David’s state was herein a type and figure of the state both of Christ and Christians that he was grievously persecuted; as there are many of his psalms, so there are many of the verses of this psalm, which complain of this, as those here. Here observe,
I. The account he gives of his persecutors and their malice against him. 1. They were proud, and in their pride they persecuted him, glorying in this, that they could trample upon one who was so much cried up, and hoping to raise themselves on his ruins. 2. They were unjust: They persecuted him wrongfully; so far was he from giving them any provocation that he had studied to oblige them; but for his love they were his adversaries. 3. They were spiteful: They dug pits for him, which intimates that they were deliberate in their designs against him and that what they did was of malice prepense; it intimates likewise that they were subtle and crafty, and had the serpent’s head as well as the serpent’s venom, that they were industrious and would refuse no pains to do him a mischief, and treacherous, laying snares in secret for him, as hunters do take wild beasts, Ps. 35:7. Such has been the enmity of the serpent’s seed to the seed of the woman. 4. They herein showed their enmity to God himself. The pits they dug for him were not after God’s law; he means they were very much against his law, which forbids to devise evil to our neighbour, and has particularly said, Touch not my anointed. The law appointed that, if a man dug a pit which occasioned any mischief, he should answer for the mischief (Exod. 21:33, 34), much more when it was dug with a mischievous design. 5. They carried on their designs against him so far that they had almost consumed him upon earth; they went near to ruin him and all his interests. It is possible that those who shall shortly be consummate in heaven may be, for the present, almost consumed on earth; and it is of the Lord’s mercies (and, considering the malice of their enemies, it is a miracle of mercy) that they are not quite consumed. But the bush in which God is, though it burns, shall not be burnt up.
II. His application to God in his persecuted state. 1. He acknowledges the truth and goodness of his religion, though he suffered: “However it be, all thy commandments are faithful, and therefore, whatever I lose for my observance of them, I know I shall not lose by it.” True religion, if it be worth any thing, is worth every thing, and therefore worth suffering for. “Men are false; I find them do; men of low degree, men of high degree, are so, there is no trusting them. But all thy commandments are faithful; on them I may rely.” 2. He begs that God would stand by him, and succour him: “They persecute me; help thou me; help me under my troubles, that I may bear them patiently, and as becomes me, and may still hold fast my integrity, and in due time help me out of my troubles.” God help me is an excellent comprehensive prayer; it is a pity that it should ever be used lightly and as a by-word.
III. His adherence to his duty notwithstanding all the malice of his persecutors (Ps. 119:87): But I forsook not thy precepts. That which they aimed at was to frighten him from the ways of God, but they could not prevail; he would sooner forsake all that was dear to him in this world than forsake the word of God, would sooner lose his life than lose the comfort of doing his duty.