|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:7-14 Wherever the believer is, he can find a way to the throne of grace by prayer. God calls us by his Spirit, by his word, by his worship, and by special providences, merciful and afflicting. When we are foolishly making court to lying vanities, God is, in love to us, calling us to seek our own mercies in him. The call is general, Seek ye my face; but we must apply it to ourselves, I will seek it. The word does us no good, when we do not ourselves accept the exhortation: a gracious heart readily answers to the call of a gracious God, being made willing in the day of his power. The psalmist requests the favour of the Lord; the continuance of his presence with him; the benefit of Divine guidance, and the benefit of Divine protection. God's time to help those that trust in him, is, when all other helpers fail. He is a surer and better Friend than earthly parents are, or can be. What was the belief which supported the psalmist? That he should see the goodness of the Lord. There is nothing like the believing hope of eternal life, the foresights of that glory, and foretastes of those pleasures, to keep us from fainting under all calamities. In the mean time he should be strengthened to bear up under his burdens. Let us look unto the suffering Saviour, and pray in faith, not to be delivered into the hands of our enemies. Let us encourage each other to wait on the Lord, with patient expectation, and fervent prayer.
Verse 13. - I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. In the original, by the figure aposiopesis,, the apodosis is omitted, "had I not believed that I should see the goodness of Jehovah in the land of the living [i.e. in this present world], then... " He shrinks from stating the consequences, He would have fainted, or despaired, or lost all faith in religion (compare, for similar uses of the figure aposiopesis, Genesis 3:22; Genesis 31:41; Genesis 1:15; Exodus 32:32; Daniel 3:15; Zechariah 6:15; Luke 13:9). By an effort of faith, the psalmist saved himself from the despair which threatened to seize upon him, and assured himself that he would yet experience "the goodness of the Lord" in some merciful interposition and deliverance, while he still remained on earth, before he "went whence he should not return - to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land of darkness as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness" (Job 10:21, 22).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I had fainted,.... When false witnesses rose up against him, and threatened to take away his life, and the life of his friends, in the most barbarous and cruel manner: the people of God are subject to faintings, in the present state of things; by reason of afflictions; because of the nature, number, and continuance of them; and especially when they apprehend them to be in wrath and sore displeasure: and on account of their sins, and the corruptions of their hearts; fearing lest there should be no pardon for them; or that the true work of grace is not in them; or that they shall fall, to the dishonour of the name of God, and to the reproach of his, cause and interest; or that they shall perish eternally: likewise, by reason of Satan's temptations, which are sometimes so grievous, that if Christ did not pray for them, their faith would fail; and also on account of the hidings of God's face, which they cannot bear: they are sometimes ready to faint in the way of their duty, in the course of their profession, because of the difficulties and discouragements, reproaches and persecutions, they meet with; and sometimes in the expectation of blessings; and of the fulfilment of promises, and of answers of prayer, which have been long deferred. This clause is not in the original text, but is a supplement of our translators; and it is generally agreed there is a defect of expression, which must be supplied in some way or other: the Jewish interpreters generally refer it to the preceding words; one supplies thus (m), "those false witnesses would have rose up against me, and consumed me"; another (n) after this manner, "mine enemies had almost got the dominion over me"; a third (o), "I had almost perished at their sayings": and a fourth (p), "and they would have destroyed me". Perhaps it may be as well supplied from Psalm 119:92; "I should then have perished in mine affliction"; it follows,
unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living: both the providential goodness of the Lord, in supplying him with the, necessaries of life, and in delivering him out of the hands of his enemies; and his special goodness, which he has laid up in his covenant, and in his son; even all spiritual blessings in Christ, in whom he causes all his goodness to pass before his people. The psalmist believed that he should "see"; that is, enjoy all these, or whatever was needful for him; all the good things of life, all special favours; as supports under afflictions, views of pardoning grace under a sense of sin, strength against Satan's temptations, and deliverance out of them; the discoveries of the love of God, and the light of his countenance, after desertions, and divine refreshments in his house, from his word and ordinances; and at last all the glories of the other world; and faith in these things is the best antidote against faintings. By "the land of the living" may be meant either the land of Canaan, where the living God was worshipped, and living saints dwelt, in opposition to other lands, the habitations of men dead in sins; and at a distance from which David now might be; or else the world in general, in opposition to the place and state of the dead; or, as some think, heaven, or he life of the world to come, as Kimchi expresses it; and so Apollinarius paraphrases it,
"I shall see the blessed God with my eyes in the land of the blessed.''
The word rendered "unless", is one of the fifteen words which are extraordinarily pointed in the Hebrew Bible.
(m) Jarchi. (n) Aben Ezra. (o) Kimchi. (p) Abendana, Not. in Miclol Yophi in loc.
The Treasury of David
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Faintness of heart is a common infirmity; even he who slew Goliath was subject to its attacks. Faith puts its bottle of cordial to the lip of the soul, and so prevents fainting. Hope is heaven's balm for present sorrow. In this land of the dying, it is our blessedness to be looking and longing for our fair portion in the land of the living, whence the goodness of God has banished the wickedness of man, and where holy spirits charm with their society those persecuted saints who were vilified and despised among men. We must believe to see, not see to believe; we must wait the appointed time, and stay our soul's hunger with foretastes of the Lord's eternal goodness which shall soon be our feast and our song.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. The strong emotion is indicated by the incomplete sentence, for which the English Version supplies a proper clause; or, omitting that, and rendering, "yet I believed," &c., the contrast of his faith and his danger is expressed.
to see—is to experience (Ps 22:17).
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