Verse 1. - If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; rather, now let Israel say (Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version).
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
Verse 2. - If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us. The "rising" intended may have been that of Saul and his aiders and abettors, or that of the Ammonites and Syrians (2 Samuel 10:6-8), or that of Absalom and his partisans (2 Samuel 15:2-13).
Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
Verse 3. - Then they had swallowed us up quick; or, "alive." A common expression for sudden and complete destruction (comp. Psalm 56:2; Psalm 57:3; Proverbs 1:12; Lamentations 2:2, 5, 8, etc.). When their wrath was kindled against us; or, "blazed out against us." The comparison of anger to fire is an almost universal commonplace.
Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
Verse 4. - Then the waters had overwhelmed us. A sudden and startling change of metaphor. In the quick transition of Oriental thought, the fire becomes a flood - an irresistible torrent-stream, carrying all before it (comp. Psalm 18:4; Psalm 144:7). The stream had gone over our soul; i.e. "had mounted up over our heads, and stifled our breath of life."
Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
Verse 5. - Then the proud waters had gone over our soul. "Proud" of effecting our destruction.
Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
Verse 6. - Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. We are not devoured - we are not "swallowed up" - thanks to the interposition of the merciful and gracious Lord, to whom therefore praise and blessing are due.
Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
Verse 7. - Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers (comp. Psalm 91:3; Psalm 140:5; Psalm 141:10). Another metaphor. We have been like birds taken in the "snare," or net, of a fowler. But now we are escaped - not, however, of our own strength or of our own cleverness. The snare is broken for us by God's providence, and so we are escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Verse 8. - Our help is in the Name of the Lord. "Our help is," and has always been, "in the Name" - i.e. in the manifested might - "of the Lord." It is he that has been "on our side," that has "helped" us, saved us, and delivered us. Who made heaven and earth (comp. Psalm 121:2; Psalm 134:3).
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