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Commentary On Psalms Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Psalm 63:9-11

9. And they, whilst they seek my soul to destroy it, shall go into the lowest parts of the earth.10. They shall cast him out to the edge of the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.11. But the king , shall rejoice in God; and every one who swears by him shall glory: for the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

9. And they, whilst they seek, etc. Here we find David rising to a more assured confidence, and triumphing as if he had already obtained the victory. And there is every reason to believe, that though he had escaped his difficulties, and was in circumstances of peace and prosperity when he wrote this psalm, yet he only expresses what he actually felt at the critical period when his life was in such imminent danger. He declares his conviction that the enemies who eagerly sought his life would be cut off; that God would cast them headlong into destruction; and that their very bodies should be left without burial. To be the portion of foxes, is the same thing with being left to be torn and devoured by the beasts of the field. It is often denounced as one judgment which should befall the wicked, that they would perish by the sword, and become the prey of wolves and of dogs, without privilege of sepulture. This is a fate which the best of men have met with in the world, -- for good as well as bad are exposed to the stroke of temporal evil; -- but there is this distinction, that God watches over the scattered dust of his own children, gathers it again, and will suffer nothing of them to perish, whereas, when the wicked are slain, and their bones spread on the field, this is only preparatory to their everlasting destruction.

11. But the king will rejoice in God. The deliverance which David received had not been extended to him as a private person, but the welfare of the whole Church was concerned in it, as that of the body in the safety of the head, and there is therefore a propriety in his representing all the people of God as rejoicing with him. Nor can we fail to admire his holy magnanimity in not scrupling to call himself king, overwhelming as the dangers were by which he was surrounded, because he laid claim to that honor by faith, though yet denied him in actual possession. In saying that he would rejoice in God, he refers to the gratitude which he would feel; at the same time, in extolling the divine goodness shown to him, he views it as it affected the common body of the faithful. As was already remarked, the safety of God's chosen people, at that time, was inseparably connected with the reign of David and its prosperity -- a figure by which it was the divine intention to teach us, that our happiness and glory depend entirely upon Christ. By those who swear in the name of the Lord, he means in general all his genuine servants. The act of solemnly calling upon God to witness and judge what we say, is one part of divine worship: hence an oath, by the figure of speech called synecdoche, is made to signify the profession of religion in general. We are not to imagine from this that God reckons all those to be his servants who make mention of his name. Many take it into their lips only to profane it by the grossest perjury; others outrage or slight it by entering into trifling and unnecessary oaths; and hypocrites are chargeable with wickedly abusing it. But those whom David refers to are such as swear by the Lord, considerately and with reverence, and whose hearts respond to what they declare. This appears more clearly from the contrast which follows in the verse, where he opposes those who swear by the name of God to those who speak lies, understanding by that term, not only treacherous and deceitful men, but men who profane the name of God by falsehoods of a sacrilegious kind.

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