Verse 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. This is part of his liberty; he is free from fear of the greatest, proudest, and most tyrannical of men. David was called to stand before kings when he was an exile; and afterwards, when he was himself a monarch, he knew the tendency of men to sacrifice their religion to pomp and statecraft; but it was his resolve to do nothing of the kind. He would sanctify politics, and make cabinets know that the Lord alone is governor among the nations. As a king he would speak to kings concerning the King of kings. He says, "I will speak": prudence might have suggested that his life and conduct would be enough, and that it would be better not to touch upon religion in the presence of royal personages who worshipped other gods, and claimed to be right in so doing. He had already most fittingly preceded this resolve by the declaration, "I will walk," but he does not make his personal conduct an excuse for sinful silence, for he adds, "I will speak." David claimed religious liberty, and took care to use it, for he spoke out what he believed, even when he was in the highest company. In what he said he took care to keep to God's own word, for he says, "I will speak of thy testimonies." No theme is like this, and there is no way of handling that theme like keeping close to the book, and using its thought and language. The great hindrance to our speaking upon holy topics in all companies is shame, but the Psalmist will "not be ashamed"; there is nothing to be ashamed of, and there is no excuse for being ashamed, and yet many are as quiet as the dead for fear some creature like themselves should be offended. When God gives grace, cowardice soon vanishes. He who speaks for God in God's power, will not be ashamed when beginning to speak, nor while speaking, nor after speaking; for his theme is one which is fit for kings, needful to kings, and beneficial to kings. If kings object, we may well be ashamed of them, but never of our Master who sent us, or of his message, or of his design in sending it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. In words he seems to believe that he is in possession of that which he formerly prayed for. He had said, "Take not the word of truth out of my mouth," and now, as if he had obtained what he requested, he rises up, and maintains that he would not be dumb, even were he called upon to speak in presence of kings. He affirms that he would willingly stand forward vindication of the glory of God in the face of the whole world. John Calvin.
Verse 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. The terror of kings and of men in power is an ordinary hindrance of free confession God's truth in time of persecution; but faith in the truth sustained in heart by God is able to bring forth a confession at all hazards. David Dickson.
Verse 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. Before came to the crown kings were sometimes his judges, as Saul and Achish: but if he were called before them to give a reason of the hope that was in: him, he would speak of God's testimonies, and profess to build his hope upon them, and make them his council, his guard, his crown, his all. We must never be afraid to own our religion, though it should expose us to the wrath of kings, but speak of it as that which we will live and die by, like the three children before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:16 Acts 4:20 . After David came to the crown kings were sometimes his companions, they visited him, and he returned their visits; but he did not, in complaisance to them, talk of everything but religion for fear of affronting them, and making his converse uneasy to them: no, God's testimonies shall be the principal subject of his discourse with the kings, not only to show that he was not ashamed of his religion, but to instruct them in it, and bring them over to it. It is good for kings to hear of God's testimonies, and it will adorn the conversation of princes themselves to speak of them. Matthew Henry.
Verse 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings. Men of greatest holiness have been men of greatest boldness; witness Nehemiah, the three children, Daniel, and all the holy prophets and apostles: Proverbs 23:1 , "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion," yea, as a young lion, as the Hebrew has it, one that is in his hot blood and fears no colours, and that is more bold than any others. Holiness made Daniel not only as bold as a lion, but also to daunt the lions with his boldness. Luther was a man of great holiness, and a man of great boldness: witness his standing out against all the world; and when the emperor sent for him to Worms, and his friends dissuaded him from going, as sometimes Paul's did him, "Go," said he, "I will surely go, since I am sent for, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; yea, though I knew that there were as many devils in Worms to resist me as there be tiles to cover the houses, yet I would go." And when the same author and his associates were threatened with many dangers from opposers on all hands, he lets fall this heroic and magnanimous speech: "Come, let us sing the 46th Psalm, and then let them do their worst." Latimer was a man of much holiness, counting the darkness and profaneness of those times wherein he lived, and a man of much courage and boldness; witness his presenting to King Henry the Eighth, for a New Year's gift, a New Testament, wrapped up in a napkin, with this posie or motto about it; "Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Thomas Brooks.
Verse 46. Note that in this verse we are taught to shun four vices. First, overmuch silence: hence he says, "I will speak." Secondly, useless talkativeness: "of thy testimonies." The Hebrew doctors say that ten measures of speaking had descended to the earth, -- that nine had been carried off by the women, but one left for all the rest of the world. Hieronymus rightly exhorts all Christians: "Consecrate thy mouth to the Gospel: be unwilling to open it with trifles or fables." Thirdly, we are taught to shun cowardice: "before kings." For, as it is said ( Proverbs 29:25 ), "The fear of man bringeth a snare." Fourthly, and lastly, we are taught to shun cowardly bashfulness: "and will not be ashamed." Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 46. I will not be ashamed. That is, I shall not be cast down from my position or my hope; I shall not be afraid; nor will I, from fear of danger or reproach, shun or renounce the confession; nor shall I be overcome by terrors or threats. D. H. Mollerus.
Verse 46-48. In these three last verses David promises a threefold duty of thankfulness. First, the service of his tongue. Next, the service of his affections. Thirdly, the service of his actions. A good conscience renders always great consolation; and an honest life makes great boldness to speak without fear or shame, as ye see in David towards Saul, in Elias to Ahab, in Paul to Agrippa, to Festus, and to Felix. William Cowper.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 46-48. -- Lips, heart, and hands.
- Public profession of God's word ("I will speak," Psalms 119:46 ) must be warranted by --
- Private delight in God's word ("I will delight myself," Psalms 119:47 ), which must result in --
- Practical obedience to God's word ("I will lift up my hands," Psalms 119:48 ).
Verse 46. --
- The truly earnest must speak.
- They are at no loss for good subjects: "Thy testimonies." The range is boundless -- the variety endless.
- They never fear any audience: "before kings." --W.W.