Verse 2. Awake, psaltery and harp. As if he could not be content with voice alone, but must use the well tuned strings, and communicate to them something of his own liveliness. Strings are wonderful things when some men play upon them, they seem to become sympathetic and incorporated with the minstrel as if his very soul were imparted to them and thrilled through them. Only when a thoroughly enraptured soul speaks in the instrument can music be acceptable with God: as mere musical sound the Lord can have no pleasure therein, he is only pleased with the thought and feeling which are thus expressed. When a man has musical gift, he should regard it as too lovely a power to be enlisted in the cause of sin. Well did Charles Wesley say: --
"If well I know the tuneful art
To captivate a human heart,
The glory, Lord, be thine.
A servant of thy blessed will,
I here devote my utmost skill
To sound the praise divine."
"Thine own musician, Lord, inspire,
And let my consecrated lyre
Repeat the Psalmist's part.
His Son and Thine reveal in me,
And fill with sacred melody
The fibres of my heart."
I myself will awake early. I will call up the dawn. The best and brightest hours of the day shall find me heartily aroused to bless my God. Some singers had need to awake, for they sing in drawling tones, as if they were half asleep; the tune drags wearily along, there is no feeling or sentiment in the singing, but the listener hears only a dull mechanical sound, as if the choir ground out the notes from a worn out barrel organ. Oh, choristers, wake up, for this is not a work for dreamers, but such as requires your best powers in their liveliest condition. In all worship this should be the personal resolve of each worshipper: "I myself will awake."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. With reference to this passage the Talmud says, "A cithern used to hang above David's bed; and when midnight came the north wind blew among the strings, so that they sounded of themselves; and forthwith he arose and busied himself with the Torah until the pillar of the dawn ascended." Rashi observes, "The dawn awakes the other kings; but I, said David, will awake the dawn." --Franz Delitzsch
Verse 2. When the Hebrew captives were sitting in sorrow "by the waters of Babylon", they wept, and hung their harps on the willows, and could not be prevailed upon by the conquerors to sing "the songs of Zion in that land" ( Psalms 137:1 Psalms 137:4 ). But when "the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, then was their mouth filled with laughter and their tongue with singing" ( Psalms 126:1-2 ). Then the psaltery and harp of former generations awoke ( Psalms 108:2 ). The old songs revived on their lips, and the melodies of David acquired new charms for them. --Christopher Wordsworth.
Verse 2. Awake early.
"Yet never sleep the sun up; prayer should
Dawn with the day, there are set awful hours
Between heaven and us; the manna was not good
After sun rising, for day sullies flowers." --Henry Vaughan, 1621-1695.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. The benefit of early rising. The sweetness of the Sabbath morning early prayer meeting.