Verse 10. Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up and cast me down. A sense of the divine wrath which had been manifested in the overthrow of the chosen nation and their sad captivity led the Psalmist into the greatest distress. He felt like a sere leaf caught up by a hurricane and carried right away, or the spray of the sea which is dashed upwards that it may be scattered and dissolved. Our translation gives the idea of a vessel uplifted in order that it may be dashed to the earth with all the greater violence and the more completely broken in pieces; or to change the figure, it reminds us of a wrestler whom his opponent catches up that he may give him a more desperate fall. The first interpretation which we have given is, however, more fully in accordance with the original, and sets forth the utter helplessness which the writer felt, and the sense of overpowering terror which bore him along in a rush of tumultuous grief which he could not withstand.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. For thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. Thou hast lifted me up of a great height, in that thou madest me like unto thine image, touching my reasonable soul, and hast given me power, by thy grace, to inherit the everlasting joys of heaven, both body and soul, if I did live here after thy commandments. What greater gift canst thou give me, Lord, than to have the fruition of thee that art all in all things? How canst thou lift me higher than to eternal beatitude? But then, alas, thou hast letten me fall down again, for thou hast joined my noble soul with an earthly, heavy, and a frail body; the weight and burden thereof draweth down my mind and heart from the consideration of thy goodness, and from well doing, unto all kinds of vices, and to the regarding of temporal things according to his nature. The earthly mansion keepeth down the understanding. Thus setting me up, as it were, above the wind, thou hast given me a very great fall ( Job 30:22 ). I am in creation above all other kind of earthly creatures, and almost equal with angels; but being in this estate thou hast knit a knot thereto, that for breaking the least of thy commandments I shall suffer damnation. So that without thy continual mercy and help I am in worse case herein than any brute beast, whose life or soul dieth with the body. Sir Anthony Cope (1551).
Verse 10. For thou hast lifted me up and cast me down. That is that I might fall with greater poise. Significatur gravissima collisio. Here the prophet accuseth not God of cruelty, but bewaileth his own misery. Miserum est fusisse felicem, it is no small unhappiness to have been happy. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The trial of trials -- thine indignation and thy wrath.
- The aggravation of that trial -- former favour, "thou hast lifted me up," etc.
- The best behaviour under it: see Psalms 102:9 Psalms 102:12-13 .
Verse l0 (last cause). The prosperity of a church or an individual often followed by declension; worldly aggrandisement frequently succeeded by affliction; great joy in the Lord very generally succeeded by trial.