In my distress I called on the LORD, and cried to my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
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I called upon the Lord - I prayed. That is, he invoked God to help him in his trouble. He relied not on his own strength; he looked not for human aid; he looked to God alone.
He heard my voice out of his temple - That is, he, being in his temple, heard my voice. The word rendered temple (compare the notes at Psalm 5:7) cannot refer here to the temple at Jerusalem, for that was built after the death of David, but it refers either to heaven, considered as the temple, or dwelling-place of God, or to the tabernacle, considered as his abode on earth. The sense is not materially varied, whichever interpretation is adopted. Compare Psalm 11:4.
And my cry came before him - He heard my cry. It was not intercepted on the way, but came up to him.Psalm 18:7 and following verses. Dr. Dodd has collected some excellent observations on these verses from Chandler, Delaney, and others, which I shall transcribe, as I know not that any thing better can be offered on the subject. Hebrews 5:7;
and cried unto my God; as Jesus did, Matthew 27:46; so the members of Christ, when in distress, as they often are, through sin and Satan, through the hidings of God's face, a variety of afflictions, and the persecutions of men, betake themselves to the Lord, and call upon their God: a time of distress is a time for prayer; and sometimes the end God has in suffering them to be in distress is to bring them to the throne of his grace; and a great privilege it is they have that they have such a throne to come to for grace and mercy to help them in time of need, and such a God to sympathize with them, and help them; and their encouragement to call upon him, and cry unto him, is, that he is Jehovah, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; who knows their wants, is able to help them, and is a God at hand to do it;
He heard my voice out of his temple; that is, out of heaven his dwelling place; for the temple at Jerusalem was not built in David's time; and it may be observed, that the prayer of the psalmist, or whom he represents, was a vocal one, and not merely mental; and hearing it intends a gracious regard unto it, an acceptance of it, and an agreeable answer: for it follows,
and my cry came before him, even into his ears; God did not cover himself with a cloud, that his prayer could not pass through; but it was admitted and received; it came up before him with acceptance; it reached his ears, and even entered into them, and was delightful music to them: see John 11:41.In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14), and will, when this hope is realised by him, thoroughly refresh himself with the form of God. It is not sufficient to explain the vision of the divine countenance here as meaning the experience of the gracious influences which proceed from the divine countenance again unveiled and turned towards him. The parallel of the next clause requires an actual vision, as in Numbers 12:8, according to which Jahve appeared to Moses in the true form of His being, without the intervention of any self-manifestation of an accommodative and visionary kind; but at the same time, as in Exodus 33:20, where the vision of the divine countenance is denied to Moses, according to which, consequently, the self-manifestation of Jahve in His intercourse with Moses is not to be thought of without some veiling of Himself which might render the vision tolerable to him. Here, however, where David gives expression to a hope which is the final goal and the very climax of all his hopes, one has no right in any way to limit the vision of God, who in love permits him to behold Him (vid., on Psalm 11:7), and to limit the being satisfied with His תּמוּנה (lxx τὴν δόξαν σου, vid., Psychol. S. 49; transl. p. 61). If this is correct, then בּהקיץ cannot mean "when I wake up from this night's sleep" as Ewald, Hupfeld and others explain it; for supposing the Psalm were composed just before falling asleep what would be the meaning of the postponement of so transcendent a hope to the end of his natural sleep? Nor can the meaning be to "awake to a new life of blessedness and peace through the sunlight of divine favour which again arises after the night of darkness and distress in which the poet is now to be found" (Kurtz); for to awake from a night of affliction is an unsuitable idea and for this very reason cannot be supported. The only remaining explanation, therefore, is the waking up from the sleep of death (cf. Bttcher, De inferis 365-367). The fact that all who are now in their graves shall one day hear the voice of Him that wakes the dead, as it is taught in the age after the Exile (Daniel 12:2), was surely not known to David, for it was not yet revealed to him. But why may not this truth of revelation, towards which prophecy advances with such giant strides (Isaiah 26:19. Ezekiel 37:1-14), be already heard even in the Psalms of David as a bold demand of faith and as a hope that has struggled forth to freedom out of the comfortless conception of Shel possessed in that age, just as it is heard a few decades later in the master-work of a contemporary of Solomon, the Book of Job? The morning in Psalm 49:15 is also not any morning whatever following upon the night, but that final morning which brings deliverance to the upright and inaugurates their dominion. A sure knowledge of the fact of the resurrection such as, according to Hofmann (Schriftbeweis ii. 2, 490), has existed in the Old Testament from the beginning, is not expressed in such passages. For laments like Psalm 6:6; Psalm 30:10; Psalm 88:11-13, show that no such certain knowledge as then in existence; and when the Old Testament literature which we now possess allows us elsewhere an insight into the history of the perception of redemption, it does not warrant us in concluding anything more than that the perception of the future resurrection of the dead did not pass from the prophetic word into the believing mind of Israel until about the time of the Exile, and that up to that period faith made bold to hope for a redemption from death, but only by means of an inference drawn from that which was conceived and existed within itself, without having an express word of promise in its favour.
(Note: To this Hofmann, loc. cit. S. 496, replies as follows: "We do not find that faith indulges in such boldness elsewhere, or that the believing ones cherish hopes which are based on such insecure grounds." But the word of God is surely no insecure ground, and to draw bold conclusions from that which is intimated only from afar, was indeed, even in many other respects (for instance, respecting the incarnation, and respecting the abrogation of the ceremonial law), the province of the Old Testament faith.)
Thus it is here also. David certainly gives full expression to the hope of a vision of God, which, as righteous before God, will be vouchsafed to him; and vouchsafed to him, even though he should fall asleep in death in the present extremity (Psalm 13:4), as one again awakened from the sleep of death, and, therefore (although this idea does not directly coincide with the former), as one raised from the dead. But this hope is not a believing appropriation of a "certain knowledge," but a view that, by reason of the already existing revelation of God, lights up out of his consciousness of fellowship with Him.Verse 6. - In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God. At this supreme moment, when he is entangled in the snares, and on the point of being slain, the psalmist represents himself as invoking the aid of the Almighty. As HengstenBerg notes, "While the manifold distresses are united in the beginning of the verse into one great 'distress,' so the manifold Divine hearings and helps are united into a single grand hearing and help" - and, we may add, the manifold cries into one great cry. He heard my voice out of his temple; i.e. his tabernacle, since the temple was not yet built (comp. Psalm 5:7; Psalm 11:4); or perhaps, "out of heaven "(Cheyne). And my cry came before him, even into his ears (comp. Exodus 2:23, where the same word is used for the "cry" of the children of Israel in Egypt).
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