Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 86:1-17. This is a prayer in which the writer, with deep emotion, mingles petitions and praises, now urgent for help, and now elated with hope, in view of former mercies. The occurrence of many terms and phrases peculiar to David's Psalms clearly intimates its authorship.
1, 2. poor and needy—a suffering child of God, as in Ps 10:12, 17; 18:27.
I am holy—or, "godly," as in Ps 4:3; 85:8.
Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
4. lift up my soul—with strong desire (Ps 25:1).
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
5-7. unto all … that call upon thee—or, "worship Thee" (Ps 50:15; 91:15) however undeserving (Ex 34:6; Le 11:9-13).
Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
8. neither … works—literally, "nothing like thy works," the "gods" have none at all.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
9, 10. The pious Jews believed that God's common relation to all would be ultimately acknowledged by all men (Ps 45:12-16; 47:9).
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
11. Teach—Show, point out.
the way—of Providence.
walk in thy truth—according to its declarations.
unite my heart—fix all my affections (Ps 12:2; Jas 4:8).
to fear thy name—(compare Ps 86:12) to honor Thy perfections.
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
13, 14. The reason: God had delivered him from death and the power of insolent, violent, and godless persecutors (Ps 54:3; Eze 8:12).
O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
15. Contrasts God with his enemies (compare Ps 86:5).
O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
16. son … handmaid—homeborn servant (compare Lu 15:17).
Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
17. Show me—literally, "Make with me a token," by Thy providential care. Thus in and by his prosperity his enemies would be confounded.