|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
69:1-12 We should frequently consider the person of the Sufferer here spoken of, and ask why, as well as what he suffered, that, meditating thereon, we may be more humbled for sin, and more convinced of our danger, so that we may feel more gratitude and love, constraining us to live to His glory who died for our salvation. Hence we learn, when in affliction, to commit the keeping of our souls to God, that we may not be soured with discontent, or sink into despair. David was hated wrongfully, but the words far more fully apply to Christ. In a world where unrighteousness reigns so much, we must not wonder if we meet with those that are our enemies wrongfully. Let us take care that we never do wrong; then if we receive wrong, we may the better bear it. By the satisfaction Christ made to God for our sin by his blood, he restored that which he took not away, he paid our debt, suffered for our offences. Even when we can plead Not guilty, as to men's unjust accusations, yet before God we must acknowledge ourselves to deserve all that is brought upon us. All our sins take rise from our foolishness. They are all done in God's sight. David complains of the unkindness of friends and relations. This was fulfilled in Christ, whose brethren did not believe on him, and who was forsaken by his disciples. Christ made satisfaction for us, not only by putting off the honours due to God, but by submitting to the greatest dishonours that could be done to any man. We need not be discouraged if our zeal for the truths, precepts, and worship of God, should provoke some, and cause others to mock our godly sorrow and deadness to the world.
Verses 1-4 contain a pathetic complaint, expressed first in figurative language (vers. 1-3), but (in ver. 4) plainly connected with the wicked designs of human enemies. Verse 1. - Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. This is a common, perhaps, we may say, a proverbial, expression for any great distress (comp. Psalm 18:4; Psalm 42:7; Psalm 88:7, 17; and Job 22:11; Job 27:20).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Save me, O God,.... The petitioner is Christ; not as a divine Person, as such he is blessed for ever, and stands in no need of help and assistance; but as man, and in distressed and suffering circumstances. As a priest, it was part of his work to intercede, as well as to offer sacrifice; and though he did not offer a sin offering for himself, yet he offered up supplications, with strong cryings and tears; and, as the surety of his people, he prayed, in point of right and justice, both for himself and them; see John 17:4. The person petitioned is God the Father, who was able to save him, and always heard him; and did in this petition, Hebrews 5:7; which perfectly agrees with some petitions of Christ, recorded in the New Testament, John 12:27. These show the weakness of the human nature, the weight of sin upon him, and his sense of the wrath of God; and which, notwithstanding, were made with limitations and restrictions, and even with a correction. Moreover, this may also design help and assistance from his divine Father, which was promised him, and he expected and had, in the acceptable time, in the day of salvation: and he was so saved in death, as that he abolished that, and destroyed him that had the power of it; and was quickly raised from the grave, and thereby saved out of it. And this he could have done himself, but he would be saved in a legal way, in a way of justice; and as a point of honour, when he had done the work, he, as a surety, engaged to do. The reasons enforcing this petition follow:
for the waters are come in unto my soul: the Messiah represents his case, in these words, and in Psalm 69:2, as like to that of a man standing up to his chin in water, and the waters running into his mouth, just suffocating him; and that in a miry place, where he could not set his feet firm, nor get himself out; and even overflowed with the floods, and immersed in the deep waters, and so in the most imminent danger. These overwhelming waters may signify the floods of ungodly men that encompassed him, the assembly of the wicked that enclosed him; and the proud waters that went over his soul, the Gentiles and people of Israel, that were gathered against him to destroy him; and so the Targum interprets it of the camp of sinners, that pressed him on every side, as water: the whole posse of devils may also be designed, for now was the hour and power of darkness; Satan, and his principalities and powers, came in like a flood upon him, to swallow him up; innumerable evils, the sins of his people, came upon him from every quarter, and pressed him sore; the curses of the law fell upon him, which may be compared to the bitter water of jealousy that caused the curse. These entered into him, when he was made a curse for his people; and the wrath of God went over him, and lay hard upon him, and came about him like water, into his very soul, which made him exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
The Treasury of David
1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I am come into deep waters, Where the floods overflow me.
3 I am weary of my crying; my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
"Save me, O God." "He saved others, himself he cannot save." With strong cryings and tears he offered up prayers and supplications unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared (Hebrews 5:7). Thus David had prayed, and here his Son and Lord utters the same cry. This is the second Psalm which begins with a "Save me, O God," and the former (Psalm 54:1-7) is but a short summary of this more lengthened complaint. It is remarkable that such a scene of woe should be presented to us immediately after the jubilant ascension hymn of the last Psalm, but this only shows how interwoven are the glories and the sorrows of our ever-blessed Redeemer. The head which now is crowned with glory is the same which wore the thorns; he to whom we pray, "Save us, O God," is the selfsame person who cried, "Save me, O God." "For the waters are come in unto my soul." Sorrows, deep, abounding, deadly, had penetrated his inner nature. Bodily anguish is not his first complaint; he begins not with the gall which embittered his lips, but with the mighty griefs which broke into his heart. All the sea outside a vessel is less to be feared than that which finds its way into the hold. A wounded spirit who can bear. Our Lord in this verse is seen before us as a Jonah, crying, "The waters compassed me about, even to the soul." He was doing business for us on the great waters, at his Father's command; the stormy wind was lifting up the waves thereof, and he went down to the depths till his soul was melted because of trouble. In all this he has sympathy with us, and is able to succour us when we, like Peter, beginning to sink, cry to him, "Lord, save, or we perish."
"I sink in deep mire." In water one might swim, but in mud and mire all struggling is hopeless; the mire sucks down its victim. "Where there is no standing." Everything gave way under the Sufferer; he could not get foothold for support - this is a worse fate than drowning. Here our Lord pictures the close, clinging nature of his heart's woes. "He began to be sorrowful, and very heavy." Sin is as mire for its filthiness, and the holy soul of the Saviour must have loathed even that connection with it which was necessary for its expiation. His pure and sensitive nature seemed to sink in it, for it was not his element, he was not like us born and acclimatised to this great dismal swamp. Here our Redeemer became another Jeremiah, of whom it is recorded (Jer.' Jeremiah 38:6) that his enemies cast him into a dungeon wherein "was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." Let our hearts feel the emotions, both of contrition and gratitude, as we see in this simile the deep humiliation of our Lord. "I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me." The sorrow gathers even greater force; he is as one cast into the sea, the waters cover his head. His sorrows were first within, then around, and now above him. Our lord was no faint-hearted sentimentalist; his were real woes, and though he bore them heroically, yet were they terrible even to him. His sufferings were unlike all others in degree, the waters were such as soaked into the soul; the mire was the mire of the abyss itself, and the floods Were deep and overflowing. To us the promise is, "the rivers shall not overflow thee," but no such word of consolation was vouchsafed to him. My soul, thy Well-beloved endured all this for thee many waters could not quench his love, neither could the floods drown it; and, because of this, thou hast the rich benefit of that covenant assurance, "as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." He stemmed the torrent of almighty wrath, that we might for ever rest in Jehovah's love.
"I am weary of my crying." Not of it, but by it, with it. He had prayed till he sweat great drops of blood, and well might physical weariness intervene. "My throat is dried," parched, and inflamed. Long pleading with awful fervour had scorched his throat as with flames of fire. Few, very few, of his saints follow their Lord in prayer as far as this. We are, it is to be feared, more likely to be hoarse with talking frivolities to men than by pleading with God; yet our sinful nature demands more prayer than his perfect humanity might seem to need. His prayers should shame us into fervour. Our Lord's supplications were salted with fire, they were hot with agony; and hence they weakened his system, and made him "a weary man and full of woes." "Mine eyes Jail While I wait for my God." He wanted in his direst distress nothing more than his God; that would be all in all to him. Many 9f us know what watching and waiting mean; and we know something of the failing eye when hope is long deferred: but in all this Jesus bears the palm; no eyes ever failed as his did or for so deep a cause. No painter can ever depict those eyes; their pencils fail in every feature of his all fair but: all marred countenance, but most of all do they come short when they venture to pourtray those eyes which were fountains of tears. He knew how both to pray and to watch, and he would have us learn the like. There are times when we should pray till the throat is dry, and watch till the eyes grow dim. Only thus can we have fellowship with him in his sufferings. What! can we not watch with him one hour? Does the flesh shrink back? O cruel flesh to be so tender of thyself, and so ungenerous to thy Lord!
"They that hate me." Surprising sin that men should hate the altogether lovely one, truly is it added, "without a cause," for reason there was none for this senseless enmity. He neither blasphemed God, nor injured man. As Samuel said: "Whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed?" Even so might Jesus enquire. Besides, he had not only done us no evil, but he had bestowed countless and priceless benefits. Well might he demand, "For which of these works do ye stone me?" Yet from his cradle to his cross, beginning with Herod and not ending with Judas, he had foes without number; and he justly said, they "are more than the hairs of mine head." was the unanimous resolve of all the keepers of the Jewish vineyard; while the Gentiles outside the walls of the garden furnished the instruments for his murder, and actually did the deed. The hosts of earth and hell, banded together, made up vast legions of antagonists, none of whom had any just ground for hating him. They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty." It was bad that they were many, but worse that they were mighty. All the ecclesiastical and military powers of his country were arrayed against him. The might of the Sanhedrim, the mob, and the Roman legions were combined in one for his utter destruction, "Away with such a fellow from this earth; it is not fit that he should live," was the shout of his ferocious foes. David's adversaries were on the throne when he was hiding in caverns, and our Lord's enemies were the great ones of the earth; while he, of whom the world was not worthy, was reproached of men and despised of the people. "Then I restored that which I took not away." Though innocent, he was treated guilty. Though David had no share in plots against Saul, yet he was held accountable for them. In reference to our Lord, it may be truly said that he restores what he took not away; for he gives back to the injured honour of God a recompense, and to man his lost happiness, though the insult of the one and the fall of the other were neither of them, in any sense, his doings. Usually, when the ruler sins the people suffer, but here the proverb is reversed - the sheep go astray, and their wanderings are laid at the Shepherd's door.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 69:1-36. Upon Shoshannim—(See on Ps 45:1, title). Mingling the language of prayer and complaint, the sufferer, whose condition is here set forth, pleads for God's help as one suffering in His cause, implores the divine retribution on his malicious enemies, and, viewing his deliverance as sure, promises praise by himself, and others, to whom God will extend like blessings. This Psalm is referred to seven times in the New Testament as prophetical of Christ and the gospel times. Although the character in which the Psalmist appears to some in Ps 69:5 is that of a sinner, yet his condition as a sufferer innocent of alleged crimes sustains the typical character of the composition, and it may be therefore regarded throughout, as the twenty-second, as typically expressive of the feelings of our Saviour in the flesh.
1, 2. (Compare Ps 40:2).
come in unto my soul—literally, "come even to my soul," endanger my life by drowning (Jon 2:5).
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