And I said, oh that I had wings like a dove
The psalmist pitches upon this creature, partly to suggest that his enemies pursuing him were like the ravenous hawk, and he like the harmless, innocent, and trembling dove; and partly because of its swiftness in flying. Aben Ezra thinks the dove is mentioned, because it is sociable with men, and who send letters by them for quick dispatch, of which instances may be given F18. This wish is expressed suitably to his character and case. The church is sometimes compared to a dove for its innocence, modesty, chastity, purity, affection, inconsolableness for the loss of its mate, and for its fearfulness, ( Song of Solomon 2:14 ) ( 4:1 ) ( 6:9 ) ; and so is Christ, ( Song of Solomon 5:12 ) ; who was typified by Jonah, whose name signifies a dove; and on whom the Spirit of God descended as a dove, at his baptism, and by whom he was filled with his dovelike graces;
[for then] would I fly away;
so David desired to flee, and did flee with good speed and haste from Absalom his son, ( 2 Samuel 15:14 ) ( Psalms 3:1 ) , title. Arama observes of the dove, that, when weary with flying with one wing, it rests that, and flies with the other, and so has strength to fly continually without stopping, which he supposes to be the reason why the wing of a dove is desired. So every sensible sinner desires to flee from sin and sinners, and from wrath to come; from avenging justice, to Christ the city of refuge; so Christ, under the terrors of death, in his human nature, in a view of the law's curse and wrath, desired the cup might pass from him, and he might flee and escape death, though with submission to the divine will;
and be at rest;
safe and secure from the conspirators, as David was; and as a sinner is that has fled to Christ; in whom is rest from the burden and guilt of sin, from the wrath, curse, and condemnation of the law, and under all afflictions, whether of body or mind; and not in the world, and worldly enjoyments; nor in the law, and the works of it: and as Christ is; not by escaping death, but through dying, and having done his work has ceased from it, and is entered into his rest; which was the joy set before him, that animated him as man to endure the cross, and despise the shame; here also true believers, weary of the world, desire to be, enjoying that rest which remains for the people of God.
F18 Vid. Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 9. c. 2.