Psalm 4:8
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
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(8) Both.—Better, and at once. So the LXX. and Vulg.: “At the very moment.” (Comp. Isaiah 42:14.) This, too, is the meaning of “withal,” used to render the same Hebrew word in Psalm 141:10.

Thou, Lord, only.—The authority of all the ancient Versions, including the LXX. and Vulg., is for taking the adverb with the predicate, not with the subject as in the Authorised Version: “Thou, Jehovah, makest me to dwell alone in safety.” We see from Jeremiah 49:31, Micah 7:14, that isolation from other nations was, in the Hebrew view, a guarantee against danger. This certainly favours the view that the poem is national rather than individual.

For the concluding verses of the psalm Luther had a great affection, and desired Ludvig Teuffel to set them as the words of a requiem for him.

Psalm 4:8. I will lay me down in peace — In tranquillity of mind, resting securely upon God’s promises, and the conduct of his wise and gracious providence. For thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety — I owe not my safety to my own valour or wisdom, nor to the courage of my followers, but to thee only. Or, Thou, Lord, makest me to dwell alone in safety — Though I be, in a manner, alone, forsaken and destitute of friends or helpers, yet I am not alone, for God is with me: though I have no guards to attend me, the Lord alone is sufficient to protect me. He can do it himself when all other defences fail. “Happy the Christian who, having nightly, with this verse, committed himself to his bed as to his grave, shall, at last, with the same words, resign himself to the grave, as to his bed, from which he expects, in due time, to rise, and sing a morning hymn, with the children of the resurrection.” — Horne.

4:6-8 Wordly people inquire for good, not for the chief good; all they want is outward good, present good, partial good, good meat, good drink, a good trade, and a good estate; but what are all these worth? Any good will serve the turn of most men, but a gracious soul will not be put off so. Lord, let us have thy favour, and let us know that we have it, we desire no more; let us be satisfied of thy loving-kindness, and will be satisfied with it. Many inquire after happiness, but David had found it. When God puts grace in the heart, he puts gladness in the heart. Thus comforted, he pitied, but neither envied nor feared the most prosperous sinner. He commits all his affairs to God, and is prepared to welcome his holy will. But salvation is in Christ alone; where will those appear who despise him as their Mediator, and revile him in his disciples? May they stand in awe, and no longer sin against the only remedy.I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep - The word "both" here means "at the same time;" that is, I will alike be in peace, and I will lie down and will sleep; I will have a mind at peace (or, in tranquility) when I lie down, and will sleep calmly. This is said in view of his confidence in God, and of his belief that God would preserve him. He had put his trust in him; he had sought his happiness in him, and now he felt assured that he had nothing to fear, and, at peace with God, he would lie down and compose himself to rest. This is the counterpart of what is said in Psalm 3:5. There he says in the morning, that, though surrounded by fear, he "had" been permitted to lie calmly down and sleep; here he says, that, though he is surrounded by fear, he has such confidence in God, that he "will" give himself to quiet slumber. His mind was free from anxiety as to the result of the present troubles; he had calm confidence in God; he committed all to him; and thus gave himself to rest. No one can fail to admire the beauty of this; and no one can fail to perceive that entire confidence in God, and an assurance that all things are under his control, are best adapted of all things to give peaceful days and nights.

For thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety - There are two ideas here:

(a) One a confidence that he would abide in safety;

(b) the other, that he owed this entirely to the Lord.

He had no power to defend himself, and yet he felt assured that he would be safe - for he put his trust entirely in the Lord. The whole language implies unwavering trust or confidence in God, and is thus instructive and useful for all. It teaches us:

(1) that in the midst of troubles we may put our trust in God; and

(2) that religion is adapted to make the mind calm in such circumstances, and to enable its possessor to lie down without anxiety in the slumbers of the night, and to pursue without anxiety the duties of the day.

8. both lay me down, &c.—or, will lie down at once, and sleep in sure confidence and quiet repose (Ps 3:5). 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.

Sweet Evening Hymn! I shall not sit up to watch through fear, but I will lie down; and then I will not lie awake listening to every rustling sound, but I will lie down in peace and sleep, for I have nought to fear. He that hath the wings of. God above him needs no other curtain. Better than bolts or bars is the protection of the Lord. Armed men kept the bed of Solomon, but we do not believe that he slept more soundly than his father, whose bed was the hard ground, and who was haunted by blood-thirsty foes. Note the word "only," which means that God alone was his keeper, and that though alone, without man's help, he was even then in good keeping, for he was "alone with God." A quiet conscience is a good bedfellow. How many of our sleepless hours might be traced to our untrusting and disordered minds. They slumber sweetly whom faith rocks to sleep. No pillow so soft as a promise; no coverlet so warm as an assured interest in Christ.

O Lord, give us this calm repose on thee, that like David we may lie down in peace, and sleep each night while we live; and joyfully may we lie down in the appointed season, to sleep in death, to rest in God

Dr. Hawker's reflection upon this Psalm is worthy to be prayed over and fed upon with sacred delight. We cannot help transcribing it.

"Reader! let us never lose sight of the Lord Jesus while reading this psalm. He is the Lord our righteousness; and therefore, in all our approaches to the mercy seat, let us go there in a language corresponding to this which calls Jesus the Lord our righteousness. While men of the world, from the world are seeking their chief good, let us desire his favour which infinitely transcends corn and wine, and all the good things which perish in the using. Yes, Lord, thy favour is better than life itself. Thou causest them that love thee to inherit substance, and fillest all their treasure.

Oh! thou gracious God and Father, hast thou in such a wonderful manner set apart one in our nature for thyself? Hast thou indeed chosen ode out of the people? Hast thou beheld him in the purity of his nature, - as one in every point godly? Hast thou given him as the covenant of the people? And hast thou declared thyself well pleased in him? Oh I then, well may my soul be well pleased in him also. Now do I know that my God and Father will hear me when I call upon him in Jesus' name, and when I look up to him for acceptance for Jesus' sake.

Yes, my heart is fixed, O Lord, my heart is fixed; Jesus is my hope and righteousness, the Lord will hear me when I call. And henceforth will I both lay me down in peace and sleep securely in Jesus, accepted in the Beloved; for this is the rest wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing.

Both: this word relates to the two following verbs; as soon as I am laid down, I will quietly compose myself to sleep; whereas many lie down upon their beds, and cannot sleep through distracting cares or troubles. Or, in like manner, i.e. as they do who have abundance of corn and wine, of whom he last spoke, Luke 12:19. In peace; either,

1. In outward peace or safety, as the next clause explains it. Or,

2. In inward peace or tranquillity of mind, as Luke 2:29, resting securely upon God’s promises, and the conduct of his wise and gracious providence.

Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety; I owe not my safety to my own valour or wisdom, nor to the courage of my followers, but to thee only. Or, thou, Lord, makest me to dwell alone in safety; either,

1. Alone, or apart from mine enemies: compare Deu 33:28. Or rather,

2. Though I be in a manner alone, i.e. forsaken and destitute of friends or helpers, as that word is used, Psalm 112:7 Lamentations 1:1.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep,.... Signifying, that he had such a calmness and serenity of mind, amidst all his troubles, that he could not only lay himself down in great peace, and much composure of mind, but sleep also, and that as soon as laid down almost; some lay themselves down, but cannot sleep, through the anxiety of their minds; but the psalmist could do both: or the word rendered "both" may he translated "together" (u); and the sense be either that he would lie down and sleep together with his friends, committing himself and them to the care and protection of God; or that he should lie down and sleep together with his enemies; meaning that he was assured that there would quickly be a reconciliation and peace between them; see Proverbs 16:7;

for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety; suggesting that his protection and safety were owing to the power and presence of God only; and that was the reason of the tranquillity of his mind, and why he slept so quietly in the night watches, though in such danger from his enemies; or "thou, Lord, makest me only" or "alone" (w), being solitary and destitute of friends, to dwell in safety; finder the shadow of thy wings, encompassed by thy favour, and surrounded by thy power; see Deuteronomy 33:28.

(u) "simul", Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Cocceius. (w) "me solum", Cocceius; "me seorsim", Gejerus.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, {l} only makest me dwell in safety.

(l) This word in Hebrew may be referred to God, as it is here translated, or to David, signifying that he should dwell as joyfully alone, as if he had many about him, because the Lord is with him.

8. In peace will I lay me down and sleep at once: no fears or anxieties delaying slumber. In Psalm 3:5 he recorded his experience: here he gives expression to the trust which sprang from it.

for thou Lord, only] For it is thou, Lord, alone, who &c. This exquisite expression of absolute confidence, the rhythm of which in the original is as reposeful as the thought, gives an excellent sense in connexion with the context. ‘Many’ had declared that he was abandoned by God as well as man (Psalm 3:2), but in unshaken faith he claims Jehovah as his sole protector, beside whom he needs no other.

But the word rendered ‘alone’ elsewhere means apart, when joined with verbs denoting dwelling. Thus it is used of Israel, isolated and separate from the nations, in Numbers 23:9; and in Deuteronomy 33:28; Jeremiah 49:31, it is combined with the word here rendered ‘in safety’. So probably the meaning is, ‘It is Thou, Lord, who makest me dwell apart in safety:’ isolated from my foes in Thy safe keeping. Hence R.V. marg. gives, in solitude.

Verse 8. - I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep (comp. Psalm 3:5). His confidence in God enables David to lay himself down calmly and tranquilly to sleep, whatever dangers threaten him. He seeks his couch, and at once (יחדּו) slumber visits him. No anxious thoughts keep him tossing on his bed for hours. For thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. David has a satisfaction in thinking that it is God only who watches over him. All other help would be vain, superfluous. God alone brought Israel through the wilderness (Deuteronomy 32:12); God alone established Israel in Canaan (Psalm 44:2, 3). David feels that he needs no second helper and protector.

Psalm 4:8(Heb.: 4:9) Thus then he lies down to sleep, cheerfully and peacefully. The hymn closes as it began with a three line verse. יחדּוּ (lit., in its unions equals collectively, Olshausen, 135, c, like כּלּו altogether, בּעתּו at the right time) is by no means unemphatic; nor is it so in Psalm 19:10 where it means "all together, without exception." With synonymous verbs it denotes the combination of that which they imply, as Isaiah 42:14. It is similar in Psalm 141:10 where it expresses the coincidence of the fall of his enemies and the escape of the persecuted one. So here: he wishes to go to sleep and also at once he falls asleep (ואישׁן in a likewise cohortative sense equals ואישׁנה). His God makes him to dwell in seclusion free of care. לברד is a first definition of condition, and לבטח a second. The former is not, after Deuteronomy 32:12, equivalent to לבדּך, an addition which would be without any implied antithesis and consequently meaningless. One must therefore, as is indeed required by the situation, understand לבדד according to Numbers 23:9; Micah 7:14; Deuteronomy 33:28; Jeremiah 49:31. He needs no guards for he is guarded round about by Jahve and kept in safety. The seclusion, בּדד, in which he is, is security, בּטח, because Jahve is near him. Under what a many phases and how sweetly the nature of faith is expressed in this and the foregoing Psalm: his righteousness, exaltation, joy, peace, contentment in God! And how delicately conceived is the rhythm! In the last line the evening hymn itself sinks to rest. The iambics with which it closes are like the last strains of a lullaby which die away softly and as though falling asleep themselves. Dante is right when he says in his Convito, that the sweetness of the music had harmony of the Hebrew Psalter is lost in the Greek and Latin translations.
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