|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:56-72 After the Israelites were settled in Canaan, the children were like their fathers. God gave them his testimonies, but they turned back. Presumptuous sins render even Israelites hateful to God's holiness, and exposed to his justice. Those whom the Lord forsakes become an easy prey to the destroyer. And sooner or later, God will disgrace his enemies. He set a good government over his people; a monarch after his own heart. With good reason does the psalmist make this finishing, crowning instance of God's favour to Israel; for David was a type of Christ, the great and good Shepherd, who was humbled first, and then exalted; and of whom it was foretold, that he should be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. On the uprightness of his heart, and the skilfulness of his hands, all his subjects may rely; and of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. Every trial of human nature hitherto, confirms the testimony of Scripture, that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, and nothing but being created anew by the Holy Ghost can cure the ungodliness of any.
Verse 57. - But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers (comp. ver. 8, end the comment ad loc.). They were turned aside like a deceitful bow (comp. Hosea 7:16). A "deceitful bow" is one that fails in the hour of need, either breaking, or losing its strength, or sending its arrows wide of the mark.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But turned back,.... From God and his worship, apostatized from the true religion, and turned to idols:
and dealt unfaithfully, like their fathers; in the wilderness; see Psalm 78:8,
they were turned aside like a deceitful bow; that promises well to carry the arrow right, but drops it at the feet of the archer; or carries it another way, so that it misses the mark, The Targum is,
"as a bow casting arrows;''
to the ground, and not to the mark; see Hosea 7:16, or being too much stretched is suddenly broken, and kills the archer; or returns to its own nature; so Arama.
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