Verse 5. Let the saints be joyful in glory. God has honoured them, and put a rare glory upon them; therefore let them exult therein. Shall those to whom God is their glory be cast down and troubled? Nay, let their joy proclaim their honourable estate.
Let them sing aloud upon their beds. Their exultation should express itself in shouts and songs, for it is not a feeling of which they have any need to be ashamed. That which is so fully justified by fact, may well be loudly proclaimed. Even in their quietest retreats let them burst into song; when no one hears them, let them sing aloud unto God. If confined by sickness let them joy in God. In the night watches let them not lie awake and weep, but like nightingales let them charm the midnight hours. Their shouts are not now for the battlefield, but for the places of their rest: they can peacefully lie down and yet enjoy the victory with which the Lord has beautified them. Without fighting, faith wins and sings the victory. What a blessing to have our beds made into thrones, and our retirements turned into triumphs!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Let the saints be joyful, etc. Here begins a beautiful exegesis of the former passage. A protected people may rejoice with confidence. An anxious and fearful people could not sing aloud on their couches of repose. --Simon de Muis.
Verse 5. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. At what time soever God is pleased to inspire his grace and comfort into us, we ought to rejoice therein, and by night on the bed to seek him whom our soul loveth; abridging that time of rest and ease, that it may become as beneficial unto us as the day itself. David was not satisfied by offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving in the courts of the Lord's house, and paying his vows in the presence of all the people; but in the night also he would continue his song of God's mercy. Like that excellent bird, the nightingale, which is never weary nor spent by continuing her delightful notes, so this sweet singer of Israel was incessant in praising the Lord; not giving sleep to his eyes until he had blessed his holy name. In time of affliction he made his bed to swim, praying unto the Lord to return and deliver his soul. Now in prosperity he gives thanks for the blessings he doth receive. When our bones are vexed, and our sleep departeth from us, we pray unto God to deal mercifully with us; but when our diseases are healed, we do not return to give thanks, being soon overtaken with heaviness and security. And yet David did endeavour to watch in the night, that he might sing praise unto the Lord. He did not then only meditate in the law of God, when he could not take any rest (as Ahasuerus had the book of the records of the Chronicles read before him, when he could not sleep); for now he might lie down in peace, and sleep, when God made him to dwell in safety. Much less did he intend to procure sleep by a sinister performance of any good duty, like those who, by singing, or reading, or hearing, or meditating, will have an unworthy aim to bring themselves asleep. David saith, "Let the saints sing aloud upon their beds": thereby to testify their cheerful devotion, and also to chase away the spirit of slumber. --William Bloys, in "Meditations upon the xlii. Psalm", 1632.
Verse 5. The saints in glory shall rest from their labours, but not from their praises. -- Robert Bellarmine.
Verse 5. Upon their beds, where before in the loneliness of night they consumed themselves with grief for their shame. Comp. Hosea 7:14 . --E.W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 5. The saints of God know most of domestic joy and peace. As the word of Jesus in John 14:1-31 records, they have sorrows in plenty, but the more of these, the greater will be their joy, because their sorrows are to be transmuted into joys. They are to sing aloud on their beds, or rather couches, for on these the Orientals not only sleep, but also dine, and feast. So this verse calls on the saints to hold a banquet, a feast of fat things. They are, as David sings in Psalms 23:1-6 , to sit at the table prepared by the Lord in the presence of their enemies. --Johannes Paulus Palanterius.
Verse 5. This verse has been fulfilled in solemn crises of saintly life. On beds of death, and at the scaffold and the stake, joy and glory have been kindled in the hearts of Christ's faithful witnesses. --Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 5. How I long for my bed! Not that I may sleep -- I lie awake often and long! but to hold sweet communion with my God. What shall I render unto him for all his revelations and gifts to me? Were there no historical evidence of the truth of Christianity, were there no well established miracles, still I should believe that the religion propagated by the fishermen of Galilee is divine. The holy joy it brings to me must be from heaven. Do I write this boastingly, brother? Nay, it is with tears of humble gratitude that I tell of the goodness of the Lord. --From a private letter from Bapa Padmanji, in "Feathers for Arrows, "1870.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Saintly joy.
- The state to which God has lifted the saints: "glory", in contrast with sin, reproach, affliction.
- The emotion which accordingly befits the saints: "be joyful."
- The utterance of that emotion incumbent on the saints: "sing aloud." -- C.A.D.
Verse 5. (second clause). Let them praise God --
- Upon their beds of rest, upon their nightly couch.
- Upon their beds of sickness.
- Because it is God's will they should suffer.
- Because affliction is often a proof of God's love.
- Because, if sanctified, sickness is a great blessing.
- Because praise offered upon a bed of sickness is a testimony to the power of religion.
- Upon their beds of death.
- Because the sting of death is removed.
- Because their Lord has passed through death.
- Because Christ is with them while they suffer.
- Because of what awaits them.
- Because they have the glorious hope of resurrection. --C.W. Townsend, of Inskip, 1885.