|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
44:1-8 Former experiences of God's power and goodness are strong supports to faith, and powerful pleas in prayer under present calamities. The many victories Israel obtained, were not by their own strength or merit, but by God's favour and free grace. The less praise this allows us, the more comfort it affords, that we may see all as coming from the favour of God. He fought for Israel, else they had fought in vain. This is applicable to the planting of the Christian church in the world, which was not by any human policy or power. Christ, by his Spirit, went forth conquering and to conquer; and he that planted a church for himself in the world, will support it by the same power and goodness. They trusted and triumphed in and through him. Let him that glories, glory in the Lord. But if they have the comfort of his name, let them give unto him the glory due unto it.
Verse 4. - Thou art my King, O God; literally, thou art he that is my King, O God; i.e. I acknowledge no other king but thee, no other absolute lord and master. Command deliverances for Jacob. Being King, thou hast a right to command. We pray thee at this present time to command our deliverance.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou art my King, O God,.... Besides the favours God had done for his people in time past, the church takes notice of her interest in God as her King, who was able to protect and defend her, and to deliver her out of all her distresses, in order the more to strengthen her faith and hope in him; and, claiming her interest in him, she draws nigh to him with an holy boldness, and desires him as a King, that by a word of his (for where the word of a king is, there is power) he would
command deliverances for Jacob; not literally, but mystically understood; the spiritual Jacob, and people of God; all Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile; meaning herself and members: the blessing desired is "deliverances", or "salvations"; so called, because the, deliverance or salvation the Lord commands grants, and works out for his people, is of different kinds, both spiritual and, temporal, and is a deliverance from various things; from sin, Satan, the present evil world, wrath to come, and all enemies; and out of various temptations and afflictions, and which follow successively one upon another; and at last it is complete and perfect.
The Treasury of David
4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.
5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.
7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.
8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
"Thou art my King, O God." Knowing right well thy power and grace my heart is glad to own thee for her sovereign prince. Who among the mighty are so illustrious as thou art? To whom, then, should I yield my homage or turn for aid? God of my fathers in the olden time, thou art my soul's monarch and liege Lord. "Command deliverances for Jacob." To whom should a people look but to their king? He it is who, by virtue of his office, fights their battles for them. In the case of our King, how easy it is for him to scatter all our foes! O Lord, the King of kings, with what ease canst thou rescue thy people; a word of thine can do it, give but the command and thy persecuted people shall be free. Jacob's long life was crowded with trials and deliverances, and his descendants are here called by his name, as if to typify the similarity of their experience to that of their great forefather. He who would win the blessings of Israel must share the sorrows of Jacob. This verse contains a personal declaration and an intercessory prayer; those can pray best who make most sure of their personal interest in God, and those who have the fullest assurance that the Lord is their God should be the foremost to plead for the rest of the tried family of the faithful.
"Through thee will we push down our enemies." The fight was very close, bows were of no avail, and swords failed to be of service, it came to daggers drawing, and hand to hand wrestling, pushing and tugging. Jacob's God was renewing in the seed of Jacob their father's wrestling. And how fared it with faith then? Could she stand foot to foot with her foe and hold her own? Yea, verily, she came forth victorious from the encounter, for she is great at a close push, and overthrows all her adversaries, the Lord being her helper.
"Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us." The Lord's name served instead of weapons, and enabled those who used it to leap on their foes and crush them with jubilant valour. In union and communion with God, saints work wonders; if God be for us, who can be against us? Mark well that all the conquests of these believers are said to be "through thee," "through thy name:" never let us forget this, lest going a warfare at our own charges, we fail most ignominiously. Let us not, however, fall into the equally dangerous sin of distrust, for the Lord can make the weakest of us equal to any emergency. Though today we are timid and defenceless as sheep, he can by his power make us strong as the firstling of his bullock, and cause us to push as with the horns of unicorns, until those who rose up against us shall be so crushed and battered as never to rise again. Those who of themselves can scarcely keep their feet, but like little babes totter and fall, are by divine assistance made to overthrow their foes, and set their feet upon their necks. Read Christian's fight with Apollyon, and see how
"The man so bravely played the man
He made the fiend to fly."
"For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me." Thy people Israel, under thy guidance, shouldered out the heathen, and gained their land, not by skill of weapons or prowess of arms, but by thy power alone; therefore will we renounce for ever all reliance upon outward confidences, of which other men make such boast, and we will cast ourselves upon the omnipotence of our God. Bows having been newly introduced by king Saul, were regarded as very formidable weapons in the early history of Israel, but they are here laid aside together with the all-conquering sword, in order that there may be room for faith in the living God. This verse, in the first person singular, may serve as the confession of faith of every believer renouncing his own righteousness and strength, and looking alone to the Lord Jesus. O for grace to stand to this self-renunciation, for, alas! our proud nature is all too apt to fix its trust on the puffed-up and supposititious power of the creature. Arm of flesh, how dare I trust thee? How dare I bring upon myself the curse of those who rely upon a man?
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Thou art my King—literally, "he who is my King," sustaining the same covenant relation as to the "fathers."
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