Psalm 59:4

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 4. They run and prepare themselves without my fault. They are all alive and active, they are swift to shed blood. They prepare and use their best tactics; they besiege me in my house, and lay their ambuscades as for some notable enemy. They come up fully armed to the attack, and assail me with all the vigour and skill of a host about to storm a castle; and all for no cause, but out of gratuitous malice. So quick are they to obey their cruel master, that they never stay to consider whether their errand is a good one or not; they run at once, and buckle on their harness as they run. To be thus gratuitously attacked is a great grief. To a brave man the danger causes little distress of mind compared with the injustice to which he is subjected. It was a cruel and crying shame that such a hero as David should be hounded down as if he were a monster, and beset in his house like a wild beast in its den.

Awake to help me, and behold. When others go to sleep, keep thou watch, O God. Put forth thy might. Arouse thee from thy inaction. Only look at thy servant's sad condition and thy hand will be sure to deliver me. We see how thorough was the psalmist's faith in the mercy of his Lord, for he is satisfied that if the Lord do but look on his case it will move his active compassion.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3-4. See Psalms on "Psalms 59:3" for further information.

Verse 4. They run, as armed warriors rushing to the assault ( Psalms 18:29 ). The Hebrew for "prepare themselves," (Heb.) means also "they establish themselves;" they make firm their footing, like forces assaulting a city. Job 30:14 . A. R. Fausset.

Verse 4. They run and prepare. The zeal and diligence of the wicked in the cause of unrighteousness might well reprove the languor and tardiness of saints in the work of faith and labour of love. In the church of God nothing is the source of more mischief than the want of true zeal and liveliness. It is only when "many run to and fro" that "knowledge shall be increased." William S. Plumer.

Verse 4. Without fault. As it respected Saul, he was a faithful subject and an obedient son-in-law. Benjamin Boothroyd.

Verse 4. Awake to help me, literally, Awake to meet me. In time of temptation the Lord seems to be absent from us, and not to observe our distress -- to be, as it were, as Jesus, in the storm, is described as having been "asleep in the hinder part of the ship." Mark 4:38 . But it is only an appearance; the Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps 121:4); he is always ready to come to our help when we call upon him. O. Prescott Hiller.

Verse 4. And behold. The expression is one which savours at once of faith and of the infirmity of the flesh. In speaking of God, as if his eyes had been hitherto shut to the wrongs which he had suffered, and needed now for the first time to be opened for the discovery of them, he expresses himself according to the weakness of our human apprehension. On the other hand, in calling upon God to behold his cause, he shows his faith by virtually acknowledging that nothing was hid from his providential cognisance. John Calvin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 4. The activity of the evil a rebuke for the good.

  1. Their activity, run.
  2. Unanimity -- they run.
  3. Their care -- prepare themselves.
  4. Their readiness -- without my fault.