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invisible presence. Visible acts of such immeasurable awfulness and terror are not appropriate representatives of the stated operations of the natural world, or action of second causes. The prevention of assassins from taking the Psalmist's life by an earthquake and tempest of lightning and hail, is not a suitable emblem of a defeat of their plots by the ordinary events of providence. The one is miraculous, the other is not. God is the immediate and visible author of the one; men in the ordinary course of their agency may be the occasions of the other.
Thirdly. The several separate figures that occur in the passage show that the whole does not, as those writers imagine, constitute a single figure. There are seven metaphors in v. 10-14, and God in each instance exerted the act, or produced the effect that is expressed by the figure. It is he that rode the storm cloud, flew on it and on the wings of the wind, made the clouds his tent, caused the thunder which is called his voice, and shot the lightning shafts that are denominated his arrows. But it is the law of the metaphor, that the agent who exerts the act which is used by the figure, is the agent also of the act which the figure is employed to signify. He who is said to have shot his arrows, is the being who shot the lightning shafts, which by a metaphor
are called his arrows. He who gave his voice, and hailstones and coals of fire, is the being who caused the thunder which is signified by his voice, and the hail and coals that accompanied it. Jehovah then, it is certain, exerted the acts that are expressed by those figures, and on the occasion and in the circumstances in which he is said to have exerted them; for his name and all that is descriptive of him in the nominative of the figures is literal: precisely as in the metaphors with which the Psalm commences, "My God is my rock, my shield, and the horn of my salvation," his name is used literally, and he is the sole subject of the affirmations. He was visibly enthroned then in the clouds when he exerted them, and beheld by the Psalmist; and therefore the interposition described in the passage was real, and not imaginative or conceptional. No more absolute demonstration than this can be furnished by language that such was the fact. The description is so wrought, that it is not in the power of human ingenuity to erase from it the proofs formed by these figures that the interposition it commemorates was real, and the acts and appearances such as the language describes.
The Psalmist now proceeds to indicate the reasons that God wrought for him this extraordinary deli
23. Hypocatastasis. "He rescued me, because he delighted in me. Jehovah rewards me according to my rectitude; according to the cleanness of my hands he recompenses me," v. 19, 20. The cleanness of his hands is put for his innocence of the guilt of murder, with a reference undoubtedly to Saul. Blood stains on the hands are appropriate symbols of the guilt of murder; and purity of the hands from those stains, of freedom from that guilt. He had been regarded by Saul as his enemy, and suspected of aiming at his life. But the suspicion was groundless and unjust, as David afterwards proved, by abstaining from slaying him when in his power (1 Sam. xxiv). He regarded his person as sacred as the Lord's anointed, and neither attempted to take his life, nor to excite his subjects to conspire against him, or to revolt from his rule. It was to this unspotted rectitude and fidelity to Saul, as invested by God with his kingly office, undoubtedly, that the Psalmist refers; not, as Hengstenberg and others suppose, to his righteousness, or piety generally. Had he conspired against Saul's life, or endeavored to overturn his government, God would not have interposed to save him from what would then have been the just punishment of a great crime. The Psalmist is to be regarded accordingly as mentioning this ground of his intervention, not in
commendation of himself, but for the purpose of vindicating God. The import of his language is, that God rescued him because he approved of his conduct in respect to Saul. He treated him as guiltless of the malicious wishes and designs of which the king had suspected and accused him. He indicates in the protestation that follows, that had he taken or sought Saul's life, it would have been an act of open revolt from God.
24, 25. Hypocatastases. "For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, and have not apostatized from my God: For all his judgments are before me, and his commandments I have not put away from me," v. 21, 22. There is an analogy between a pathway, and a law which prescribes a course of conduct; and between walking in a path, and observing the injunction of a law. Ways of Jehovah are here put for his laws, and keeping his ways, for obeying his laws. In like manner there is an analogy between putting commandments out of one's presence, and disregarding their injunctions; and the one is here put as a representative of the other.
26. Hypocatastasis. "And I was blameless towards him, and withheld myself from mine iniquity; and Jehovah requited me according to my rectitude, according to the cleanness of my hands. before his eyes," v. 23, 24. The purity of his hands
from blood with which they would have been stained had he killed Saul, is here again put for his innocence of that crime.
27. Hypocatastasis. "With the kind thou wilt show thyself kind; with the upright, thou wilt show thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the perverse thou wilt show thyself perverse; For thou wilt save the afflicted people, and the lofty eyes thou wilt bring down,” v. 25, 26, 27. To bring down the lofty eyes, is used to denote the humiliation of the mind.
The Psalmist now proceeds to commemorate the other deliverances God had wrought for him.
28, 29. Hypocatastases. "For thou lightest my lamp; Jehovah, my God, enlightens my darkness," v. 28. Lighting his lamp and enlightening his darkness are put for analogous aids by which he was enabled to discern what his condition was, and see how to evade the dangers by which he was surrounded. As with a light in a dark night, by the helps which God gave him, he had pursued a path that insured his safety. He adds, as exemplifications, his running through troops and leaping walls.
30. Hypocatastasis. "For by thee I have run through troops; and by my God I have sprung over walls;-God whose way is perfect," v. 29, 30.