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The Author craves his reader's indulgent perusal of his metrical paraphrase; which he has added, because thinking it of use in exemplifying the coherence of parts and unity of subject pervading each psalm.

Christ and the people of Christ form the two-fold subject of almost every psalm : the instances are few in which the one or the other is exclusively treated of.

The tribulation of Israel, from each writer's day until the time of Christ's coming to establish His ancient people in great happiness in His land, together with the conditions of service to be paid therein, preparatory to the attainment of eternal glory, seem to form the leading themes of this book.

It ends at the seventy-second psalm, with a glowing anticipation of Messiah's personal reign over Israel,

The Middle Leaves of the Psalter.


TITLE. To the chief Musician. A psalm to give instruction. To the sons

of Korah.

ARGUMENT. The few indirect references in this psalm to the condition of the writer suit David better than any other character in Jewish history; so that he may be concluded to have been its author. On this supposition, the period of David's life within which this psalm was written would be that recorded in 2 Sam. XV.-xvii. He, in all probability, wrote it not long after the composition of Psalm iii. This conjecture is further corroborated by the Septuagint doctors having ascribed the next psalm to David, for that psalm contains at its fifth and last verse the same words as are in the fifth and eleventh of this.

It is to be assumed that David, though admitted to close communion with God in private, was longing for restoration to the privilege of publicly worshipping Him before the ark in Zion.

David himself had, when leaving Zion, sent back Zadok and Abiathar with the ark of God, (2 Sam. xv. 24–26;) but when his adherents stumbled at the thought of the ark being in the possession of Absalom, (as though God would be with whichever had His ark, irrespective of the justice of the question at issue, after the manner of their fathers in 1 Sam. iv. 2-5,) David, aware of the strength of their prejudice, and fearing lest it might lead them to despair of success, or to desert him, was much distressed.

His soul could not any longer contemplate exclusion from the ark of God for a season, with that patient dependence on God that had characterised him when making God's restoration of him thereto in Zion the proof of God's favour. (2 Sam. xv. 25, 26.) He became weak through the weakness of his adherents, who were, humanly speaking, necessary to him. So that he might have said with Paul, “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” (2 Cor. xi. 29.)

Such power has the strife of tongues to alter the bearing or pressure of one's own act upon one; though aware that its real merits remain as before in the sight of God, with whom the penitent has to do.


The psalmist, in the third verse, designates those that brought up this complaint against him by the pronoun“they;" but surrounded as he was by his followers, the complainers could be none other than some among his own adherents.

In the fourth verse, he describes his soul as inordinately depressed at this clamour, and disposed to call up to view pictures of joyful processions to the ark of God in Zion; for the purpose, as it seems to me, of vexing itself with the contrast in which it then wasa feeling which, if indulged, would lay one open to despair, such as Saul's, (1 Sam. xxviii. 15; xxxi. 4,-a peril against which David seems to have watched after the manner that Paul directed the Corinthian elders to do, in 2 Cor. ii. 7.

The psalmist, therefore, combatted the depression of his soul by faithful recollection of God's promises, (verse 5:) but in verse 6 he confessed that his soul was still dejected, and accordingly resolved on setting before his mind the whole of God's afflictive dealings with him during his public career in that land of Jordan where he then was. (2 Sam. xvii. 24.) For by 1 Sam. xxii. 3, we find that David had once been driven to seek a refuge in the land of Moab, which was the southern portion of this vale of Jordan, having Zoar for its furthest city: whereas he was now in the northern, about Mahanaim.

Seeing that his soul, in its desire to record bitter things against him, would suggest that he was driven from the presence of the Lord, and from access to His ark, for his sin in the matter of Uriab, 2 Sam. xii. 10, (which was only fleshly impatience under the punishment God thought fit to inflict on him in the flesh, though forgiving his sin,) David would point to the like affliction sent by God upon him in the commencement of his career, when in eminent favour with God, and without one imputation on his character, to show that his soul ought rather to reckon this latter exclusion from the public worship of God sent, like the former, for the purpose of training him in patience under adversity, and not of driving him to despair.

Thus it seems to me that David argued with his own soul in this psalm: and in verse 8, with exquisite tenderness, (as Habakkuk after him did in iii. 17, 18,) said, “Yet the Lord will command His loving-kindness in the day-time;" and though to the last his soul continued to be cast down for the reason shewn in Rom. viii. 7-yet he stayed himself upon his God.


The hunted hind for cooling streams distressingly

doth pant;

And so my soul imploreth Thee, O God, one boon

to grant!

That I once more with Thee, O God, the living God,

may be,

To worship at Thy mercy-seat, and there Thy good

ness see.

2. By day and night my tears have been to me in

place of food, Such grief it was to hear the men who to me faithful

stood, Of me, their king, despondingly “Where is Thy

God?” enquire; As tho' cast off by Thee I were, and victim of Thine ire.

3. My soul distracted with this doubt, by many at me

thrown, Is minded in no measur'd mood its outcast state to

own; And tells me how, but for my sin, I might have

gone this day With an attendant multitude up to Thy house to pray.

4. Alas! O God, my soul to grief is stubbornly in

clin'd, Thy dealings I'll then in this land of Jordan bear

in mind; To set the trials now my lot at stately Hermon's

base, 'Gainst those that me at Zoar's? hill o'ertook in

earlier days.

1 Ver. 4. De Burgh quotes Hengstenberg to show that the future tenses in this verse are indicative of the frequently repeated action in the past, precisely as they occur in Ps. lv. 14; but as it seems to me, the soul of David did this in its wilfulness, to aggravate his distress, the meaning of the clause may be substantially conveyed in the version given.

2 Ver. 6. Dr. Thrupp observes : Mizar (pon) and Zoar (198) are connected words, both signifying mean, or little. There are, probably, many spots

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