Verse 12. Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? If not here permitted to prove their goodness of Jehovah, how could the singer do so in the land of darkness and death shade? Could his tongue, when turned into a clod, alarm the dull cold ear of death? Is not a living dog better than a dead lion, and a living believer of more value to the cause of God on earth than all the departed put together?
And thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? What shall be told concerning thee in the regions of oblivion? Where memory and love are lost, and men are alike unknowing and unknown, forgetful and forgotten, what witness to the divine holiness can be borne? The whole argument amounts to this -- if the believer dies unblessed, how will God's honour be preserved? Who will bear witness to his truth and righteousness?
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12. Wilt thou show thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? where I have forgotten thee, where I turned aside from thee, where I have let slip out of my memory all thy previous dealings with me -- and shall thy righteousness be manifested even there? Wilt thou prove thine equity in showing forth mercy, because for me a sacrifice has been offered, thy righteousness running parallel with the atoning stream of Christ's blood? When I have forgotten thee and forsaken thee, and turned my back upon thee, can thy righteousness be there manifested? What! righteousness running side by side with mercy! and righteousness still preserving all its unbending strictness, because this very backsliding of heart, this very forgetfulness of soul, this very alienation of affection, this very turning my back upon thee, have all been atoned for; and righteousness can be still shown "in the land of forgetfulness", because all my sins committed in the land of forgetfulness have been atoned for by redeeming blood! --J.C. Philpot.