|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:7-12 David prayed often alone, yet was very constant in attendance on public worship. The mercy of God should ever be the foundation both of our hope and of our joy, in every thing wherein we have to do with him. Let us learn to pray, not for ourselves only, but for others; grace be with all that love Christ in sincerity. The Divine blessing comes down upon us through Jesus Christ, the righteous or just One, as of old it did upon Israel through David, whom God protected, and placed upon the throne. Thou, O Christ, art the righteous Saviour, thou art the King of Israel, thou art the Fountain of blessing to all believers; thy favour is the defence and protection of thy church.
Verse 8. - Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness. Here at last we find what David prayed for. Previously, we have only heard him entreat that his prayer may be heard (vers. 1, 2), declare that he will pray early (ver. 3), and before the tabernacle (ver. 7); now we learn what his prayer is. It is that God will lead him in the path of his righteousness - that righteousness of which he is the pattern, and whereof he approves; and will "make his way plain for him," i.e. show it him clearly, so that he cannot mistake it. God is asked to do this, especially because of David's enemies, or of "those that lie in wait for him" (Revised Version margin), lest, if he were to make a false step, they should triumph over him, and so he should bring discredit upon the cause of God and of his saints. Make thy way straight (plain, Revised Version) before my face. Not so much "smooth my way," or "make it level" or "easy," as "put it plainly before me" (scrap. Psalm 25:5; and Psalm 27:11, '"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness,.... Not in mine, but thine; in the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel, from faith to faith, and is imputed by God, and received by faith; in this righteousness the psalmist desired to be led into the house of God, and appear before him; nor is there any other righteousness in which man can stand before God and worship. Or else the sense is, that God would lead him in the way of righteousness, in his righteous statutes, judgments, and ordinances; in which way the Lord does lead his people, Psalm 23:3. Or that he would lead him for his righteousness' sake; because of his faithfulness to his promises, that he would direct, uphold, and never leave nor forsake him. David was very sensible that the way of man is not in himself, and that he could not direct his own steps; and therefore desired to be guided by the Lord, and to be led by the right hand of his righteousness, and to be upheld by it in his ways:
because of mine enemies; or, "those that observe me" (l) that lie in wait and watch for my halting, as Jeremiah's enemies did; and would rejoice at my fall, and insult me, and blaspheme thy name; therefore lead, guide, and uphold me;
make thy way straight before my face; thy way of providence, thy way of grace, thy way of worship and duty; let it appear plain and manifest, that I may know in which way I should walk; and let all obstructions be removed out of the way, that I may walk straight on, without any difficulty or hinderance. He seems to have respect to his enemies, who lay in his way, that God would remove them; see Psalm 5:9.
(l) "observatores meos", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Michaelis; so Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Ben Melech, & Ainsworth.
The Treasury of David
8 Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
Now we come to the second part, in which the Psalmist repeats his arguments, and goes over the same ground again.
"Lead me, O Lord," as a little child is led by its father, as a blind man is guided by his friend. It is safe and pleasant walking when God leads the way. "In thy righteousness," not in my righteousness, for that is imperfect, but in thine, for thou art righteousness itself. "Make thy way," not my way, "straight before my face." Brethren, when we have learned to give up our own way, and long to walk in God's way, it is a happy sign of grace; and it is no small mercy to see the way of God with clear vision straight before our face. Errors about duty may lead us into a sea of sins, before we know where we are.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. enemies—literally, "watchers" (Ps 27:11), hence special need of guidance.
in thy righteousness—an attribute implying faithfulness in promises as well as threatenings.
make thy way straight—that is, make the way of providence plain.
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