To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.
Be merciful unto me, O God:
for man would swallow me up;
he fighting daily oppresseth me.
Mine enemies would daily swallow me up:
for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
(from Clarke’s Commentary:Most of the Versions begin the next verse with this word: “From the light of the day, though I fear, yet will I trust in thee.” From the time that persecution waxes hot against me, though I often am seized with fear, yet I am enabled to maintain my trust in thee. Dr. Kennicott thinks there is a corruption here, and proposes to read: “I look upwards all the day long.”)
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust;
I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
Every day they wrest my words:
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather themselves together, they hide themselves,
they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
Shall they escape by iniquity?
in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
Thou tellest my wanderings:
put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
When I cry unto thee,
then shall mine enemies turn back:
this I know; for God is for me.
In God will I praise his word:
in the LORD will I praise his word.
In God have I put my trust:
I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
Thy vows are upon me, O God:
I will render praises unto thee.
(from Clarke’s commentary: Thy vows are upon me – I have promised in the most solemn manner to be thy servant; to give my whole life to thee; and to offer for my preservation sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving.
Reader, what hast thou vowed to God? To renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful desires of the flesh; to keep God’s holy word and commandment, and to walk before him all the days of thy life. These things hast thou vowed; and these vows are upon thee. Wilt thou pay them?)
For thou hast delivered my soul from death:
wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling,
that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
(and again from Clarke’s: My feet from falling – Thou hast preserved me from taking any false way, and keepest me steady in my godly course; and so supportest me that I may continue to walk before thee in the light of the living, ever avoiding that which is evil, and moving towards that which is good; letting my light shine before men, that they may see my good works, and glorify my Father which is in heaven. To walk before God is to please him; the light of the living signifies the whole course of human life, with all its comforts and advantages.)