|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:1-9 David flees to God for succour. But Christ alone could call on Heaven to attest his uprightness in all things. All His works were wrought in righteousness; and the prince of this world found nothing whereof justly to accuse him. Yet for our sakes, submitting to be charged as guilty, he suffered all evils, but, being innocent, he triumphed over them all. The plea is, For the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins. He knows the secret wickedness of the wicked, and how to bring it to an end; he is witness to the secret sincerity of the just, and has ways of establishing it. When a man has made peace with God about all his sins, upon the terms of grace and mercy, through the sacrifice of the Mediator, he may, in comparison with his enemies, appeal to God's justice to decide.
Verse 6. - Arise, O Lord, in thine anger. To call on God to "arise" is to ask him to take action, to lay aside the neutral attitude in which he most commonly shows himself to man, and to interfere openly in the concerns of earth. To call on him to "arise in his anger" is to entreat him to vindicate our cause against those opposed in us, and to visit them with some open manifestation of his displeasure (comp. Psalm 3:7; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 44:26; Psalm 68:1). Lift up thyself. This is even a stronger expression than "arise" (Isaiah 33:10). It is a call on God to appear in his full strength. Because of the rage of mine enemies; or, against the rage of mine enemies (Kay, Revised Version). Force must be met by force. David justifies his appeal for aid by alleging the violence and fury of those whose attacks he has to meet. And awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. The two clauses are not connected in the original, which runs, "Awake for me: thou hast commanded judgment." The meaning seems to be, "Arouse thyself on my behalf - judgment is a thing which thou hast ordained - surely now is the time for it."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Arise, O Lord, in thine anger,.... This and the following phrase do not suppose local motion in God, to whom it cannot belong, being infinite and immense, but are spoken of him after the manner of men, who seems sometimes as though he had laid himself down, and was unconcerned about and took no notice of human affairs, of the insults of the wicked and the oppressions of the righteous; wherefore the psalmist beseeches him to "arise", which he may be said to do when he comes forth in his power in the defence of his people, and against their enemies; see Psalm 12:5; and he also prays him to arise in anger, to show himself displeased, and give some tokens of his resentment, by letting his enemies feel the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his anger;
lift up thyself, because of the rage of mine enemies; ascend the throne of judgment, and there sit judging right; show thyself to be the Judge of the earth, high and lifted up; let it appear that thou art above all mine enemies, higher and more powerful than they; stop their rage, break the force of their fury, lift up a standard against them, who, likes mighty flood, threaten to bear all before them: or "lift up thyself in rage", or "fierce wrath, because of", or "against mine enemies" (y): and so the sense is the same as before; and this way go many of the Jewish interpreters (z);
and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded; not that sleep falls upon God, for the keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps; nor does it fall on any but corporeal beings, not upon angels, nor the souls of men, much less on God; but he sometimes in his providence seems to lie dormant and inactive, as if he disregarded what is done in this world; and therefore his people address him as if he was asleep, and call upon him to arise to their help and assistance; see Psalm 44:23; and so David here, "awake for me", that is, hasten to come to me and help me; suggesting that he was in great distress and danger, by reason of his enemies, should he delay coming to him. By "judgment" is either meant the vengeance which God had ordered him to execute upon his enemies, as Jarchi interprets it, and therefore he entreats him to arise and put him in a capacity of doing it; or else his innocence, and the vindication of it, which God had promised him, and then the petition is much the same with Psalm 7:8. But the generality of Jewish (a) writers understand it of the kingdom which God had appointed for him, and for which he was anointed by Samuel; and who had told Saul that God had found a man after his own heart, whom he had "commanded" to be captain over his people, 1 Samuel 13:14; wherefore the psalmist prays that God would hasten the fulfilment of his purpose and promise, and set him on the throne, that so he might administer justice and judgment to the people.
(y) "in furore contra hostes meos", Mariana; "gravissimo furore percitus in eos qui me opprimunt", Junius & Tremellius. (z) Targum, Jarchi, & Kimchi, in loc. (a) R. Moses in Aben Ezra in loc. R. Obadiah Gaon, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc.
The Treasury of David
6 Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.
7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.
We now listen to a fresh prayer, based upon the avowal which he has just made. We cannot pray too often, and when our heart is true, we shall turn to God in prayer as naturally as the needle to its pole.
"Arise, O Lord, in thine anger." His sorrow makes him view the Lord as a Judge who had left the judgment-seat and retired into his rest. Faith would move the Lord to avenge the quarrel of his saints. "Lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies" - a still stronger figure to express his anxiety that the Lord would assume his authority and mount the throne. Stand up, O God, rise thou above them all, and let thy justice tower above their villainies. "Awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded." This is a bolder utterance still, for it implies sleep as well as inactivity, and can only be applied to God in a very limited sense. He never slumbers, yet doth he often seem to do so; for the wicked prevail, and the saints are trodden in the dust. God's silence is the patience of longsuffering, and if wearisome to the saints, they should bear it cheerfully in the hope that sinners may thereby be led to repentance.
"So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about." Thy saints shall crowd to thy tribunal with their complaints, or shall surround it with their solemn homage: "for their sakes therefore return thou on high." As when a judge travels at the assizes, all men take their cases to his court that they may be heard, so will the righteous gather to their Lord. Here he fortifies himself in prayer by pleading that if the Lord will mount the throne of judgment, multitudes of the saints would be blessed as well as himself. If I be too base to be remembered, yet "for their sakes," for the love thou bearest to thy chosen people, come forth from thy secret pavilion, and sit in the gate dispensing justice among the people. When my suit includes the desires of all the righteous it shall surely speed, for "shall not God avenge his own elect?"
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. God is involved as if hitherto careless of him (Ps 3:7; 9:18).
rage—the most violent, like a flood rising over a river's banks.
the judgment … commanded—or, "ordained"; a just decision.
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