Psalm 9:13
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
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(13, 14) It is natural to take these verses as the cry for help just mentioned.

Consider.—Literally, see my suffering from my haters.

My lifter up from the gates of death.—For the gates of sheol, see Note to Psalm 6:5. (Comp. Psalm 107:18, and the Homeric phrase “the gates of Hades.”) We might perhaps paraphrase “from the verge of the grave,” if it were not for the evident antithesis to gates of the daughter of Zion” in the next verse. We understand, therefore, “gates” in sense of “power,” “rule,” the gate being the seat of the judge or king, and so, like our “court,” synonymous for his power. (Comp. Sublime Porte.)

Daughter of Zioni.e., Zion itself (see Isaiah 37:22): a common personification of cities and their inhabitants. So of Edom (Lamentations 4:21); of Babylon (Psalm 137:8, &c).

Psalm 9:13-14. Consider my trouble — Namely, compassionately and effectually, so as to bring me out of it; thou that liftest me up from the gates of death — From the brink or mouth of the grave, into which I was dropping, being as near death as a man is to the city who is come to the very gates of it. That I may show forth thy praise in the gates — In the great assemblies which were usually held in the gates of cities; of the daughter of Zion — Of the people who live in, or belong to, or meet together in Zion. These gates of Zion he elegantly opposes to the gates of death, and declares, if he be brought off from the latter, he will go into the former. Cities, it must be observed, are, as it were, mothers to their people, and people are commonly called their daughters. So the daughters of Egypt, Jeremiah 46:11; and of Edom, Lamentations 4:21; and of Tyre, Psalm 45:12; are put for the people of those places. I will rejoice in thy salvation — Namely, with spiritual joy and thanksgiving; else it would be no fit motive to be used to God in prayer.

9:11-20 Those who believe that God is greatly to be praised, not only desire to praise him better themselves, but desire that others may join with them. There is a day coming, when it will appear that he has not forgotten the cry of the humble; neither the cry of their blood, or the cry of their prayers. We are never brought so low, so near to death, but God can raise us up. If he has saved us from spiritual and eternal death, we may thence hope, that in all our distresses he will be a very present help to us. The overruling providence of God frequently so orders it, that persecutors and oppressors are brought to ruin by the projects they formed to destroy the people of God. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves; the contentious bring mischief upon themselves: thus men's sins may be read in their punishment, and it becomes plain to all, that the destruction of sinners is of themselves. All wickedness came originally with the wicked one from hell; and those who continue in sin, must go to that place of torment. The true state, both of nations and of individuals, may be correctly estimated by this one rule, whether in their doings they remember or forget God. David encourages the people of God to wait for his salvation, though it should be long deferred. God will make it appear that he never did forget them: it is not possible he should. Strange that man, dust in his and about him, should yet need some sharp affliction, some severe visitation from God, to bring him to the knowledge of himself, and make him feel who and what he is.Have mercy upon me, O Lord - The cry for mercy implies that though God had interposed and granted them surprising deliverances, yet he was still surrounded by enemies, and was still in trouble. See introduction to the psalm, 2, 3. He had been delivered from many troubles, but there were many still pressing upon him, and he now calls on God to interpose further in his behalf, and to grant him entire deliverance from all his sorrows and dangers. The trouble to which he here refers was of the same kind as that adverted to in the former part of the psalm - that arising from the efforts of formidable enemies.

Consider my trouble - Do not forget this trouble; bear it in remembrance; look upon its character and its depth, and mercifully interpose to deliver me.

Which I suffer of them that hate me - Or, "see my suffering arising from those that hate me; or, which is produced by those who hate me." The design is to fix the attention on the greatness of that suffering as caused by his "haters" or by his enemies - the foes that were still unsubdued.

Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death - Thou on whom I rely to do this; or, who hast done it in times past. The idea by bars and walls; as entered by gates - the grave leading to it. See Introduction to Job, Section 7, and the notes at Job 10:21-22. The psalmist felt that he had come near to that dark and gloomy abode, and that God only could rescue him from it; therefore, in the trouble which now threatened his life, he looks to him to interfere and save him.

13. gates—or, "regions."

of death—Gates being the entrance is put for the bounds.

13 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:

14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Memories of the past and confidences concerning the future conducted the man of God to the mercy seat to plead for the needs of the present. Between praising and praying he divided all his time. How could he have spent it more profitably? His first prayer is one suitable for all persons and occasions, it breathes a humble spirit, indicates self knowledge, appeals to the proper attributes, and to the fitting person. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. Just as Luther used to call some texts little Bibles, so we may call this sentence a little prayer-book for it has in it the soul and marrow of prayer. It is multum in parvo, and like the angelic sword turns every way. The ladder looks to be short, but it reaches from earth to heaven.

What a noble title is here given to the Most High. Thou that liftest me up the gates of death! What a glorious lift! In sickness, in sin, in despair, in temptation, we have been brought very low, and the gloomy portal has seemed as if it would open to imprison us, but, underneath us were the everlasting arms, and, therefore, we have been uplifted even to the gates of heaven. Trapp quaintly says, "He commonly reserveth his hand for a dead lift, and rescueth those who were even talking of their graves." We must not overlook David's object in desiring mercy, it is God's glory: "that I may show forth all thy praise." Saints are not so selfish as to look only to self; they desire mercy's diamond that they may let others see it flash and sparkle, and may admire Him who gives such priceless gems to his beloved. The contrast between the gates of death and the gates of the New Jerusalem is very striking; let our songs be excited to the highest and most rapturous pitch by the double consideration of whence we are taken, and to what we have been advanced, and let our prayers for mercy be made more energetic and agonizing by a sense of the grace which such a salvation implies. When David speaks of his showing forth all God's praise, he means that, in his deliverance grace in all its heights and depths would be magnified. Just as our hymn puts it: -

"O the length and breadth of love!

Jesus, Saviour, can it be?

All thy mercy's height Iprove,

All the depth is seen in me."

Here ends the first part of this instructive psalm, and in pausing awhile we feel bound to confess that our exposition has only flitted over its surface, and has not digged into the depths. The verses are singularly full of teaching, and if the Holy Spirit shall bless the reader, he may go over this Psalm, as the writer has done scores of times, and see on each occasion fresh beauties.

Consider my trouble, to wit, compassionately and effectually, so as to bring me out of it.

From the gates of death; from the brink or mouth of the grave, into which I was dropping, being as near death as a man is to the city that is come to the very gates of it. And so the phrase is used Psalm 107:18 Isaiah 38:10, and in other authors of whom see my Latin Synopsis.

Gates elsewhere signify power and policy, because the gates of cities were places both of counsel and strength; but

the gates of death are never so taken in Scripture.

Have mercy upon me, O Lord,.... The psalmist proceeds to petitions on his own account in this verse: the ends he proposes by the fulfilling of them are mentioned in the next. A good man, a man called by the grace of God, though he has obtained mercy of the Lord, yet still stands in need of more, of fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, of merciful supplies, of merciful support, and merciful deliverances from enemies, inward and outward: and such an one flees to God, and not to the creature; and pleads, not his own dignity, righteousness, or merit, but the mercy of God;

consider, my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me; or "see my affliction because of mine enemies" (l); look upon me under it with an eye of pity and compassion, and help and deliver me; and look upon mine enemies that give me this trouble, and take vengeance on them;

thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; the house appointed for all living; that is, from the power of it, when just upon the brink of it; when near it, as a person is to an house, when he is at the gates of it; either through sickness, or some violent distemper of body, as Hezekiah was; or through some imminent danger in battle, as David was when engaged with Goliath; when everyone thought, as Kimchi observes, that he should fall by his hand: or it may be this may have respect to his being raised up from the death of sin, and delivered from the power of darkness; to his being brought out of the horrible pit and miry clay of an unregenerate state, and set upon the rock of salvation; which is a lifting up indeed, an exaltation from a very low to a very high estate: and this the psalmist takes notice of to encourage his faith; and makes use of it as an argument with God, that as he had dealt so graciously and bountifully with him, he would still show mercy to him, and look upon him under his affliction.

(l) "intuere afflictionem meum propter osores meos", Gejerus.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
13. Have mercy upon me] Rather, Be gracious unto me. See note on Psalm 4:1.

consider my trouble &c.] See the affliction which I suffer from them that hate me. Cp. Psalm 10:14; Psalm 31:7; Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9; Exodus 4:31.

thou that liftest me up from the gates of death] He had been brought down as it were to the very entrance of that mysterious place from which he knew of no possibility of return; to the gates which opened for entrance but not for exit. Cp. Psalm 107:18; Job 38:17; Isaiah 38:10; Matthew 16:18; and the Homeric Ἀΐδαο πύλαι (Il. 9:646, &c.). How different the Christian view of “the grave and gate of death” as the passage to “a joyful resurrection!”

13, 14. Stanza of Cheth. The connexion is difficult. The preceding and succeeding verses speak of deliverance granted, of victory won. Why then this abruptly introduced prayer for relief? To regard it as the ‘cry of the afflicted’ in their past distress seems inconsistent with the vigorous directness of the Psalm; and it is best to suppose that the recollection of dangers which still threaten prompts a prayer even in the moment of triumph. But it is possible that by a simple change in the vocalisation (Introd. p. lxvii) the verbs should be read as perfects instead of imperatives:—‘Jehovah hath been gracious unto me; he hath seen my affliction … lifting me up &c.’ So the Greek version of Aquila; and so Jerome, according to the best reading (misertus est mei … vidit afflictionem meam).

Verse 13. - Have mercy upon me, O Lord! The consideration of God's mercies in the past, and especially in the recent deliverance, leads the psalmist to implore a continuance of his mercies in the future. He is not yet free from troubles. There are still enemies who afflict and threaten him - "heathen" who seek to "prevail" against him (vers. 19, 20), and perhaps already domestic enemies, especially the "sons of Zeruiah," causing him anxiety. Consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me; literally, my trouble (or, my affliction) from my haters. Vers. 17, 19, 20 show that the heathen are especially intended (see 2 Samuel 10:15-19). Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death; i.e. "Thou that continually (or, habitually) art my Support in the extremity of peril," "lifting me up" even from the very "gates of death." (For other mentions of "the gates of death," see Job 38:17; Psalm 107:18.) Classical writers speak of "the gates of darkness" (σκότου πύλας) in almost the same sense (Eurip., 'Hec.,' 1. 1). Psalm 9:13(Heb.: 9:14-15) To take this strophe as a prayer of David at the present time, is to destroy the unity and hymnic character of the Psalm, since that which is here put in the form of prayer appears in what has preceded and in what follows as something he has experienced. The strophe represents to us how the עניּים (ענוים) cried to Jahve before the deliverance now experienced. Instead of the form חנּני used everywhere else the resolved, and as it were tremulous, form חננני is designedly chosen. According to a better attested reading it is חננני (Pathach with Gaja in the first syllable), which is regarded by Chajug and others as the imper. Piel, but more correctly (Ewald 251, c) as the imper. Kal from the intransitive imperative form חנן. מרוממי is the vocative, cf. Psalm 17:7. The gates of death, i.e., the gates of the realm of the dead (שׁאול, Isaiah 38:10), are in the deep; he who is in peril of death is said to have sunk down to them; he who is snatched from peril of death is lifted up, so that they do not swallow him up and close behind him. The church, already very near to the gates of death, cried to the God who can snatch from death. Its final purpose in connection with such deliverance is that it may glorify God. The form תּהלּתיך is sing. with a plural suffix just like שׂנאתיך Ezekiel 35:11, אשׁמתימו Ezra 9:15. The punctuists maintained (as עצתיך in Isaiah 47:13 shows) the possibility of a plural inflexion of a collective singular. In antithesis to the gates of death, which are represented as beneath the ground, we have the gates of the daughter of Zion standing on high. ציּון is gen. appositionis (Ges. 116, 5). The daughter of Zion (Zion itself) is the church in its childlike, bride-like, and conjugal relation to Jahve. In the gates of the daughter of Zion is equivalent to: before all God's people, Psalm 116:14. For the gates are the places of public resort and business. At this period the Old Testament mind knew nothing of the songs of praise of the redeemed in heaven. On the other side of the grave is the silence of death. If the church desires to praise God, it must continue in life and not die.
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