Psalm 63:6
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
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(6) Remember.—Better, remembered.

Bed.—Literally, beds.

Night watches.—According to the Jewish reckoning, the night was divided into three watches: the “beginning,” or head (rôsh); the “middle” (tikhôn, Judges 7:19); and the “morning” (boker, Exodus 14:24).

63:3-6 Even in affliction we need not want matter for praise. When this is the regular frame of a believer's mind, he values the loving-kindness of God more than life. God's loving-kindness is our spiritual life, and that is better than temporal life. We must praise God with joyful lips; we must address ourselves to the duties of religion with cheerfulness, and speak forth the praises of God from a principle of holy joy. Praising lips must be joyful lips. David was in continual danger; care and fear held his eyes waking, and gave him wearisome nights; but he comforted himself with thoughts of God. The mercies of God, when called to mind in the night watches, support the soul, making darkness cheerful. How happy will be that last morning, when the believer, awaking up after the Divine likeness, shall be satisfied with all the fulness of God, and praise him with joyful lips, where there is no night, and where sorrow and sighing flee away!When I remember thee upon my bed - See the notes at Psalm 42:8. That is, when I lie down at night; when I compose myself to sleep. Nothing can be more proper than that our last thoughts, as we sink into quiet slumber, should be of God; of his being, his character, his mercy, his loving-kindness; of the dealings of his providence, and the manifestations of his grace toward us, during the day; and nothing is better suited to compose the mind to rest, and to induce quiet and gentle slumber, than the calmness of soul which arises from the idea of an Infinite God, and from confidence in him. Often when restless on our beds - when nothing else will lull the body to rest, the thought of God - the contemplation of his greatness, his mercy, and his love - the sweet sense of an assurance of his favor will soothe us, and cause us to sink into gentle repose. So it may be - so it will be - when we are about to sleep the long sleep of death, for then the most appropriate thoughts - the thoughts that will best prepare us for that long sleep - will be thoughts of God.

And meditate on thee in the night-watches - See the notes at Psalm 1:2. The word watches here refers to the ancient divisions of the night for municipal or military purposes - periods of the night assigned to different persons to keep watch around a camp or city. The most common division of the night was into three parts, though the arrangement varied at different times. See Matthew 14:25; Luke 12:38.

6. night—as well as day. Past favors assure him of future, and hence he presses earnestly near to God, whose power sustains him (Ps 17:8; 60:5). No text from Poole on this verse.

When I remember thee upon my bed,.... Or "beds" (q); seeing he lay in many, as Kimchi observes, being obliged to flee from place to place. The sense is, that when he was on his bed in the night season, when alone, and free from worldly cares and fatigues, and called to mind the love of God to him, the past experience of his kindness, his promises to hits, and the fulfilment of them: that he should then be delightfully entertained, abundantly satisfied, slid his mouth be filled with songs of praise;

and meditate on thee in the night watches; which the Jewish writers on the text say were three, as they were with the Jews, but with the Romans four; See Gill on Matthew 14:25; and the night, in the times of Homer (r), was divided into three parts: the night season is a very proper one for meditation on the perfections, providences, promises, word and works of God; and which is very delightful and profitable, when attended with the presence, Spirit, and grace of God. The Targum is,

"in the watches I will meditate on thy word.''

(q) "stratis meis", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius; so Junius & Tremellius, Ainsworth. (r) Iliad. 10. v. 252, 253.

When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
6. The A.V. connects this verse with Psalm 63:5, but the absence of and in the second clause makes it preferable to connect it with Psalm 63:7, thus:

When I remember thee upon my bed,

I meditate on thee in the night watches:

For thou hast been my help,

And in the shadow of thy wings will I shout for joy.

When once he calls God to mind as he lies down to rest, he is so engrossed with the thought of His love that he meditates on it all night long—per singulas vigilias (Jer.). The night was divided into three watches by the Israelites (Lamentations 2:19; Jdg 7:19; 1 Samuel 11:11); the division into four watches referred to in the N.T. was of Roman origin.

6, 7. Thankful recollection of past mercies.

Verse 6. - When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. David had doubtless done this during the long and anxious night which followed his first day in the wilderness of Judea (2 Samuel 16:14). Psalm 63:6This strophe again takes up the כּן (Psalm 63:3): thus ardently longing, for all time to come also, is he set towards God, with such fervent longing after God will he bless Him in his life, i.e., entirely filling up his life therewith (בּחיּי as in Psalm 104:33; Psalm 146:2; cf. Baruch 4:20, ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις μου), and in His name, i.e., invoking it and appealing to it, will he lift up his hands in prayer. The being occupied with God makes him, even though as now in the desert he is obliged to suffer bodily hunger, satisfied and cheerful like the fattest and most marrowy food: velut adipe et pinguedine satiatur anima mea. From Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:25, Grussetius and Frisch infer that spiritualies epulae are meant. And certainly the poet cannot have had the sacrificial feasts (Hupfeld) in his mind; for the חלב of the shelamim is put upon the altar, and is removed from the part to be eaten. Moreover, however, even the Tra does not bind itself in its expression to the letter of that prohibition of the fat of animals, vid., Deuteronomy 32:14, cf. Jeremiah 31:14. So here also the expression "with marrow and fat" is the designation of a feast prepared from well-fed, noble beasts. He feels himself satisfied in his inmost nature just as after a feast of the most nourishing and dainty meats, and with lips of jubilant songs (accus. instrum. according to Ges. 138, rem. 3), i.e., with lips jubilant and attuned to song, shall his mouth sing praise. What now follows in Psalm 63:7 we no longer, as formerly, take as a protasis subsequently introduced (like Isaiah 5:4.): "when I remembered...meditated upon Thee," but so that Psalm 63:7 is the protasis and Psalm 63:7 the apodosis, cf. Psalm 21:12; Job 9:16 (Hitzig): When I remember Thee (meminerim, Ew. 355, b) upon my bed (stratis meis, as in Psalm 132:3; Genesis 49:4, cf. 1 Chronicles 5:1) - says he now as the twilight watch is passing gradually into the morning - I meditate upon Thee in the night-watches (Symmachus, καθ ̓ ἑκάστην φυλακήν), or during, throughout the night-watches (like בּחיּי in Psalm 63:5); i.e., it is no passing remembrance, but it so holds me that I pass a great part of the night absorbed in meditation on Thee. He has no lack of matter for his meditation; for God has become a help (auxilio, vid., on Psalm 3:3) to him: He has rescued him in this wilderness, and, well concealed under the shadow of His wings (vid., on Psalm 17:8; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 57:2), which affords him a cool retreat in the heat of conflict and protection against his persecutors, he is able to exult (ארנּן, the potential). Between himself and God there subsists a reciprocal relationship of active love. According to the schema of the crosswise position of words (Chiasmus), אחריך and בּי intentionally jostle close against one another: he depends upon God, following close behind Him, i.e., following Him everywhere and not leaving Him when He wishes to avoid him; and on the other side God's right hand holds him fast, not letting him go, not abandoning him to his foes.
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