1. Nevertheless, my soul is silent towards God: from him is my salvation. 2. Nevertheless, he himself is my rock and my salvation, my high tower: I shall not be greatly moved.
1. Nevertheless, my soul is silent towards God. Should the translation I have followed be adopted, the psalm is to be considered as beginning abruptly, in the usual style of compositions of an impassioned kind.1 Of this we have an instance in Psalm 73, where the prophet, who had been agitated with doubts, as we shall see more particularly afterwards, suddenly brings his mind to a fixed decision, and, in the way of cutting off all further subject of debate, exclaims, "Yet God is good to Israel." And so it is, I conceive, in the psalm before us. We know that the Lord's people cannot always reach such a measure of composure as to be wholly exempt from distraction. They would wish to receive the word of the Lord with submission, and to be dumb under his correcting hand; but inordinate affections will take possession of their minds, and break in upon that peace which they might otherwise attain to in the exercise of faith and resignation. Hence the impatience we find in many; an impatience which they give vent to in the presence of God, and which is an occasion to themselves of much trouble and disquietude. The Hebrew particle Ka, ach, is often used in an exclusive sense, and has been rendered by some, only; it is also employed in an affirmative sense, and has been rendered truly, or certainly. But in order to arrive at its full meaning, we must suppose that David felt an inward struggle and opposition, which he found it necessary to check. Satan had raised a tumult in his affections, and wrought a degree of impatience in his mind, which he now curbs; and he expresses his resolution to be silent.2 The word implies a meek and submissive endurance of the cross. It expresses the opposite of that heat of spirit which would put us into a posture of resistance to God. The silence intended is, in short, that composed submission of the believer, in the exercise of which he acquiesces in the promises of God, gives place to his word, bows to his sovereignty, and suppresses every inward murmur of dissatisfaction. The Hebrew word hymwd, dumiyah, which I have rendered is silent, some consider to be the noun; and it is of little consequence which translation we adopt.
The particle Ka, ach, in the second verse, I would render in the same way as in the first. The believer triumphs in one encounter with temptation only to enter upon another; and here David, who appeared to have emerged from his distress, shows that he had still to struggle with remaining difficulties. We meet with the same particle no fewer than six times throughout the psalm. This, too, may explain the many titles which he applies to God, each of which is to be considered as a foil by which he would ward off the attacks of the tempter. The expression in the close of the verse, I shall not be greatly moved, implies his persuasion that he might be overtaken with afflictions, (for he was well aware that he could claim no exemption from the common lot of humanity,) but his conviction, at the same time, that these would not overwhelm him, through the good help of God. We shall find him saying afterwards, in so many words, I shall not fall; perhaps because he felt, as he advanced in prayer, that he had greater boldness in despising affliction. Or the expressions may be taken as synonymous in the two places. The truth itself is unquestionable. The believer may be overthrown for a time; but as he is no sooner cast down than he is raised up again by God, he cannot properly be said to fall. He is supported by the Spirit of God, and is not therefore really prostrated and overcome.