Rejoice the soul of your servant: for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 86:4-5. Rejoice the soul of thy servant — It is God only that can put gladness into the heart, and make the soul rejoice; and it is the privilege of his servants to have joy, as well as peace, in believing: and they may pray in faith, not only that God would preserve their souls, but that he would rejoice their souls, and then the joy of the Lord will be their strength. For unto thee do I lift up my soul — Then we may expect comfort from God, when we take care to keep up our communion with him: prayer is the nurse of spiritual joy. For thou, Lord, art good — No less bountiful than I am indigent, which is a great encouragement to me in calling upon thee; and ready to forgive — Those that have offended thee; and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon thee — Always prepared to show abundant kindness to them in their distresses, when with sincere desire, and true faith, they call upon thee.
For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul - Compare the notes at Psalm 24:4. The idea is that of arousing himself, or exerting himself, as one does who makes strenuous efforts to obtain an object. He was not languid, or indifferent; he did not put forth merely weak and fitful efforts to find God, but he bent his whole powers to that end; he arouses himself thoroughly to seek the divine help. Languid and feeble efforts in seeking after God will be attended with no success. In so great a matter - when so much depends on the divine favor - when such great interests are at stake - the whole soul should be roused to one great and strenuous effort; not that we can obtain his favor by force or power, and not that any strength of ours will prevail of itself, but
(a) because nothing less will indicate the proper intensity of desire; and
(b) because such is his appointment in regard to the manner in which we are to seek his favor.Deu 24:15 Jeremiah 22:27. Matthew 26:37.
for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul: in prayer, as the Targum adds; and it denotes the devotion, fervency, heartiness, and sincerity, of his prayer; the doing of it with a true heart, the lifting up of the heart with the hands unto God, Lamentations 3:41 or by way of offering unto the Lord, not the body only, but the soul or heart also; or as a depositum committed into his hands; so Christ lifted up his eyes, and his heart and soul, to his divine Father; and also made his soul an offering for sin, and at death commended his spirit into his hands, John 17:1; see Gill on Psalm 25:1.Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Rejoice &c.] Cp. Psalm 90:15.
for unto thee &c.] From Psalm 25:1. God alone is the object of his desires, his aspirations, his prayers. Cp. Psalm 143:8; Lamentations 3:41.Verse 4. - Rejoice the soul of thy servant. The prayer rises from mere entreaties for relief and recovery from a state of suffering, into an earnest request for that which the heart of man is ever longing for and seeking after - gladness and joy. The faithful are promised that they shall come ultimately to a condition of exceeding great joy; but even saints are sometimes impatient, and want their joy in this world and at once. For unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul (comp. Psalm 25:1, entitled, like this, "a Psalm of David"). There is no more likely way of attaining to spiritual joy than to be always lifting up the soul to God. Psalm 85:13 places these two prospects in reciprocal relation to one another (cf. Psalm 84:7); it is found once instead of twice. Jahve gives הטּוב, everything that is only and always good and that imparts true happiness, and the land, corresponding to it, yields יבוּלהּ, the increase which might be expected from a land so richly blessed (cf. Psalm 67:7 and the promise in Leviticus 26:4). Jahve Himself is present in the land: righteousness walks before Him majestically as His herald, and righteousness ישׂם לדרך פּעמיו, sets (viz., its footsteps) upon the way of His footsteps, that is to say, follows Him inseparably. פּעמיו stands once instead of twice; the construct is to a certain extent attractional, as in Psalm 65:12; Genesis 9:6. Since the expression is neither דּרך (Psalm 50:23; Isaiah 51:10) nor לדּרך (Isaiah 49:11), it is natural to interpret the expression thus, and it gives moreover (cf. Isaiah 58:8; Isaiah 52:12) an excellent sense. But if, which we prefer, שׂים is taken in the sense of שׂים לב (as e.g., in Job 4:20) with the following ל, to give special heed to anything (Deuteronomy 32:46; Ezekiel 40:4; Ezekiel 44:5), to be anxiously concerned about it (1 Samuel 9:20), then we avoid the supplying in thought of a second פעמיו, which is always objectionable, and the thought obtained by the other interpretation is brought clearly before the mind: righteousness goes before Jahve, who dwells and walks abroad in Israel, and gives heed to the way of His steps, that is to say, follows carefully in His footsteps.
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