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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 21–31
Verses 21–31

David, having denounced God’s wrath against his enemies, here takes God’s comforts to himself, but in a very humble manner, and without boasting.

I. He pours out his complaint before God concerning the low condition he was in, which, probably, gave advantage to his enemies to insult over him: “I am poor and needy, and therefore a proper object of pity, and one that needs and craves thy help.” 1. He was troubled in mind (Ps. 109:22): My heart is wounded within me, not only broken with outward troubles, which sometimes prostrate and sink the spirits, but wounded with a sense of guilt; and a wounded spirit who can bear? who can heal? 2. He apprehended himself drawing near to his end: I am gone like the shadow when it declines, as good as gone already. Man’s life, at best, is like a shadow; sometimes it is like the evening shadow, the presage of night approaching, like the shadow when it declines. 3. He was unsettled, tossed up and down like the locust, his mind fluctuating and unsteady, still putting him upon new counsels, his outward condition far from any fixation, but still upon the remove, hunted like a partridge on the mountains. 4. His body was wasted, and almost worn away (Ps. 109:24): My knees are weak through fasting, either forced fasting (for want of food when he was persecuted, or for want of appetite when he was sick) or voluntary fasting, when he chastened his soul either for sin or affliction, his own or other’s, Ps. 35:13; 69:10. “My flesh fails of fatness; that is, it has lost the fatness it had, so that I have become a skeleton, nothing but skin and bones.” But it is better to have this leanness in the body, while the soul prospers and is in health, than, like Israel, to have leanness sent into the soul, while the body is feasted. 5. He was ridiculed and reproached by his enemies (Ps. 109:25); his devotions and his afflictions they made the matter of their laughter, and, upon both those accounts, God’s people have been exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that were at ease. In all this David was a type of Christ, who in his humiliation was thus wounded, thus weakened, thus reproached; he was also a type of the church, which is often afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted.

II. He prays for mercy for himself. In general (Ps. 109:21): “Do thou for me, O God the Lord! appear for me, act for me.” If God be for us, he will do for us, will do more abundantly for us than we are able either to ask or think. He does not prescribe to God what he should do for him, but refers himself to his wisdom: “Lord, do for me what seems good in thy eyes. Do that which thou knowest will be for me, really for me, in the issue for me, though for the present it may seem to make against me.” More particularly, he prays (Ps. 109:26): “Help me, O Lord my God! O save me! Help me under my trouble, save me out of my trouble; save me from sin, help me to do my duty.” He prays (Ps. 109:28), Though they curse, bless thou. Here (1.) He despises the causeless curses of his enemies: Let them curse. He said of Shimei, So let him curse. They can but show their malice; they can do him no more mischief than the bird by wandering or the swallow by flying, Prov. 26:2. He values the blessing of God as sufficient to counterbalance their curses: Bless thou, and then it is no matter though they curse. If God bless us, we need not care who curses us; for how can they curse those whom God has not cursed, nay, whom he has blessed? Num. 23:8. Men’s curses are impotent; God’s blessings are omnipotent; and those whom we unjustly curse may in faith expect and pray for God’s blessing, his special blessing. When the Pharisees cast out the poor man for his confessing Christ, Christ found him, John 9:35. When men without cause say all the ill they can of us, and wish all the ills they can to us, we may with comfort lift up our heart to God in this petition: Let them curse, but bless thou. He prays (Ps. 109:28), Let thy servant rejoice. Those that know how to value God’s blessing, let them but be sure of it, and they will be glad of it.

III. He prays that his enemies might be ashamed (Ps. 109:28), clothed with shame (Ps. 109:29), that they might cover themselves with their own confusion, that they might be left to themselves, to do that which would expose them and manifest their folly before all men, or rather that they might be disappointed in their designs and enterprises against David, and thereby might be filled with shame, as the adversaries of the Jews were, Neh. 6:16. Nay, in this he prays that they might be brought to repentance, which is the chief thing we should beg of God for our enemies. Sinners indeed bring shame upon themselves, but they are true penitents that take shame to themselves and cover themselves with their own confusion.

IV. He pleads God’s glory, the honour of his name:—Do for me, for thy name’s sake (Ps. 109:21), especially the honour of his goodness, by which he has proclaimed his name: “Deliver me, because thy mercy is good; it is what thou thyself dost delight in, and it is what I do d b23 epend upon. Save me, not according to my merit, for I have none to pretend to, but according to thy mercy; let that be the fountain, the reason, the measure, of my salvation.”

Lastly, He concludes the psalm with joy, the joy of faith, joy in assurance that his present conflicts would end in triumphs. 1. He promises God that he will praise him (Ps. 109:30): “I will greatly praise the Lord, not only with my heart, but with my mouth; I will praise him, not in secret only, but among the multitude.” 2. He promises himself that he shall have cause to praise God (Ps. 109:31): He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, night to him, a present help; he shall stand at his right hand as his patron and advocate to plead his cause against his accusers and to bring him off, to save him from those that condemn his soul and would execute their sentence if they could. God was David’s protector in his sufferings, and was present also with the Lord Jesus in his, stood at his right hand, so that he was not moved (Ps. 16:8), saved his soul from those that pretended to be the judges of it, and received it into his own hands. Let all those that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him.