9. Surely thou didst draw me forth from the womb, and thou didst cause me to confide upon the breasts of my mother.1 10. I was cast upon thee2 from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. 11. Depart not far from me, for distress is near, and there is none to help me.
9. Surely thou. David again here raises a new fortress, in order to withstand and repel the machinations of Satan. He briefly enumerates the benefits which God had bestowed upon him, by which he had long since learned that he was his father. Yea, he declares that even before he was born God had shown towards him such evidence of his fatherly love, that although now overwhelmed with the darkness of death, he might upon good ground venture to hope for life from him. And it is the Holy Spirit who teaches the faithful the wisdom to collect together, when they are brought into circumstances of fear and trouble, the evidences of the goodness of God, in order thereby to sustain and strengthen their faith. We ought to regard it as an established principle, that as God never wearies in the exercise of his liberality, and as the most exuberant bestowment cannot exhaust his riches, it follows that, as we have experienced him to be a father from our earliest infancy, he will show himself the same towards us even to extreme old age. In acknowledging that he was taken from the womb by the hand of God, and that God had caused him to confide upon the breasts of his mother, the meaning is, that although it is by the operation of natural causes that infants come into the world, and are nourished with their mother's milk, yet therein the wonderful providence of God brightly shines forth. This miracle, it is true, because of its ordinary occurrence, is made less account of by us. But if ingratitude did not put upon our eyes the veil of stupidity, we would be ravished with admiration at every childbirth in the world. What prevents the child from perishing, as it might, a hundred times in its own corruption, before the time for bringing it forth arrives, but that God, by his secret and incomprehensible power, keeps it alive in its grave? And after it is brought into the world, seeing it is subject to so many miseries, and cannot stir a finger to help itself, how could it live even for a single day, did not God take it up into his fatherly bosom to nourish and protect it? It is, therefore, with good reason said, that the infant is cast upon him; for, unless he fed the tender little babes, and watched over all the offices of the nurse, even at the very time of their being brought forth, they are exposed to a hundred deaths, by which they would be suffocated in an instant. Finally, David concludes that God was his God. God, it is true, to all appearance, shows the like goodness which is here celebrated even to the brute creation; but it is only to mankind that he shows himself to be a father in a special manner. And although he does not immediately endue babes with the knowledge of himself, yet he is said to give them confidence, because, by showing in fact that he takes care of their life, he in a manner allures them to himself; as it is said in another place,
"He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry," (Psalm 147:9.)
Since God anticipates in this manner, by his grace, little infants before they have as yet the use of reason, it is certain that he will never disappoint the hope of his servants when they petition and call upon him. This is the argument by which David struggled with, and endeavored to overcome temptation.
11. Depart not far from me. Here he employs another argument to induce God to show him mercy, alleging that he is sorely pressed and hemmed in by the greatest distress. He doubtless set before his eyes the office which the Scriptures every where attribute to God of succouring the miserable, and of being the more ready to help us the more we are afflicted. Even despair itself, therefore, served as a ladder to elevate his mind to the exercise of devout and fervent prayer. In like manner, the feeling we have of our afflictions should excite us to take shelter under the wings of God, that by granting us his aid, he may show that he takes a deep interest in our welfare.