Verse 28. For thou wilt light my candle. Even the children of the day sometimes need candlelight. In the darkest hour light will arise; a candle shall be lit, it will be comfort such as we may fittingly use without dishonesty -- it will be our own candle; yet God himself will find the holy fire with which the candle shall burn; our evidences are our own, but their comfortable light is from above. Candles which are lit by God the devil cannot blow out. All candles are not shining, and so there are some graces which yield no present comfort; but it is well to have candles which may by and by be lit, and it is well to possess graces which may yet afford us cheering evidences. The metaphor of the whole verse is founded upon the dolorous nature of darkness and the delightfulness of light; "truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun;" and even so the presence of the Lord removes all the gloom of sorrow, and enables the believer to rejoice with exceeding great joy. The lighting of the lamp is a cheerful moment in the winter's evening, but the lifting up of the light of God's countenance is happier far. It is said that the poor in Egypt will stint themselves of bread to buy oil for the lamp, so that they may not sit in darkness; we could well afford to part with all earthly comforts if the light of God's love could but constantly gladden our souls.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 28. For thou wilt light my candle, etc. The psalmist speaks in this place of artificial light; "a candle," or "lamp;" which has been supposed to be illustrated by the custom prevailing in Egypt of never suffering their houses to be without lights, but burning lamps even throughout the night, so that the poorest people would rather retrench part of their food than neglect it. Supposing this to have been the ancient custom, not only in Egypt, but in the neighbouring countries of Arabia and Judaea, "the lighting of the lamp" in this passage may have had a special allusion. In the parallel passage, 2 Samuel 22:29 , Jehovah is figuratively styled the "lamp" of the psalmist, as above. Richard Mant.
Verse 28. (first clause). Thou also shalt -- when none else can. And notice, too, how here, and often elsewhere, the psalmist begins with speaking of God, and ends with speaking to him. So the bride in the Canticles, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is better than wine." Dionysius the Carthusian (1471), quoted by J. M. Neale.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 28. A comfortable hope for an uncomfortable state.