Verse 12. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul. He believes that it will be so, and thus prophesies the event; for the words may be read as a declaration, and it is better so to understand them. We could not pray just so with our Christian light; but under Old Testament arrangements the spirit of it was congruous to the law. It is a petition which justice sanctions, but the spirit of love is not at home in presenting it. We, as Christians, turn the petition to spiritual use only. Yet David was of so generous a mind, and dealt so tenderly with Saul, that he could hardly have meant all that his words are made in our version to say. For I am lay servant; and therefore I hope that my Master will protect me in his service, and grant me victory while I fight his battles. It is a warrior's prayer, and smells of the dust and smoke of battle. It was heard, and therefore it was not asking amiss. Still there is a more excellent way.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12. Of thy mercy cut off mine enemies. He desireth God to slay his enemies in his mercy, when rather their destruction was a work of his justice? I answer, that the destruction of the wicked is a mercy to the church. As God showed great mercy and kindness to his church by the death of Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Herod, and other troublers thereof. --Archibald Symson.
Verse 12. Cut off mine enemies, etc. When you find these imprecations to be prophecies of events which the Psalmist himself could not understand; but were to be fulfilled in persons whom the Psalmist could not know, as they were to live in distant future ages, -- for instance, Judas, and the Romans, and leaders of the Jewish nation, -- who would make these imprecations proofs of a revengeful spirit? --James Bennet (1774- 1862), in "Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles", 1847.
Verse 12. I am thy servant. David the king professes himself one of God's pensioners. Paul, when he would blaze his coat of arms, and set forth his best heraldry, he doth not call himself Paul, an Hebrew of the Hebrews, or Paul of the tribe of Benjamin, but Paul "a servant of Christ": Romans 1:1 . Theodosius thought it a greater dignity to be God's servant than to be an emperor. Christ Himself, who is equal with his Father, yet is not ashamed of the title servant: Isaiah 53:11 . Every servant of God is a son, every subject a prince: it is more honour to serve God than to have kings to serve us: the angels in heaven are servants to the saints. --Thomas Watson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- To the Master: "I am thy servant."
- For the servant: he seeks protection because he belongs to his master.
WORKS ON THE HUNDRED AND FORTY-THIRD PSALM.
Meditations And Disqvisitions Upon The Three last Psalms of David Pss. 102., 130., 143.. By Sr. Richard Baker, Knight, London, ... 1639. The above is scarce, but will be found in Mr. Higham's Reprint of Sir R. Baker on the Psalms.]
A Sacred Septenarie, Or, A Godly And Fruitfull Exposition on the Seven Psalms Of Repentance... by Mr. Archibald Symson ... London, 1638 4to., contains an Exposition of this Psalm, pp. 276-308. There is an Exposition of Psalm 143., in Vol. 1., pp. 35-66, Of "Sermons chiefly designed for the Use of Families, by John Fawcett, A.M. 2 Vols. 8vo, second edition, Carlisle; 1818."