I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
I cried unto the Lord with my voice
The experience which the psalmist had of being heard in prayer, was what gave great encouragement to his faith, as to his interest in God and salvation by him, when his enemies were so increased about him; for crying here is to be understood of prayer, as it is often used in this book of Psalms: and so the Targum renders it, “I prayed”; and this designs vocal prayer. Sometimes there is a crying in prayer and no voice heard, as it is said of Moses, (Exodus 14:15) ; and was the case of Hannah, (1 Samuel 1:13) ; but this was with a voice, and a loud one, as in (Psalms 55:17) ; denoting ardour, fervency, and importunity; and such prayer avails much with God. The object addressed in prayer is the Lord, the God of his life, and who was able to save him, and supply all his wants;
and he heard me out of his holy hill;
either out of the church, the holy hill of Zion, (Psalms 2:6) ; where David prayed and God granted his presence, and gave an answer to his prayers; or out from the mercy seat and ark, which was a type of the propitiatory, Christ, and which David had brought to his own city, the hill of Zion; or from heaven, the habitation of God’s holiness: David was a man of prayer, and he was often heard and answered by God. And this also is true of Christ, he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to God (Hebrews 5:7) , that was able to save him; and he was heard by him, yea, the Father always heard him: and God is a God hearing and answering the prayers of his people, sooner or later: sometimes before, sometimes at, and sometimes after their crying to him.
I laid me down and slept
After the battle was over between Absalom’s men and his, says Aben Ezra; but rather this was in the midst of his trouble and distress, since he afterwards prays for salvation: and this sleep was either, as Jarchi observes, through his heart being overwhelmed with grief; for there have been instances of persons sleeping through sorrow, as Elijah, Jonah, and the disciples of Christ, (1 Kings 19:4-5) (Jonah 1:3) (Luke 22:45) ; or rather this is expressive of the calmness and serenity of his mind amidst his troubles; he laid himself down in peace, and slept quietly and comfortably; he did not lose a night’s rest, his sleep was sweet unto him; which was a blessing of life from the Lord that everyone does not enjoy; see (Psalms 127:2) ;
in the morning, alive and cheerful, Some lay themselves down and never awake more, as Sisera the captain of Jabin’s army, and Ishbosheth the son of Saul; and this might have been David’s case, considering the circumstances he was in: and others, through perplexing thoughts and cares, or pains of body, or uneasy dreams, rise fatigued and distressed; but David arose in good health of body, and tranquillity of mind, and comfortably refreshed;
for the Lord sustained me;
the psalmist committed himself to the care and protection of God; he laid himself down in his arms, and there slept in safety; the Lord preserved him, who is Israel’s keeper, that neither slumbers nor sleeps: and he rose in health and cheerfulness in the morning, supported by his right hand. This shows, that lying down to sleep, when in such circumstances, and awaking with cheerfulness, were not owing to rashness, stupidity, and insensibility, but to divine supports. These words may be interpreted, as they are by some of the ancients, of the death of Christ, and of his resurrection from the dead by the power of God; death is often expressed by sleep, and the resurrection of the dead by an awaking out of sleep, (Daniel 12:2) (Isaiah 26:19) ; and Christ’s death being signified by lying down and sleeping, may denote both the voluntariness of it, that he laid down his life freely and willingly; and his short continuance under the power of death, it was but like a night’s sleep; and his resurrection from the dead, being expressed by an awaking through the Lord’s sustaining him, shows that it was by the power of God, even the exceeding greatness of his power: and the whole of this may be applied to the case and state of the saints and people of God, who at times have rest and peace amidst their enemies; though they have tribulation in the world, they have peace in Christ; and notwithstanding the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of their own hearts, they have joy and comfort through believing in Christ; the Lord sustains them with precious promises, and supports them with the discoveries of his love, and upholds them with the right hand of his righteousness.
John Gills Exposition of the Bible