|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:8-13 The heavy and continued trials through which many of the Lord's people have passed, should teach us to be silent and patient under lighter crosses. Yet we are often tempted to repine and despond under small sorrows. For this we should check ourselves. David comforts himself, in his distress and fear, that God noticed all his grievances and all his griefs. God has a bottle and a book for his people's tears, both the tears for their sins, and those for their afflictions. He observes them with tender concern. Every true believer may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and then I will not fear what man shall do unto me; for man has no power but what is given him from above. Thy vows are upon me, O Lord; not as a burden, but as that by which I am known to be thy servant; as a bridle that restrains me from what would be hurtful, and directs me in the way of my duty. And vows of thankfulness properly accompany prayers for mercy. If God deliver us from sin, either from doing it, or by his pardoning mercy, he has delivered our souls from death, which is the wages of sin. Where the Lord has begun a good work he will carry it on and perfect it. David hopes that God would keep him even from the appearance of sin. We should aim in all our desires and expectations of deliverance, both from sin and trouble, that we may do the better service to the Lord; that we may serve him without fear. If his grace has delivered our souls from the death of sin, he will bring us to heaven, to walk before him for ever in light.
Verse 13. - For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling; rather, hast thou not delivered (Revised Version); or, surely thou hast delivered (Professor Cheyne). The psalmist views his entire deliverance as accomplished; nothing remains to be asked for. That I may walk before God in the light of the living; i.e. that henceforth I may be free from trouble, and walk before God in the clear daylight, no longer dwelling in darkness, but in "the light of life" (comp. Job 33:30; John 8:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thou hast delivered my soul from death,.... From imminent danger of death, when in the hands of the Philistines; not that the soul can die; that is immortal; but he means his person, on which account he determines to render praise to God: moreover, this may include the deliverance of his soul from a moral or spiritual death, in which he was by nature, being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; from which he was delivered by regenerating grace, when he was quickened, who before was dead in trespasses and sins; and so delivered, as that this death should no more come upon him; the grace of God in him being a well of living water, springing up unto eternal life: and it may also be understood of deliverance from eternal death, by Christ, who has redeemed his people from the curse of the law, and delivered them from wrath to come; so that they shall never be hurt of the second death; that shall have no power over them; but they shall have eternal life; all which is matter of praise and thanksgiving;
wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling? that is, "thou wilt deliver" them; for this way of speaking strongly affirms; or "hast thou not delivered them?" (e) thou hast; and wilt still deliver, or keep from falling. The people of God are subject to falling; God is the only keeper of them; and they have reason to believe that he will keep them from a final and total filling away; because of the great love which he has for them, the gracious promises of preservation he has made unto them, and his power, which is engaged in keeping of them; and because they are put into the hands of Christ, who is able to keep them, and who has an interest in them, and an affection for them; and because of the glory of all, the three divine Persons concerned in the saints' preservation; and this is another reason for rendering praises unto the Lord; the end of which follows;
that I may walk before God in the light of the living; to "walk before God" is to walk as in his sight, who sees and knows all hearts, thoughts, words, and actions; with great circumspection, and caution, and watchfulness; to walk according to the word and will of God, in all his ways, commands, and ordinances; and so the Arabic version, "that I may do the will of the Lord"; and so as to please him, as Enoch did, who walked with him, and whose walking with him is interpreted by pleasing him, Hebrews 11:5; agreeably to which the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, render the words, "that I may please before the Lord"; or do what is acceptable in his sight. Moreover, to walk before the Lord is to walk in the light of his countenance, to have his presence, enjoy his favour, and be blessed with communion with him. "In the light of the living?" that is, to walk as an enlightened and quickened person, as the children of the light; and to walk in the light of the Gospel, and as becomes that; and to walk in Christ the light, and by faith on him; and such shall have "the light of life", John 8:12; a phrase the same with this here; and designs the light of the heavenly glory, and of the New Jerusalem church state, in which the nations of them that are saved shall walk, Revelation 21:23. Some Jewish (f) writers interpret this of paradise.
(e) "An non eripuisti?" Piscator, Gejerus; "nonne liberasti?" Michaelis. (f) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 108. 3. Targum in Psal. lvii. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. The question implies an affirmative answer, drawn from past experience.
falling—as from a precipice.
before God—in His favor during life.
Psalm 56:13 Parallel Commentaries
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