PSALM 69 OVERVIEW
Title. To the Chief Musician upon Shoshannim. Thus for the second time we have a Psalm entitled "upon the lilies." In the forty-first they were golden lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh, and blooming in the fair gardens which skirt the ivory palaces: in this we have the lily among thorns, the lily of the valley, fair and beautiful, blooming in the garden of Gethsemane. A Psalm of David. If any enquire, "of whom speaketh the psalmist this? of himself, or of some other man?" we would reply, "of himself, and of some other man." Who that other is, we need not be long in discovering; it is the Crucified alone who can say, "in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." His footprints all through this sorrowful song have been pointed out by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, and therefore we believe, and are sure, that the Son of Man is here. Yet is seems to be the intention of the Spirit, while he gives us personal types, and so shows the likeness to the firstborn which exists in the heirs of salvation, to set forth the disparities between the best of the sons of men, and the Son of God, for there are verses here which we dare not apply to our Lord; we almost shudder when we see our brethren attempting to do so, as for instance Psalms 69:5 . Especially do we note the difference between David and the Son of David in the imprecations of the one against his enemies, and the prayers of the other for them. We commence our exposition of this Psalm with much trembling, for we feel that we are entering with our Great High Priest into the most holy place.
Divisions. This Psalm consists of two portions of 18 verses each. These again may each be sub divided into three parts. Under the first head, from Psalms 69:1-4 , the sufferer spreads his complaint before God; then he pleads that his zeal for God is the cause of his sufferings, in Psalms 69:5-12 : and this encourages him to plead for help and deliverance, from Psalms 69:13-18 . In the second half of the Psalm he details the injurious conduct of his adversaries, from Psalms 69:19-21 ; calls for their punishment, Psalms 69:22-28 , and then returns to prayer, and to a joyful anticipation of divine interposition and its results, Psalms 69:29-36 .
Verse 1. Save me, O God. "He saved others, himself he cannot save." With strong cries and tears he offered up prayers and supplications unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared ( Hebrews 5:7 ). Thus David had prayed, and here his Son and Lord utters the same cry. This is the second Psalm which begins with a "Save me, O God," and the former (Psalm 54) is but a short summary of this more lengthened complaint. It is remarkable that such a scene of woe should be presented to us immediately after the jubilant ascension hymn of the last Psalm, but this only shows how interwoven are the glories and the sorrows of our ever blessed Redeemer. The head which now is crowned with glory is the same which wore the thorns; he to whom we pray, "Save us, O God," is the selfsame person who cried, "Save me, O God."
For the waters are come in unto my soul. Sorrows, deep, abounding, deadly, had penetrated his inner nature. Bodily anguish is not his first complaint; he begins not with the gall which embittered his lips, but with the mighty griefs which broke into his heart. All the sea outside a vessel is less to be feared than that which finds its way into the hold. A wounded spirit who can bear. Our Lord in this verse is seen before us as a Jonah, crying, "The waters compassed me about, even to the soul." He was doing business for us on the great waters, at his Father's command; the stormy wind was lifting up the waves thereof, and he went down to the depths till his soul was melted because of trouble. In all this he has sympathy with us, and is able to succour us when we, like Peter, beginning to sink, cry to him, "Lord, save, or we perish."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Title. To the Chief Musician, on the lilies, of David. On the lilies, points to the beauty of the subject treated of. D. W. Hengstenberg.
Whole Psalm. The subject of the Psalm is an ideal person, representing the whole class of religious sufferers. The only individual in whom the various traits meet is Christ. That he is not, however, the exclusive, or even the immediate subject, is clear from the confession in Psalms 69:5 . There is no Psalm, except for the twenty-second, more distinctly applied to him in the New Testament. Joseph Addison Alexander.
Whole Psalm. This has usually been regarded as a Messianic Psalm. No portion of the Old Testament Scriptures is more frequently quoted in the New, with the exception of Psalm 22. When Jesus drives the buyers and sellers from the temple (Joh 2:17), his disciples are reminded of the words of Psalms 69:9 (first clause). When it is said ( John 15:25 ) that the enemies of Jesus hated him without a cause, and this is looked upon as the fulfilment of Scripture, the reference is probably to verse 4, though it may be also to Psalms 35:18 . To him, and the reproach which he endured for the sake of God, St. Paul refers the words of this Psalm, Psalms 69:9 (second clause): The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. In Psalms 69:12 we have a foreshadowing of the mockery of our Lord by the soldiers in the praetorium ( Matthew 27:27-30 ); in Psalms 69:21 , the giving of the vinegar and the gall found their counterpart in the scenes of the crucifixion, Matthew 27:34 . In John 19:28 , there is an allusion, probably to verse 21 of this Psalm, and to Ps 32:15. The imprecation in Psalms 69:25 is said, in Acts 1:20 , to have been fulfilled in the case of Judas Iscariot, though, as the words of the Psalm are plural, the citation is evidently made with some freedom. According to Romans 11:9-10 , the rejection of Israel may best be described in the words of Psalms 69:22-23 . J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Whole Psalm. This Psalm follows in striking connection with the preceding, and in contrast with the glory of his kingdom. The two have been compared to the transfiguration on the mount, where, after the manifestation of Christ in glory, there appeared, also, Moses and Elias, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. The clearest anticipation of future glory must not shut out the conviction, that it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom. W. Wilson.
Whole Psalm. Remember this is the fourth Psalm which declares at length the passion and resurrection of our Lord. Through the whole Psalm Christ speaks in person. He prays for deliverance by the Father, because he has suffered by the Jews, without cause, many afflictions and persecutions. He supplicates on behalf of his members, that the hope of the faithful, resting on his resurrection, may not be disappointed. By the power of his prescience he declares the future events which should occur to his enemies. Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, circa 468-560.
Whole Psalm. In this Psalm the whole Christ speaks; now in his own person, now crying with the voice of his members to God his Father. Gerhohus.
Verse 1. Save me, O God. Let his distances be never so great, he is resolved to cry after the Lord; and if he get but his head never so little above water, the Lord shall hear of him. One would think his discouragements such as he were past crying any more; the waters entered into his soul, in deep waters, the streams running over him: he sticketh fast in the mire where is no standing (he is at the very bottom, and there fast in the mire), he is weary of crying; yet, Psalms 69:6 Psalms 69:13 : But, Lord, I make my prayers to thee: and as he recovers breath, so breathes out fresh supplications to the Lord. If men or devils would be forbidding to pray, as the multitude sometimes did the poor blind man to cry after Jesus; yet, as he, so an importunate suppliant "will cry so much the more, Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy on me." Mark 10:47-48 . Thomas Cobbet.
Verse 1. The waters are come in unto my soul. What means he by coming in unto his soul? Surely no other than this: -- that they oppressed his spirit, and, as it were, penetrated into his conscience, raising fears and perplexities there, by reason of his sins, which at present put his faith and hope to some disorder; so that he could not for a while see to the comfortable end of his affliction, but was as one under water, covered with his fears, as appears by what follows ( Psalms 69:2 ): I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing. He compares himself to one in a quagmire that can feel no ground to bear him up; and, observe whence his trouble rose, and where the waters made their entrance ( Psalms 69:5 ): O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. This holy man lay under some fresh guilt, and this made him so uncomfortable under his affliction, because he saw his sin in the face of that, and tasted some displeasure from God for it in his outward trouble, which made it so bitter in the going down; and, therefore, when once he had humbled himself by confessing his sin, and was able to see the coast clear between heaven and him, so as to believe the pardon of his sin, and hope for good news from God again, he then returns to his sweet temper, and sings in the same affliction, where before he sunk. William Gurnall.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1. Our trials like waters.
- They should be kept out of the heart.
- There are, however, leaks which admit them.
- Take note when the hold is filling.
- Use the pumps, and cry for help.