Psalm 39:9
I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
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(9) Thou is emphatic. Kimchi well explains: “I could not complain of man, for it was God’s doing; I could not complain of God, for I was conscious of my own sin.”

Psalm 39:9. I opened not my mouth — In the way of murmuring or repining against thee or thy providence, as I promised I would not, Psalm 39:1. For though, when I looked only to instruments, I was discomposed, and did at last speak foolishly; yet when I recollected myself, and looked up to thee, the first cause and sovereign disposer of this afflictive dispensation, I returned to my former silence. Because thou didst it — Didst send this chastisement: meaning, probably, either, 1st, The rebellion and untimely death of Absalom; in which he acknowledged the just hand of God, punishing his sins: or, 2d, Some other affliction.

39:7-13 There is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature; but it is to be found in the Lord, and in communion with him; to him we should be driven by our disappointments. If the world be nothing but vanity, may God deliver us from having or seeking our portion in it. When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust in. We may see a good God doing all, and ordering all events concerning us; and a good man, for that reason, says nothing against it. He desires the pardoning of his sin, and the preventing of his shame. We must both watch and pray against sin. When under the correcting hand of the Lord, we must look to God himself for relief, not to any other. Our ways and our doings bring us into trouble, and we are beaten with a rod of our own making. What a poor thing is beauty! and what fools are those that are proud of it, when it will certainly, and may quickly, be consumed! The body of man is as a garment to the soul. In this garment sin has lodged a moth, which wears away, first the beauty, then the strength, and finally the substance of its parts. Whoever has watched the progress of a lingering distemper, or the work of time alone, in the human frame, will feel at once the force of this comparison, and that, surely every man is vanity. Afflictions are sent to stir up prayer. If they have that effect, we may hope that God will hear our prayer. The believer expects weariness and ill treatment on his way to heaven; but he shall not stay here long : walking with God by faith, he goes forward on his journey, not diverted from his course, nor cast down by the difficulties he meets. How blessed it is to sit loose from things here below, that while going home to our Father's house, we may use the world as not abusing it! May we always look for that city, whose Builder and Maker is God.I was dumb - See the notes at Psalm 39:2. Compare Isaiah 53:7. The meaning here is, that he did not open his mouth to complain; he did not speak of God as if he had dealt unkindly or unjustly with him.

I opened not my mouth - I kept entire silence. This would be better rendered, "I am dumb; I will not open my mouth." The meaning is, not that he had been formerly silent and uncomplaining, but that he was now silenced, or that his mind was now calm, and that he acquiesced in the dealings of Divine Providence. The state of mind here, if should be further observed, is not that which is described in Psalm 39:2. There he represents himself as mute, or as restraining himself from uttering what was in his mind, because he felt that it would do harm, by encouraging the wicked in their views of God and of his government; here he says that he was now silenced - he acquiesced - he had no disposition to say anything against the government of God. He was mute, not by putting a restraint on himself, but because he had nothing to say.

Because thou didst it - thou hast done that which was so mysterious to me; that about which I was so much disposed to complain; that which has overwhelmed me with affliction and sorrow. It is now, to my mind, a sufficient reason for silencing all my complains, and producing entire acquiescence, that it has been done by thee. That fact is to me sufficient proof that it is right, and wise, and good; that fact makes my mind calm. "The best proof that anything is right and best is that it is done by God." The most perfect calmness and peace in trouble is produced, not when we rely on our own reasonings, or when we attempt to comprehend and explain a mystery, but when we direct our thoughts simply to the fact that "God has done it." This is the highest reason that can be presented to the human mind, that what is done is right; this raises the mind above the mysteriousness of what is done, and makes it plain that it should be done; this leaves the reasons why it is done, where they should be left, with God. This consideration will calm down the feelings when nothing else would do it, and dispose the mind, even under the deepest trials, to acquiescence and peace. I saw this verse engraved, with great appropriateness, on a beautiful marble monument that had been erected over a grave where lay three children that had been suddenly cut down by the scarlet fever. What could be more suitable in such a trial than such a text? What could more strikingly express the true feelings of Christian piety - the calm submission of redeemed souls - than the disposition of parents, thus bereaved, to record such a sentiment over the grave of their children?

8-10. Patiently submissive, he prays for the removal of his chastisement, and that he may not be a reproach. I opened not my mouth, to wit, in way of murmuring or repining against thee, or thy providence, as I promised I would be, Psalm 39:1. For though when I looked only to instruments, I was discomposed, and did at last speak a foolish word; yet when I did recollect myself, and looked up to thee, the First Cause and Sovereign Disposer of this and all other things, I returned to my former silence.

Thou didst it. What? Either,

1. and particularly, Absalom’s rebellion; wherein I acknowledge thy just hand in punishing my sins. Or,

2. and more generally, Whatsoever is done in these matters; all the events which befall all men, whether good or bad; the afflictions of the one, and the prosperity of the other; all which are the effects of thy counsel and providence, in which all men ought to acquiesce.

I was dumb, I opened not my mouth,.... This refers either to his former silence, before he broke it, Psalm 39:1, or to what he after that came into again, when he had seen the folly of his impatience, the frailty of his life, the vanity of man, and all human affairs, and had been directed to place his hope and confidence in the Lord, Psalm 39:5; or to the present frame of his mind, and his future conduct, he had resolved upon; and may be rendered, "I am dumb"; or "will be dumb, and will not open my mouth" (e); that is, not in a complaining and murmuring way against the Lord, but be still, and know or own that he is God;

because thou didst it; not "because thou hast made me", as Austin reads the, words, and as the Arabic version renders them, "because thou hast created me"; though the consideration of God being a Creator lays his creatures under obligation as to serve him, so to be silent under his afflicting hand upon them; but the sense is, that the psalmist was determined to be patient and quiet under his affliction, because God was the author of it; for though he is not the author of the evil of sin, yet of the evil of affliction; see Amos 3:6; and it is a quieting consideration to a child of God under it, that it comes from God, who is a sovereign Being, and does what he pleases; and does all things well and wisely, in truth and faithfulness, and in mercy and loving kindness: this some refer to the rebellion of Absalom, and the cursing of Shimei, 2 Samuel 12:11; or it may refer to the death of his child, 2 Samuel 12:22; or rather to some sore affliction upon himself; since it follows,

(e) "non aperiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Gejerus; so Ainsworth.

I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because {g} thou didst it.

(g) Seeing my troubles came from your providence, I ought to have endured them patiently.

9. This verse may refer to the silence with which he bore the taunts of his enemies (Psalm 39:2; Psalm 38:13-14); or it may be the expression of perfect resignation to the will of God: I am dumb, I will not open my mouth, for Thou hast done it. Cp. Lamentations 1:21. “He has risen out of the moody silence of impatience to the contrite silence of evangelical faith, recognising at once his sin and God’s holy love.” Kay.

Verse 9. - I was dumb, I opened not my mouth (comp. vers. 1, 2). Because thou didst it. The knowledge that my afflictions came from thee, and were the just punishment of my transgressions, helped me to keep the silence which I observed while the ungodly was in my sight. Psalm 39:9(Heb.: 39:8-12) It is customary to begin a distinct turning-point of a discourse with ועתּה: and now, i.e., in connection with this nothingness of vanity of a life which is so full of suffering and unrest, what am I to hope, quid sperem (concerning the perfect, vid., on Psalm 11:3)? The answer to this question which he himself throws out is, that Jahve is the goal of his waiting or hoping. It might appear strange that the poet is willing to make the brevity of human life a reason for being calm, and a ground of comfort. But here we have the explanation. Although not expressly assured of a future life of blessedness, his faith, even in the midst of death, lays hold on Jahve as the Living One and as the God of the living. It is just this which is so heroic in the Old Testament faith, that in the midst of the riddles of the present, and in the face of the future which is lost in dismal night, it casts itself unreservedly into the arms of God. While, however, sin is the root of all evil, the poet prays in Psalm 39:9 before all else, that God would remove from him all the transgressions by which he has fully incurred his affliction; and while, given over to the consequences of his sin, he would become, not only to his own dishonour but also to the dishonour of God, a derision to the unbelieving, he prays in Psalm 39:9 that God would not permit it to come to this. כּל, Psalm 39:9, has Mercha, and is consequently, as in Psalm 35:10, to be read with (not ŏ), since an accent can never be placed by Kametz chatûph. Concerning נבל, Psalm 39:9, see on Psalm 14:1. As to the rest he is silent and calm; for God is the author, viz., of his affliction (עשׂה, used just as absolutely as in Psalm 22:32; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 52:11, Lamentations 1:21). Without ceasing still to regard intently the prosperity of the ungodly, he recognises the hand of God in his affliction, and knows that he has not merited anything better. But it is permitted to him to pray that God would suffer mercy to take the place of right. נגעך is the name he gives to his affliction, as in Psalm 38:12, as being a stroke (blow) of divine wrath; תּגרת ידך, as a quarrel into which God's hand has fallen with him; and by אני, with the almighty (punishing) hand of God, he contrasts himself the feeble one, to whom, if the present state of things continues, ruin is certain. In Psalm 39:12 he puts his own personal experience into the form of a general maxim: when with rebukes (תּוכחות from תּוכחת, collateral form with תּוכחה, תּוכחות) Thou chastenest a man on account of iniquity (perf. conditionale), Thou makest his pleasantness (Isaiah 53:3), i.e., his bodily beauty (Job 33:21), to melt away, moulder away (ותּמס, fut. apoc. from המסה to cause to melt, Psalm 6:7), like the moth (Hosea 5:12), so that it falls away, as a moth-eaten garment falls into rags. Thus do all men become mere nothing. They are sinful and perishing. The thought expressed in Psalm 39:6 is here repeated as a refrain. The music again strikes in here, as there.
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