Verse 29-45. See Psalms on "Psalms 18:29" for further information.
Verse 41. They cried, but there was none to save them; even unto the Lord, but he answered them not. Prayer is so notable a weapon that even the wicked will take to it to in their fits of desperation. Bad men have appealed to God against God's own servants, but all in vain; the kingdom of heaven is not divided, and God never succours his foes at the expense of his friends. There are prayers to God which are no better than blasphemy, which bring no comfortable reply, but rather provoke the Lord to greater wrath. Shall I ask a man to wound or slay his own child to gratify my malice? Would he not resent the insult against his humanity? How much less will Jehovah regard the cruel desires of the enemies of the church, who dare to offer their prayers for its destruction, calling its existence schism, and its doctrine heresy!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 41. They shall cry, but there shall be none to help them, etc. Sad examples enough there are of the truth of this prophecy. Of Esau it is written that he "found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Hebrews 12:17 . Of Antiochus, though he vowed in his last illness, "that also he would become a Jew himself, and go through all the world that was inhabited, and declare the power of God, yet," continues the historian, "for all this his pains would not cease, for the just judgment of God was come upon him." 2 9:17-18 (Apocrypha). But most appropriately to this passage, it is written of Saul, "When he enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." 1 Samuel 28:6 . And therefore, the prophet warns us: "Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains" ( Jeremiah 13:16 ): as Saul's feet, indeed stumbled on the dark mountains of Gilboa. "Even unto the Lord shall they cry:" but not, as it has been well remarked, by a Mediator: and so, crying to him in their own name, and by their own merits, they cry in vain. John Lorinus (1569- 1634), and Remigus (900), quoted by J.M. Neale.
Verse 41. Even unto the Lord. As nature prompts men in an extremity to look up for help; but because it is but the prayer of the flesh for ease, and not of the Spirit for grace, and a good use of calamities, and not but in extreme despair of help elsewhere, therefore God hears them not. In Samuel it is, "They looked, but there was none to save them," q.e.d.,If they could have made any other shift, God should never have heard of them. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 41. Unavailing prayers -- on earth and in hell.