A Psalm of David. Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.Psalm 28:1. Be not silent to me — Hebrew, אל תחרשׁ ממני, al techeresh mimmenni, be not deaf to me, that is, to my prayers; do not act as if thou didst not hear, or didst disregard my prayers; lest, if thou be silent to me — And return no answer to my petitions; I become like them that go down to the pit — That is, lest I be in the same condition with them, a dead, lost, undone creature, as I certainly shall be if thou do not succour me. If God be not my friend, and appear not for me, my help and hope are perished. Nothing can be so distressing to a gracious soul as the want of God’s favour and the sense of his displeasure. Or, as some understand it, lest I be like those that go down to hell; for what is the misery of the damned but this, that God is for ever silent to them, and deaf to their cry?
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.Psalm 28:2. When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle — Earnestly desiring and confidently expecting an answer of peace from thence. The most holy place within the veil is here, as elsewhere, called the oracle. There the ark and the mercy-seat were; there God was said to dwell between the cherubim, and thence he spake to his people, Numbers 7:89. This was a type of Christ, and it is to him that we must lift up our eyes and hands, for through him all good comes from God to us. It was also a figure of heaven, Hebrews 9:24. And from God, as our Father in heaven, we are taught to expect an answer to our prayers.
Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.Psalm 28:3. Draw me not away with the wicked — The sense is, either, 1st, Do not suffer me to be drawn away, by their counsel or example, to imitate them in their evil courses. For God is often said to do that which he doth not effect, but only permits. Or, 2d, Do not drag me, as thou dost or wilt these evil-doers, to execution and destruction. Let me not die the death of the wicked. This seems best to suit with the following context, wherein he foretels that destruction to be coming upon his enemies which he deprecates for himself. Mischief is in their heart — They are hypocritical and perfidious persons: while I, through thy grace, am sincere and upright before thee. Seeing, then, I am unlike them in disposition and practice, let me not be made like them in their ruin.
Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.Psalm 28:4. Give them according to their deeds, &c. — It is fit that they should suffer as they have acted, and reap the fruit of their manifold wickedness. Give them after the work of their hands, &c. — Dispense a reward to them according to their works, and deal with them as they have dealt with others. This verse would be better translated in the future; Thou wilt give, &c. For this prayer is evidently a prophecy, that God will, sooner or later, render to all impenitent sinners according to their deserts: see the next verse, and note on Psalm 5:10.
Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.Psalm 28:5. Because they regard not the works of the Lord — The providential works of God, both for and toward his church and people, by which works he manifests himself, declares his mind and will, and speaks to the children of men; and a serious observation of which would have made them afraid of opposing God’s people, or of attempting to obstruct God’s designs in their favour. It is justly observed by Henry here, that “a stupid regardlessness of the works of God is the cause of the sin of sinners, and so becomes the cause of their ruin.” Why do men question the being and attributes of God, but because they do not duly regard the operations of his hands, which declare his glory, and in which the invisible things of him are clearly seen? Why do men forget him, and live without him; nay, affront him, and live in rebellion against him, but because they consider not the instances of that wrath of his which is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men? Why do the enemies of God’s people hate and persecute them, and devise mischief against them, but because they regard not the works God has wrought for his church, by which he has made it appear how dear it is to him? See Isaiah 5:12.
Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.Psalm 28:6-7. Blessed be the Lord, &c. — How soon are the sorrows of the saints turned into joy, and their prayers into praises! It was in faith David prayed, Psalm 28:2, Hear the voice of my supplication, and by the same faith he now gives thanks that God had heard his voice — They that pray in faith may rejoice in hope. My heart trusteth in him, and I am helped — God had in part heard and answered him already; and, it seems, had assured him by his Spirit that he would more fully answer and grant his requests.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.Psalm 28:8. The Lord is their strength — That is, the strength of his people, mentioned in the next verse. He is the saving strength — Hebrews ישׁועות מעון, the strength of the preservations, deliverances, or salvations; of his anointed — Of me, whom he hath anointed to be king, and whom therefore he will defend. He signifies that it was by God’s strength alone that his victories, deliverances, and preservations were wrought.
Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.Psalm 28:9. Bless thine inheritance — Israel, for whom he prays, not as his people, but as God’s. Save thy people: thine inheritance. God’s interest in them lay nearer his heart than his own. Feed them also — As a shepherd does his flock, as רעם, regnem, signifies. Bless them with all things needful for life and for godliness. Or, rule them, as the margin renders it. Direct their counsels and actions aright, and overrule their affairs for good. Set pastors over them that shall feed and rule them with wisdom and understanding, Jeremiah 3:15. And lift them up for ever — Raise them out of their low and afflicted condition, and advance them to a state of safety and honour, and that not for a season only, but with constancy and perpetuity. Lift them up to thy glorious and heavenly kingdom. There, and there only, will the saints be lifted up for ever, never more to sink or be depressed. Observe well, reader, only those whom God feeds and rules, who are willing to be taught, guided, and governed by him, shall be saved, and blessed, and lifted up for ever.