|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
79:6-13 Those who persist in ignorance of God, and neglect of prayer, are the ungodly. How unrighteous soever men were, the Lord was righteous in permitting them to do what they did. Deliverances from trouble are mercies indeed, when grounded upon the pardon of sin; we should therefore be more earnest in prayer for the removal of our sins than for the removal of afflictions. They had no hopes but from God's mercies, his tender mercies. They plead no merit, they pretend to none, but, Help us for the glory of thy name; pardon us for thy name's sake. The Christian forgets not that he is often bound in the chain of his sins. The world to him is a prison; sentence of death is passed upon him, and he knows not how soon it may be executed. How fervently should he at all times pray, O let the sighing of a prisoner come before thee, according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die! How glorious will the day be, when, triumphant over sin and sorrow, the church beholds the adversary disarmed for ever! while that church shall, from age to age, sing the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, her King and her God.
Verse 11. - Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; or, the groaning, as in Exodus 2:24. The Babylonians treated their Jewish captives variously. Some, like Daniel and the "Three Children," were favoured, and exalted to high places. But the bulk of them were afflicted and oppressed (see Lamentations 1:3-5; Lamentations 5:18, etc.). But, whether well or ill treated, all sighed to return (comp. Psalm 137:1-6). According to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; literally, that are children of death, which may have the meaning assigned to it in our version, or may simply signify, "those whose death is imminent" - who cannot live long now that they are torn from their country. The phrase recurs in Psalm 102:20.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee,.... Such as were so in a literal or spiritual sense; and the sighs and groans of such are not hid from the Lord; they come up into his ears as did the sighing and groaning of the children of Israel when in Egypt, Exodus 2:23,
according to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die; not by the Lord, as all men are, but by men; who are under a sentence of condemnation, who are ready to die, being appointed to destruction, Proverbs 31:6, or are in danger of death, as Jarchi observes; the phrase is used in Talmudic writings; whose lives are exposed to danger, who are killed all the day long, and are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, Psalm 44:22, these it is desired the Lord would keep from dying, or cause them to remain in life; or not suffer their lives to be taken away from them, which he was able to do through "the greatness of his power"; though these words according to the accents belong to the preceding clause. The Targum, and so Jarchi, and other Jewish writers, render the words, "loose thou those", &c. mention being made before of prisoners, or of persons bound.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. prisoner—the whole captive people.
power—literally, "arm" (Ps 10:15).
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