|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
86:8-17 Our God alone possesses almighty power and infinite love. Christ is the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth. And the believing soul will be more desirous to be taught the way and the truth of God, in order to walk therein, than to be delivered out of earthly distress. Those who set not the Lord before them, seek after believers' souls; but the compassion, mercy, and truth of God, will be their refuge and consolation. And those whose parents were the servants of the Lord, may urge this as a plea why he should hear and help them. In considering David's experience, and that of the believer, we must not lose sight of Him, who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.
Verse 14. - O God, the proud are risen against me (comp. Psalm 119:51, 69, 85, 122; and also Psalm 54:3). And the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; rather, a crew of violent ones have sought after my soul, or "plotted against my life" (comp. Psalm 7:1, 2; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 35:3, 4, etc.). And have not set thee before them; i.e. "have given no thought to God, or how he would act, whether he would allow their wickedness or prevent it."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O God, the proud are risen against me,.... As all men naturally are, and as all are without the grace of God; and because they are, they deal in proud wrath: as, through the pride of their heart, they seek not after God; so, through the same, they persecute his people, treating them with the utmost contempt, and as the offscouring of all things. Jarchi interprets this particularly of Doeg and Ahithophel:
and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; or "terrible" (s) ones, who breathed out nothing but cruelty, threatenings, and slaughter; and who were many, and got together in bodies, and entered into combinations and conspiracies; and whom nothing would satisfy but the taking away of his life, which they sought after; see Psalm 22:12.
and have not set thee before them; they did not consider the omniscience of God, that he knew and took notice of all they did; nor his omnipresence, that he was everywhere, and there was no fleeing from him; nor his omnipotence, who was able to crush them to pieces; nor his justice, which will render tribulation to them that trouble his; nor his goodness, which should lead to repentance; nor had they any fear of him, nor respect to his glory: in short, they were like the unjust judge, who neither feared God nor regarded men, Luke 18:4.
(s) "terribilium", Montanus; so some in Vatablus, Gejerus, Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
"O God, the proud are risen against me." They could not let God's poor servant alone, his walk with God was as smoke to their eyes, and therefore they determined to destroy him. None hate good men so fiercely as do the high-minded and domineering. "And the assemblies of violent men have sought after roll soul." Unitedly oppressors sought the good man's life; they hunted in packs, with keen scent, and eager foot. In persecuting times many a saint has used these words in reference to Papal bishops and inquisitors. "And have not set thee before them." They would not have molested the servant if they had cared one whit for the master. Those who fear not God are not afraid to commit violent and cruel acts. An atheist is a misanthrope. Irreligion is akin to inhumanity.
"But thou, O Lord." What a contrast! We get away from the hectorings and blusterings of proud but puny men to the glory and goodness of the Lord. We turn from the boisterous foam of chafing waves to the sea of glass mingled with fire, calm and serene. "Art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." A truly glorious doxology, in which there is not one redundant word. As we have before observed, it is mainly transcribed from Exodus 34:6. Here is compassion for the weak and sorrowing, grace for the undeserving, longsuffering for the provoking, mercy for the guilty, and truth for the tried. God's love assumes many forms, and is lovely in them all. Into whatsoever state we may be cast, there is a peculiar hue in the light of love which will harmonize with our condition; love is one and yet sevenfold, its white ray contains the chromatic scale. Are we sorrowful? We find the Lord full of compassion. Are we contending with temptation? His grace comes to our aid. Do we err? He is patient with us. Have we sinned? He is plenteous in mercy. Are we resting on his promise? He will fulfil it with abundant truth.
"O turn unto me." As though the face of God had been before averted in anger, the suppliant pleads for a return of conscious favour. One turn of God's face will turn all our darkness into day. "And have mercy upon me," that is all he asks, for he is lowly in heart; that is all he wants, for mercy answereth all a sinner's needs. "Give thy strength unto thy servant." Gird me with it that I may serve thee, guard me with it that I may not be overcome. When the Lord gives us his own strength we are sufficient for all emergencies, and have no cause to fear any adversaries. "And save the son of thine handmaid." He meant that he was a home-born servant of God. As the sons of slaves were their master's property by their birth, so he gloried in being the son of a woman who herself belonged to the Lord. What others might think a degrading illustration he uses with delight, to show how intensely he loved the Lord's service; and also as a reason why the Lord should interpose to rescue him, seeing that he was no newly-purchased servant, but had been in the house from his very birth.
"Shew me a token for good." Let me be assured of thy mercy by being delivered out of trouble. "That they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed."
"Some token of thy favour show,
Some sign which all my foes may see:
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