|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-6 God is a prayer-hearing God. Such he has always been, and he is still as ready to hear prayer as ever. The most encouraging principle of prayer, and the most powerful plea in prayer, is, to look upon him as our King and our God. David also prays to a sin-hating God. sin is folly, and sinners are the greatest of all fools; fools of their own making. Wicked people hate God; justly are they hated of him, and this will be their endless misery and ruin. Let us learn the importance of truth and sincerity, in all the affairs of life. Liars and murderers resemble the devil, and are his children, therefore it may well be expected that God should abhor them. These were the characters of David's enemies; and such as these are still the enemies of Christ and his people.
Verse 1. - Give ear to my words, O Lord (comp. Psalm 66:1; Psalm 86:6). Cries of this kind are common with the psalmists, even when they do not express the purport of their prayer. Consider my meditation; or, my silent musing (Kay); comp. Psalm 39:3, where the same word is used.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Give ear to my words, O Lord,.... Meaning not his words in common conversation, but in prayer; the words which came out of his mouth, and were audibly expressed by him at the throne of grace, and design vocal prayer; and so stand distinguished from the meditation of his heart, sacred ejaculations, or mental prayer; see Psalm 54:2; and words in prayer to God ought to be few, at least not repeated, Ecclesiastes 5:2; and these should be a man's own words, as were the psalmist's; not what were suggested by another, or written in a book before him, but what were of his own composing and putting together, under the direction of the Spirit of God; who put words into his mouth, and furnished him both with words and matter, and which he freely uttered before the Lord: and this is the "parrhesia", boldness, freedom of speech, which the Scriptures speak of, Hebrews 4:16; and the saints are allowed to use in prayer before God; when they may pour out their souls unto him, and freely tell him all their mind, as the psalmist now did; to which he entreats the Lord to "give ear"; not that God has a corporeal ear as man has, but he that made the ear has the power of hearing: this is an anthropopathy, and is spoken after the manner of men; such as are of kind and benevolent dispositions do not turn away, but stop and hear what a poor miserable object has to say to them, to whom they listen and return an answer; and so this phrase is expressive of the kind regard God has to the prayers of the destitute, which he does not despise but delight in; and of his bowing and inclining his ear, or of the strict and close attention he gives to them; and of the full and suitable answer he returns, in his own time and way; and is what the psalmist most earnestly entreats. He adds,
consider my meditation; the prayer he had meditated: for meditation is requisite to prayer, and should go before it; which is necessary in order to pray with the understanding; nor should men utter anything rashly and hastily before the Lord: it may design mental prayer, in distinction from vocal prayer, signified by his words before, such as that of Moses at the Red sea, and of Hannah before Eli, Exodus 14:15, 1 Samuel 1:13. The word also signifies inward mourning, and groans; the root from whence this is derived to mourn, and is so rendered in Isaiah 38:14; where Hezekiah compares his prayers to the chattering of a crane and swallow, and the mourning of a dove; and are the same with the unutterable groanings with which the Spirit of God sometimes makes intercession for the saints, Romans 8:26; and which are not hid from God, Psalm 38:9; but are well known to him: he understands the language of a sigh or groan; and so the words may be rendered "understand my moan" (c).
(c) "murmur meum", Vatablus, Gejerus; "gemitum meum", Cocceius, Hammond; "gemitus et suspiria mea", Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
1 Give ear to my words; O Lord, consider my meditation.
There are two sorts of prayers - those expressed in words, and the unuttered longings which abide as silent meditations. Words are not the essence but the garments of prayer. Moses at the Red Sea cried to God, though he said nothing. Yet the use of language may prevent distraction of mind, may assist the powers of the soul, and may excite devotion. David, we observe, uses both modes of prayer, and craves for the one a hearing, and for the other a consideration. What an expressive word! "Consider my meditation." If I have asked that which is right, give it to me; if I have omitted to ask that which I most needed, fill up the vacancy in my prayer. "Consider my meditation." Let thy holy soul consider it as presented through my all-glorious Mediator: then regard thou it in thy wisdom, weigh it in the scales, judge thou of my sincerity, and of the true state of my necessities, and answer me in due time for thy mercy's sake! There may be prevailing intercession where there are no words; and alas! there may be words where there is no true supplication. Let us cultivate the spirit of prayer which is even better than the habit of prayer. There may be seeming prayer where there is little devotion. We should begin to pray before we kneel down, and we should not cease when we rise up.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 5:1-12. Upon Nehiloth—flutes or wind instruments. The writer begs to be heard, on the ground of God's regard for His covenant-people and true worshippers as contrasted with His holy hatred to the wicked. He prays for divine guidance, on account of his watchful, malignant, and deceitful enemies; and for their destruction as being also God's enemies. At the same time he expresses his confidence that God will extend aid to His people.
1. meditation—moanings of that half-uttered form to which deep feeling gives rise—groanings, as in Ro 8:26, 27.
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