Psalm 31:19
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) Laid up.—Better, hidden, (Heb. tsaphan; comp. Psalm 17:14; Obadiah 1:6), as a treasure for the faithful, and now brought out and displayed in the presence “of the sons of men.”

Psalms

GOODNESS WROUGHT AND GOODNESS LAID UP

Psalm 31:19
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The Psalmist has been describing, with the eloquence of misery, his own desperate condition, in all manner of metaphors which he heaps together-’sickness,’ ‘captivity,’ ‘like a broken vessel,’ ‘as a dead man out of mind.’ But in the depth of desolation he grasps at God’s hand, and that lifts him up out of the pit. ‘I trusted in Thee, O Lord! Thou art my God.’ So he struggles up on to the green earth again, and he feels the sunshine; and then he breaks out-’Oh! how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee.’ So the psalm that began with such grief, ends with the ringing call, ‘Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.’

Now these great words which I have read for my text, and which derive even additional lustre from their setting, do not convey to the hasty English reader the precise force of the antithesis which lies in them. The contrast in the two clauses is between goodness laid up and goodness wrought; and that would come out a little more clearly if we transposed the last words of the text, and instead of reading, as our Authorised Version does, ‘which Thou hast wrought for them that trusted in Thee before the sons of men,’ read ‘which Thou hast wrought before the sons of men for them that trusted in Thee.’

So I think there are, as it were, two great masses of what the Psalmist calls ‘goodness’; one of them which has been plainly manifested ‘before the sons of men,’ the other which is ‘laid up’ in store. There are a great many notes in circulation, but there is far more bullion in the strong-room. Much ‘goodness’ has been exhibited; far more lies concealed.

If we take that antithesis, then, I think we may turn it in two or three directions, like a light in a man’s hand; and look at it as suggesting-

I. First, the goodness already disposed-’wrought before the sons of men’; and that ‘laid up,’ yet to be manifested.

Now, that distinction just points to the old familiar but yet never-to-be-exhausted thought of the inexhaustibleness of the divine nature. That inexhaustibleness comes out most wondrously and beautifully in the fundamental manifestation of God on which the Old Testament revelation is built-I mean the vision given to Moses prior to his call, and as the basis of his message, of the bush that burned and was not consumed. That lowly shrub flaming and not burning out was not, as has often been supposed, the symbol of Israel which in the furnace of affliction was not destroyed. It meant the same as the divine name, then proclaimed; ‘I AM THAT I AM,’ which is but a way of saying that God’s Being is absolute, dependent upon none, determined by Himself, infinite, and eternal, burns and is not burned up, lives and has no proclivity towards death, works and is unwearied, ‘operates unspent,’ is revealed and yet hidden, gives and is none the poorer.

And as we look upon our daily lives, and travel back in thought, some of us over the many years which have all been crowded with instances and illustrations of divine faithfulness and favouring care, we have to grasp both these exclamations of our text, ‘Oh! how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast wrought,’ how much greater ‘is Thy goodness which is laid up!’ The table has been spread in the wilderness, and the verities of Christian experience more than surpass the legends of hungry knights finding banquets prepared by unseen hands in desert places. It is as when Jesus made the multitude sit down on the green grass and feast to the full, and yet abundance remained undiminished after satisfying all the hungry applicants. The bread that was broken yielded more basketfuls for to-morrow than the original quantity in the lad’s hands. The fountain rises, and the whole camp, ‘themselves and their children and their cattle,’ slake their thirst at it, and yet it is full as ever. The goodness wrought is but the fringe and first beginnings of the mass that is laid up. All the gold that has been coined and put into circulation is as nothing compared with the wedges and ingots of massive bullion that lie in the strong room. God’s riches are not like the world’s wealth. You very soon get to the bottom of its purse. Its ‘goodness,’ is very soon run dry; and nothing will yield an unintermittent stream of satisfaction and blessing to a poor soul except the ‘river of the water of life that proceedeth out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb.’

So, dear brethren! that contrast may suggest to us how quietly and peacefully we may look forward to all the unknown future; and hold up to it so as to enable us to scan its general outlines, the light of the known and experienced past. Let our trustful prayer be; ‘Thou hast been my help: leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!’ and the answer will certainly be: ‘I will not leave thee, till I have done unto thee that which I have spoken to thee of.’ Our Memory ought to be the mother of our Hope; and we should paint the future in the hues of the past. Thou hast goodness ‘laid up,’ more than enough to match ‘the goodness Thou hast wrought.’ God’s past is the prophecy of God’s future; and my past, if I understand it aright, ought to rebuke every fear and calm every anxiety. We, and only we, have the right to say, ‘To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.’ That is delusion if said by any but by those that fear and trust in the Inexhaustible God.

II. Now let us turn our light in a somewhat different direction. The contrast here suggests the goodness that is publicly given and that which is experienced in secret.

If you will notice, in the immediate neighbourhood of my text there come other words which evidently link themselves with the thought of the goodness laid up: ‘Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence.’ That is where also the ‘goodness’ is. ‘Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion . . . blessed be the Lord! for He hath shewed me His marvellous kindness in a strong city.’ So, then, the goodness which is wrought, and which can be seen by the sons of men, dwindles in comparison with the goodness which lies in that secret place, and can only be enjoyed and possessed by those who dwell there, and whose feet are familiar with the way that leads to it. That is to say, if you wish the Psalmist’s thought in plain prose, all these visible blessings of ours are but pale shadows and suggestions of the real wealth that we can have only if we live in continual communion with God. The spiritual blessings of quiet minds and strength for work, the joys of communion with God, the sweetness of the hopes that are full of immortality, and all these delights and manifestations of God’s inmost love and sweetness which are granted only to waiting hearts that shut themselves off from the tumultuous delights of earth as the bases of their trust or the sources of their gladness-these are fuller, better than the selectest and richest of the joys that God’s world can give. God does not put His best gifts, so to speak, in the shop-windows; He keeps these in the inner chambers. He does not arrange His gifts as dishonest traders do their wares, putting the finest outside or on the top, and the less good beneath. ‘Thou hast kept the good wine until now.’ It is they who inhabit ‘the secret place of the Most High,’ and whose lives are filled with communion with Him, realising His presence, seeking to know His will, reaching out the tendrils of their hearts to twine round Him, and diligently, for His dear sake, doing the tasks of life; who taste the selected dainties from God’s gracious hands.

How foolish, then, to order life on the principle upon which we are all tempted to do it, and to yield to the temptation to which some of us have yielded far too much, of fancying that the best good is the good that we can touch and taste and handle and that men can see! No! no! Deep down in our hearts a joy that strangers never intermeddle with nor know, a peace that passes understanding, a present Christ and a Heaven all but present, because Christ is present-these are the good things for men, and these are the things which God does not, because He cannot, fling broadcast into the world, but which He keeps, because He must, for those that desire them, and are fit for them. ‘He causeth His sun to shine, and His rain to fall on the unthankful and on the disobedient,’ but the goodness laid up is better than the sunshine, and more refreshing and fertilising and cleansing than the rain, and it comes, and comes only, to them that trust Him, and live near Him.

III. And so, lastly, we may turn our light in yet another direction, and take this contrast as suggesting the goodness wrought on earth, and the goodness laid up in heaven.

Here we see, sometimes, the messengers coming with the one cluster of grapes on the pole. There we shall live in the vineyard. Here we drink from the river as it flows; there we shall be at the fountain-head. Here we are in the vestibule of the King’s house, there we shall be in the throne room, and each chamber as we pass through it is richer and fairer than the one preceding. Heaven’s least goodness is more than earth’s greatest blessedness. All that life to come, all its conditions and everything about it, are so strange to us, so incapable of being bodied forth or conceived by us, and the thought of Eternity is, it seems to me, so overwhelmingly awful that I do not wonder at even good people finding little stimulus, or much that cheers, in the thought of passing thither. But if we do not know anything more-and we know very little more-let us be sure of this, that when God begins to compare His adjectives He does not stop till He gets to the superlative degree and that good begets better, and the better of earth ensures the best of Heaven. And so out of our poor little experience here, we may gather grounds of confidence that will carry our thoughts peacefully even into the great darkness, and may say, ‘What Thou didst work is much, what Thou hast laid up is more.’ And the contrast will continue for ever and ever; for all through that strange Eternity that which is wrought will be less than that which is laid up, and we shall never get to the end of God, nor to the end of His goodness.

Only let us take heed to the conditions-’them that fear Him, them that trust in Him.’ If we will do these things through each moment of the experiences of a growing Christian life, and at the moment of the experience of a Christian death, and through the eternities of the experience of a Christian heaven, Jesus Christ will whisper to us, ‘Thou shalt see greater things than these.’

Psalm 31:19. O, how great is thy goodness — No words can express the greatness of thy love and blessings; which thou hast laid up — Hebrew, צפנת, tzapanta, hast hid, namely, with thyself, or in thy own breast. The word is very emphatical, and removes an objection of ungodly men taken from the present calamities of good men. His favour, it is true, is not always manifested to them, but it is laid up for them in his treasure, whence it shall be drawn forth when they need it, and he sees it fit. Which thou hast wrought — Or hast prepared, or wilt prepare, the past time being put for the future, to signify the certainty of it, as is very common in the prophetical writings; before the sons of men — Publicly, and in the view of the world, their very enemies seeing, admiring, and envying it, but not being able to hinder it.

31:19-24 Instead of yielding to impatience or despondency under our troubles, we should turn our thoughts to the goodness of the Lord towards those who fear and trust in Him. All comes to sinners through the wondrous gift of the only-begotten Son of God, to be the atonement for their sins. Let not any yield to unbelief, or think, under discouraging circumstances, that they are cut off from before the eyes of the Lord, and left to the pride of men. Lord, pardon our complaints and fears; increase our faith, patience, love, and gratitude; teach us to rejoice in tribulation and in hope. The deliverance of Christ, with the destruction of his enemies, ought to strengthen and comfort the hearts of believers under all their afflictions here below, that having suffered courageously with their Master, they may triumphantly enter into his joy and glory.Oh how great is thy goodness - That is, in view of the divine protection and favor in such cases, or when thus assailed. The psalmist seems to have felt that it was an inexpressible privilege thus to be permitted to appeal to God with the assurance of the divine protection. In few circumstances do people feel more grateful for the opportunity of appealing to God than when they are reviled and calumniated. As there is nothing which we feel more keenly than calumny and reproach, so there can be no circumstances when we more appreciate the privilege of having such a Refuge and Friend as God.

Which thou hast laid up - Which thou hast "treasured" up, for so the Hebrew word means. That is, goodness and mercy had been, as it were, "treasured up" for such an emergency - as a man treasures up food in autumn for the wants of winter, or wealth for the wants of old age. The goodness of God is thus a treasure garnered up for the needs of His people - a treasure always accessible; a treasure that can never be exhausted.

For them that fear thee - Or "reverence" thee - fear or reverence being often used to denote friendship with God, or religion. See the notes at Psalm 5:7.

Which thou hast wrought for them - Which thou hast "made" for them (Hebrew); or, which thou hast secured as if by labor; that is, by plan and arrangement. It was not by chance that that goodness had been provided; God had done it in a manner resembling the act of a man who lays up treasure for his future use by plan and by toil. The idea is, that all this was the "work" of a benevolent God; a God who had carefully anticipated the wants of his people.

For them that trust in thee - who rely upon Thee in trouble, in danger, and in want; who feel that their only reliance is upon Thee, and who do actually trust in Thee.

Before the sons of men - That is, Thou hast performed this in the presence of the sons of men, or in the presence of mankind. God had not only laid it up in secret, making provision for the wants of His people, but he had worked out this deliverance before people, or had shown His goodness to them openly. The acts of benevolence or goodness in the case were - "first," that he had "treasured up" the resources of His goodness by previous arrangement, or by anticipation, for them; and "second," that he had "wrought out" deliverance, or had "manifested" his goodness by interposing to save, and by doing it openly that it might be seen by mankind.

19-21. God displays openly His purposed goodness to His people.19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.

22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

Being full of faith, the Psalmist gives glory to God for the mercy which he is assured will be his position.

Psalm 31:19

"Oh how great is thy goodness." Is it not singular to find such a joyful sentence in connection with so much sorrow? Truly the life of faith is a miracle. When faith led David to his God, she set him singing at once. He does not tell us how great was God's goodness, for he could not; there are no measures which can set forth the immeasurable goodness of Jehovah, who is goodness itself. Holy amazement uses interjections where adjectives utterly fail. Notes of exclamation suit us when words of explanation are of no avail. If we cannot measure we can marvel; and though we may not calculate with accuracy, we can adore with fervency. "Which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee." The Psalmist in contemplation divides goodness into two parts, that which is in store and that which is wrought out. The Lord has laid up in reserve for his people supplies beyond all count. In the treasury of the covenant, in the field of redemption, in the caskets of the promises, in the granaries of providence, the Lord has provided for all the needs which can possibly occur to his chosen. We ought often to consider the laid-up goodness of God which has not yet been distributed to the chosen, but is already provided for them; if we are much in such contemplations, we shall be led to feel devout gratitude, such as glowed in the heart of David. "Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men." Heavenly mercy is not all hidden in the storehouse; in a thousand ways it has already revealed itself on behalf of those who are bold to avow their confidence in God; before their fellow men this goodness of the Lord has been displayed, that a faithless generation might stand rebuked. Overwhelming are the proofs of the Lord's favour to believers, history teems with amazing instances, and our own lives are full of prodigies of grace. We serve a good Master. Faith receives a large reward even now, but looks for her full inheritance in the future. Who would not desire to take his lot with the servants of a Master whose boundless love fills all holy minds with astonishment?

Psalm 31:20

"Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man." Pride is a barbed weapon: the proud man's contumely is iron which entereth into the soul; but those who trust in God, are safely housed in the Holy of holies, the innermost court, into which no man may dare intrude; here in the secret dwelling place of God the mind of the saint rests in peace, which the foot of pride cannot disturb. Dwellers at the foot of the cross of Christ grow callous to the sneers of the haughty. The wounds of Jesus distil a balsam which heals all the scars which the jagged weapons of contempt can inflict upon us; in fact, when armed with the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, the heart is invulnerable to all the darts of pride. "Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." Tongues are more to be dreaded than beasts of prey - and when they strive, it is as though a whole pack of wolves were let loose; but the believer is secure even in this peril, for the royal pavilion of the King of kings shall afford him quiet shelter and serene security. The secret tabernacle of sacrifice, and the royal pavilion of sovereignty afford a double security to the Lord's people in their worst distresses. Observe the immediate action of God, "Thou shalt hide," "Thou shalt keep," the Lord himself is personally present for the rescue of his afflicted.

Psalm 31:21

"Blessed be the Lord." When the Lord blesses us we cannot do less than bless him in return. "For he hath showed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city." Was this in Mahanaim, where the Lord gave him victory over the hosts of Absalom? Or did he refer to Rabbath of Ammon, where he gained signal triumphs? Or, best of all, was Jerusalem the strong city where he most experienced the astonishing kindness of his God? Gratitude is never short of subjects: her Ebenezers stand so close together as to wall up her path to heaven on both sides. Whether in cities or in hamlets our blessed Lord has revealed himself to us, we shall never forget the hallowed spots: the lonely mount of Hermon, or the village of Emmaus, or the rock of Patmos, or the wilderness of Horeb, are all alike renowned when God manifests himself to us in robes of love.

Psalm 31:22

Confession of faults is always proper; and when we reflect upon the goodness of God, we ought to be reminded of our own errors and offences. "For I said in my haste." We generally speak amiss when we are in a hurry. Hasty words are but for a moment on the tongue, but they often lie for years on the conscience. "I am cut off from before thine eyes." This was an unworthy speech; but unbelief will have a corner in the heart of the firmest believer, and out of that corner it will vent many spiteful things against the Lord if the course of providence be not quite so smooth as nature might desire. No saint ever was, or ever could be, cut off from before the eyes of God, and yet no doubt many have thought so, and more than one have said so. For ever be such dark suspicions banished from our minds. "Nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee." What a mercy that if we believe not, yet God abideth faithful, hearing prayer even when we are labouring under doubts which dishonour his name. If we consider the hindrances in the way of our prayers, and the poor way in which we present them, it is a wonder of wonders that they ever prevail with heaven.

How great is thy goodness! no words can express the greatness of thy love and blessings. Laid up, or hidden, to wit, with thyself, or in thy own breast. The word is very emphatical, and removes an objection of ungodly men, taken from the present calamities of good men. His favour, it is true, is not always manifested to or for them but it is laid up for them in his treasure, whence it shall be drawn forth when they need it, and he sees it fit.

Thou hast wrought; or, hast prepared, as Exodus 15:17. Or, wilt work; the past time being put for the future, to note the certainty of it, as is common in the prophetical writings.

Before the sons of men, i.e. publicly. and in the view of the world, their very enemies seeing, and admiring, and envying it, but not being able to hinder it.

O how great is thy goodness,.... Not the natural and essential goodness of God; for though that is large and abundant, yea, infinite, as every perfection of his is, yet it cannot with propriety be said to be laid up and wrought out; but rather the effects of his goodness, and not those which appear in Providence, for they, though very large and plenteous, are common to all, and are not restrained to them that fear the Lord, and trust in him; but such as are displayed in a way of special grace and favour to his own people, and which the psalmist saw his interest in and was affected with; and which supported his faith under his present troubles, and appeared to be so great, both for quality and quantity, that he could not well say how great the blessings of his goodness were;

which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; both grace and glory; the blessings of grace were laid up in God's heart, in his thoughts and purposes, from everlasting; and in Christ, in whom the fulness of all grace dwells; he was loaded with the blessings of goodness, and his people were blessed in him with all spiritual blessings, and had all grace given them in him before the world was; and these were likewise laid up in the covenant of grace, ordered in all things, and sure; eternal glory is the hope and crown of righteousness laid up in heaven, where it is reserved for the saints, who are heirs of it: and the laying up of all this goodness shows it to be a treasure, riches of grace, and riches of glory; and that it is an hidden treasure, and riches of secret places, which are out of the view of carnal men, and not perfectly seen and enjoyed by the people of God themselves as yet; and also that it is safe and secure for them, and can never be lost; and it expresses the paternal care of God, his great love and affection for them, to lay up so early so much goodness for them: and this is said to be "for them that fear him"; not naturally, but by his grace; for the fear of God is not in man naturally, but is put there by the grace of God; and such who have it are those who are brought to a true sight and sense of sin, so as to loathe it and forsake it; for the fear of the Lord is to hate evil, and by it men depart from it, and because of it cannot sin as others do; such have an humble sense of themselves, their own insufficiency and weakness, and trust in the grace of God and righteousness of Christ; they have a filial reverence of God, and worship him in spirit and in truth: but now this fear of the Lord is not the cause of goodness being laid up for them, for that only is the will of God; and besides the fear of God is a part of the goodness which is laid up in promise in the covenant of grace, Jeremiah 32:39; and it is the goodness of God displayed in the blessings of it, such as pardon of sin, &c. which influences, promotes, and increases the fear of God, Hosea 3:5; but, goodness being manifested to and bestowed upon them that fear the Lord, it appears eventually to be laid up for them;

which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! by which may be meant the work of redemption, in which the goodness of God greatly appears; in calling and appointing Christ unto it, in sending him to effect it, in strengthening him as man and Mediator to do it; and in the work itself, in which many things are wrought, the law is fulfilled, justice satisfied, a righteousness brought in, peace made, pardon procured, and everlasting salvation obtained. And whereas this is said to be "wrought for them that trust in" the Lord, it is not to be understood as if trusting in the Lord was the cause of this work being wrought out, which is the love of God and grace of Christ; but inasmuch as those that trust in the Lord have openly an interest in redemption, and they that believe in Christ shall be saved; therefore it clearly appears in the issue of things to be wrought out for them. The phrase "before the sons of men", may be connected either with the goodness wrought, and so signifies that the work of redemption was done in a most public manner, openly before men, even the enemies of God's people; nor was it in the power of men and devils to hinder it; or else with trusting in the Lord, and so is expressive of a public profession of faith and confidence in the Lord before men, which ought to be done: moreover this goodness wrought may include the good work of grace upon the soul; and the Lord's fulfilling the good pleasure of his goodness in the hearts of his people, and the work of faith with power on them; and also the many deliverances of them out of afflictions and temptations, and the many salvations from their enemies he works for them in the earth, before the sons of men.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou {n} hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

(n) The treasures of God's mercy are always laid up in store for his children, even at all times they do not enjoy them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19, 20. God’s goodness to those who fear Him is like an inexhaustible treasure stored up, and at the proper time brought out and used for them that take refuge (as Psalm 31:1) in Him; and this publicly in the sight of man. Cf. Psalm 23:5. With R.V. place a comma after trust in thee, and connect before the sons of men with wrought.

19–24. Can the author of this serenely joyous thanksgiving be the despised and downcast sufferer of Psalm 31:9-18? If so, it was surely not at the same moment. An interval has elapsed; his prayer has been answered; the danger is past.

Verse 19. - Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! Another transition. David turns from prayer to praise, and in the four next verses (vers. 19-22) eulogizes the goodness and mercy and marvellous loving-kindness of God, who has wrought gloriously for his people in the past, and has further an ample store of mercies laid up for them in the future. Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! God had wrought his mercies for his own people, but in the sight of men generally, whether good or bad. Psalm 31:19(Heb.: 31:20-25) In this part well-grounded hope expands to triumphant certainty; and this breaks forth into grateful praise of the goodness of God to His own, and an exhortation to all to wait with steadfast faith on Jahve. The thought: how gracious hath Jahve been to me, takes a more universal form in Psalm 31:20. It is an exclamation (מה, as in Psalm 36:8) of adoring admiration. טוּב יהוה is the sum of the good which God has treasured up for the constant and ever increasing use and enjoyment of His saints. צפן is used in the same sense as in Psalm 17:14; cf. τὸ μάννα τὸ κεκρυμμένον, Revelation 2:17. Instead of פּעלתּ it ought strictly to be נתתּ; for we can say פּעל טּוב, but not פּעל טוּב. What is meant is, the doing or manifesting of טּוב springing from this טוּב, which is the treasure of grace. Jahve thus makes Himself known to His saints for the confounding of their enemies and in defiance of all the world besides, Psalm 23:5. He takes those who are His under His protection from the רכסי אישׁ, confederations of men (from רכס, Arab. rks, magna copia), from the wrangling, i.e., the slanderous scourging, of tongues. Elsewhere it is said, that God hides one in סתר אהלו (Psalm 27:5), or in סתר כּנפיו (Psalm 61:5), or in His shadow (צל, Psalm 91:1); in this passage it is: in the defence and protection of His countenance, i.e., in the region of the unapproachable light that emanates from His presence. The סכּה is the safe and comfortable protection of the Almighty which spans over the persecuted one like an arbour or rich foliage. With בּרוּך ה David again passes over to his own personal experience. The unity of the Psalm requires us to refer the praise to the fact of the deliverance which is anticipated by faith. Jahve has shown him wondrous favour, inasmuch as He has given him a עיר מצור as a place of abode. מצור, from צוּר to shut in (Arabic misr with the denominative verb maṣṣara, to found a fortified city), signifies both a siege, i.e., a shutting in by siege-works, and a fortifying (cf. Psalm 60:11 with Psalm 108:11), i.e., a shutting in by fortified works against the attack of the enemy, 2 Chronicles 8:5. The fenced city is mostly interpreted as God Himself and His powerful and gracious protection. We might then compare Isaiah 33:21 and other passages. But why may not an actual city be intended, viz., Ziklag? The fact, that after long and troublous days David there found a strong and sure resting-place, he here celebrates beforehand, and unconsciously prophetically, as a wondrous token of divine favour. To him Ziklag was indeed the turning-point between his degradation and exaltation. He had already said in his trepidation (חפז, trepidare), cf. Psalm 116:11 : I am cut away from the range of Thine eyes. נגרזתּי is explained according to גּרזן, an axe; Lamentations 3:54, נגרזתּי, and Jonah 2:5, נגרשׁתּי, favour this interpretation. He thought in his fear and despair, that God would never more care about him. אכן, verum enim vero, but Jahve heard the cry of his entreaty, when he cried unto Him (the same words as in Psalm 28:2). On the ground of these experiences he calls upon all the godly to love the God who has done such gracious things, i.e., to love Love itself. On the one hand, He preserves the faithful (אמוּנים, from אמוּן equals אמוּן, πιστοί, as in Psalm 12:2), who keep faith with Him, by also proving to them His faithfulness by protection in every danger; on the other hand, not scantily, but plentifully (על as in Isaiah 60:7; Jeremiah 6:14 : κατὰ περισσείαν) He rewardeth those that practise pride-in the sight of God, the Lord, the sin of sins. An animating appeal to the godly (metamorphosed out of the usual form of the expression חזק ואמץ, macte esto), resembling the animating call to his own heart in Psalm 27:14, closes the Psalm. The godly and faithful are here called "those who wait upon Jahve." They are to wait patiently, for this waiting has a glorious end; the bright, spring sun at length breaks through the dark, angry aspect of the heavens, and the esto mihi is changed into halleluja. This eye of hope patiently directed towards Jahve is the characteristic of the Old Testament faith. The substantial unity, however, of the Old Testament order of grace, or mercy, with that of the New Testament, is set before us in Psalm 32:1-11, which, in its New Testament and Pauline character, is the counterpart of Psalm 19:1-14.
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Psalm 31:18
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