Verse 15. Let not the waterflood overflow me. He continues to recapitulate the terms of his lament. He is willing to bear suffering, but entreats grace that it may not get the victory over him. He was heard in that he feared.
Neither let the deep swallow me up. As Jonah came forth again, so let me also arise from the abyss of woe; here also our Lord was heard, and so shall we be. Death itself must disgorge us.
Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. When a great stone was rolled over the well, or pit, used as a dungeon, the prisoner was altogether enclosed, and forgotten like one on the oubliettes of the Bastille; this is an apt picture of the state of a man buried alive in grief and left without remedy; against this the great sufferer pleaded and was heard. He was baptised in agony but not drowned in it; the grave enclosed him, but before she could close her mouth he had burst his prison. It is said that truth lies in a well, but it is assuredly an open well, for it walks abroad in power; and so our great Substitute in the pit of woe and death was yet the Conqueror of death and hell. How appropriately may many of us use this prayer. We deserve to be swept away as with a flood, to be drowned in our sins, to be shut up in hell; let us, then, plead the merits of our Saviour, lest these things happen unto us.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 15. Faith in God giveth hope to be helped, and is half a deliverance before the full deliverance come; for the psalmist is now with his head above water, and not so afraid as when he began the Psalm. David Dickson.
Verse 15. The pit. According to Dean Stanley, the word Beer here used is always rendered "well," except in this and three other cases. When such wells no longer yielded a full supply of water they were used as prisons, no care being taken to cleanse out the mire remaining at the bottom. The Dean also tells us in the Appendix to his "Sinai and Palestine," that "they have a broad margin of masonry round this mouth, and often a stone filling up the orifice." The rolling of this stone over the mouth of the well was the well's "shutting her mouth;" and the poor prisoner was, to all intents and purposes, buried alive. C. H. S.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The depth from which prayer may rise.
- The height to which it may ascend. Thus Jonah, when
at the bottom of the sea, says, "My prayer came up,"
etc. G. R.
Verse 15. (last clause). A tremendous evil, our desert of it, our hope against it, our fear of it, and the reasons which secure us against it.