Psalm 57:2
I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
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(2) Peformeth all things for me.—Literally, completes for me, which may be explained from the analogy of Psalm 138:8. But as the LXX. and Vulg. have “my benefactor” (reading gomēl for gomēr) we may adopt that emendation.

Psalm 57:2. I will cry unto God — For succour and relief; most high — To whom there is none superior or equal; and unto whom, therefore, I will continually commend myself; unto God that performeth all things for me — Hebrew, גמר עלי, gomer gnali, that perfecteth, or finisheth, as this word properly signifies; that is, will certainly perform or finish, for, or, toward, or, concerning me. He does not express what God performed or perfected, (the words all things not being in the Hebrew,) but leaves it to be understood by the reader. He performeth, or perfecteth, all that he hath promised; he engages himself to finish what he hath begun, or what is yet to be completed. His words imply, that God is not like men, who make large promises, but, either through inability, or carelessness, or unfaithfulness, do not perform them; but that he will certainly be as good as his word.

57:1-6 All David's dependence is upon God. The most eminent believers need often repeat the publican's prayer, God be merciful to me a sinner. But if our souls trust in the Lord, this may assure us, in our utmost dangers, that our calamities will at length be overpast, and in the mean time, by faith and prayer, we must make him our refuge. Though God be most high, yet he condescends so low, as to take care that all things are made to work for good to his people. This is a good reason why we should pray earnestly. Look which way we will on this earth, refuge fails, no help appears; but we may look for it from heaven. If we have fled from the wrath to come, unto Jesus Christ, he that performed all things needful to purchase the salvation of his people, will do for us and in us all things needful for our enjoyment of it. It made David droop to think there should be those that bore him so much ill-will. But the mischief they designed against him, returned on themselves. And when David was in the greatest distress and disgrace, he did not pray, Lord, exalt me, but, Lord, exalt thine own name. Our best encouragement in prayer, is taken from the glory of God, and to that, more than to our own comfort, we should have regard in all our petitions for mercy.I will cry unto God most high - The idea is - God is exalted above all creatures; all events are "under" him, and he can control them. The appeal was not to man, however exalted; not to an angel, however far he may be above man; it was an appeal made at once to the Supreme Being, the God to whom all worlds and all creatures are subject, and under whose protection, therefore, he must be safe.

Unto God that performeth all things for me - The word used here, and rendered "performeth" - גמר gâmar - means properly to bring to an end; to complete; to perfect. The idea here is, that it is the character of God, that he "completes" or "perfects," or brings to a happy issue all his plans. The psalmist had had experience of that in the past. God had done this in former trials; he felt assured that God would do it in this; and he, therefore, came to God with a confident belief that all would be safe in his hands.

2. performeth—or, completes what He has begun. Heb. that performeth (or perfecteth, or finisheth, as this word is rendered, Psalm 138:8, i.e. will certainly perform or finish) for, or towards, or concerning me. He doth not express what he performeth, or perfecteth, or fulfilleth, but leaveth it to be understood, as being easy to be understood.

He performeth, or perfecteth, to wit, all that he hath promised; engageth himself to perform what he hath begun to do, or what is yet to be performed; it being usual in the Hebrew language to understand a verbal noun after the verb. He implies that God is not like men, who make large promises, but either through inability, or carelessness, or unfaithfulness, do not perform them, but will certainly be as good as his word.

I will cry unto God most high,.... To remember him in his low estate, and who is higher than the highest, than Saul and his mighty men with him. This epithet David no doubt made use of, to encourage his faith in the Lord, who is above all, and can do all things; as follows;

unto God that performeth all things for me; in a providential way, having made him, upheld him in being, fed and clothed him, preserved him, and followed him with his goodness all his days; and in a way of grace he performed all his purposes concerning him, all his promises unto him, and was performing and would perfect the work of grace in him; see Psalm 138:8. The Targum adds a fable by way of paraphrase on the text,

"who commanded, or prepared a spider, to perfect in the mouth of the cave a web for me;''

so it is in the king's Bible; as if, when he was in the cave, God so ordered it in his providence, that a spider should spin a web over the month of it, which prevented his persecutors from searching for him in it; but the Scripture is silent in this matter. Such a story is reported of Felix, bishop of Nola, in ecclesiastical history (m).

(m) Vid. Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 23. col. 611.

I will cry unto God most high; unto God that {c} performeth all things for me.

(c) Who does not leave his works begun imperfectly.

2. I will cry &c.] I will call unto God Most High. Cp. Psalm 55:16; Psalm 56:9. The combination Elôhîm Elyon occurs only here and in Psalm 78:56; it is the Elohistic equivalent of Jehovah Elyon (Psalm 7:17; cp. Psalm 47:2; Psalm 83:18; Psalm 97:9). El Elyon occurs in Psalm 78:35 (cp. Psalm 73:11); Genesis 14:18 ff. The Psalmist appeals to God first as the ‘Most High’ (see Appendix, Note ii), a name which implies God’s power to help him, as the supreme Ruler of the world; and then as God (El) that performeth all things for me, a title which implies His willingness to help His servant now as heretofore. Here as in Psalm 138:8, the object of the verb is left to be supplied (cp. Psalm 52:9). He will perform all that needs to be performed. Cp. Php 4:19.

Verse 2. - I will cry unto God most High. In the original, "unto Elohim 'elyon" - an expression which only occurs here and in Psalm 78:56. El elyon, however, occurs in Psalm 78:45; as in Genesis 14:18, 19, 22, and Jehovah 'elyon in Psalm 7:18 [Psalm 7:17]. Unto God that performeth all things for me (comp. Psalm 138:8). God "accomplishes" for his saints whatever is good for them. Psalm 57:2By means of the two distinctive tense-forms the poet describes his believing flight to God for refuge as that which has once taken place (חסיה from חסה equals חסי out of pause, like the same forms in Psalm 73:2; Psalm 122:6), and still, because it is a living fact, is ever, and now in particular, renewed (אחסה). The shadow of the wings of God is the protection of His gentle, tender love; and the shadow of the wings is the quickening, cordial solace that is combined with this protection. Into this shadow the poet betakes himself for refuge now as he has done before, until הוּות, i.e., the abysmal danger that threatens him, be overpast, praeteriverit (cf. Isaiah 26:20, and on the enallage numeri Psalm 10:10, Ges. ֗147, a). Not as though he would then no longer stand in need of the divine protection, but he now feels himself to be specially in need of it; and therefore his chief aim is an undaunted triumphant resistance of the impending trials. The effort on his own part, however, by means of which he always anew takes refuge in this shadow, is prayer to Him who dwells above and rules the universe. עליון is without the article, which it never takes; and גּמר (Psalm 57:3) is the same, because it is regularly left out before the participle, which admits of being more fully defined, Amos 9:12; Ezekiel 21:19 (Hitzig). He calls upon God who accomplisheth concerning, i.e., for him (Esther 4:16), who carrieth out his cause, the cause of the persecuted one; גּמר is transitive as in Psalm 138:8. The lxx renders τὸν εὐεργετήσαντά με, as though it were גּמל עלי (Psalm 13:6, and frequently); and even Hitzig and Hupfeld hold that the meaning is exactly the same. But although גמל and גמר fall back upon one and the same radical notion, still it is just their distinctive final letters that serve to indicate a difference of signification that is strictly maintained. In Psalm 57:4 follow futures of hope. In this instance "that which brings me deliverance" is to be supplied in thought to ישׁלח (cf. Psalm 20:3) and not ידו as in Psalm 18:17, cf. Psalm 144:7; and this general and unmentioned object is then specialized and defined in the words "His mercy and His truth" in Psalm 57:4. Mercy and truth are as it were the two good spirits, which descending from heaven to earth (cf. Psalm 43:3) bring the divine ישׁוּעה to an accomplishment. The words חרף שׁאפי sdro standing between a and c have been drawn by the accentuators to the first half of the verse, they probably interpreting it thus: He (God) reproacheth my devourers for ever (Sela). But חרף always (e.g., Isaiah 37:23) has God as its object, not as its subject. חרף שׁאפי is to be connected with what follows as a hypothetical protasis (Ges. 155, 4, a): supposing that he who is greedy or pants for me (inhians mihi) slandereth, then Elohim will send His mercy and His truth. The music that becomes forte in between, introduces and accompanies the throbbing confidence of the apodosis.

In Psalm 57:5, on the contrary, we may follow the interpretation of the text that is handed down and defined by the accentuation, natural as it may also be, with Luther and others, to take one's own course. Since לבאים (has Zarka (Zinnor) and להטים Olewejored, it is accordingly to be rendered: "My soul is in the midst of lions, I will (must) lie down with flaming ones; the children of men - their teeth are a spear and arrows." The rendering of the lxx, of Theodotion, and of the Syriac version accords with the interpunction of our text so far as both begin a new clause with ἐκοιμήθην (ודמכת, and I slept); whereas Aquila and Symmachus (taking נפשׁי, as it seems, as a periphrastic expression of the subject-notion placed in advance) render all as afar as להטים as one clause, at least dividing the verse into two parts, just as the accentuators do, at להטים. The rendering of Aquila is ἐν μέσῳ λεαινῶν κοιμηθήσομαι λάβρων; that of Symmachus: ἐν μέσῳ λεόντῶν εὐθαρσῶν ἐκοιμήθην; or according to another reading, μεταξὺ λεόντων ἐκοιμήθην φλεγόντων. They are followed by Jerome, who, however, in order that he may be able to reproduce the נפשׁי, changes אשׁכבה into שׁכבה: Anima mea in medio leonum dormivit ferocientium. This construction, however, can be used in Greek and Latin, but not in Hebrew. We therefore follow the accents even in reference to the Zarka above לבאים (a plural form that only occurs in this one passage in the Psalter, equals לביים). In a general way it is to be observed that this לבאים in connection with אשׁכּבה is not so much the accusative of the object as the accusative of the place, although it may even be said to be the customary local accusative of the object with verbs of dwelling; on שׁכב cf. Ruth 3:8, Ruth 3:14, and Psalm 88:6; Micah 7:5 (where at least the possibility of this construction of the verb is presupposed). But in particular it is doubtful (1) what להטים signifies. The rendering "flaming ones" is offered by the Targum, Saadia, and perhaps Symmachus. The verb להט obtains this signification apparently from the fundamental notion of licking or swallowing; and accordingly Theodotion renders it by ἀναλισκόντων, and Aquila most appropriately by λάβρων (a word used of a ravenous furious longing for anything). But להט nowhere means "to devour;" the poet must, therefore, in connection with להטים, have been thinking of the flaming look or the fiery jaws of the lions, and this attributive will denote figuratively their strong desire, which snorts forth as it were flames of fire. The question further arises, (2) how the cohortative אשׁכבה is meant to be taken. Since the cohortative sometimes expresses that which is to be done more by outward constraint than inward impulse-never, however, without willing it one's self (Ew. 228, a) - the rendering "I must," or "therefore must I lie down," commends itself. But the contrast, which has been almost entirely overlooked, between the literal beasts of prey and the children of men, who are worse than these, requires the simple and most natural rendering of the cohortative. We need only picture to ourselves the situation. The verb שׁכב here has the sense of cubitum ire (Psalm 4:9). Starting from this אשׁכבה we look to Psalm 57:9, and it at once becomes clear that we have before us an evening or nightly song. David the persecuted one finds himself in the wilderness and, if we accept the testimony of the inscription, in a cave: his soul is in the midst of lions, by which he means to say that his life is exposed to them. Here bold in faith, he is resolved to lie down to sleep, feeling himself more secure among lions than among men; for the children of men, his deadly foes both in word and in deed, are worse than beasts of prey: teeth and tongue are murderous weapons. This more than brutal joy at the destruction of one's neighbour

(Note: Cf. Sir. 25:15, in the Hebrew: אין ראשׁ מעל ראשׁ פתן ואין חמה מעל חמה אויב (no poison exceeds the poison of the serpent, and no wrath exceeds the wrath of an enemy).)

which prevails among men, urges him to put forth the prayer that God, who in Himself is exalted above the heavens and the whole earth, would show Himself by some visible manifestation over the heavens above as the exalted One, and the prayer that His glory may be, i.e., may become manifest (or even: exalted be His glory, ירוּם), over the whole earth beneath, - His glory which to His saints is a health-diffusing light, and to the heartless foes of men and God a consuming fire, - so that the whole world shall be compelled to acknowledge this glory in which His holiness manifests itself, and shall become conformed to it after everything that is hostile is overthrown.

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