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THE praise of a canticle for David. He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob.


The just is secure under the protection of God.

Ver. 1.  David.  Sept. add, "it has no title in Heb." and hence the Jews refer it to the preceding author, with S. Jer. &c.  But this rule is very uncertain.  C.  Bert.


--- Some suppose that Moses composed it when he led the Israelites out of Egypt, or in the wilderness; while others think that it is the work of David under some imminent danger.  The Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ.  Yet it may be considered simply as a moral instruction, (C.) superior in elegance to any Greek or Latin poem.  Muis


--- Aid.  Heb. "secret place."  Of heaven.  Is not in Heb. shaddai, which means, (H.) "the almighty self-sufficient, or destroying God."  C.


--- We must keep close to God by mental prayer, if we would enjoy the divine protection.  S. Greg. Mor. vii. 7.  Bert.

2 He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector, and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust. 3 For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.

Ver. 3.  Delivered me.  Heb. and Sept. "shall deliver thee." Yet the Alex. copy has me.  H.


--- The psalmist addresses his own soul.  Bert.


--- Word, verbo: we sometimes find "sword," printed by mistake.  Heb. dabar, signifies "word, thing, pestilence, &c."  H.


--- The devil employs human respect to draw many into his nets.  S. Aug.  Bert.


--- Neither subtle craft, nor the cruelty of tyrants will disturb those who trust in Providence.  W.

4 He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.

Ver. 4.  With.  Sept. "upon."  S. Aug. "between," as the Lord carried Israel.  Deut. xxxii. 11.  C.


--- Heb. "he will cover thee with his feathers," (H.) like an eagle.  M.

5 His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.

Ver. 5.  Shield.  God's fidelity, or word, affords the best protection.  Prov. xxx. 5.  C.


--- Having the spirit of faith, a man is secure.  But he whose heart is hardened, (Bert.) is covered with the buckler of God's affliction, (Lam. iii. 64.  H.) abuses every thing, and seems bewitched with self-love.  Gal. i.  Bert.


--- Night. Devils, spectres, &c. (Cant. iii. 7.  C.) and treacherous insinuations, that people are not bound to confess the truth, in time of danger.  W.

6 Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.

Ver. 6.  Day.  Neither open attacks, nor unforeseen accidents prevail.  C.


--- Business.  Heb. dabar, "thing," v. 3. "the pestilence."  S. Jer.  H.


--- The Hebrews suppose, that one angel presides over death in the daytime, and another during the night; or that various demons send maladies at these different times.


--- Invasion.  Sept. and old Italic, have, "ruin."


--- S. Jer. after Aquila, "from the bite of him who rageth, damonizontoV, at noon.  Keteb, (H.) according to the ancient tradition of the Jews, denotes one of the bolder devils, who attacks in open day, and seeks no aid from nocturnal craft.  Geneb.  The psalmist may allude to those popular notions, (Theod.  S. Jer.) which were prevalent among the pagans.  Theocrit. Idyl. i.  Lucan iii.  C.


--- Thou shalt fear no danger of the day or night, (Bellar.) nor any which disturbs the life of man.  Scalig. ep. i. p. 95.


--- This author mistakes, when he supposes that Keteb is rendered devil.  Amama.


--- He might also ask how the Chal. Aquila, and Symmachus came to discover, that the devil is here mentioned, as well as the Sept.?  Bert.


--- These seem to have read ussod, "and the devil," instead of issud, "from destruction which ravages," (Amama) vastabit.  Mont.  H.


--- But allowing that the Sept. &c. are accurate what is meant by this devil?  S. Peter seems to explain the idea, when he exhorts us to sobriety.  1 Pet. v. 8.  Bert.


--- Violent temptations of sloth, (S. Athan.) or impurity, (Theod.) or the persecutions against the faithful, may be meant.  Four different sorts of attacks seem to be designated.  1. Such as assult the ignorant with the fears of the night, tempting them to secure their temporal estates, while they think not of eternal woe impending.  2. Others are attacked with the arrows in the day, and threatened with death, which they know they ought rather to endure, than abandon their faith.  3. The business, &c. imitates some grievous but latent temptation, as when the faithful are persuaded to take some unlawful oath.  4. But the greatest and most manifest attack, is styled, invasion, &c. when persecutors assail those who adhere to the true faith with a succession of torments, and subtle arguments, which have been the occasion of the fall of many, who had resisted the former attacks.  Yet none of these yield, but by their own fault, trusting in themselves, and not in God.  S. Aug.  W.


--- Noon day.  Grotius explains this of the heat of the sun, which is very dangerous to travellers in Palestine.  C.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.

Ver. 7.  Fall.  Or "attack,...but shall not come nigh to thee."  Euseb.  C.


--- How great soever may be the number of thy adversaries, they shall not be able to do thee any harm.  They shall at thy feet, and their dart shall not reach thee.  H.


--- More forsake God in prosperity, than under adversity.  W.

8 But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou, O Lord, art my hope: thou hast made the most High thy refuge.

Ver. 9.  Because.  Saying, Thou, &c.  W.  v. 1.  C.


--- High.  Heb. helyon is a title of God, (C.) not the adjective to refuge, (Bert.) as Chal. Aquila, &c. have taken it.  "Thou hast placed thy dwelling most high."  So that there, &c. v. 10.  It is evident that the following promises relate not to the Lord, (C.) but to the just man.  Prot. "because thou hast  made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most high thy habitation."  This transposition is not authorized by the text.  H.

10 There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.

Ver. 10.  Scourge.  Aquila has Afh, "the leprosy," (C.) or any stroke of distress.  H.


--- What the saints have suffered were not real evils, and they will be amply rewarded in heaven.  They never complain, having God with them, (C. v. 15.  H.) and his holy angels.  M.

11 For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.

Ver. 11.  Angels.  Many seem to be assigned to the just, to whom S. Hil. &c. would restrain this privilege.  But it is more generally believed, that each person has an angel guardian.  This was the opinion even of the pagans.  Porphyr. Ap. ii.  S. Clem. Strom. v.  C.


--- To keep.  Instead of this, the tempter substituted and, (Matt. iv. 6.) finding it would not answer his purpose, (H.) and shed that the question was about walking, and not about precipitating oneself.  S. Bern. ser. xv. p. 90.


--- To attempt such unusual courses, is the way of Lucifer, (W.) and tempting God, as our Saviour replied.  Bert.


--- From the father of lies, heretics have learnt how to curtail and misapply the holy Scriptures.  H.


--- God has highly favoured man, by intrusting him to the care of these sublime ministers of his court, (S. Bern.) and surely it is lawful for us to implore their assistance, as we may apply to our fellow-creatures for redress in our temporal necessities.  To refuse to do so, on the plea that we expect all immediately from God, would be going contrary to his appointment.  Else why has God given them for our guardians, since He could have done all without them?  In vain is it objected, that this invocation is a religious worship.  It may be so styled, because they are blessed, and help us to obtain salvation.  But we only honour in the the gifts of God.  Bert.


--- They protect us by his ordinance, (W.) and the very form of praying, shews in what light we regard them.  Who durst say to God, pray for us?  M.


12 In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Ver. 12.  Stone.  He alludes to nurses.  C.


--- All these expressions are metaphorical, to shew the assistance given by angels, to remove the obstacles which impede our progress towards heaven.

13 Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.

Ver. 13.  Asp.  Which kills in eight hours time at farthest, making the blood congeal.-


-- Basilisk.  "The little king" of serpents.  What is related of it seems fabulous.  Pliny viii. 21.  Solin xxx.  C.


--- Yet there might be some species known by this name, possessing fascinating qualities like the rattle-snake.  Bert.


--- The sight of it alone could not destroy a man; otherwise how could any account o it have been given?  Heb. ssel means a lion in Job, (Bert.) and phethen, "an asp," (C.) or basilisk.  Bochart


--- Dragon.  Crocodile.  C.


--- The most noxious animals, both of sea and land, shall prove quite harmless to the true servants of God, when he intends to prove the truth of his religion, as he did in the cases of Daniel, and of the disciples of Christ.  Mar. xvi.  If they be suffered to kill the saints here, it is in order that they may be glorified in heaven, ver. 15.  H.


--- The devil is styled an asp, &c.  Bert.


--- He sometimes attacks the Church, by craft, and at other times by open violence.  But she remains secure, (S. Aug.) and her children can only be preserved by continuing in her bosom.  To know which is the true Church; "see, says S. Greg. (Mor. xx. 29.) which are the most recent sects."  Bert.


--- Methodists may now wrest this honour from the rest of Protestants.  H.

14 Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.

Ver. 14.  Because.  God speaks the rest.  W.


--- Known.  In practice.  C.

15 He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.

Ver. 15.  Tribulation.  The just are not exempt from it.


--- Glorify him, with eternal salvation.

16 I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.

Ver. 16.  Days.  Eternity alone can satisfy the heart.


--- Salvation.  Or Jesus, who promised to manifest himself.  Jo. xiv. 21. 25.  Bert.


--- Abraham saw him afar off; Simeon at hand.  Jo. viii. 56.  Lu. ii. 30.  God insures the just a long life in this world, and an eternal one in the next.  C.


--- That life is long enough which ends in happiness.  H.

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