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Psalms 71:20

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles - Multiplied straits and difficulties. And thou hast only showed them.

Hadst thou permitted them to have fallen upon me with all their own energy and natural consequences, they would have destroyed me. As it was, I was nearly buried under them.

Shalt quicken me again - Shalt revive me - put new life in me. This has been applied to the passion of our Lord, and his resurrection; for it is added, Thou: -

Shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth - Death shall not prey upon my body; thy Holy One can see no corruption. As applicable to David, it might mean his being almost overwhelmed with afflictions; and his deliverance was like a life from the dead.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles - Or rather, who hast caused us to see or experience great trials. The psalmist here, by a change from the singular to the plural, connects himself with his friends and followers, meaning that he had suffered with them and through them. It was not merely a personal affliction, but others connected with him had been identified with him, and his personal sorrows had been increased by the trials which had come upon them also. Our severest trials often are those which affect our friends.

Shalt quicken me again - literally, “Shalt return and make us live.” The word “quicken” in the Scriptures has always this sense of “making to live again.” See the notes at John 5:21; compare Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:36; Ephesians 2:1. The plural form should have been retained here as in the former member of the sentence. The authors of the Masoretic punctuation have pointed this as if it were to be read in the singular, but the plural is undoubtedly the true reading. Alike in his affliction, and in his hope of the returning mercy of God, he connects himself here with those who had suffered with him. The language expresses firm confidence in the goodness of God - an assurance that these troubles would pass away, and that he would see a brighter day.

And shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth - As if he had been sunk in the waters, or in the mire. See Psalm 130:1. The word here used means commonly “wave, billow, surge;” then, a mass of waters, “a flood,” the deep; then, a gulf, an abyss. The idea here is, that, instead of being on the mountain top, in a place of security, he had sunk down to the lowest point; he had, as it were, sunk “into” the very earth. Yet from that low estate he felt assured that God would raise him up, and place him in a condition of happiness and safety. This is one of the many instances which we have in the Psalms, where the psalmist in great trouble expresses the most entire confidence that God would interpose in his behalf.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The psalmist declares that the righteousness of Christ, and the great salvation obtained thereby, shall be the chosen subject of his discourse. Not on a sabbath only, but on every day of the week, of the year, of his life. Not merely at stated returns of solemn devotion, but on every occasion, all the day long. Why will he always dwell on this? Because he knew not the numbers thereof. It is impossible to measure the value or the fulness of these blessings. The righteousness is unspeakable, the salvation everlasting. God will not cast off his grey-headed servants when no longer capable of labouring as they have done. The Lord often strengthens his people in their souls, when nature is sinking into decay. And it is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to succeeding generations, to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the advantage of religion, and the truth of God's promises; and especially to the everlasting righteousness of the Redeemer. Assured of deliverance and victory, let us spend our days, while waiting the approach of death, in praising the Holy One of Israel with all our powers. And while speaking of his righteousness, and singing his praises, we shall rise above fears and infirmities, and have earnests of the joys of heaven. The work of redemption ought, above all God's works, to be spoken of by us in our praises. The Lamb that was slain, and has redeemed us to God, is worthy of all blessing and praise.
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