Arise, O Lord - Though he knew that God had undertaken his defense, yet he knew that his continued protection depended on his continual prayer and faith. God never ceases to help as long as we pray. When our hands hang down, and we restrain prayer before him, we may then justly fear that our enemies will prevail.
Those blast smitten - That is, Thou wilt smite. He speaks in full confidence of God's interference; and knows as surely that he shall have the victory, as if he had it already. Breaking the jaws and the teeth are expressions which imply, confounding and destroying an adversary; treating him with extreme contempt; using him like a dog, etc.
A Psalm of David - literally, belonging to David; that is, belonging to him as the author. This is marked in the Hebrew as the first verse, and so in the Syriac version, the Latin Vulgate, and the Septuagint, making in the Hebrew, and in each of these versions, nine verses in the psalm instead of eight, as in our translation. This may have been prefixed to the psalm by the author himself, for it was not uncommon in ancient times for an author to prefix his name to his own composition, as is commonly done by the apostle Paul in his epistles. It is not absolutely certain, however, that this was done in the Psalms by the authors themselves, but it may have been done by him who collected and arranged the Psalms, indicating the prevalent belief in regard to the authorship, and under the Spirit of inspiration.
When he fled - On the occasion of his fleeing. That is, it was composed at that time, or was subsequently composed in remembrance of it. See Introduction, Section 2.
From Absalom his son - See the introduction, Section 2.
Arise, O Lord - This is a common mode of calling upon God in the Scriptures, as if he had been sitting still, or had been inactive. It is, of course, language taken from human conceptions, for in the intervals of active effort, in labor or in battle, we sit or lie down, and when we engage in toil we arise from our sitting or recumbent posture. So the mind accustoms itself to think of God. The idea is simply that David now calls upon God to interpose in his behalf and to deliver him.
Save me, O my God - He was still surrounded by numerous enemies, and he, therefore, calls earnestly upon God to help him. In accordance with a common usage in the Scriptures, and with what is right for all the people of God, he calls him “his” God: “O my God.” That is, he was the God whom he recognized as his God in distinction from all idols, and who had manifested himself as his God by the many mercies which he had conferred on him.
For thou hast smitten all mine enemies - That is, in former exigencies, or on former occasions. In his conflicts with Saul, with the Philistines, and with the surrounding nations, he had done this; and as the result of all he had established him on the throne, and placed him over the realm. In the remembrance of all this he appeals with the full confidence that what God had done for him before He would do now, and that, notwithstanding he was surrounded with numerous foes, He would again interpose. So we may derive comfort and assurance in present trouble or danger from the recollection of what God has done for us in former times. He who has saved us in former perils can still save us; we may believe that he who did not forsake us in those perils will not leave us now.
Upon the cheek-bone - This language seems to be taken from a comparison of his enemies with wild beasts; and the idea is, that God had disarmed them as one would a lion or tiger by breaking out his teeth. The cheek-bone denotes the bone in which the teeth are placed; and to smite that, is to disarm the animal. The idea here is not that of “insult,” therefore; but the meaning is simply that he had deprived them of the power of doing him wrong.
Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly - The same idea is here expressed under another form, “as if” the teeth of wild animals were broken out, rendering them harmless. As God had thus disarmed his enemies in times past, the psalmist hoped that he would do the same thing now, and he confidently called on him to do it.
Many who see not as God seeth, but view matters from man's standpoint, might reason that with David there might have been excuse for repining and that the sincerity of his repentance years before might have excepted him from present judgment.... David utters no complaint. The most eloquent psalm he ever sang was when he was climbing Mount Olivet, weeping and barefooted, yet humbled in spirit, unselfish and generous, submissive and resigned.46Letter 6, 1880. CC 181.6Read in context »
“And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” But there was one who was not deceived—one who clearly foresaw the result of this fatal mistake of Absalom's. Ahithophel knew that the cause of the rebels was lost. And he knew that whatever might be the fate of the prince, there was no hope for the counselor who had instigated his greatest crimes. Ahithophel had encouraged Absalom in rebellion; he had counseled him to the most abominable wickedness, to the dishonor of his father; he had advised the slaying of David and had planned its accomplishment; he had cut off the last possibility of his own reconciliation with the king; and now another was preferred before him, even by Absalom. Jealous, angry, and desperate, Ahithophel “gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died.” Such was the result of the wisdom of one, who, with all his high endowments, did not make God his counselor. Satan allures men with flattering promises, but in the end it will be found by every soul, that the “wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. PP 741.1
Hushai, not certain that his counsel would be followed by the fickle king, lost no time in warning David to escape beyond Jordan without delay. To the priests, who were to forward it by their sons, Hushai sent the message: “Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counseled. Now therefore ... lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.” PP 741.2
The young men were suspected and pursued, yet they succeeded in performing their perilous mission. David, spent with toil and grief after that first day of flight, received the message that he must cross the Jordan that night, for his son was seeking his life. PP 741.3Read in context »