|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
71:1-13 David prays that he might never be made ashamed of dependence upon God. With this petition every true believer may come boldly to the throne of grace. The gracious care of Divine providence in our birth and infancy, should engage us to early piety. He that was our Help from our birth, ought to be our Hope from our youth. Let none expect ease or comfort from the world. Those who love the Lord, often are hated and persecuted; men wondered at for their principles and conduct; but the Lord has been their strong refuge. The faithful servants of God may be assured that he will not cast them off in old age, nor forsake them when their strength fails.
Verse 9. - Cast me not off in the lime of old age. This expression, combined with the allusion to old age and grey hairs in ver. 18, indicates that the writer was drawing near to the natural term of human life, and already felt the infirmities of old age creeping upon him. This note of date suits better the time of Adonijah's rebellion than that of Absalom's. Forsake me not when my strength faileth. An appeal to the Divine compassion. If God was his "Rock and Fortress" (ver. 3), his "strong Refuge" (ver. 7), when he was in his full vigour, much more will he support and befriend him when be is weak and helpless.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Cast me not off in the time of old age,.... The Lord never casts off nor casts away his people, whom he foreknew; they are near unto him; they are on his heart, and are engraven on the palms of his hands; and they shall never be removed from his heart's love, nor out of his arms, nor out of his covenant, and shall always be the objects of his care: he bears and carries them to old age, and even to hoary hairs: the Lord had been the guide of David's youth, and his trust then, Psalm 71:5; and now he desires he would be the staff of his old age; at which age he was when Absalom rebelled against him;
forsake me not when my strength faileth: as it does when old age comes on; then the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow themselves, and especially at death, when flesh and heart fail; but God will never forsake his people, neither in youth nor in old age, neither in life nor at death.
The Treasury of David
9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
10 For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together.
11 Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.
12 God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.
13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.
"Cast me not off in the time of old age." David was not tired of his Master, and his only fear was lest his Master should be tired of him. The Amalekite in the Bible history left his Egyptian servant to famish when he grew old and sick, but not so the Lord of saints; even to hoar hairs he bears and carries us. Alas for us, if we were abandoned by our God, as many a courtier has been by his prince! Old age robs us of personal beauty, and deprives us of strength for active service; but it does not lower us in the love and favour of God. An ungrateful country leaves its worn-out defenders to starve upon a scanty pittance, but the pensioners of heaven are satisfied with good things. "Forsake me not when my strength faileth." Bear with me, and endure my infirmities. To be forsaken of God is the worst Of all conceivable ills, and if the believer can be but clear of that grievous fear, he is happy: no saintly heart need be under any apprehension upon this point.
"For mine enemies speak against me." Dogs howl over a dying lion. When David's arm was able to chastise his foes, they were yet impudent enough to slander him, and he fears that now they will take fresh license in the hour of his weakness. The text most probably means that his enemies had said that God would forsake him; and, therefore, he is the more earnest that the Lord's faithful dealings may give them the lie. "And they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together." The Psalmist had enemies, and these were most malicious; seeking his utter destruction, they were very persevering, and staid long upon the watch; to this they added cunning, for they lay in ambush to surprise him, and take aim at a disadvantage: and all this they did with the utmost unanimity and deliberation, neither spoiling their design by want of prudence, nor marring its accomplishment by a lack of unity. The Lord our God is our only and all-sufficient resort from every form of persecution.
"Saying, God hath forsaken him." O bitter taunt! There is no worse arrow in all the quivers of hell. Our Lord felt this barbed shaft and it is no marvel if his disciples feel the same. Were this exclamation the truth, it were indeed an ill day for us; but, glory be to God, it is a barefaced lie. "Persecute and take him." Let loose the dogs of persecution upon him, seize him, worry him, "for there is none to deliver him." Down with him, for he has no friends. It is safe to insult him, for none will come to his rescue, O cowardly boasts of a braggart foe, how do ye wound the soul of the believer; and only when his faith cries to his Lord is he able to endure your cruelty.
"O God, be not far from me." Nearness to God is our conscious security. A child in the dark is comforted by grasping its father's hand. "O my God, make haste for my help." To call God ours, as having entered into covenant with us, is a mighty plea in prayer, and a great stay to our faith. The cry of "make haste" has occurred many times in this portion of the Psalms, and it was evoked by the sore pressure of affliction. Sharp sorrows soon put an end to procrastinating prayers.
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