|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
60:1-5 David owns God's displeasure to be the cause of all the hardships he had undergone. And when God is turning his hand in our favour, it is good to remember our former troubles. In God's displeasure their troubles began, therefore in his favour their prosperity must begin. Those breaches and divisions which the folly and corruption of man make, nothing but the wisdom and grace of God can repair, by pouring out a spirit of love and peace, by which only a kingdom is saved from ruin. The anger of God against sin, is the only cause of all misery, private or public, that has been, is, or shall be. In all these cases there is no remedy, but by returning to the Lord with repentance, faith, and prayer; beseeching him to return to us. Christ, the Son of David, is given for a banner to those that fear God; in him they are gathered together in one, and take courage. In his name and strength they wage war with the powers of darkness.
Verse 4. - Thou hast given a tanner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. So most commentators. But the ancient rendering, recently revived by Professor Cheyne, is perhaps preferable. According to this, the meaning is, "Thou hast indeed given a banner to them that fear thee (see Exodus 17:15), but only that they may flee before the bow" (τοῦ φυγεῖν ἀπὸ προωσ´που τόξων, LXX.). On the last occasion that the banner had been lifted, it had seemed to be, not so much a rallying point, as a signal for dispersion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou hast given a banner,.... The word is, by Jarchi, taken to signify "temptation" or "trial" (o); and he interprets it of many troubles which they had, that they might be tried by them, whether they would stand in the fear of God, and so considers these words as a continuation of the account of the distresses of the people of Israel; but they are rather to be considered as declaring a peculiar blessing and favour bestowed upon some among them, who are here described, when the rest were involved in the greatest calamities, signified by a "banner" or "ensign" given them; by which is meant, not so much David literally, and the victory he obtained over the Syrians and Edomites, of which the banner displayed might be a token; but the Messiah, who is said to be given for a banner, or set up as an ensign for the people, Isaiah 11:10; for the gathering of them to him, to prepare them for war, and animate them to fight the good fight of faith, and oppose every enemy; to direct where they should stand to be on duty, where they should go, and whom they should follow; and is expressive of the victory over sin, Satan, and the world, they have through him: and this is given
to them that fear thee; who have the grace of fear put into their hearts; who fear the Lord and his goodness, and serve him with reverence and godly fear; who worship him both inwardly and outwardly, in spirit and in truth, whether among Jews or Gentiles, though the former may be chiefly intended; such as old Simeon, Anna the prophetess, and others, to whom Christ was made known; and especially the apostles of Christ, and those to whom their ministry became useful; whose business it was to display this banner, set up this ensign, and hold out this flag; as it follows:
that it may be displayed because of the truth; not because of the truth of Abraham, as the Targum; nor because of the truth, sincerity, and uprightness, of those that fear the Lord; but because of his own truth and faithfulness in the performance of his promises made concerning the displaying of this banner; or the sending of his son into the world, and the preaching of his Gospel in it; see Romans 15:8.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(o) So Yalkut Simconi in loc. par. 2. fol. 103. 1.
The Treasury of David
4 Thou has given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth, Selah.
5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
Here the strain takes a turn. The Lord has called back to himself his servants, and commissioned them for his service, presenting them with a standard to be used in his wars. "Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee." Their afflictions had led them to exhibit holy fear, and then being fitted for the Lord's favour, he gave them an ensign, which would be both a rallying point for their hosts, a proof that he had sent them to fight, and a guarantee of victory. The bravest men are usually intrusted with the banner, and it is certain that those who fear God most have less fear of man than any others. The Lord has given us the standard of the gospel, let us live to uphold it, and if needful die to defend it. Our right to contend for God, and our reason for expecting success, are found in the fact that the faith has been once committed to the saints, and that by the Lord himself. "That it may be displayed because of the truth." Banners are for the breeze, the sun, the battle. Israel might well come forth boldly, for a sacred standard was borne aloft before them. To publish the gospel is a sacred duty, to be ashamed of it a deadly sin. The truth of God was involved in the triumph of David's armies, he had promised them victory; and so in the proclamation of the gospel we need feel no hesitancy, for as surely as God is true he will give success to his own Word. For the truth's sake, and because the true God is on our side, let us in these modern days of warfare emulate the warriors of Israel, and unfurl our banners to the breeze with confident joy. Dark signs of present or coming ill must not dishearten us; if the Lord had meant to destroy us he would not have given us the gospel; the very fact that he has revealed himself in Christ Jesus involves the certainty of victory. Magna est veritas et praevalebit.
"Hard things thou hast upon us laid,
And made us drink most bitter wine;
But still thy banner we've displayed,
And borne aloft thy truth divine.
"Our courage fails not, though the night
No earthly lamp avails to break,
For thou wilt soon arise in might,
And of our captors captives make."
"Selah." There is so much in the fact of a banner being given to the hosts of Israel, so much of hope, of duty, of comfort, that a pause is fitly introduced. The sense justifies it, and the more joyful strain of the music necessitates it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4, 5. Yet to God's banner they will rally, and pray that, led and sustained by His power (right hand, Ps 17:7; 20:6), they may be safe.
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