Verse 4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. David was no stoic: he felt his banishment, and smarted under the cruel assaults which were made upon his character. He felt perplexed and overturned, lonely and afflicted. He was a man of thought and feeling, and suffered both in spirit and in heart from the undeserved and unprovoked hostility of his persecutors. Moreover, he laboured under the sense of fearful loneliness; he was for a while forsaken of his God, and his soul was exceeding heavy, even unto death. Such words our Lord Jesus might have used: in this the Head is like the members, and the members are as the Head.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed, etc. David was not only a great saint, but a great soldier, and yet even he was sometimes ready to faint in the day of adversity. "Howl, fir trees, if the cedars be shaken." --Matthew Henry.
Verse 4. (second clause.) Within -- literally, "in the midst of me"; implying how deeply the feeling had penetrated. "Is desolate", or rather, "is stupefied", in a similar sense to that of the Hebrew ( Isaiah 59:16 63:5 Daniel 8:27 ). So the Chaldaic, The 70., Vulgate, Arabic, and Syriac, "is agitated." --Andrew Robert Fausset.
Verse 4. Is desolate. Or rather, "is full of amazement", literally, "astonishes itself"; seeks to comprehend the mystery of its sufferings, and is ever beaten back upon itself in its perplexity: such is the full force of the reflexive conjugation here employed. --J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 4-5. How poor a judgment can be formed of a man's state from the considerations of comfort only. A holy man, we clearly see, may be void of comfort; his spirit may be overwhelmed, and his heart desolate. Nay, was it not so even with the holy Jesus himself? was he not very heavy, and his soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death? But never did the Saviour's faith and submission to his Father's will shine more brightly than in that hour of darkness. And David's faith also rises to meet the occasion. His trial is great, and his faith is great also. Hardly when he is on the mount of praise, and singing his songs of Zion in the most triumphant strain, does he appear more admirable than when struggling through this painful conflict. He is troubled on every side, yet not removed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. He has no arm of flesh to trust to, and nothing within himself to support his hope; but with what simplicity, and energy of trust, does he betake himself to God, revolving ill his memory past seasons of deliverance, and staying his mind on the power and truth of Jehovah! "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." --John Fawcett.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS