Verse 5. This verse gives an excellent reason for the psalmist's desire after communion with God, namely, that he was thus secured in the hour of peril. For in the time of trouble, that needy time, that time when others forsake me, he shall hide me in his pavilion: he shall give me the best of shelter in the worst of danger. The royal pavilion was erected in the centre of the army, and around it all the mighty men kept guard at all hours; thus in that divine sovereignty which almighty power is sworn to maintain, the believer peacefully is hidden, hidden not by himself furtively, but by the king, who hospitably entertains him. In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me. Sacrifice aids sovereignty in screening the elect from harm. No one of old dared to enter the most holy place on pain of death; and if the Lord has hidden his people there, what foe shall venture to molest them? He shall set me up upon a rock. Immutability, eternity, and infinite power here come to the aid of sovereignty and sacrifice. How blessed is the standing of the man whom God himself sets on high above his foes, upon an impregnable rock which never can be stormed! Well may we desire to dwell with the Lord who so effectually protects his people.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. The time of trouble. Though God does not always deliver his people out of trouble, yet he delivers them from the evil of trouble, the despair of trouble, by supporting the spirit; nay, he delivers by trouble, for he sanctifies the trouble to cure the souls, and by less troubles delivers them from greater. From a Broad Sheet in the British Museum, dated, London: printed for D. M., 1678.
Verse 5. He shall hide me. The word here used means to hide, to secrete, and then, to defend or protect. It would properly be applied to one who had fled from oppression, or from any impending evil, and who should be secreted in a house or cavern, and thus rendered safe from pursuers, or from the threatening evil. Albert Barnes.
Verse 5. Pavilion comes from papilio, a butterfly. It signifies a tent made of cloth stretched out on poles, which in form resembles in some measure the insect above named. Adam Clarke.
Verse 5. In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me. He alludes to the ancient custom of offenders, who used to flee to the tabernacle or altar, where they esteemed themselves safe. 1 Kings 2:28 . Matthew Poole.
Verse 5. In the secret of his tabernacle. Were there no other place, he would put me in the holy of holies, so that an enemy would not dare to approach me. Adam Clarke.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. The threefold shelter. See Exposition.