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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 13–21
Verses 13–21

David had been speaking before of the spiteful reproaches which his enemies cast upon him; here he adds, But, as for me, my prayer is unto thee. They spoke ill of him for his fasting and praying, and for that he was made the song of the drunkards; but, notwithstanding that, he resolves to continue praying. Note, Though we may be jeered for well-doing, we must never be jeered out of it. Those can bear but little for God, and their confessing his name before men, that cannot bear a scoff and a hard word rather than quit their duty. David’s enemies were very abusive to him, but this was his comfort, that he had a God to go to, with whom he would lodge his cause. “They think to carry their cause by insolence and calumny; but I use other methods. Whatever they do, As for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord!” And it was in an acceptable time, not the less acceptable for being a time of affliction. God will not drive us from him, though it is need that drives us to him; nay, it is the more acceptable, because the misery and distress of God’s people make them so much the more the objects of his pity: it is seasonable for him to help them when all other helps fail, and they are undone, and feel that they are undone, if he do not help them. We find this expression used concerning Christ. Isa. 49:8; In an acceptable time have I heard thee. Now observe,

I. What his requests are. 1. That he might have a gracious audience given to his complaints, the cry of his affliction, and the desire of his heart. Hear me (Ps. 69:13), and again, Hear me, O Lord! (Ps. 69:16), Hear me speedily (Ps. 69:17), not only hear what I say, but grant what I ask. Christ knew that the Father heard him always, John 11:42. 2. That he might be rescued out of his troubles, might be saved from sinking under the load of grief (Deliver me out of the mire; let me not stick in it, so some, but help me out, and set my feet on a rock, Ps. 40:2), might be saved from his enemies, that they might not swallow him up, nor have their will against him: “Let me be delivered from those that hate me, as a lamb from the paw of a lion, Ps. 69:14. Though I have come into keep waters (Ps. 69:2), where I am ready to conclude that the floods will overflow me, yet let my fears be prevented and silenced; let not the waterflood, though it flow upon me, overflow me, Ps. 69:15. Let me not fall into the gulf of despair; let not that deep swallow me up; let not that pit shut her mouth upon me, for then I am undone.” He gave himself up for lost in the beginning of the psalm; yet now he has his head above water, and is not so weary of crying as he thought himself. 3. That God would turn to him (Ps. 69:16), that he would smile upon him, and not hide his face from him, Ps. 69:17. The tokens of God’s favour to us, and the light of his countenance shining upon us, are enough to keep our spirits from sinking in the deepest mire of outward troubles, nor need we desire any more to make us safe and easy, Ps. 69:18. “Draw nigh to my soul, to manifest thyself to it, and that shall redeem it.”

II. What his pleas are to enforce these petitions. 1. He pleads God’s mercy and truth (Ps. 69:13): In the multitude of thy mercy hear me. There is mercy in God, a multitude of mercies, all kinds of mercy, inexhaustible mercy, mercy enough for all, enough for each; and hence we must take our encouragement in praying. The truth also of his salvation (the truth of all those promises of salvation which he has made to those that trust in him) is a further encouragement. He repeats his argument taken from the mercy of God: “Hear me, for thy lovingkindness of good. It is so in itself; it is rich and plentiful and abundant. It is so in the account of all the saints; it is very precious to them, it is their life, their joy, their all. O let me have the benefit of it! Turn to me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies,” Ps. 69:16. See how highly he speaks of the goodness of God: in him there are mercies, tender mercies, and a multitude of them. If we think well of God, and continue to do so under the greatest hardships, we need not fear but God will do well for us; for he takes pleasure in those that hope in his mercy, Ps. 147:11. 2. He pleads his own distress and affliction: “Hide not thy face from me, for I am in trouble (Ps. 69:17), and therefore need thy favour; therefore it will come seasonably, and therefore I shall know how to value it.” He pleads particularly the reproach he was under and the indignities that were done him (Ps. 69:19): Thou hast known my reproach, my shame, and my dishonour. See what a stress is laid upon this; for, in the sufferings of Christ for us, perhaps nothing contributed more to the satisfaction he made for sin, which had been so injurious to God in his honour, than the reproach, and shame, and dishonour he underwent, which God took notice of, and accepted as more than an equivalent for the everlasting shame and contempt which our sins had deserved, and therefore we must by repentance take shame to ourselves and bear the reproach of our youth. And if at any time we be called out to suffer reproach, and shame, and dishonour, for his sake, this may be our comfort, that he knows it, and, as he is before-hand with us, so he will not be behind-hand with us. The Psalmist speaks the language of an ingenuous nature when he says (Ps. 69:20): Reproach has broken my heart; I am full of heaviness; for it bears hard upon one that knows the worth of a good name to be put under a bad character; but when we consider what an honour it is to be dishonoured for God, and what a favour to be counted worthy to suffer shame for his name (as they deemed it, Acts 5:41), we shall see there is no reason at all why it should sit so heavily or be any heart-breaking to us. 3. He pleads the insolence and cruelty of his enemies (Ps. 69:18): Deliver me because of my enemies, because they were such as he had before described them, Ps. 69:4. “My adversaries are all before thee (Ps. 69:19); thou knowest what sort of men they are, what danger I am in from them, what enemies they are to thee, and how much thou art reflected upon in what they do and design against me.” One instance of their barbarity is given (Ps. 69:21): They gave me gall for my meat (the word signifies a bitter herb, and is often joined with wormwood) and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. This was literally fulfilled in Christ, and did so directly point to him that he would not say It is finished till this was fulfilled; and, in order that his enemies might have occasion to fulfil it, he said, I thirst, John 19:28, 29. Some think that the hyssop which they put to his mouth with the vinegar was the bitter herb which they gave him with the vinegar for his meat. See how particularly the sufferings of Christ were foretold, which proves the scripture to be the word of God, and how exactly the predictions were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, which proves him to be the true Messiah. This is he that should come, and we are to look for no other. 4. He pleads the unkindness of his friends and his disappointment in them (Ps. 69:20): I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; they all failed him like the b 5fcf rooks in summer. This was fulfilled in Christ, for in his sufferings all his disciples forsook him and fled. We cannot expect too little from men (miserable comforters are they all); nor can we expect too much from God, for he is the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort and consolation.