5. I have waited for Jehovah, my soul hath waited; and I have hoped in his word. 6. My soul hath waited for the Lord before the watchers of the morning, idea, before the watchers of the mourning.
5. I have waited for Jehovah. After having testified in general that God is ready to show mercy to poor sinners who betake themselves to him, the Psalmist concludes that he is thereby encouraged to entertain good hope. The past tense in the verbs wait and trust is put for the present. I have waited for I wait; I have hoped for I hope. The repetition occurring in the first part of the verse is emphatic; and the word soul gives additional emphasis, implying, as it does, that the Prophet trusted in God even with the deepest affections of his heart. From this we also gather that he was not only patient and constant in the sight. of men, but that even in the inward feelings of his heart he had maintained quietness and patience before God; which is a very evident proof of faith. Many, no doubt, are restrained by vain glory from openly murmuring against God or betraying their distrust, but there is hardly one in ten who, when removed from the inspection of his fellow-men, and in his own heart, waits for God with a quiet mind. The Psalmist adds, in the concluding clause, that what supported his patience was the confidence which he reposed in the divine promises. Were these promises taken away, the grace of God would necessarily vanish from our sight, and thus our hearts would fail and be overwhelmed with despair. Besides, he teaches us, that our being contented with the word of God alone affords a genuine proof of our hope. When a man, embracing the word, becomes assured of having his welfare attended to by God, this assurance will be the mother of waiting or patience. Although the Prophet here speaks to himself for the purpose of confirming his faith, yet there is no doubt that he suggests to all the children of God like matter of confidence in reference to themselves. In the first place he sets before them the word, that they may depend entirely upon it; and next he warns them that faith is vain and ineffectual unless it frame us to patience.
6. My soul hath waited for the Lord before the watchers of the morning. In this verse he expresses both the ardor and the perseverance of his desire. In saying that he anticipated the watchmen, he shows by this similitude with what diligence and alacrity he breathed after God. And the repetition is a proof of his perseverance; for there is no doubt that thereby he intended to express an uninterrnitted continuance of the same course, and consequently perseverance. Both these qualities in his exercise, are worthy of attention; for it is too manifest how slow and cold we are in elevating our minds to God, and also how easily we are shaken and even fall at every little blast of wind. Farther, as the watches of the night were in ancient times usually divided into four parts, this passage may be explained as implying that as the watchmen of the night, who keep watch by turns, are careful in looking when the morning will dawn, so the Prophet looked to God with the greatest attention of mind. But the more natural sense seems to be, that as in the morning the warders of the gates are more wakeful than all other people, and are the earliest in rising, that they may appear at the posts assigned them, so the mind of the Prophet hastened with all speed to seek God. The repetition, as I have already observed:, shows that he stood keeping his gaze perseveringly fixed upon its object. We must always beware of allowing our fervor to languish through the weariness of delay, should the Lord for any length of time keep us in suspense.1