Psalm 59:17

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 17. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing. What transport is here! What a monopolising of all his emotions for the one object of praising God! Strength has been overcome by strength; not by the hero's own prowess, but by the might of God alone. See how the singer girds himself with the almightiness of God, and calls it all his own by faith. Sweet is the music of experience, but it is all for God; there is not even a stray note for man, for self, or for human helpers.

For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. With full assurance he claims possession of the Infinite as his protection and security. He sees God in all, and all his own. Mercy rises before him, undisturbed and manifold, for he feels he is undeserving, and security is with him, undisturbed and impregnable, for he knows that he is safe in divine keeping. Oh, choice song! My soul would sing it now in defiance of all the dogs of hell. Away, away, ye adversaries of my soul, the God of my mercy will keep ye all at bay --


"Nor shall the infernal lion rend

Whom he designs to keep."

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 17. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing. Formerly he had said that the strength of his enemy was with God, and now he asserts the same thing of his own. The expression, however, which admits of two meanings, he elegantly applies to himself in a different sense. God has the strength of the wicked in his hands, to curb and to restrain it, and to show that any power of which they boast is vain and fallacious. His own people, on the other hand, he supports and secures against the possibility of falling, by supplies of strength from himself. John Calvin.

Verse 17. Unto thee, O my strength. In opposition to the enemy's strength, Psalms 59:9 . Thy power, or strength -- the Hebrew word is the same ( Psalms 59:16 ) -- is my strength. There is an elegant play on similar sounds in the Hebrew for I will wait upon thee, hrmfa ( Psalms 59:9 ), and "I will sing," hrmza A. R. Faussett.

Verse 17. (first clause). As on account of Saul's strength my watching was directed to thee; so now, no account of thy strength vouchsafed to me, my singing of praises also shall be directed to thee alone. Martin Geier.

Verse 17. Strength -- Mercy. He joins these two attributes, "strength" and "mercy", very well; for take away strength from him, and he cannot; remove mercy, and he will not, protect; both must go together in any one that will defend; power, that he can, mercy, that he will; otherwise it is but in vain to hope for help from him David found God to be both, and for both he extols him. William Nicholson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 17.

  1. A doctrine -- God is his people's strength.
  2. An appropriation -- "my strength."
  3. A resolution. The song of gratitude for the
    past, faith for the present, hope for the future, of
    bliss for eternity.