|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:11-20 Those who believe that God is greatly to be praised, not only desire to praise him better themselves, but desire that others may join with them. There is a day coming, when it will appear that he has not forgotten the cry of the humble; neither the cry of their blood, or the cry of their prayers. We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. The overruling providence of God frequently so orders it, that persecutors and oppressors are brought to ruin by the projects they formed to destroy the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves; the contentious bring mischief upon themselves: thus men's sins may be read in their punishment, and it becomes plain to all, that the destruction of sinners is of themselves. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; and those who continue in sin, must go to that place of torment. The true state, both of nations and of individuals, may be correctly estimated by this one rule, whether in their doings they remember or forget God. David encourages the people of God to wait for his salvation, though it should be long deferred. God will make it appear that he never did forget them: it is not possible he should. Strange that man, dust in his and about him, should yet need some sharp affliction, some severe visitation from God, to bring him to the knowledge of himself, and make him feel who and what he is.
Verse 13. - Have mercy upon me, O Lord! The consideration of God's mercies in the past, and especially in the recent deliverance, leads the psalmist to implore a continuance of his mercies in the future. He is not yet free from troubles. There are still enemies who afflict and threaten him - "heathen" who seek to "prevail" against him (vers. 19, 20), and perhaps already domestic enemies, especially the "sons of Zeruiah," causing him anxiety. Consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me; literally, my trouble (or, my affliction) from my haters. Vers. 17, 19, 20 show that the heathen are especially intended (see 2 Samuel 10:15-19). Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; i.e. "Thou that continually (or, habitually) art my Support in the extremity of peril," "lifting me up" even from the very "gates of death." (For other mentions of "the gates of death," see Job 38:17; Psalm 107:18.) Classical writers speak of "the gates of darkness" (σκότου πύλας) in almost the same sense (Eurip., 'Hec.,' 1. 1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Have mercy upon me, O Lord,.... The psalmist proceeds to petitions on his own account in this verse: the ends he proposes by the fulfilling of them are mentioned in the next. A good man, a man called by the grace of God, though he has obtained mercy of the Lord, yet still stands in need of more, of fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, of merciful supplies, of merciful support, and merciful deliverances from enemies, inward and outward: and such an one flees to God, and not to the creature; and pleads, not his own dignity, righteousness, or merit, but the mercy of God;
consider, my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me; or "see my affliction because of mine enemies" (l); look upon me under it with an eye of pity and compassion, and help and deliver me; and look upon mine enemies that give me this trouble, and take vengeance on them;
thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; the house appointed for all living; that is, from the power of it, when just upon the brink of it; when near it, as a person is to an house, when he is at the gates of it; either through sickness, or some violent distemper of body, as Hezekiah was; or through some imminent danger in battle, as David was when engaged with Goliath; when everyone thought, as Kimchi observes, that he should fall by his hand: or it may be this may have respect to his being raised up from the death of sin, and delivered from the power of darkness; to his being brought out of the horrible pit and miry clay of an unregenerate state, and set upon the rock of salvation; which is a lifting up indeed, an exaltation from a very low to a very high estate: and this the psalmist takes notice of to encourage his faith; and makes use of it as an argument with God, that as he had dealt so graciously and bountifully with him, he would still show mercy to him, and look upon him under his affliction.
(l) "intuere afflictionem meum propter osores meos", Gejerus.
The Treasury of David
13 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
Memories of the past and confidences concerning the future conducted the man of God to the mercy seat to plead for the needs of the present. Between praising and praying he divided all his time. How could he have spent it more profitably? His first prayer is one suitable for all persons and occasions, it breathes a humble spirit, indicates self knowledge, appeals to the proper attributes, and to the fitting person. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. Just as Luther used to call some texts little Bibles, so we may call this sentence a little prayer-book for it has in it the soul and marrow of prayer. It is multum in parvo, and like the angelic sword turns every way. The ladder looks to be short, but it reaches from earth to heaven.
What a noble title is here given to the Most High. Thou that liftest me up the gates of death! What a glorious lift! In sickness, in sin, in despair, in temptation, we have been brought very low, and the gloomy portal has seemed as if it would open to imprison us, but, underneath us were the everlasting arms, and, therefore, we have been uplifted even to the gates of heaven. Trapp quaintly says, "He commonly reserveth his hand for a dead lift, and rescueth those who were even talking of their graves." We must not overlook David's object in desiring mercy, it is God's glory: "that I may show forth all thy praise." Saints are not so selfish as to look only to self; they desire mercy's diamond that they may let others see it flash and sparkle, and may admire Him who gives such priceless gems to his beloved. The contrast between the gates of death and the gates of the New Jerusalem is very striking; let our songs be excited to the highest and most rapturous pitch by the double consideration of whence we are taken, and to what we have been advanced, and let our prayers for mercy be made more energetic and agonizing by a sense of the grace which such a salvation implies. When David speaks of his showing forth all God's praise, he means that, in his deliverance grace in all its heights and depths would be magnified. Just as our hymn puts it: -
"O the length and breadth of love!
Jesus, Saviour, can it be?
All thy mercy's height Iprove,
All the depth is seen in me."
Here ends the first part of this instructive psalm, and in pausing awhile we feel bound to confess that our exposition has only flitted over its surface, and has not digged into the depths. The verses are singularly full of teaching, and if the Holy Spirit shall bless the reader, he may go over this Psalm, as the writer has done scores of times, and see on each occasion fresh beauties.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. gates—or, "regions."
of death—Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.
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