Psalm 4:6
(6) There be many.--Around the fugitive king were many whose courage was not so high, nor their faith so firm, as his. He hears their expressions of despair--

"Talking like this world's brood."--MILTON.

It is better to translate the words of these faint-hearted ones by the future, as in Authorised Version; not by the optative, as Ewald and others.

Lift thou up . . .--This is an echo of the priestly benediction (Numbers 6:24, et seq.), which must so often have inspired the children of Israel with hope and cheerfulness during their desert wanderings--which has breathed peace over so many death-beds in Christian times.

The Hebrew for "lift" is doubly anomalous, and is apparently formed from the usual word "to lift," with a play upon another word meaning "a banner," suggesting to the fearful followers of the king that Jehovah's power was ready to protect him. The Vulg. follows the LXX. in rendering, "The light of thy countenance was made known by a sign over us:" i.e., shone so that we recognised it.

Verse 6. - There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Pessimists are numerous in all ages. Among David's adherents in his times of distress (ver. 1) would be many who doubted and desponded, anticipating nothing but continued suffering and misfortune. Theft would ask the question of the text. Or the scope may be wider. Men are always seeking for good, but not knowing what their true good is. David points it out to them. It is to have the light of God's countenance shining on them. Lord, lift thou up, etc.; compare the form of Levitical benediction (Numbers 6:24-26), and see also Psalm 31:15; Psalm 80:3, 7, 19. If we bask in the sunshine of God's favour, there is nothing more needed for happiness.

4:6-8 Wordly people inquire for good, not for the chief good; all they want is outward good, present good, partial good, good meat, good drink, a good trade, and a good estate; but what are all these worth? Any good will serve the turn of most men, but a gracious soul will not be put off so. Lord, let us have thy favour, and let us know that we have it, we desire no more; let us be satisfied of thy loving-kindness, and will be satisfied with it. Many inquire after happiness, but David had found it. When God puts grace in the heart, he puts gladness in the heart. Thus comforted, he pitied, but neither envied nor feared the most prosperous sinner. He commits all his affairs to God, and is prepared to welcome his holy will. But salvation is in Christ alone; where will those appear who despise him as their Mediator, and revile him in his disciples? May they stand in awe, and no longer sin against the only remedy.There be many that say, who will show us any good?.... These may be thought to be the men of the world; carnal worldly minded men, seeking after temporal good, and taking up their rest and contentment in it; to whom the psalmist opposes his wish and request, in the following words. Or these are the words of the men that were along with David, wishing themselves at home and in their families, enjoying the good things of life they before had; or rather these are the words of the same many, the enemies of David, spoken of in Psalm 3:1; who were wishing, as Kimchi observes, that Absalom's rebellion might prosper; that David might die and his son reign in his stead, so the evil they wished to him was good to them: or they may be the words of the same men, expressing the desperate condition that David and his friends were in, which the psalmist represents in this manner, "who will show us any good?" none, say they, will show them any good, neither God nor man; there is no help for him in God; he and his friends must unavoidably perish: and this produces the following petition,

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us; meaning his gracious presence, the manifestations of himself, the discoveries of his love, communion with him, the comforts of his Spirit, and the joys of his salvation; suggesting that in the enjoyment of these things lay their good and happiness, and their safety also; his face and favour, love and grace, being as a shield to encompass them, and as a banner over them, Psalm 5:12; and so Jarchi observes, that the word here used signifies to lift up for a banner (r); so, me respect seems to be had to the form of the priests blessing, Numbers 6:24; and the words are opposed to the good desired by carnal men, and express the true happiness of the saints, Psalm 89:15; this is a blessing wished for not only by David, but by his antitype the Messiah, Matthew 27:46; and by all believers.

(r) So Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 515, 518.

Psalm 4:5
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