Psalm 56:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up. Their appetite for blood never fails them. With them there is no truce or armistice. They are many, but one mind animates them. Nothing I can do can make them relent. Unless they can quite devour me they will never be content. The ogres of nursery tales exist in reality in the enemies of the church, who would crush the bones of the godly, and make a mouthful of them if they could.

For they be many that fight against me. Sinners are gregarious creatures. Persecutors hunt in packs. These wolves of the church seldom come down upon us singly. The number of our foes is a powerful plea for the interposition of the one Defender of the faithful, who is mightier than all their bands. These foes of the gracious are also keen eyed, and ever on the watch, hence the margin calls them "observers."

O thou most High. Thus he invokes against the lofty ones of the earth the aid of one who is higher than the highest. Some translate the words differently, and think that the writer means that his foes assailed him from the high places in which pride and power had placed them. Saul, his great foe, attacked him from his throne with all the force which his high position placed at his disposal: our comfort in such a case is near to hand, for God will help us from a higher place than our proudest foes can occupy. The greatness of God as the Most High is a fertile source of consolation to weak saints oppressed by mighty enemies.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 1-2. See Psalms on "Psalms 56:2" for further information.

Verse 2. O thou most High. The Hebrew is not that rendered Most High in Psalms 7:17 ; nor in our version is it ever rendered Most High in any other place, although found in the Hebrew Bible more than fifty times. There are but two other places where it is applied, as an epithet, to God; Psalms 92:8 ; Micah 6:6 . It is commonly rendered, from above, on high, high places, high; once loftily, Psalms 73:8 ... The probable meaning is, they "fight against me from the high places of authority, both in Jerusalem and in Gath," q.d., mine enemies are in power. William S. Plumer's "Studies in the Book of Psalms," 1867.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2-3.

  1. Fears are common to all men, at one time or another.
  2. Improper and inefficacious means of removing fear are often resorted to.
  3. There is here suggested a true and effectual method of removing fear. Robert Morrison (1782-1834), in "A Parting Memorial."