Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. Answer for me. Do not leave thy poor servant to die by the hand of his enemy and thine. Take up my interests and weave them with thine own, and stand for me. As my Master, undertake thy servants' cause, and represent me before the faces of haughty men till they see what an august ally I have in the Lord my God.
Let not the proud oppress me. Thine interposition will answer the purpose of my rescue: when the proud see that thou art my advocate they will hide their heads. We should have been crushed beneath our proud adversary the devil if our Lord Jesus had not stood between us and the accuser, and become a surety for us. It is by his suretyship that we escape like a bird from the snare of the fowler. What a blessing to be able to leave our matters in our Surety's hands, knowing that all will be well, since he has an answer for every accuser, a rebuke for every reviler.
Good men dread oppression, for it makes even a wise man mad, and they send up their cries to heaven for deliverance; nor shall they cry in vain, for the Lord will undertake the cause of his servants, and fight their battles against the proud. The word "servant" is wisely used ,as a plea for favour for himself, and the word "proud" as an argument against his enemies. It seems to be inevitable that proud men should become oppressors, and that they should take most delight in oppressing really gracious men.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 122. -- Be surety for thy servant for good. What David prays to God to be for him, that Christ is for all his people: Hebrews 7:22 . He drew nigh to God, struck hands with him, gave his word and bond to pay the debts of his people; put himself in their law place and stead, and became responsible to law and justice for them; engaged to make satisfaction for their sins, to bring in everlasting righteousness for their justification, and to preserve and keep them, and bring them safe to eternal glory and happiness; and this was being a surety for them for good. --John Gill.
Verse 122. -- Be surety for thy servant for good. There are three expositions of this clause, as noting the end, the cause, the event.
- Undertake for me, ut sire bonus et justus, so Rabbi Arama on the place; surety for me that I may be good. Theodoret expounds it, "Undertake that I shall make good my resolution of keeping thy law." He that joins, undertakes; though we have precepts and without God's undertaking we shall never be able to perform our duty.
- Undertake for me to help me in doing good; so some read it: would not take his part in an evil cause. To commend a wrong to God's protection, is to provoke him to hasten our punishment, to us serve under our oppressors; but, when we have a good cause, and good conscience, he will own us. We cannot expect he should maintain us and bear us out in the Devil's service, wherein we have entangled selves by our own sin.
- Be with me for good: so it is often rendered: "Shew me a token for good" ( Psalms 86:17 ); "Pray not for this people for good" ( Jeremiah 11:14 ); so, "Remember me, O my God, for good" ( Nehemiah 13:31 ). So here "Be surety for thy servant for good." --Thomas Manton.
Verse 122. -- Be surety for thy servant for good. It is the prayer Hezekiah in his trouble, "O Lord, I am oppressed," undertake for, ( Isaiah 38:14 ); it is the prayer of Job for a "daysman" to between him and God ( Job 9:33 ); it is the cry of the church before Incarnation for the appearance of a Divine Mediator; it is the confidence of every faithful soul since that blessed time in the perpetual of our Great High Priest in heaven, which is to us the pledge of blessedness. --Agellius and Cocceius, in Neale and Littledale.
Verse 122. -- Be surety for thy servant for good. His meaning is, thou knowest how unjustly I am calumniated and evil spoken of in parts: where I am not present or where I may not answer for myself, answer thou for me. --William Cowper.
Verse 122. -- Be surety for thy servant for good. The keen eye of world may possibly not be able to affix any blot upon my outward confession; but, "if thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities; O Lord, who shall stand?" The debt is continually accumulating, and the prospect of payment as distant as ever. I might well expect to be "left to my oppressors," I should pay all that was due unto my Lord. But behold! "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" Isaiah 51:13 . The surety is found -- the debt is paid -- the ransom is accepted -- the sinner is free. There was a voice heard heaven -- "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom", Job 33:24 . The Son of God himself became Surety for a stranger, and "smarted for it," Proverbs 11:15 . At an infinite cost -- the cost of his precious blood -- he delivered me from "mine oppressors" -- sin -- Satan world -- death -- hell. -- Charles Bridges.
Verse 122. -- Some observe that this is the only verse throughout the whole psalm wherein the Word is not mentioned under the name of "law "judgments," "statutes," or the like terms, and they make this note it, -- "Where the Law faileth, there Christ is a surety of a better testament. There are those that render the words thus, -- "Dulcify, or, delight thy servant good," that is, make him joyful and comfortable in the pursuit and of that which is good. --John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 122. --
- Suretyship entreated.
- Good expected.
- Obligation acknowledged: "thy servant."
Verse 122. (first clause). -- After explaining the Psalmist's meaning as shown in the preceding verse, this sentence may be used for a sermon upon the Suretyship of Christ, by a reference to Hebrews 7:22 .
- A Surety for good wanted -- the deeply felt, though, perhaps, undefined want of a sin burdened soul.
- The mere statement of a gratuitous pardon on the part
of God is not thoroughly believable to such a soul,
nor, if it could be believed in, would it give peace to
the conscience. For, on the one hand, the pardon could
not be perceived as just, nor as consistent with God's
necessary hatred of sin, yet the conscience demands
this perception; on the other hand, mere pardon does
not show how the obligation to a perfect fulfilment of
God's law, as righteousness, can be met, yet the
conscience demands to see this before it can be
satisfied to realize peace Luther's experience.
- The mere statement of a gratuitous pardon on the part
(b) Now the Scriptures tell us that God "justifies the
ungodly," and that his "righteousness" is declared in
his justifying sinners: Romans 3:25 . He can forgive
sins with justice. He can treat sinners as righteous
persons, and yet bo righteous in doing so. How? By a
Surety. Therefore, a Surety is the real want.
- A Surety existent. Jesus is the Surety.
(a) He undertook to bear our obligation to the law's
penalty, and fulfilled it in death. Thus pardon, though
mercy to us, is an act of justice to Christ.
(b) He undertook our obligation to a perfect obedience, and
satisfied for that in his fulfilment of the law; thus
for God to treat us as righteous is only just to
(c) God has shown his satisfaction with the office of
Christ, and with his work, by the resurrection and
glorification of Christ. Hence a well accredited and
efficient Surety exists.
- A Surety nigh at hand.
(a) In the gospel, Christ as Surety comes to the sinner as
truly as though he himself left his throne and came in
his own person.
(b) Thus, he is so close that a sinner has but to receive
the gospel into his heart and he receives Christ.
(c) Christ received as a Surety is the Surety for whosoever
receives him. --J.F.