O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
O Israel, trust thou in the Lord,.... Or, "the house of Israel hath trusted in the Lord": so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions: the Targum is,
"Israel trusteth in the Word of the Lord;''
in distinction from the Heathens, that trust in their idols. But it is better rendered as an imperative, trust thou; it being an exhortation to Israel to trust in the Lord, in opposition to idols; and may be understood of Israel, literally taken, who were God's chosen covenant people, to whom he had made a revelation of himself, and of his will; and therefore should trust in him, and in no other; and of spiritual Israel, or all the elect of God, and redeemed of the Lamb; every Israelite indeed; every wrestling Jacob, and prevailing Israel; every praying soul; every sensible sinner, Jew or Gentile. It becomes them to trust in the Lord, not in the creature; not in their own strength, wisdom, riches, righteousness, or fleshly privileges; but in the Lord, as the God of nature, providence, and grace; as a promising and covenant keeping God, who is to be trusted with all, and for every thing temporal and spiritual, and at all times.
he is their help and their shield; the help and shield of every true Israelite; of everyone that trusts in the Lord; or,
"your help and your shield, O ye Israelites;''
so Ben Balaam in Aben Ezra reads the words: which are a reason or argument encouraging trust in the Lord, since he is the help of his people; they are helpless in themselves, and vain is the help of man, for there is none in him; there is no help but in the Lord, and he is a present, seasonable, and sufficient help: Jehovah the Father has promised them help, and he is both able and faithful to make it good; he has laid help upon his Son for them; and has set up a throne of grace, where they may come for grace to help them in time of need: Christ has helped them out of the miserable estate they were fallen into by sin; he helps them on in their way to heaven, by his power and grace, and at last brings them thither: the Spirit of God helps them to the things of Christ; to many exceeding great and precious promises; and out of many difficulties, snares, and temptations; and he helps them in prayer under all their infirmities, and makes intercession for them, according to the will of God; and therefore they should trust in the Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit: and who is also "their shield", to protect and defend them from all dangers, evils, and enemies; what a shield is to the body, to secure it from hurt, that to the people of God are the love and favour of God, his power and might, his truth and faithfulness; as likewise Christ, his blood, righteousness, and salvation; and the Spirit, and his grace; see Psalms 5:12 Ephesians 6:16.