Verse 10. When my father and my mother forsake me. These dear relations will be the last to desert me, but if the milk of human kindness should dry up even from their breasts, there is a Father who never forgets. Some of the greatest of the saints have been cast out by their families, and persecuted for righteousness' sake. Then the Lord will take me up. Will espouse my cause, will uplift me from my woes, will carry me in his arms, will elevate me above my enemies, will at last receive me to his eternal dwelling place.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10. When my father and my mother forsake me. As there seems to be some difficulty in supposing the psalmist's parents to have "deserted" him, they might perhaps be said to have "forsaken" him (as Muis conjectures), that is, to have left him behind them, as being dead. James Merrick, M.A., 1720-1769.
Verse 10. When my father and my mother forsake me. It is indeed the nature of all living creatures, though never so tender of their young ones, yet when they are grown to a ripeness of age and strength, to turn them off to shift for themselves; and even a father and a mother, as tender as they are, have yet somewhat of this common nature in them; for while their children are young they lead them by the hand, but when they are grown up they leave them to their own legs, and if they chance to fall let them rise as they can. But God even then takes his children up, for he knows of what they are made; he knows their strength must be as well supported as their weakness be assisted; he knows they must as well be taken up when they fall, as be held up when they stand. Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 10. Father and mother. First, who are they? Properly and chiefly our natural parents, of whom we were begotten and born; to whom (under God) we owe our being and breeding. Yet here, not they only; but by synecdoche all other kinsfolks, neighbours, friends, acquaintances, or, indeed, more generally yet, all worldly comforts, stays, and helps whatsoever. 2. But, then, why these named the rathest, and the rest to be included in these? Because we promise to ourselves more help from them than from any of the other. We have a nearer relation to, and a greater interest in them than in any other; and they of all other are the least likely to forsake us. The very brute creatures forsake not their young ones. A hen will not desert her chickens, nor a bear endure to be robbed of her whelps. 3. But, then, thirdly, why both named -- father and mother too? Partly because it can hardly be imagined that both of them should forsake their child, though one should hap to be unkind. Partly, because the father's love being commonly with more providence, the mother's with more tenderness; both together do better express than alone either would do, the abundant love of God towards us, who is infinitely dear over us, beyond the care of the most provident father, beyond the affection of the most tender mother. 4. But, then, fourthly, when may they be said to forsake us? When at any time they leave us destitute of such help as we stand in need of; whether it be out of choice, when they list not to help us, though they might if they would; or out of necessity, when they cannot help us, though they would if they could. Robert Sanderson.
Verse 10. Then the Lord will take me up. But dictum factum: these are but words: Are there producible and deeds to make it good? Verily, there are, and that to the very letter. When Ishmael's mother, despairing of his life, had forsaken him, and laid him down gasping (his last, for ought she knew or could do to help it), in the wilderness, the Lord took him up; he opened a new spring of water, and opened her eyes to see it, and so the child was preserved. Genesis 21. When Moses' parents had also forsaken him (for they durst not stand by him any longer), and laid him down among the rushy flags, the Lord took him up too. He provided him of a saviour, the king's own daughter, and of a nurse the child's own mother -- and so he was preserved too. Exodus 2:6-9 . Take but two examples more, out of either Testament one. David and St. Paul, both forsaken of men, both taken up of God. How was David forsaken, in Psalms 142:4 , when he had looked upon his right hand, and saw no man that would know him; he had no place to fly unto, and no man cared for his soul. But all the while Dominus ad dextris, there was one at his right hand (though at first he was not aware of him), ready to take him up; as it there followeth, Psalms 142:5 , "I cried unto thee, O Lord; I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living." And how St. Paul was forsaken; take it from himself, 2 Timothy 4:16 , "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:" a heavy case, and had been heavier had there not been one ready to take his part, at the next verse, "Nevertheless the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me," etc. What need we any more witnesses? In ore duorum -- in the mouth of two such witnesses the point is sufficiently established. But you will yet say, these two might testify what they had already found post factum. But David, in the text, pronounces it de futuro, beforehand, and that somewhat confidently: "The Lord will take me up." As he doth also elsewhere: "Sure I am that the Lord will avenge the poor, and maintain the cause of the helpless," Psalm 109. But is there any ground for that? Doubtless there is; a double ground; one in the nature, another in the promise of God. In his nature four qualities there are (we take leave so to speak, suitably to our own low apprehensions, for in the Godhead there are properly no qualities); but call them qualities or attributes or what else you will; there are four perfections in God, opposite to those defects which in our earthly parents we have found to be the chief causes why they do so oft forsake us; which give us full assurance that he will take us up when all other succors fail us. Those are his love, his wisdom, his power, his eternity, and all in his nature. To which four, add his promise, and you have the fulness of all the assurance that can be desired. Robert Sanderson.
Verse 10. The Lord will take me up: Hebrew, will gather me, that is, take me into his care and keeping. In the civil law, we find provision made for outcasts and friendless persons; some hospitals to entertain them, some liberties to comfort and compensate their trouble. It is sure, that in God the forlorn and fatherless find mercy. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10. The portion of the orphan, the comfort of the persecuted, the paradise of the departing.