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upward,' to a lingering death in the wilderness, and their little ones to a forty years' wandering for their fathers' sins; but with a gracious promise, however, that they should at length obtain an entrance into the land of Canaan. Both parties, therefore, stood in need of support and consolation, though of a different kind; and we find it given to them in these two Psalms.”
TO ENCOURAGE FAITH IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE, AFTER THE
SENTENCE PRONOUNCED UPON THE ISRAELITES IN THE
DESERT. The safety of those who make the Most High their refuge, 1–13; their reward, 14–16.
Hea that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High Shall'abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
And from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers,
And under his wings shalt thou trust:
His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou b shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
Nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, And ten thousand at thy right hand;
But it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold
And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge,
Even the Most High, thy habitation; 10 There d shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
c Ps. 87. 84. Mal. 1. 8.
a Ps. 27. 5.
6 Job 6, 19, &c. Ps. 112. 7.
Pr. 3. 23, 24. Is. 43. 2.
d Job 6. 19. Pr. 12. 21.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
To keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands,
Lest f thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and 'adder: The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under
Because he hath known my name. 15 He & shall call upon Me, and I will answer him:
I h will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and i honour him. 16 With 'long life will I satisfy him,
And show him my salvation.
* Or, asp.
. Ps. 84. 7. and 71. 8. Mat. 4. 6.
Lu. 4. 10, 11. He. 1. 14.
i 1 Ba 2. 80.
& PR. 60. 16.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM XI.
PSALM OF DAVID.
Psalm xi appears first in the list of David's sacred compositions, and properly dates the epoch of his early struggles and persecutions. Saul had now reigned thirty-two years, and while his kingdom was beset with hungry enemies from without, he himself was suffering from a disease which often betrayed him into a frenzied melancholy, sometimes rising even to madness.
The Spirit of God, by which he had achieved all the successes of his previous reign, was now, in consequence of his obstinate self-will and pride, which had arrayed his administration against the genius of the Theocracy, withdrawn from him,
while the stern predictions of Samuel had announced the overthrow of his house. Under these circumstances he was prepared to look with an evil eye upon any officer of his kingdom whom personal merit, or fortunate circumstances, might elevate to public distinction.
Six years before, (according to Dr. Hales, which accords also with Bishop Horsley's admirable criticism on the date,) David had slain Goliath-an act which had filled the nation with admiration of the youth, and had introduced him to the court of Saul. In their festive songs on that occasion, the general joy and gratitude betrayed the people into extravagant encomiums upon the youthful champion, and they extolled his military prowess far above that of the king himself. This imprudent demonstration of joy aroused the jealous spirit of Saul, who “from that day forward eyed David.” (1 Samuel xviii, 9.) Previous to this event, Samuel had, in a private way, and by the order of Jehovah, anointed David to be king over Israel ; and when his achievements had now brought him before the tribes, and made him the theme of popular song, Saul quickly beheld in him the rival of his throne and the supplanter of his house. The enthusiasm of the people, however, had so elevated the young hero, and his important services to the state had left such a deep impression upon all hearts, that Saul was forced for awhile to disguise his real enmity, and conducted, toward the innocent object of his hatred, with consummate duplicity and hypocrisy. Under pretence of advancing him to honour, Saul now removed David from the court to the camp, (1 Samuel xviii, 12, 13,) and placed him in a series of the most difficult and perilous circumstances. His hope was that David would fall by the sword of the enemy; or that his inexperience would lead to faults that would degrade him in the eyes of the nation, and thus make him an easy prey to his own atrocious designs. The death of Goliath had checked and intimidated, but had not subdued the Philistines, and a state of predatory warfare still existed between them and the Israelites,
Under these circumstances, David was appointed “captain over a thousand" men, and preparations were made for a more vigorous prosecution of the war. To inflame his ardour, and to induce him at once to engage
with the enemy,
Saul offered him the hand of Merab, his daughter, as the reward of success
ful valour. With these temptations to perilous adventure, David went forth in his new vocation, and while his sword everywhere triumphed over his foes, his prudence won still more upon the confidence of the nation. He returned to his master, crowned with fresh honours, and Saul, frustrated in his infamous hopes, in the sequel meanly violated his word, and gave Merab to another. (1 Samuel xviii, 19.) Subsequently to this, a fresh plot for the ruin of David was laid, similar to the former, and another daughter of the king was offered David in marriage. Again David returns triumphant, with more than the stipulated pledges of his valour, and Saul, unable to evade his promise a second time, gave him the hand of Michal.
Not long after this, the Philistines, headed by the lords of the five principalities, invaded again the territories of Israel, and David, on this occasion, exhibited such proofs of military skill as signalized him above all the officers of Saul.
Hitherto the nefarious designs of Saul had been thwarted, and he beheld the rising fortunes of the son of Jesse with increasing jealousy and alarm. He now saw that God had espoused the cause of his rival, and prospered him in all his ways. Even Michal, whom he had hoped to use as an instrument to ensnare David, had forsaken the cause of her father, and espoused the pretensions of her husband from the force of a sincere affection. Despairing, at length, of compassing his ends by artifice and concealment, Saul threw off all disguise, and openly gave orders “to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.” It does not appear that Saul was apprized at this time of the strong affection which subsisted between David and Jonathan; and to the fidelity of their brotherly covenant David now owes his life. Shocked at so unjust a command, Jonathan hastened to apprize David of his danger. For “Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David; and Jonathan told David, saying, “Saul, my father, seeketh to kill thee; now therefore I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thce; and what I see, that will I tell thee.'” 1 Samuel xix, 2, 3.
Here dates the rupture between Saul and David. Here begin properly the open persecutions of Saul, and David's life
of wandering and of sufferings. The decree had now gone forth against him, and the 'long pent-up jealousies of Saul had broken over all restraints of privacy and of prudence. Psalm xi, as appears from verse 1, seems to date at the occasion of Jonathan's advice to David to flee to a place of safety till he could have one more interview with his father.
WHEN DAVID WAS ADVISED TO FLEE TO THE MOUNTAINS.
David encourageth himself in God, 1; complaineth of the faithlessness and treachery that prevailed at Saul's court, 2, 3; declareth his faith in the providence and justice of God, 4-7.
T To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. 1 In the Lord put I my trust: How bsay ye to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your moun
tain ?" 2 For, lo! <the wicked bend their bow,
They d make ready their arrow upon the string,
That they may 'privily shoot at the upright in heart. 3 If e the foundations be destroyed, What can the righteous do?
The fLORD is in his holy temple, The LORD's & throne is in heaven:
His heyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. 5 The Lord i trieth the righteous : But the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul
hateth. 6 Upon kthe wicked he shall rain 'snares, Fire and brimstone, and 'a horrible tempest:
This 'shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the righteous Lord m loveth righteousness;
His "countenance doth behold the upright.
a Ps. 66. 11.
1 Hab. 2. 20.
6. 34. Acts 7. 49. Rev. 4. 2.
? Or, quick burning coale.
Ps. 75. 8.