The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.
Title. To the Chief Musician, He who had the leadership of the Temple service was charged with the use of this song in public worship. What is everybody’s business is never done. It was well to have one person specially to attend to the service of song in the house of the Lord. Of David the servant of the Lord. This would seem to indicate that the Psalm peculiarly befits one who esteems it an honour to be called Jehovah’s servant. It is The Song Of Happy Service; such a one as all may join in who bear the easy yoke of Jesus. The wicked are contrasted with the righteous, and the great Lord of devout men is heartily extolled; thus obedience to so good a Master is indirectly insisted on, and rebellion against him is plainly condemned.
Divisions. From Psalms 36:1-4 David describes the rebellious: in Psalms 36:5-9 he extols the various attributes of the Lord; in Psalms 36:10-11 he addresses the Lord in prayer, and in the last verse his faith sees in vision the overthrow of all the workers of iniquity.
The Treasury of David.
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God. Here we enter into the Holy of Holies. Benevolence, and mercy, and justice, are everywhere, but the excellence of that mercy only those have known whose faith has lifted the veil and passed into the brighter presence of the Lord; these behold the excellency of the Lord’s mercy. The word translated excellent may be rendered “precious; “no gem or pearl can ever equal in value a sense of the Lord’s love. This is such a brilliant as angels wear. King’s regalia are a beggardly collection of worthless pebbles when compared with the tender mercies of Jehovah. David could not estimate it, and therefore, after putting a note of admiration, he left our hearts and imagination, and, better still, our experience, to fill up the rest. He writes how excellent! because he cannot tell us the half of it. Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. The best of reasons for the best of courses. The figure is very beautiful. The Lord overshadows his people as a hen protects her brood, or as an eagle covers its young; and we as the little ones run under the blessed shelter and feel at rest. To cower down under the wings of God is so sweet. Although the enemy be far too strong for us, we have no fear, for we nestle under the Lord’s wing. O that more of Adam’s race knew the excellency of the heavenly shelter! It made Jesus weep to see how they refused it: our tears may well lament the same evil.
See Psalms on “Psalms 36:5” for further information.
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! etc. The expressions here which denote the abundance of divine blessings upon the righteous man, seems to be taken from the temple, from whence they were to issue. Under the covert of the temple, the wings of the cherubim, they were to be sheltered. The richness of the sacrifices, the streams of oil, wine, odours, etc., and the light of the golden candlestick, are all plainly referred to. Samuel Burder.
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. The word signifies to fly, to betake one’s self to a place of safety: as the chickens in danger to be seized on, fly under the wings of the hen. “Under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12. The helpless bird pursued by the kite, in danger to be devoured, runs under the shadow of the dam. Thus it is with a sinner at the first working of faith, he apprehends himself pursued by wrath and judgment; he knows if they seize on him he must perish without remedy. Oh, the sad condition of such a soul! Oh, but he sees Christ spreading his wings ready to secure perishing sinners; he hears him inviting in the gospel to come under his shadow! Oh, how sweet is that voice to him (however, while senseless he rejected it)! He hears, obeys, and runs to Christ for shelter, and so he is safe. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. David Clarkson.
Thy wings. A common figure in the Psalms, taken more immediately, in my opinion, from the wings of the cherubim overshadowing the mercyseat which covered the ark; but more remotely from the birds, which defend their young from the solar rays by overshadowing them with their wings. Francis Hare (Bishop), 1740.
In lonesome cell, guarded and strong I lie,
Bound by Christ’s love, his truth to testify,
Though walls be thick the door no hand unclose,
God is my strength, my solace, and repose.
In a letter of Jeronius Segerson, written in the prison at Antwerp to his wife, named Lysken, who likewise lay a prisoner there, 1551.
The object, reasons, nature, and experience of faith.
Ver. 7-8. Admiration! Confidence! Expectation! Realisation!
The Treasury of David.
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