James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
A Psalm of David. Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.Psalms 25:1-37:40
In the Hebrew this prayer is arranged as an acrostic, i.e., the first word of each verse begins with a letter in alphabetical order from A-to-Z.
Hereafter we shall not give as much attention to every psalm as we have thus far, but trust the reader to do the analyzing after the examples given. The purpose of this book is not so much textual explanation as a stimulus to Bible study in a broader sense, and it is assumed that the reader has been studying the Bible side by side with the Commentary from the beginning.
The more difficult psalms, some of the more familiar and popular, and those distinctively Messianic and millennial may be treated more at length, but others must be passed over.
In the present instance the prayer is for defense (Psalm 25:1-3), guidance (Psalm 25:4-5), forgiveness (Psalm 25:6-11), etc., intermingled with testimony to the divine goodness (Psalm 25:12-15).
Another appeal to God on the basis of avowed integrity and innocence of the charges of enemies. Note the features of righteous character of which the psalmist speaks, as well as the description of his enemies. The Modem Reader’s Bible names this psalm, “Searchings of heart before worship.”
An Anthem of Deliverance. Throughout it exhibits confidence, hope and joy, in God’s worship, with prayer for help and guidance in danger. The secret of the psalmist’s confidence is given in verse four as his delight in divine fellowship expressed in worshipping in God’s tabernacle. God will protect and deliver him (Psalm 27:5-6). He will be more to him than earthly parents (Psalm 27:10). All he craves is guidance (Psalm 27:11). He concludes with counsel to others in a like case (Psalm 27:13-14).
The Song of the Thunderstorm encourages confidence in God by the celebration of His power in His dominion over the natural world. “Discovereth the forests” (Psalm 29:9) means “stripping them bare.” In the midst of this sublimity God’s worshipers cry, “Glory!” (RV)
States its occasion in the title, the reference being to David’s own house or palace (compare Deuteronomy 20:5; 2 Samuel 5:11; 2 Samuel 7:2).
A cry of one in distress, which some have referred to as the period of David’s persecution by Saul at Keilah. Read 1 Samuel 23:1-15, and then note in the Psalm 31:4; Psalm 31:8; Psalm 31:10-15; Psalm 31:20-22.
David’s Spiritual Biography. It is thought to have been written after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). He has been brought to repentance for that sin and forgiven (Psalms 51), and now is praising God for that forgiveness, and telling what led up to it. It opens with a general declaration of his blessedness and why (Psalm 32:1-2). This is followed by his experience before forgiveness and when he was undergoing conviction of sin (Psalm 32:3-4). Confession brought forgiveness (Psalm 32:5). Let others act similarly in the same circumstances (Psalm 32:6). See what God is to him now (Psalm 32:7). The psalm takes the form of a dialogue at this point, and God speaks at verses eight and nine, which should be read in the Revised Version. The whole concludes with a warning and exhortation (Psalm 32:10-11).
A psalm of praise. It opens with a general chorus (Psalm 33:1-3), followed by a semi-chorus (Psalm 33:4-11), a second semi-chorus (Psalm 33:12-19), and a final chorus (Psalm 33:20-22). To follow this division is to obtain a good idea of the several subjects.
Has its occasion indicated in the title which refers to 1 Samuel 21:13. The name there is Achish, but some think Abimelech was the general name given the sovereigns of Gath at that time (Genesis 20:2). This is also an acrostic, and from a musical point of view consists of an introduction (Psalm 34:1-2), solos and choruses. For one solo, see Psalm 34:3-6, and for another Psalm 34:11-14.
May be read in connection with 1 Samuel 24, which some regard as its occasion. A comparison of that chapter will throw light on the meaning of several of its expressions.
Is one of the most popular of the psalms of trust and confidence, whose contents are illustrated in David’s personal history. It is an acrostic, which requires little in the way of explanation to any heart who really knows God through Jesus Christ. The theme is the prosperity of the wicked with counsel as to how the child of God should act in regard to it.
1. What is an acrostic psalm?
2. What earlier psalm is suggested by the theme of Psalms 26?
3. Point out the poetic descriptions of a thunder-storm in Psalms 29.
4. What experience is Psalms 31 thought to describe?
5. Have you again read 1 Samuel 23:1-15?
6. Give a title of Psalms 32, and a reason for it.
7. What idea is conveyed by “semi-chorus”?
8. Memorize Psalm 37:1-9.