|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
55:16-23 In every trial let us call upon the Lord, and he will save us. He shall hear us, and not blame us for coming too often; the oftener the more welcome. David had thought all were against him; but now he sees there were many with him, more than he supposed; and the glory of this he gives to God, for it is he that raises us up friends, and makes them faithful to us. There are more true Christians, and believers have more real friends, than in their gloomy hours they suppose. His enemies should be reckoned with, and brought down; they could not ease themselves of their fears, as David could, by faith in God. Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God. Those who are not reclaimed by the rod of affliction, will certainly be brought down to the pit of destruction. The burden of afflictions is very heavy, especially when attended with the temptations of Satan; there is also the burden of sin and corruption. The only relief under it is, to look to Christ, who bore it. Whatever it is that thou desirest God should give thee, leave it to him to give it in his own way and time. Care is a burden, it makes the heart stoop. We must commit our ways and works to the Lord; let him do as seemeth him good, and let us be satisfied. To cast our burden upon God, is to rest upon his providence and promise. And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power, as a nurse carries a child; and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit, so that they shall sustain the trial. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved; to be so shaken by any troubles, as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him. He will not suffer them to be utterly cast down. He, who bore the burden of our sorrows, desires us to leave to him to bear the burden of our cares, that, as he knows what is best for us, he may provide it accordingly. Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?
Verse 19. - God shall hear, and afflict them; i.e. "God will hear my prayers, and will afflict my adversaries;" or, perhaps, "God will hear me and answer me." But this requires a change in the reading. Even he that abideth of old; or, "he that is enthroned of old;" he, i.e., that sitteth, and has always sat, on his eternal throne in the heavens. Selah. The "selah" here marks probably a pause for adoration of the great and eternal King enthroned in all his glory. Because they have no changes; rather, the men who have no changes - exegetical of "them" in the first clause of the verse. The wicked "have no changes," i.e. no great reverses of fortune, until their end comes (see Job 21:7-15). Therefore they fear not God; rather, and who do not fear God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
God shall hear and afflict them,.... That is, either he shall hear the prayers of his servant, imprecating evils upon his enemies, Psalm 55:9; and shall bring them down upon them, in answer to his requests; or it may be, rendered, "God shall hear and answer them" (c); he shall hear their blasphemies, and take notice of their wickedness, and answer them by terrible things in righteousness;
even he that abideth of old; or "is the inhabitant of eternity" (d) Isaiah 57:15; the eternal God, from everlasting to everlasting, who was before all creatures and before all time, and will ever remain the same, out of whose hands there is no escaping. The Targum is,
"and he inhabiteth the heavens from of old to everlasting.''
Selah; of this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
Because they have no changes; Kimchi renders it, who hath no changes; taking to be the same with and interprets it of God; connecting it with the former clause, that he that abideth of old hath no changes. There is no variableness nor shadow of turning with him; he never changes his mind, nor alters his counsel, whether it be for good or evil; and yet wicked men fear him not. But rather this is to be understood of sinners, as the Targum paraphrases it,
"who are not of old, and who do not change their evil way;''
who have no changes in their hearts, nor in their lives, but continue in their natural and sinful estate, without any impression of the power and grace of God upon them. Or they have no changes in their worldly circumstances, from good to bad, as Aben Ezra explains it; things go well with them, and they are not in trouble as other men; they are at ease and quiet, and are settled on their lees; see Job 10:17. Or they have no regard to their last change by death; and are not afraid of that, as Jarchi interprets it; they put away this evil day far from them; think nothing about it, as if it would never be, and as if they had made an agreement with it that this change should never come upon them, Job 14:14;
therefore they fear not God; do not serve and worship him now, and are not afraid of his judgments here or hereafter; no change being made in their hearts, nor any alteration in their secular affairs for the worse; but having much goods laid up for many years, and sentence against their evil works not being speedily executed, their hearts are hardened, and they live secure in sin.
(c) "et respondeat illis", Cocceius. (d) "et incola antiquitatis, vel aeternitatis", Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. God hears the wicked in wrath.
of old—enthroned as a sovereign.
Because … no changes—Prosperity hardens them (Ps 73:5).
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