I said to the LORD, You are my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 140:6-8. Hear the voice of my supplication — The more malice appears in our enemies against us, and the greater efforts they use to injure us, the more earnest ought we to be in prayer to God, after the example of David here, to take us under his protection. On him believers may depend for security, and may enjoy it and themselves with holy serenity. Those are safe whom God preserves. Thou hast covered my head in the day of battle — With thy powerful protection, as with a helmet or shield. Grant not the desires of the wicked — Suffer not him, who now seeks my destruction, to obtain his desire; further not his wicked device — Let him not succeed in any of his mischievous designs against me. Lest they exalt themselves — Lest he, and those associated with him, grow insolent, so as to dare to attempt all manner of violence against other innocent persons: or, lest they exalt themselves against thee, as if by their power and policy they had frustrated thy design and promise made to me.
7 O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked, further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
"I said unto the Lord, thou art my God." Here was David's stay and hope. He was assured that Jehovah was his God, he expressed that assurance, and he expressed it before Jehovah himself. That had need be a good and full assurance which a man dares to lay before the face of the heart-searching Lord. The Psalmist when hunted by man, addressed himself to God. Often the less we say to our foes, and the more we say to our best Friend the better it will fare with us' if we say anything, let it be said unto the Lord. David rejoiced in the fact that he had already said that Jehovah was his God: he was content to have committed himself, he had no wish to draw back. The Lord was David's own by deliberate choice, to which he again sets his seal with delight. The wicked reject God, but the righteous receive him as their own, their treasure, their pleasure, their light and delight. "Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord." Since thou art mine, I pray thee hear my cries. We cannot ask this favour of another man's god, but we may seek it from our own God. The prayers of saints have a voice in them; they are expressive pleadings even when they sound like inarticulate moanings. The Lord can discern a voice in our wailings, and he can and will hearken thereto. Because he is God he can hear us; because he is our God he will hear us. So long as the Lord doth but hear us we are content - the answer may be according to his own will, but we do entreat to be heard a soul in distress is grateful to any one who will be kind and patient enough to hearken to its tale, but specially is it thankful for an audience with Jehovah. The more we consider his greatness and our insignificance, his wisdom and our folly, the more shall we be filled with praise when the Lord attends unto our cry.
"O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle." When he looked back upon past dangers and deliverances, the good man felt that he should have perished had not the Lord held a shield over his head. In the day of the clash of arms, or of putting on of armour (as some read it), the glorious Lord had been his constant protector. Goliath had his armour-bearer, and so had Saul, and these each one guarded his master; yet the giant and the king both perished, while David, without armour or shield, slew the giant and baffled the tyrant. The shield of the Eternal is better protection than a helmet of brass. When arrows fly thick and the battle-axe crashes right and left, there is no covering for the head like the power of the Almighty. See how the Child of providence glorifies his Preserver! He calls him not only his salvation, but the strength of it, by whose unrivalled force he had been enabled to outlive the cunning and cruelty of his adversaries. He had obtained a deliverance in which the strength of the Omnipotent was clearly to be seen. This is a grand utterance of praise, a gracious ground of comfort, a prevalent argument in prayer. He that has covered our head aforetime will not now desert us. Wherefore let us fight a good fight, and fear no deadly wound: the Lord God is our shield, and our exceeding great reward.
"Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked." Even they are dependent upon thee; they can do no more than thou dost permit. Thou dost restrain them; not a dog of them can move his tongue without thy leave and license. Therefore I entreat thee not to let them have their way. Even though they dare to pray to thee, do not hear their prayers against innocent men. Assuredly the Lord Jehovah will be no accomplice with the malevolent; their desires shall never be his desires; if they thirst for blood he will not gratify their cruelty. "Further not his wicked device." They are so united as to be like one man in their wishes; but do not hear their prayers. Though hand join in hand, and they desire and design as one man, yet do not thou lend them the aid of thy providence. Do not permit their malicious schemes to succeed. The Lord may allow success to attend the policy of the wicked for a time for wise reasons unknown to us, but we are permitted to pray that it be not so. The petition "Deliver us from evil" includes and allows such supplication. "Lest they exalt themselves." If successful, the wicked are sure to grow proud, and insult the righteous over whom they have triumphed, and this is so great an evil, and so dishonouring to God, that the Psalmist uses it in his pleading as an argument against their being allowed to prosper. The glory of the wicked is opposed to the glory of God. If God seems to favour them they grow too high for this world, and their heads strike against the heavens. Let us hope that the Lord will not suffer this to be. "Selah." Here let us exalt our thoughts and praises high over the heads of self-exalting sinners. The more they rise in conceit the higher let us rise in confidence.Psalm 31:14;
hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord; the requests he put up in an humble manner for deliverance and salvation; and which he expressed vocally, and entreated they might be heard and answered; and nothing could tend more to strengthen his faith in this than that it was his own God and Father he prayed unto; see Psalm 28:2; Thus Christ, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying; and in the midst of his troubles, and surrounded with enemies, declared his faith in God as his God, Hebrews 5:7.I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. I said] I have said, or, I say. Cp. Psalm 16:1; Psalm 31:14. In his distress he appeals to Jehovah, pleading the relation which entitles him to expect protection. Cp. Psalm 63:1; Psalm 143:10.
hear] R.V., Give ear unto.
6–8. Appeal to Jehovah, the Helper in time of need.Verse 6. - I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord (comp. Psalm 31:14; Psalm 143:1). The expressions used are markedly Davidical. Psalm 139:17, the poet here says שׂרעפּים, which signifies branches (Ezekiel 31:5) and branchings of the act of thinking (thoughts and cares, Psalm 94:19). The Resh is epenthetic, for the first form is שׂעפּים, Job 4:13; Job 20:2. The poet thus sets the very ground and life of his heart, with all its outward manifestations, in the light of the divine omniscience. And in Psalm 139:24 he prays that God would see whether any דּרך־עצב cleaves to him (בּי as in 1 Samuel 25:24), by which is not meant "a way of idols" (Rosenmller, Gesenius, and Maurer), after Isaiah 48:5, since an inclination towards, or even apostasy to, heathenism cannot be an unknown sin; nor to a man like the writer of this Psalm is heathenism any power of temptation. דוך בּצע (Grהtz) might more readily be admissible, but דוך עצב is a more comprehensive notion, and one more in accordance with this closing petition. The poet gives this name to the way that leads to the pain, torture, viz., of the inward and outward punishments of sin; and, on the other hand, the way along which he wishes to be guided he calls דּרך עולם, the way of endless continuance (lxx, Vulgate, Luther), not the way of the former times, after Jeremiah 6:16 (Maurer, Olshausen), which thus by itself is ambiguous (as becomes evident from Job 22:15; Jeremiah 18:15), and also does not furnish any direct antithesis. The "everlasting way" is the way of God (Psalm 27:11), the way of the righteous, which stands fast for ever and shall not "perish" (Psalm 1:6).
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