|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-7 These verses speak the language of a heart truly humbled, of a broken and contrite spirit under great afflictions, sent to awaken conscience and mortify corruption. Sickness brought sin to his remembrance, and he looked upon it as a token of God's displeasure against him. The affliction of his body will be tolerable, if he has comfort in his soul. Christ's sorest complaint, in his sufferings, was of the trouble of his soul, and the want of his Father's smiles. Every page of Scripture proclaims the fact, that salvation is only of the Lord. Man is a sinner, his case can only be reached by mercy; and never is mercy more illustrious than in restoring backsliders. With good reason we may pray, that if it be the will of God, and he has any further work for us or our friends to do in this world, he will yet spare us or them to serve him. To depart and be with Christ is happiest for the saints; but for them to abide in the flesh is more profitable for the church.
Verse 4. - Return, O Lord. God seemed to have withdrawn himself, to have, forsaken the mourner, and gone far away (comp. Psalm 22:1). Hence the cry, "Return" (comp. Psalm 80:14; Psalm 90:13). Nothing is so hard to endure as the feeling of being deserted by God. Deliver my soul. "The psalmist feels himself so wretched in soul and body, that he believes himself to be near death" (Hengstenberg). His prayer here is, primarily, for deliverance from this impending danger, as appears clearly from the following verse, Save me for thy mercys' sake. Either a repetition of the preceding prayer in other words, or an enlargement of it so as to include salvation of every kind.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Return, O Lord,.... By this it seems that the Lord had withdrawn himself, and was departed from the psalmist, wherefore he entreats him to return unto him, and grant him his gracious presence. God is immense and omnipresent, he is everywhere: going away and returning cannot be properly ascribed to him; but he, nay be said to depart from his people, as to sensible communion with him, and enjoyment of him, when he hides his face, withdraws his gracious presence, and the comfortable discoveries and influences of his love; and he may be said to return when he visits them again, and manifests his love and favour to them: the Jewish writers (d) interpret it,
"return from the fierceness of thine anger,''
as in Psalm 85:3; and though there is no such change in God, as from love to wrath, and from wrath to love; but inasmuch as there is a change in his dispensations towards his people, it is as if it was so; and thus it is apprehended by them;
deliver my soul; from the anxiety, distress, and sore vexation it was now in, for of all troubles soul troubles are the worst: and from all enemies and workers of iniquity which were now about him, and gave him much grief and uneasiness; and from death itself, he was in fear of;
O, save me for thy mercy's sake; out of all troubles of soul and body, and out of the hands of all enemies, inward and outward; and with temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation; not for his righteousness's sake, as Kimchi well observes; for salvation is according to the abundant mercy of God, and not through works of righteousness done by men, otherwise it would not be of grace.
(d) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Return—that is, to my relief; or, "turn," as now having His face averted.
for thy mercies' sake—to illustrate Thy mercy.
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