Psalms 27:13

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

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Psalms 27:13 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 27:13

[I had fainted]
When false witnesses rose up against him, and threatened to take away his life, and the life of his friends, in the most barbarous and cruel manner: the people of God are subject to faintings, in the present state of things; by reason of afflictions; because of the nature, number, and continuance of them; and especially when they apprehend them to be in wrath and sore displeasure: and on account of their sins, and the corruptions of their hearts; fearing lest there should be no pardon for them; or that the true work of grace is not in them; or that they shall fall, to the dishonour of the name of God, and to the reproach of his, cause and interest; or that they shall perish eternally: likewise, by reason of Satan's temptations, which are sometimes so grievous, that if Christ did not pray for them, their faith would fail; and also on account of the hidings of God's face, which they cannot bear: they are sometimes ready to faint in the way of their duty, in the course of their profession, because of the difficulties and discouragements, reproaches and persecutions, they meet with; and sometimes in the expectation of blessings; and of the fulfilment of promises, and of answers of prayer, which have been long deferred. This clause is not in the original text, but is a supplement of our translators; and it is generally agreed there is a defect of expression, which must be supplied in some way or other: the Jewish interpreters generally refer it to the preceding words; one supplies thus F13, "those false witnesses would have rose up against me, and consumed me"; another F14 after this manner, "mine enemies had almost got the dominion over me"; a third F15, "I had almost perished at their sayings": and a fourth F16, "and they would have destroyed me". Perhaps it may be as well supplied from ( Psalms 119:92 ) ; "I should then have perished in mine affliction"; it follows,

unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of
the living:
both the providential goodness of the Lord, in supplying him with the, necessaries of life, and in delivering him out of the hands of his enemies; and his special goodness, which he has laid up in his covenant, and in his son; even all spiritual blessings in Christ, in whom he causes all his goodness to pass before his people. The psalmist believed that he should "see"; that is, enjoy all these, or whatever was needful for him; all the good things of life, all special favours; as supports under afflictions, views of pardoning grace under a sense of sin, strength against Satan's temptations, and deliverance out of them; the discoveries of the love of God, and the light of his countenance, after desertions, and divine refreshments in his house, from his word and ordinances; and at last all the glories of the other world; and faith in these things is the best antidote against faintings. By "the land of the living" may be meant either the land of Canaan, where the living God was worshipped, and living saints dwelt, in opposition to other lands, the habitations of men dead in sins; and at a distance from which David now might be; or else the world in general, in opposition to the place and state of the dead; or, as some think, heaven, or he life of the world to come, as Kimchi expresses it; and so Apollinarius paraphrases it,

``I shall see the blessed God with my eyes in the land of the blessed.''

The word (alwl) , rendered "unless", is one of the fifteen words which are extraordinarily pointed in the Hebrew Bible.


F13 Jarchi.
F14 Aben Ezra.
F15 Kimchi.
F16 Abendana, Not. in Miclol Yophi in loc.

Psalms 27:13 In-Context

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
The King James Version is in the public domain.