Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<<A Psalm of David.>> The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Ps 27:1-14. With a general strain of confidence, hope, and joy, especially in God's worship, in the midst of dangers, the Psalmist introduces prayer for divine help and guidance.
1. light—is a common figure for comfort.
strength—or, "stronghold"—affording security against all violence. The interrogations give greater vividness to the negation implied.
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
2. eat … my flesh—(Job 19:22; Ps 14:4). The allusion to wild beasts illustrates their rapacity.
they stumbled—"they" is emphatic; not I, but they were destroyed.
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
3. In the greatest dangers.
in this—that is, then, in such extremity.
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
4, 5. The secret of his confidence is his delight in communion with God (Ps 16:11; 23:6), beholding the harmony of His perfections, and seeking His favor in His temple or palace; a term applicable to the tabernacle (compare Ps 5:7). There he is safe (Ps 31:21; 61:5). The figure is changed in the last clause, but the sentiment is the same.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
6. head be lifted up—I shall be placed beyond the reach of my enemies. Hence he avows his purpose of rendering joyful thank offerings.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
7. Still pressing need extorts prayer for help.
cry with my voice—denotes earnestness. Other things equal, Christians in earnest pray audibly, even in secret.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
8. The meaning is clear, though the construction in a literal translation is obscure. The English Version supplies the implied clause. To seek God's face is to seek His favor (Ps 105:4).
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
9. Hide not, &c.—(Ps 4:6; 22:24). Against rejection he pleads former mercy and love.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
10. In the extremity of earthly destitution (Ps 31:11; 38:11), God provides (compare Mt 25:35).
Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
11. thy way—of providence.
a plain path—(Ps 26:12).
enemies—literally, "watchers for my fall" (Ps 5:8).
Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
12. will—literally, "soul," "desire" (Ps 35:25).
enemies—literally, "oppressors." Falsehood aids cruelty against him.
breathe out—as being filled with it (Ac 9:1).
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
13. The strong emotion is indicated by the incomplete sentence, for which the English Version supplies a proper clause; or, omitting that, and rendering, "yet I believed," &c., the contrast of his faith and his danger is expressed.
to see—is to experience (Ps 22:17).
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
14. Wait, &c.—in confident expectation. The last clause is, literally, "and wait," &c., as if expecting new measures of help.