|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
94:12-23 That man is blessed, who, under the chastening of the Lord, is taught his will and his truths, from his holy word, and by the Holy Spirit. He should see mercy through his sufferings. There is a rest remaining for the people of God after the days of their adversity, which shall not last always. He that sends the trouble, will send the rest. The psalmist found succour and relief only in the Lord, when all earthly friends failed. We are beholden, not only to God's power, but to his pity, for spiritual supports; and if we have been kept from falling into sin, or shrinking from our duty, we should give him the glory, and encourage our brethren. The psalmist had many troubled thoughts concerning the case he was in, concerning the course he should take, and what was likely to be the end of it. The indulgence of such contrivances and fears, adds to care and distrust, and renders our views more gloomy and confused. Good men sometimes have perplexed and distressed thoughts concerning God. But let them look to the great and precious promises of the gospel. The world's comforts give little delight to the soul, when hurried with melancholy thoughts; but God's comforts bring that peace and pleasure which the smiles of the world cannot give, and which the frowns of the world cannot take away. God is his people's Refuge, to whom they may flee, in whom they are safe, and may be secure. And he will reckon with the wicked. A man cannot be more miserable than his own wickedness will make him, if the Lord visit it upon him.
Verse 17. - Unless the Lord had been my Help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. No; they are not without a champion; Jehovah is their Help. It is a part of their blessedness (ver. 12), that they are preserved. in life and protected from the wicked, by God himself. Otherwise they "had soon dwelt in silence." Their soul had gone down to the pit, to the abyss of Sheol, the silent land (comp. Psalm 115:17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Unless the Lord had been my help,.... Against her enemies, which were so many and mighty, and her friends so few and feeble, and having no heart to defend her cause; especially this will be the case at the time of the slaying of the witnesses; but the Lord will appear, and help her; the Spirit of life, from him, shall enter into them, and cause them to live again, and to ascend up to heaven; and shall destroy great numbers of their enemies, and the rest shall be frightened, and give glory to God, Revelation 11:11,
my soul had almost dwelt in silence; or "within a little", or "must quickly" (e); not only have been, but must have dwelt, continued in silence, in the grave; see Psalm 115:17 his case being desperate, like that of the apostles, when they had the sentence of death within themselves, 2 Corinthians 1:10, this is to be understood not of the soul precisely, and abstractly considered, which dies not, nor is it silent after death; but of the whole person, being a part for the whole; and of the person, with respect to the mortal part, the body, which only dies, and while in a state of separation, or in the grave, is silent, and ceases from all operations of life: perhaps this may have some respect to the silencing of the witnesses, which is a principal thing meant by the slaying of them; a stop put to their ministrations, partly by the edicts of their enemies, and partly by the discouragement of their friends, their shyness, and negligence of them; and which silence will be almost total, if not altogether; though it will last but for a short time; they shall not dwell or continue in silence, but will open their mouths again; signified by the angel flying through the midst of heaven, with the everlasting Gospel, Revelation 14:6.
(e) "quasi parum", Montanus, Gejerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
The Treasury of David
17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.
19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
"Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence." Without Jehovah's help the Psalmist declares that he should have died outright, and gone into the silent land, where no more testimonies can be borne for the living God. Or he may mean that he would not have had a word to speak against his enemies, but would have been wrapped in speechless shame. Blessed be God, we are not left to that condition yet, for the Almighty Lord is still the helper of all those who look to him. Our inmost soul is bowed down when we see the victories of the Lord's enemies - owe cannot brook it, we cover our mouths in confusion; but he will yet arise and avenge his own cause, therefore have we hope.
"When I said, My foot slippeth" - is slipping even now, I perceived my danger, and cried out in horror, and then, at the very moment of my extremity, came the needed help, "thy mercy, O Lord, held me up." Often enough is this the case, we feel our weakness, and see our danger, and in fear and trembling we cry out. At such times nothing can help us but mercy; we can make no appeal to any fancied merit, for we feel that it is our inbred sin which makes our feet so ready to fail us; our joy is that mercy endureth for ever, and is always at hand to pluck us out of the danger, and hold us up, where else we should fall to our destruction. Ten thousand times has this verse been true in relation to some of us, and especially to the writer of this comment. The danger was imminent, it was upon us, we were going; the peril was apparent, we saw it, and were aghast at the sight; our own heart was failing, and we concluded that it was all over with us; but then came the almighty interposition: we did not fall, we were held up by an unseen hand, the devices of the enemy were frustrated, and we sang for joy. O faithful Keeper of our souls, be thou extolled for ever and ever! We will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in our mouths.
"In the multitude of my thoughts within me." When I am tossed to and fro with various reasonings, distractions, questionings, and forebodings, I will fly to my true rest, for "thy comforts delight my soul." From my sinful thoughts, my vain thoughts, my sorrowful thoughts, my griefs, my cares, my conflicts, I will hasten to the Lord; he has divine comforts, and these will not only console but actually delight me. How sweet are the comforts of the Spirit! Who can muse upon eternal love, immutable purposes, covenant promises, finished redemption, the risen Saviour, his union with his people, the coming glory, and such like themes, without feeling his heart leaping with joy? The little world within is, like the great world without, full of confusion and strife; but when Jesus enters it, and whispers "Peace be unto you," there is a calm, yea, a rapture of bliss. Let us turn away from the mournful contemplation of the oppression of man and the present predominance of the wicked, to that sanctuary of pure rest which is found in the God of all comfort.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17-19. a fact fully confirmed by his past experience.
dwelt in silence—as in the grave (Ps 31:17).
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