|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:1-7 Be merciful unto me, O God. This petition includes all the good for which we come to throne of grace. If we obtain mercy there, we need no more to make us happy. It implies likewise our best plea, not our merit, but God's mercy, his free, rich mercy. We may flee to, and trust the mercy of God, when surrounded on all sides by difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard for him, if God did not help him. He resolves to make God's promises the matter of his praises, and so we have reason to make them. As we must not trust an arm of flesh when engaged for us, so we must not be afraid of an arm of flesh when stretched out against us. The sin of sinners will never be their security. Who knows the power of God's anger; how high it can reach, how forcibly it can strike?
Verse 4. ? In God I will praise his word; rather, through God; i.e. "with God's help, by his grace," I am ready to praise whatever sentence he pronounces, whatever flat goes forth from him. In God I have put my trust (so again, ver. 11). This is at once the refrain and the keynote of the psalm. In all dangers, in all troubles, whatever happens, whatever seems to be impending, the psalmist will never relinquish his trust in the Almighty. I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. This is the true martyr spirit. Compare our Lord's words, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In God I will praise his word,.... Or praise him for his words for the whole Scripture that was then in being; for those testimonies which were David's counsellors in times of difficulty and distress; and particularly for some word of promise made unto him, he was persuaded would be fulfilled, and in which he gloried and made his boast of, and on which his faith and hope were built; and this he did, and determined to do, in the strength of the Lord, and by the assistance of his grace;
in God I have put my trust; either in times past, and was not ashamed or confounded; or now, as he determined he would in Psalm 56:3;
I will not fear what flesh can do unto me: or continue to fear any or all of my enemies; though I have been afraid of them, I will shake off these fears, trusting in the Lord, and depending on his word. Or, "what can flesh do unto me?" (t) which is as grass, and the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field. Poor, frail, mortal man! what can he do against me, if God be for me? And therefore why should I fear? Men may contrive schemes, form weapons, and attempt many things against the saints, but can execute nothing, except permitted by the Lord; and the utmost they can do, when suffered, is to kill the body.
(t) So Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. in God … his word—By His grace or aid (Ps 60:12; 108:13), or, "I will boast in God as to His word"; in either case His word is the special matter and cause of praise.
flesh—for mankind (Ps 65:2; Isa 31:3), intimating frailty.
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