David complains of great distress. (1-12) And begs for succour. (13-21) He declares the judgments of God. (22-29) He concludes with joy and praise. (30-36)
Verses 1-12 We should frequently consider the person of the Sufferer here spoken of, and ask why, as well as what he suffered, that, meditating thereon, we may be more humbled for sin, and more convinced of our danger, so that we may feel more gratitude and love, constraining us to live to His glory who died for our salvation. Hence we learn, when in affliction, to commit the keeping of our souls to God, that we may not be soured with discontent, or sink into despair. David was hated wrongfully, but the words far more fully apply to Christ. In a world where unrighteousness reigns so much, we must not wonder if we meet with those that are our enemies wrongfully. Let us take care that we never do wrong; then if we receive wrong, we may the better bear it. By the satisfaction Christ made to God for our sin by his blood, he restored that which he took not away, he paid our debt, suffered for our offences. Even when we can plead Not guilty, as to men's unjust accusations, yet before God we must acknowledge ourselves to deserve all that is brought upon us. All our sins take rise from our foolishness. They are all done in God's sight. David complains of the unkindness of friends and relations. This was fulfilled in Christ, whose brethren did not believe on him, and who was forsaken by his disciples. Christ made satisfaction for us, not only by putting off the honours due to God, but by submitting to the greatest dishonours that could be done to any man. We need not be discouraged if our zeal for the truths, precepts, and worship of God, should provoke some, and cause others to mock our godly sorrow and deadness to the world.
Verses 13-21 Whatever deep waters of affliction or temptation we sink into, whatever floods of trouble or ungodly men seem ready to overwhelm us, let us persevere in prayer to our Lord to save us. The tokens of God's favour to us are enough to keep our spirits from sinking in the deepest outward troubles. If we think well of God, and continue to do so under the greatest hardships, we need not fear but he will do well for us. And if at any time we are called on to suffer reproach and shame, for Christ's sake, this may be our comfort, that he knows it. It bears hard on one that knows the worth of a good name, to be oppressed with a bad one; but when we consider what a favour it is to be accounted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus, we shall see that there is no reason why it should be heart-breaking to us. The sufferings of Christ were here particularly foretold, which proves the Scripture to be the word of God; and how exactly these predictions were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, which proves him to be the true Messiah. The vinegar and the gall given to him, were a faint emblem of that bitter cup which he drank up, that we might drink the cup of salvation. We cannot expect too little from men, miserable comforters are they all; nor can we expect too much from the God of all comfort and consolation.
Verses 22-29 These are prophecies of the destruction of Christ's ( psalms 69:22-23 ) upon the unbelieving Jews, in ( romans 11:9 romans 11:10 ) . When the supports of life and delights of sense, through the corruption of our nature, are made the food and fuel of sin, then our table is a snare. Their sin was, that they would not see, but shut their eyes against the light, loving darkness rather; their punishment was, that they should not see, but should be given up to their own hearts' lusts which hardened them. Those who reject God's great salvation proffered to them, may justly fear that his indignation will be poured out upon them. If men will sin, the Lord will reckon for it. But those that have multiplied to sin, may yet find mercy, through the righteousness of the Mediator. God shuts not out any from that righteousness; the gospel excludes none who do not, by unbelief, shut themselves out. But those who are proud and self-willed, so that they will not come in to God's righteousness, shall have their doom accordingly; they themselves decide it. Let those not expect any benefit thereby, who are not glad to be beholden to it. It is better to be poor and sorrowful, with the blessing of the Lord, than rich and jovial, and under his curse. This may be applied to Christ. He was, when on earth, a man of sorrows that had not where to lay his head; but God exalted him. Let us call upon the Lord, and though poor and sorrowful, guilty and defiled, his salvation will set us up on high.
Verses 30-36 The psalmist concludes the psalm with holy joy and praise, which he began with complaints of his grief. It is a great comfort to us, that humble and thankful praises are more pleasing to God than the most costly, pompous sacrifices. The humble shall look to him, and be glad; those that seek him through Christ shall live and be comforted. God will do great things for the gospel church, in which let all who wish well to it rejoice. A seed shall serve him on earth, and his servants shall inherit his heavenly kingdom. Those that love his name shall dwell before him for ever. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Arise, thou great Restorer of the ancient places to dwell in, and turn away ungodliness from thy people.
Psalms 69:1-36 . language of prayer and complaint, the sufferer, whose condition is here set forth, pleads for God's help as one suffering in His cause, implores the divine retribution on his malicious enemies, and, viewing his deliverance as sure, promises praise by himself, and others, to whom God will extend like blessings. This Psalm is referred to seven times in the New Testament as prophetical of Christ and the gospel times. Although the character in which the Psalmist appears to some in Psalms 69:5 is that of a sinner, yet his condition as a sufferer innocent of alleged crimes sustains the typical character of the composition, and it may be therefore regarded throughout, as the twenty-second, as typically expressive of the feelings of our Saviour in the flesh.
1, 2. (Compare Psalms 40:2 ).
come in unto my soul--literally, "come even to my soul," endanger my life by drowning ( Jonah 2:5 ).
3. (Compare Psalms 6:6 ).
mine eyes fail--in watching ( Psalms 119:82 ).
4. hate me, &c.--(Compare John 15:25 ). On the number and power of his enemies (compare Psalms 40:12 ).
then I restored . . . away--that is, he suffered wrongfully under the imputation of robbery.
5. This may be regarded as an appeal, vindicating his innocence, as if he had said, "If sinful, thou knowest," &c. Though David's condition as a sufferer may typify Christ's, without requiring that a parallel be found in character.
6. for my sake--literally, "in me," in my confusion and shame.
7-12. This plea contemplates his relation to God as a sufferer in His cause. Reproach, domestic estrangement ( 3:21 , John 7:5 ), exhaustion in God's service ( John 2:17 ), revilings and taunts of base men were the sufferings.
10. wept (and chastened) my soul--literally, "wept away my soul," a strongly figurative description of deep grief.
12. sit in the gate--public place ( Proverbs 31:31 ).
13-15. With increasing reliance on God, he prays for help, describing his distress in the figures of Psalms 69:1 Psalms 69:2 .
16-18. These earnest terms are often used, and the address to God, as indifferent or averse, is found in Psalms 3:7 , 22:24 , 27:9 , &c.
19, 20. Calling God to witness his distress, he presents its aggravation produced by the want of sympathizing friends (compare Isaiah 63:5 , 14:50 ).
21. Instead of such, his enemies increase his pain by giving him most distasteful food and drink. The Psalmist may have thus described by figure what Christ found in reality (compare John 19:29 John 19:30 ).
22, 23. With unimportant verbal changes, this language is used by Paul to describe the rejection of the Jews who refused to receive the Saviour ( Romans 11:9 Romans 11:10 ). The purport of the figures used is that blessings shall become curses, the "table" of joy (as one of food) a "snare," their
welfare--literally, "peaceful condition," or security, a "trap." Darkened eyes and failing strength complete the picture of the ruin falling on them under the invoked retribution.
23. continually to shake--literally, "to swerve" or bend in weakness.
24, 25. An utter desolation awaits them. They will not only be driven from their homes, but their homes--or, literally, "palaces," indicative of wealth--shall be desolate (compare Matthew 23:38 ).
26. Though smitten of God ( Isaiah 53:4 ), men were not less guilty in persecuting the sufferer ( Acts 2:23 ).
talk to the grief--in respect to, about it, implying derision and taunts.
wounded--or, literally, "mortally wounded."
27, 28. iniquity--or, "punishment of iniquity" ( Psalms 40:12 ).
come . . . righteousness--partake of its benefits.
28. book of the living--or "life," with the next clause, a figurative mode of representing those saved, as having their names in a register (compare Exodus 32:32 , Isaiah 4:3 ).
29. poor and sorrowful--the afflicted pious, often denoted by such terms (compare Psalms 10:17 , 12:5 ).
set me . . . high--out of danger.
30, 31. Spiritual are better than mere material offerings ( Psalms 40:6 , 50:8 ); hence a promise of the former, and rather contemptuous terms are used of the latter.
32, 33. Others shall rejoice. "Humble" and poor, as in Psalms 69:29 .
your heart, &c.--address to such (compare Psalms 22:26 ).
33. prisoners--peculiarly liable to be despised.
34-36. The call on the universe for praise is well sustained by the prediction of the perpetual and extended blessings which shall come upon the covenant-people of God. Though, as usual, the imagery is taken from terms used of Palestine, the whole tenor of the context indicates that the spiritual privileges and blessings of the Church are meant.