|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.
Verse 48. - What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? An expansion of the first clause of ver. 47. Man's littleness, feebleness, and fleetingness should draw forth the pity and loving kindness of God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?.... Every living man must die; as sure as a man lives, so sure he shall die: be he strong and mighty, as the word signifies, or weak and sickly; be he high or low, rich or poor, prince or peasant, righteous or wicked; persons of all ranks, states, and conditions, age or sex, must die; for all have sinned; and it is the appointment of God that they should die, and very few are the exceptions; as Enoch and Elijah, and those that will be found alive at Christ's coming:
shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave; either from going down into it, or coming under the power of it; so the Targum,
"what man is he that shall live, and shall not see the angel of death (Hebrews 2:14) shall he deliver his soul from his hand, that he should not go down to the house of his grave?''
or deliver himself from the power of it, when in it; that is, raise himself from the dead: none ever did this, or ever can: Christ indeed undertook, and has promised, to redeem his people from the power of the grave, upon which they have believed they should be delivered; see Hosea 13:14, but if Christ rose not himself, which was the thing now in question, how could it be? the case stands thus; every man must die; no man can raise himself from the dead; if Christ rise not, everyone must continue under the power of the grave; for then there could be no resurrection.
Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
48. What man—literally, "strong man—shall live?" and, indeed, have not all men been made in vain, as to glorifying God?
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