I will seek thy good; the good of Jerusalem, the good of the church of God; do all the good he could to it both with his purse and prayers, and by stirring up others to do the same; see Psalm 51:18.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 123
A Song of degrees. This psalm is not thought to be written by David, but by some other person in later times; and at a time, as is clear, when the people of God were much exposed to the scorn and contempt of men. Dr. Patrick thinks it was written by some pious person; perhaps by Isaiah, in Hezekiah's time, when Rabshakeh poured out his contempt on God, on the king and the people. Others are of opinion, it was written by one of the Babylonish captivity, when the Jews were jeered by the Babylonians, and they tauntingly asked them to sing one of the songs of Zion; and scornfully said of Jerusalem, Is this the city men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth? So Aben Ezra says, the psalmist speaks of a great man of the generation, which was in captivity or in a siege; and Kimchi says, that he speaks in the language of the children of the captivity; to which agrees the Syriac inscription,
"it is said in the person of Zorobabel, the prince of the captives.''
Others think it was composed in the times of Antiochus, the little horn prophesied of by Daniel, whose look was more stout than his fellows; who magnified himself against God and his people, profaned the sanctuary, and took away the daily sacrifice: and others are of opinion it was written a little before the coming of Christ, in the person of those who were waiting for it, and spiritual redemption and salvation by it; and who were scorned and derided by the proud Scribes and Pharisees.
O thou that dwellest in the heavens; the heaven of heavens, the third heaven, the seat of angels and glorified saints; and though the Lord is everywhere, and fills heaven and earth with his presence, and cannot be contained any where; yet here is the more visible display of his glory; here he keeps his court; this is his palace, and here his throne is prepared, and on it he sits (d); so some render the word here; as the Judge of the whole earth, and takes a view of all men and their actions; and, as the God of nature and providence, governs and orders all things after his own will; and, as the God of grace, sits on a throne of grace, kindly inviting and encouraging his people to come unto him: and therefore the psalmist addresses him as such; see Ecclesiastes 5:2, Matthew 6:9. The Targum is,
"O thou that sittest on a throne of glory in heaven!''
(d) "sedens", Montanus, Gejerus; "qui sedes", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.
so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God; look unto him for direction in his service. Saints are servants, not of sin, nor of Satan, nor of men, but of the Lord; and not on the foot of creation only, but of redemption, and are made so by the grace of God; and they are willing to work, and are desirous to know what they should do; they inquire of God; they wait upon him, in his word and ordinances, for direction; and, being informed, do it with all their might, and follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes or directs them: and they look unto him for strength to assist them therein, being conscious of their own weakness; they apply to him, and wait upon him for strength, and do all they do in his name and strength; they look unto him for protection from all their enemies, which are many and mighty, and are stronger than they; and for food, both temporal and spiritual, and for all the necessaries and comforts both of a corporeal and spiritual life; and likewise for the recompence of reward, the reward of the inheritance, which is of grace, and not of debt. Joseph Kimchi thinks that the allusion is to servants, that look to the hand of their masters that correct and chastise them, and bear it patiently; and look to the hand that smites, till it shall have done, and mercy is shown them. And thus the saints look to the chastising hand of God, and humble themselves under it, and patiently endure it, till the Lord shall please to remove it from them; and this agrees with what follows:
until that he have mercy upon us; God is gracious and merciful; and he has his set time to have mercy on his people: and it becomes them to continue praying to him, and waiting on him, until he is pleased to show it to them; men should pray always, and not faint; they will find mercy in due time, Luke 18:1.
(e) Vid. Pignorium de Servis, p. 136. "Digiti crepantis signa novit eunuchus", Martial. l. 2. 82.
for we are exceedingly filled with contempt; by reason of meanness in outward circumstances, the common lot of God's people; and therefore are reckoned the faith of the world, and the offscouring of all things: and on account of their religion, which wicked men make a jest of; reckon an engine of state, to keep people in awe of the civil magistrate; or a piece of priestcraft, to serve the lucrative views of a set of men; or as mere cant and enthusiasm, and a gloomy melancholy business, which none but fools will give into; and particularly on account of peculiar doctrines embraced, which are branded as novel, irrational, and licentious; and ordinances, which entirely depend on the sovereign will of the institutor of them. For these things, and the like, contempt was plentifully poured upon them; they had enough of it, and too much, so much that they could not bear it; it was become intolerable and loathsome, and the more, as it had been a long time continued on them. So Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret the word, rendered "exceedingly", of a long time.