EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. King Solomon was praying, and here the people pray for him that his face may not be turned away, or that he may not be refused an audience. It is a dreadful thing to have our face turned away from God, or to have his face turned away from us. If we are anointed of the Spirit the Lord will look upon us with favour. Specially is this true of Him who represents us, and is on our behalf the Christ -- the truly anointed of the Lord. Jesus is both our David and God's anointed; in him is found in fulness that which David received in measure. For his sake all those who are anointed in him are accepted. God blessed Solomon and succeeding kings, for David's sake; and he will bless us for Jesus' sake. How condescending was the Son of the Highest to take upon himself the form of a servant, to be anointed for us, and to go in before the mercyseat to plead on our behalf! The Psalm sings of the ark, and it may well remind us of the going in of the anointed priest within the veil: all depended upon his acceptance, and therefore well do the people pray, "Turn not away the face of thine anointed."
Thus, in these three verses, we have a prayer for the temple, the ark, the priests, the Levites, the people, and the king: in each petition there is a fulness of meaning well worthy of careful thought. We cannot plead too much in detail; the fault of most prayers is their indefiniteness. In God's house and worship everything needs a blessing, and every person connected therewith needs it continually. As David vowed and prayed when he was minded to house the ark, so now the prayer is continued when the temple is consecrated, and the Lord deigns to fill it with his glory. We shall never have done praying till we have done needing.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. Solomon's plea for the divine blessing to rest upon him as king, "For thy servant David's sake", was justified in its use by God: Isaiah 37:35 . It gives no countenance to the idea of intercession on the part of deceased saints; for it is not a prayer to David, but a pleading with God for the sake of David. Nor does it support the idea of works of supererogation on the part of David; it only implies a special divine delight in David, on account of which God was pleased to honour David's name during succeeding generations; and if the delight itself is pure grace, the expression of it, in any way, must be grace. Nor does it even give countenance to the idea that God's converting and saving grace may be expected by any man because his parents or ancestors were delighted in by God; for a plea of this character is in Scripture strictly confined to two instances, Abraham and David, with both of whom a special covenant was made, including their descendants, and it was just this covenant that authorised the use of the plea by those who by promise were specially interested, and by none others, and for the ends contemplated by the covenant. But it did prefigure the great Christian plea, "For Christ Jesus' sake"; just as God's selection of individual men and making them centres of revelation and religion, in the old time; prefigured "The man Christ Jesus" as the centre and basis of religion for all time. Hence in the plea, "For Christ's sake", the old pleas referred to are abolished, as the Jewish ritual is abolished. Christ bids us use His name: John 16:13-14 John 16:20 , etc. To believe the false notions mentioned above, or to trust in any other name for divine, gracious favour, is to dishonour the name of Christ. "For Christ's sake" is effective on account of the great covenant, the merits of Christ, and his session in heaven. --John Field (of Sevenoaks), 1883.
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. The frequency with which God is urged to hear and answer prayer for David's sake ( 1 Kings 11:12-13 15:4 2 Kings 8:19 , etc.), is not to be explained by making David mean the promise to David, nor from the personal favour of which he was the object, but for his historical position as the great theocratic model, in whom it pleased God that the old economy should reach its culminating point, and who is always held up as the type and representative of the Messiah, so that all the intervening kings are mere connecting links, and their reigns mere repetitions and continuations of the reign of David, with more or less resemblance as they happened to be good or bad. Hence the frequency with which his name appears in the later Scriptures, compared with even the last of his successors, and the otherwise inexplicable transfer of that name to the Messiah himself. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 10. For thy servant David's sake. When Sennacherib's army lay around Jerusalem besieging it, God brought deliverance for Israel partly out of regard to the prayer of the devout Hezekiah, but partly also out of respect for the pious memory of David, the hero king, the man after God's own heart. The message sent through Isaiah to the king concluded thus: "Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, he shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake": 2 Kings 19:32-34 . What a respect is shown to David's name by its being thus put on a level with God! Mine own sake, and David's sake. --Alexander Balmain Bruce, in "The Galilean Gospel", 1882.
Verse 10. Turn not away the face, etc. As if in displeasure, or in forgetfulness. -- Albert Barnes.
Verse 10. Thine anointed. What is meant by "thine anointed"? Is it David himself; or some definite king among his merely human descendants; or does it apply to each or any of them as they come into office to bear the responsibilities of this line of anointed kings? I incline to the latter construction, under which the petition is applicable to any one or to all the anointed successors of David. For David's sake let every one of them be admitted to free audience before thee, and his prayer be evermore availing. The context contemplates a long line of kings descended from David. It was pertinent to make them all the subjects of this prayer. --Henry Cowles.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- An evil to be deprecated: "Turn not away the face" -- so that he cannot see thee, or be seen of thee, or accepted, or allowed to hope.
- A plea to be employed, "for thy servant David's sake" -- thy covenant with him, his zeal, his consecration, his afflictions, his service. Good gospel pleading, such as may be used on many occasions.