest degree to indicate his preservation from the armed foes who had sought to take his life. God had been to him, what an inaccessible rock and an impregnable fortress are to one whom they protect from the approach of his foes. What an emphatic description of the perfect safety he had enjoyed, while apparently exposed to the greatest perils!
6, 7, 8, 9. Metaphors in the use of rock, and shield, horn, and high place. "My God is my rock; I will trust in him; my shield, and the horn
of my salvation, my height," or high place, v. 2. The word here translated rock is used to denote, not an impregnable barrier, but an unchangeable support. The Psalmist had experienced God's unvarying faithfulness, through the vicissitudes of a long life; and trusted in him as unalterable in his attributes and purposes. He had been to him as a shield, also, that intercepted all the weapons that were aimed at him; and as a horn like that of a powerful animal by which assailants are repelled; and as a height or elevated place, in which, after having escaped his enemies, he had reposed in safety. A horn of salvation, is a horn that saves, by the repulse of an antagonist. The relation in which God is exhibited as a defender and deliverer in these several figures, varies according to the object that is used for exemplification; as an inaccessible cliff, an impregnable fortress, a rock that cannot be undermined, a shield that intercepts the arrows that are shot, and the blows that are aimed at him who holds it, a horn that rebuts and drives back assailants, and a lofty height which yields him a safe station after the battle is over. What a towering sense these images bespeak of the agency of God in his protection, and of the absolute security he had enjoyed at the periods of his greatest seeming hazard! He ascribes his deliverance wholly to God.
Though he had been watchful, fertile in expedients, and brave, he makes no allusion to the exertions he had made to preserve himself. It was owing to God altogether that success at any time attended those efforts, but it was not through them that he was saved, but a direct and visible interposition of the Most High. Had it not been for that intervention, he would have perished by his enemies.
Under this sense of the past, the Psalmist expresses his purpose to continue to invoke God, and his assurance that he should still be preserved by him. "I will call upon Jehovah, who is to be praised, and from my enemies I shall be saved,” v. 3. Such is the disposition to supplicate his aid, and to rely on him for support and protection, with which their experience of his mercy ever inspires his children. It was raised in the Psalmist to an extraordinary strength by the greatness and directness of the deliverances he had received. After indicating in this beautiful manner the relations in which he contemplated God as his preserver, and expressing the feelings and purposes with which it inspired him, he proceeds to describe one of the deliverances God had wrought for him.
10, 11, 12, 13. Hypocatastases. "The cords of death compassed me about, and the waters of destruction frightened me; the cords of hades surrounded
me; the snares of death met me," v. 5. By the cords of death are not meant cords with which death binds, nor in which it catches its victims, and brings them within its reach; as death employs no such means to obtain those on whom it exerts its power. Its office is conceived to lie exclusively in killing, not in hunting those whom it is to kill. Its cords, therefore, are cords that make death sure to those who become entangled in them. The waters of destruction are waters or torrents that sweep those to destruction who are involved in them. By some expositors they are rendered the waters of worthlessness. If that is the true sense, a torrent is probably meant of polluted water, charged with carcases and every species of filth, such as in a deluging rain rushed down the valley of the son of Hinnom, and that terrified him by a prospect of being swept away and consigned to a burial amidst such disgusting objects. The other, however, is more probably the meaning. The cords of hades or the grave are cords which bind for the grave all who become involved in them; not cords with which the grave itself binds its victims, as the grave is not an agent; and those who are in its domains do not need to be bound to prevent their escape. The snares of death are in like manner snares that make their death certain who are entangled in
them. And these instruments of destruction and forms of danger are put by substitution for others of an analogous kind with which he was environed by his enemies. This is shown v. 17, in which he explains that it was from his strong enemy, and from haters that were too powerful for him, that God delivered him on this occasion. And these substitutes indicate doubtless the nature of the measures that were devised for his destruction. It was to be by stratagem. A scheme was laid to surround him in some position from which it was presumed he could not escape. A band of lawless soldiers were to rush on him like a resistless torrent, and assassinate him. Arrangements were made for his immediate burial, also, not improbably, that his death might not be at once known. The snares of death were set in his way also, or measures devised for seizing him if he attempted to escape by flight. These representatives are suited to indicate a device of that sort. They bespeak a plot to murder him; not a purpose to destroy him in an open battle.
The occasion to which he refers, it may be presumed, was that mentioned 1 Samuel xix. 11, 12, when Saul sent persons in the night to watch his house and slay him on his going out in the morning. They were probably stationed round his dwelling to