Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<> Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
Ps 17:1-15. This Psalm is termed a prayer because the language of petition is predominant. With a just cause, sincerely presented, the writer prays for a just decision and help and protection. Pleading former mercies as a ground of hope, he urges his prayer in view of the malice, pride, rapacity, and selfishness of his foes, whose character is contrasted with his pious devotion and delight in God's favor.
Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.
2. sentence—acquitting judgment.
from thy presence—Thy tribunal.
things that are equal—just and right, do Thou regard.
Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
3. proved … visited … tried—His character was most rigidly tested, at all times, and by all methods, affliction and others (Ps 7:10).
purposed that, &c.—or, my mouth does not exceed my purpose; I am sincere.
Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.
4. works of men—sinful practices.
by the word of thy lips—as a guide (Ps 119:9, 11, 95).
Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
5. May be read as an assertion "my steps or goings have held on to Thy paths."
I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.
6. wilt hear me—that is, graciously (Ps 3:4).
Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
7. Show—set apart as special and eminent (Ex 8:18; Ps 4:3).
thy right hand—for Thy power.
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
8. Similar figures, denoting the preciousness of God's people in His sight, in De 32:10, 11; Mt 23:37.
From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
9. compass me—(compare Ps 118:10-12).
They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.
10. enclosed … fat—are become proud in prosperity, and insolent to God (De 32:15; Ps 73:7).
They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;
11. They pursue us as beasts tracking their prey.
Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
12. The figure made more special by that of a lion lurking.
Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
13-15. disappoint—literally, "come before," or, "encounter him." Supply "with" before "sword" (Ps 17:13), and "hand" (Ps 17:14). These denote God's power.
From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.
14. men … world—all men of this present time. They appear, by fulness of bread and large families, to be prosperous; but (Ps 17:15) he implies this will be transient, contrasting his better portion in a joyful union with God hereafter.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.