Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<<A Psalm of David.>> Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.
Ps 25:1-22. The general tone of this Psalm is that of prayer for help from enemies. Distress, however, exciting a sense of sin, humble confession, supplication for pardon, preservation from sin, and divine guidance, are prominent topics.
1. lift up my soul—(Ps 24:4; 86:4), set my affections (compare Col 3:2).
O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
2. not be ashamed—by disappointment of hopes of relief.
Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
3. The prayer generalized as to all who wait on God—that is, who expect His favor. On the other hand, the disappointment of the perfidious, who, unprovoked, have done evil, is invoked (compare 2Sa 22:9).
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
4, 5. On the ground of former favor, he invokes divine guidance, according to God's gracious ways of dealing and faithfulness.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.
6, 7. Confessing past and present sins, he pleads for mercy, not on palliations of sin, but on God's well-known benevolence.
Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
8, 9. upright—acting according to His promise.
sinners—the general term, limited by the
meek—who are penitent.
the way—and his way—God's way of providence.
The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
9. in judgment—rightly.
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
10. paths—similar sense—His modes of dealing (compare Ps 25:4).
mercy and truth—(Job 14:1-22), God's grace in promising and faithfulness in performing.
For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
11. God's perfections of love, mercy, goodness, and truth are manifested (his name, compare Ps 9:10) in pardoning sin, and the greatness of sin renders pardon more needed.
What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
12, 13. What he asks for himself is the common lot of all the pious.
His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
13. inherit the earth—(compare Mt 5:5). The phrase, alluding to the promise of Canaan, expresses all the blessings included in that promise, temporal as well as spiritual.
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
14. The reason of the blessing explained—the pious enjoy communion with God (compare Pr 3:21, 12), and, of course, learn His gracious terms of pardon.
Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
15. His trust in God is fixed.
net—is frequently used as a figure for dangers by enemies (Ps 9:15; 10:9).
Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted.
16-19. A series of earnest appeals for aid because God had seemed to desert him (compare Ps 13:1; 17:13, &c.), his sins oppressed him, his enemies had enlarged his troubles and were multiplied, increasing in hate and violence (Ps 9:8; 18:48).
The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.
Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.
O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
20. keep my soul—(Ps 16:1).
put my trust—flee for refuge (Ps 2:12).
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
21. In conscious innocence of the faults charged by his enemies, he confidently commits his cause to God. Some refer—
integrity, &c.—to God, meaning His covenant faithfulness. This sense, though good, is an unusual application of the terms.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
22. Extend these blessings to all Thy people in all their distresses.