Verse 2. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us. When all men combined, and the whole race of men seemed set upon stamping out the house of Israel, what must have happened if the covenant Lord had not interposed? When they stirred themselves, and combined to make an assault upon our quietude and safety, what should we have done in their rising if the Lord had not also risen? No one who could or would help was near, but the bare arm of the Lord sufficed to preserve his own against all the leagued hosts of adversaries. There is no doubt as to our deliverer, we cannot ascribe our salvation to any second cause, for it would not have been equal to the emergency; nothing less than omnipotence and omniscience could have wrought our rescue. We set every other claimant on one side, and rejoice because the Lord was on our side.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. -- If it had not been the LORD, etc. This repetition is not in vain. For whilst we are in danger, our fear is without measure; but when it is once past, we imagine it to have been less than it was indeed. And this is the delusion of Satan to diminish and obscure the grace of God. David therefore with this repetition stirreth up the people to more thankfulness unto God for his gracious deliverance, and amplifies the dangers which they had passed. Whereby we are taught how to think of our troubles and afflictions past, lest the sense and feeling of God's grace vanish out of our minds. --Martin Luther.
Verse 2. -- Men rose up against us. It may seem strange that these wicked and wretched enemies, monsters rather than men, should be thus moderately spoken of, and have no other name than this of men given them, which of all others they least deserved, as having in them nothing of man but outward show and shape, being rather beasts, yea, devils in the form and fashion of men, than right men. But hereby the church would show that she did leave the further censuring of them unto God their righteous Judge; and would also further amplify their wickedness, who being men, did yet in their desires and dispositions bewray a more than beastly immanity and inhumanity. --Daniel Dyke (-- 1614?) in "Comfortable Sermons upon the 124th Psalme," 1617.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2,3. --
- To swallow us alive -- the desire of our wrathful enemies.
- To save us alive -- the work of our faithful God.