Psalm 71:20
You, which have showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
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(20) Quicken me.—According to the written text, quicken us, an indication that the psalm is a hymn for congregational use. As for the change from singular to plural, that is common enough.

Depths . . .—Abysses, properly of water. (See Psalm 33:7.) Perhaps here with thought of the waters on which the earth was supposed to rest. If so, the image is the common one of a “sea of trouble.”

Psalm 71:20-21. Thou, who hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again — I never was in such straits and distresses, (and yet I have been in such as were very great and sore,) but I found relief in thee; and therefore I doubt not but thou wilt now revive and restore me, though all men give me up for lost. And shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth — That is, from the grave; for I am like one dead and buried, and past all hope of deliverance, without thy almighty help. Or, rather, it is an allusion to men who are fallen into a deep pit of water; and the meaning is, Thou shalt draw me out of the extreme danger in which I am plunged, and wherein I should perish without thy aid. Thou shalt increase my greatness — Nay, thou wilt not only restore me to my former greatness, but much augment the splendour of it; and comfort me on every side — And though I now seem forsaken by thee, thou wilt return again, and so surround me by thy favour, that my future comforts shall far exceed my present troubles.71:14-24 The psalmist declares that the righteousness of Christ, and the great salvation obtained thereby, shall be the chosen subject of his discourse. Not on a sabbath only, but on every day of the week, of the year, of his life. Not merely at stated returns of solemn devotion, but on every occasion, all the day long. Why will he always dwell on this? Because he knew not the numbers thereof. It is impossible to measure the value or the fulness of these blessings. The righteousness is unspeakable, the salvation everlasting. God will not cast off his grey-headed servants when no longer capable of labouring as they have done. The Lord often strengthens his people in their souls, when nature is sinking into decay. And it is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to succeeding generations, to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the advantage of religion, and the truth of God's promises; and especially to the everlasting righteousness of the Redeemer. Assured of deliverance and victory, let us spend our days, while waiting the approach of death, in praising the Holy One of Israel with all our powers. And while speaking of his righteousness, and singing his praises, we shall rise above fears and infirmities, and have earnests of the joys of heaven. The work of redemption ought, above all God's works, to be spoken of by us in our praises. The Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God, is worthy of all blessing and praise.Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles - Or rather, who hast caused us to see or experience great trials. The psalmist here, by a change from the singular to the plural, connects himself with his friends and followers, meaning that he had suffered with them and through them. It was not merely a personal affliction, but others connected with him had been identified with him, and his personal sorrows had been increased by the trials which had come upon them also. Our severest trials often are those which affect our friends.

Shalt quicken me again - literally, "Shalt return and make us live." The word "quicken" in the Scriptures has always this sense of "making to live again." See the notes at John 5:21; compare Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:36; Ephesians 2:1. The plural form should have been retained here as in the former member of the sentence. The authors of the Masoretic punctuation have pointed this as if it were to be read in the singular, but the plural is undoubtedly the true reading. Alike in his affliction, and in his hope of the returning mercy of God, he connects himself here with those who had suffered with him. The language expresses firm confidence in the goodness of God - an assurance that these troubles would pass away, and that he would see a brighter day.

And shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth - As if he had been sunk in the waters, or in the mire. See Psalm 130:1. The word here used means commonly "wave, billow, surge;" then, a mass of waters, "a flood," the deep; then, a gulf, an abyss. The idea here is, that, instead of being on the mountain top, in a place of security, he had sunk down to the lowest point; he had, as it were, sunk "into" the very earth. Yet from that low estate he felt assured that God would raise him up, and place him in a condition of happiness and safety. This is one of the many instances which we have in the Psalms, where the psalmist in great trouble expresses the most entire confidence that God would interpose in his behalf.

20. depths of the earth—debased, low condition. i.e. From the grave; for I was like one dead and buried, and past all hope of deliverance, without thy almighty assistance. Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles,.... Or, "made him to see" (g); that is, to experience. David had his troubles, and these were great, both as to quantity and quality; and very grievous and hard to be borne, and were very trying and afflictive: some outward, such as he endured when persecuted by Saul; and afterwards in his own family, though the incest of Ammon, the murder of him by Absalom, and Absalom's rebellion against him; the curses of Shimei, and the bickerings of the sons of Zeruiah; with many others: and some inward, arising from the corruptions of his heart, the hidings of God's face, and the temptations of Satan. His experience of all which he ascribes, not to instruments or second causes, but to God himself; who had either laid them upon him, or suffered them to befall him, for wise ends of his glory, and his servant's good. There is in this clause and the following, a "Keri" and a "Cetib"; according to the "Cetib", or writing in the text, it is, "who hast showed us"; and so the Targum renders it: but according to the "Keri" in the margin, and the points, it is as we read; so it is in the Septuagint and Oriental versions, and both may be retained; for David's troubles, and those of other saints, are much the same;

shalt quicken me again; either raise him from so great a death of afflictions, in which he seemed to be as a dead man, both by himself and others, to a more comfortable and happy state and condition, in which he might live more free from vexation and trouble: or, in a spiritual sense, quicken him, being dead and lifeless, in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty; which is usually done by the word and ordinances, and to purpose, by the discoveries of the love of God, which excite grace, and animate to duty. And this is God's work, and may be called a quickening again in distinction from the first quickening, when dead in trespasses and sins;

and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth; expressive of a very low estate, either of body or mind, into which he had been brought; see Psalm 130:1. Could the psalm be understood of Christ, this and the preceding clause might be applied to his resurrection from the dead; see Ephesians 4:9; and to the resurrection of the saints; on which the faith of Christ and his people is exercised,

(g) "fecisti me videre", Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus; "videre et experiri fecisti nos", Michaelis.

Thou, which hast shewed me great and {p} sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

(p) As he confesses that God is the only author of his deliverance, so he acknowledges that these evils were sent to him by God's providence.

20. Thou which haat shewed us many and sore troubles,

Shalt quicken us again,

And shalt bring us up again from the depths of the earth.

So R.V., with marg. note, ‘Another reading is, me.’ The Kthîbh or written text (p. lxvii) has us; but the Qrç, or accepted reading of the Jewish textual tradition, is me. The latter reading is supported in the first line by all the Versions except Aquila: in the second and third lines the LXX and Syr. read me, Targ. and Jer. us. The plural, whether it is the original reading or not, points to the correct interpretation. The Psalmist’s hopes are not merely personal; he speaks on behalf of the nation whose representative he is; he looks for its restoration from its present state of humiliation. It is as it were dead and sunk in the depths of Sheol, but God can and will recall it to life. Cp. Hosea 6:1-2; Ezekiel 37:12 ff.; Psalm 80:18 : Psalm 85:6. Again hardly expresses the full meaning: lit. thou wilt turn, or, return (and) quicken us. Cp. Psalm 6:4; Psalm 80:14; Psalm 85:4; Isaiah 63:17.

the depths of the earth] The ‘depths’ denote (1) the vast masses of water stored away in the earth (Psalm 33:7), and hence (2) the subterranean abysses where Sheol was supposed to be situated. Cp. “the lower parts of the earth” (Psalm 63:9), and Job 26:5-6.Verse 20. - Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again; or, according to another reading, which hast showed us - shalt deliver us. The change of number may be ascribed to the desire of the psalmist to unite his people with himself in the hopes of deliverance which he is expressing. And shalt bring me up again (rather, shalt bring us up again) from the depths of the earth. 'The "depths of the earth" is a metaphor for the extreme of misery and depression (comp. Psalm 88:6; Psalm 130:1). In view of Psalm 40:15 (Psalm 70:3), Psalm 35:4, Psalm 35:26; Psalm 109:29, and other passages, the reading of יכּלמוּ, with the Syriac, instead of יכלוּ in Psalm 71:13 commends itself; but there are also other instances in this Psalm of a modification of the original passages, and the course of the thoughts is now climactic: confusion, ruin (cf. Psalm 6:11), and in fact ruin accompanied by reproach and shame. This is the fate that the poet desires for his deadly foes. In prospect of this he patiently composes himself, Psalm 71:14 (cf. 31:25); and when righteous retribution appears, he will find new matter and ground and motive for the praise of God in addition to all such occasion as he has hitherto had. The late origin of the Psalm betrays itself again here; for instead of the praet. Hiph. הוסיף (which is found only in the Books of Kings and in Ecclesiastes), the older language made use of the praet. Ka. Without ceasing shall his mouth tell (ספּר, as in Jeremiah 51:10) of God's righteousness, of God's salvation for he knows not numbers, i.e., the counting over or through of them (Psalm 139:17.);

(Note: The lxx renders οὐκ ἔγνων πραγματείας; the Psalterium Romanum, non cognovi negotiationes; Psalt. Gallicum (Vulgate), non cognovi literaturam (instead of which the Psalt. Hebr., literaturas). According to Bttcher, the poet really means that he did not understand the art of writing.)

the divine proofs of righteousness or salvation עצמוּ מסּפּר (Psalm 40:6), they are in themselves endless, and therefore the matter also which they furnish for praise is inexhaustible. He will tell those things which cannot be so reckoned up; he will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord Jahve, and with praise acknowledge His righteousness, Him alone. Since גּברות, like the New Testament δυνάμεις, usually signifies the proofs of the divine גּבוּרה (e.g., Psalm 20:7), the Beth is the Beth of accompaniment, as e.g., in Psalm 40:8; Psalm 66:13. בּוא בּ, vernire cum, is like Arab. j'â' b (atâ), equivalent to afferre, he will bring the proofs of the divine power, this rich material, with him. It is evident from Psalm 71:18. that בגברות does not refer to the poet (in the fulness of divine strength), but, together with צדקתך, forms a pair of words that have reference to God. לבדּך, according to the sense, joins closely upon the suffix of צדקתך (cf. Psalm 83:19): Thy righteousness (which has been in mercy turned towards me), Thine alone (te solum equals tui solius). From youth up God has instructed him, viz., in His ways (Psalm 25:4), which are worthy of all praise, and hitherto (עד־הנּה, found only in this passage in the Psalter, and elsewhere almost entirely confined to prose) has he, "the taught of Jahve" (למּוּד ה), had to praise the wonders of His rule and of His leadings. May God, then, not forsake him even further on עד־זקנה ושׂיבה. The poet is already old (זקן), and is drawing ever nearer to שׂיבה, silvery, hoary old age (cf. 1 Samuel 12:2). May God, then, in this stage of life also to which he has attained, preserve him in life and in His favour, until (עד equals עד־אשׁר, as in Psalm 132:5; Genesis 38:11, and frequently) he shall have declared His arm, i.e., His mighty interposition in human history, to posterity (דּור), and to all who shall come (supply אשׁר), i.e., the whole of the future generation, His strength, i.e., the impossibility of thwarting His purposes. The primary passage for this is Psalm 22:31.

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