|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
54:1-3 God is faithful, though men are not to be trusted, and it is well for us it is so. David has no other plea to depend upon than God's name, no other power to depend upon than God's strength, and these he makes his refuge and confidence. This would be the effectual answer to his prayers. Looking unto David, betrayed by the men of Judah, and to Jesus, betrayed by one of his apostles, what can we expect from any who have not set God before them, save ingratitude, treachery, malice, and cruelty? What bonds of nature, or friendship, or gratitude, or covenant, will hold those that have broken through the fear of God? Selah; Mark this. Let us set God before us at all times; for if we do not, we are in danger of despair.
Verse 3. - For strangers are risen up against me. David's designation of his foes as "strangers" has been made an argument against the trustworthiness of the "title," since the Ziphites were Israelites of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:55). But he might well call those "strangers" who were treating him as an alien. Comp. Psalm 120:5, where "the psalmist, heavily oppressed by his countrymen, complains that he dwelt in Mesheeh and Kedar" (Hengstenberg). And oppressors seek after my soul; or, my life. The phrase is exactly that used in 1 Samuel 23:15, when David was in the wilderness of Ziph, in a wood, and "saw that Saul was come out to seek his life." They have not set God before them (comp. Psalm 86:14). David, on the contrary, "set the Lord always before him" (Psalm 16:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For strangers are risen up against me,.... Meaning such as Doeg the Edomite, or Heathen soldiers, that Saul had hired and took into his army, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; and such as these rose up against David's antitype, the Messiah, Psalm 2:1, Acts 4:27. Or rather the Ziphims, who were of his own nation, yea, of his own tribe, yet used him as barbarously as the very Heathens would have done, or worse; and who, though notwithstanding they were of Israel, might not be Israelites indeed, but strangers to an inward experience of divine and spiritual things: for men may be professors of religion, and yet be strangers to God in Christ, to Christ himself, and the way of salvation by him, and communion with him; to the Spirit of God, and the operations of his grace on the heart; to themselves, their own hearts, and their state and condition by nature; to the Gospel of Christ, and to the people of God; and these are sometimes the most violent persecutors of good and spiritual men;
and oppressors seek after my soul; or "life" (i), to take it away; as did Saul and his army; who are "the mighty" or "strong ones" (k), as the word here used signifies; see 1 Samuel 24:11; and as the Jewish sanhedrim, Scribes and Pharisees, sought after the soul or life of Christ, to take that away, as they did;
they have not set God before them. They did not consider themselves as under the omniscient eye of God; they did not set his word before them, as the rule of their conduct, but cast it behind their backs; nor did they regard his providential mercies and layouts as a motive to engage them to obedience to him, but despised them; they had not the fear of God before their eyes, nor in their hearts, nor any concern for his glory; and therefore did the wicked things they did against his servant.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(i) "vitam meam", Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis. (k) "fortes", V. L. Pagninus, Musculus, Gejerus; "praepotentes", Vatablus.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
54:3 Strangers - The Zephites, whom, though Israelites, he calls strangers in regard of their barbarous and perfidious carriage.
Psalm 54:3 Parallel Commentaries
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible