Psalm 17:6
I have called on you, for you will hear me, O God: incline your ear to me, and hear my speech.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) I—is emphatic, “As for me, I,” &c.

Psalm 17:6. I have called upon thee — It hath been, still is, and shall be, my constant course, to apply myself to thee for assistance and deliverance. For thou wilt hear, O God — Though thou mayest delay for a season, I am well assured that thou wilt hear and answer me.17:1-7 This psalm is a prayer. Feigned prayers are fruitless; but if our hearts lead our prayers, God will meet them with his favour. The psalmist had been used to pray, so that it was not his distress and danger that now first brought him to his duty. And he was encouraged by his faith to expect God would notice his prayers. Constant resolution and watchfulness against sins of the tongue, will be a good evidence of our integrity. Aware of man's propensity to wicked works, and of his own peculiar temptations, David had made God's word his preservative from the paths of Satan, which lead to destruction. If we carefully avoid the paths of sin, it will be very lead to destruction. If we carefully avoid the paths of sin, it will be very comfortable in the reflection, when we are in trouble. Those that are, through grace, going in God's paths, should pray that their goings may be held up in those paths. David prays, Lord, still hold me up. Those who would proceed and persevere in the ways of God, must, by faith prayer, get daily fresh supplies of grace and strength from him. Show thy marvellous loving-kindness, distinguishing favours, not common mercies, but be gracious to me; do as thou usest to do to those who love thy name.I have called upon thee for thou wilt hear me, O God - The meaning of this is, "I have called on thee heretofore, and will do it still, because I am certain that thou wilt hear me." That is, he was encouraged to call upon God by the conviction that he would hear his prayer, and would grant his request. In other words, he came to God in faith; in the full belief of his readiness to answer prayer, and to bestow needed blessings. Compare John 11:42; Hebrews 11:6.

Incline thine ear unto me - See the notes at Psalm 17:1.

My speech - My prayer. The reference here, as in Psalm 17:1, is to prayer "uttered" before God; and not mere mental prayer.

6. wilt hear me—that is, graciously (Ps 3:4). I have called upon thee; it hath been, and still is, and shall be my constant course to apply myself to thee for assistance and for deliverance.

For thou wilt hear me, O God; for though thou mayst delay for a season, I am well assured that thou wilt hear and answer me. I have called upon thee,.... In prayer. This had been the constant practice of the psalmist, and he still continued in it;

for thou wilt hear me, O God; God is a God hearing prayer; he is used to hear his people, and they have frequent experience of it, and they may be assured that whatsoever they ask according to his will, and in the name of Christ, he will hear; and such an assurance is a reason engaging the saints to a constant calling upon God, Psalm 116:2; and such confidence of being always heard Christ had, John 11:41;

incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech; meaning his prayer, which he now directed to him in full assurance of being heard, and is as follows.

I have called upon thee, {f} for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

(f) He was assured that God would not refuse his request.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. I have called upon thee] I is emphatic. Being such an one as I am, I have called upon Thee, in full confidence that Thou wilt answer me.

O God] El, as in Psalm 16:1. See note on Psalm 5:4.

hear] Wrongly printed in italics in many editions.

6–9. After protesting his integrity he resumes his prayer.Verse 6. - I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God (comp. vers. 1, 2). Having established, as the ground of his claim to be heard of God, his own sincerity, steadfastness, and virtuous course in life (vers. 3-5), David now recurs to his original intent, and resumes his "prayer." He is sure that God will hear him, since his prayer is grounded on "right." Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech (comp. Psalm 71:2; Psalm 88:2, etc.). Thus then, as this concluding strophe, as it were like seven rays of light, affirms, he has the most blessed prospect before him, without any need to fear death. Because Jahve is thus near at hand to help him, his heart becomes joyful (שׂמח) and his glory, i.e., his soul (vid., on Psalm 7:6) rejoices, the joy breaking forth in rejoicing, as the fut. consec. affirms. There is no passage of Scripture that so closely resembles this as 1 Thessalonians 5:23. לב is πνεῦμα (νοῦς), כבוד, ψυχή (vid., Psychol. S. 98; tr. p. 119), בּשׂר (according to its primary meaning, attrectabile, that which is frail), σῶμα. The ἀμέμπτως τηρηθῆναι which the apostle in the above passage desires for his readers in respect of all three parts of their being, David here expresses as a confident expectation; for אף implies that he also hopes for his body that which he hopes for his spirit-life centred in the heart, and for his soul raised to dignity both by the work of creation and of grace. He looks death calmly and triumphantly in the face, even his flesh shall dwell or lie securely, viz., without being seized with trembling at its approaching corruption. David's hope rests on this conclusion: it is impossible for the man, who, in appropriating faith and actual experience, calls God his own, to fall into the hands of death. For Psalm 16:10 shows, that what is here thought of in connection with שׁכן לבטח, dwelling in safety under the divine protection (Deuteronomy 33:12, Deuteronomy 33:28, cf. Proverbs 3:24), is preservation from death. שׁחת is rendered by the lxx διαφθορά, as though it came from שׁחת διαφθείρειν, as perhaps it may do in Job 17:14. But in Psalm 7:16 the lxx has βόθρος, which is the more correct: prop. a sinking in, from שׁוּח to sink, to be sunk, like נחת from נוּח, רחת from רוּח. To leave to the unseen world (עזב prop. to loosen, let go) is equivalent to abandoning one to it, so that he becomes its prey. Psalm 16:10 - where to see the grave (Psalm 49:10), equivalent to, to succumb to the state of the grave, i.e., death (Psalm 89:49; Luke 2:26; John 8:51) is the opposite of "seeing life," i.e., experiencing and enjoying it (Ecclesiastes 9:9, John 3:36), the sense of sight being used as the noblest of the senses to denote the sensus communis, i.e., the common sense lying at the basis of all feeling and perception, and figuratively of all active and passive experience (Psychol. S. 234; tr. p. 276) - shows, that what is said here is not intended of an abandonment by which, having once come under the power of death, there is no coming forth again (Bttcher). It is therefore the hope of not dying, that is expressed by David in Psalm 16:10. for by חסידך David means himself. According to Norzi, the Spanish MSS have חסידיך with the Masoretic note יתיר יוד, and the lxx, Targ., and Syriac translate, and the Talmud and Midrash interpret it, in accordance with this Ker. There is no ground for the reading חסידיך, and it is also opposed by the personal form of expression surrounding it.

(Note: Most MSS and the best, which have no distinction of Ker and Chethb here, read חסידך, as also the Biblia Ven. 1521, the Spanish Polyglott and other older printed copies. Those MSS which give חסידיך (without any Ker), on the other hand, scarcely come under consideration.)

The positive expression of hope in Psalm 16:11 comes as a companion to the negative just expressed: Thou wilt grant me to experience (הודיע, is used, as usual, of the presentation of a knowledge, which concerns the whole man and not his understanding merely) ארח חיּים, the path of life, i.e., the path to life (cf. Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 2:19 with ib. Psalm 10:17; Matthew 7:14); but not so that it is conceived of as at the final goal, but as leading slowly and gradually onwards to life; חיּים in the most manifold sense, as, e.g., in Psalm 36:10; Deuteronomy 30:15 : life from God, with God, and in God, the living God; the opposite of death, as the manifestation of God's wrath and banishment from Him. That his body shall not die is only the external and visible phase of that which David hopes for himself; on its inward, unseen side it is a living, inwrought of God in the whole man, which in its continuance is a walking in the divine life. The second part of Psalm 16:11, which consists of two members, describes this life with which he solaces himself. According to the accentuation, - which marks חיים with Olewejored not with Rebia magnum or Pazer, - שׂבע שׂמחות is not a second object dependent upon תּודיעני, but the subject of a substantival clause: a satisfying fulness of joy is את־פּניך, with Thy countenance, i.e., connected with and naturally produced by beholding Thy face (את preposition of fellowship, as in Psalm 21:7; Psalm 140:14); for joy is light, and God's countenance, or doxa, is the light of lights. And every kind of pleasurable things, נעמות, He holds in His right hand, extending them to His saints - a gift which lasts for ever; נצח equivalent to לנצח. נצח, from the primary notion of conspicuous brightness, is duration extending beyond all else - an expression for לעולם, which David has probably coined, for it appears for the first time in the Davidic Psalms. Pleasures are in Thy right hand continually - God's right hand is never empty, His fulness is inexhaustible.

The apostolic application of this Psalm (Acts 2:29-32; Acts 13:35-37) is based on the considerations that David's hope of not coming under the power of death was not realised in David himself, as is at once clear, to the unlimited extent in which it is expressed in the Psalm; but that it is fulfilled in Jesus, who has not been left to Hades and whose flesh did not see corruption; and that consequently the words of the Psalm are a prophecy of David concerning Jesus, the Christ, who was promised as the heir to his throne, and whom, by reason of the promise, he had prophetically before his mind. If we look into the Psalm, we see that David, in his mode of expression, bases that hope simply upon his relation to Jahve, the ever-living One. That it has been granted to him in particular, to express this hope which is based upon the mystic relation of the חסיד to Jahve in such language, - a hope which the issue of Jesus' life has sealed by an historical fulfilment, - is to be explained from the relation, according to the promise, in which David stands to his seed, the Christ and Holy One of God, who appeared in the person of Jesus. David, the anointed of God, looking upon himself as in Jahve, the God who has given the promise, becomes the prophet of Christ; but this is only indirectly, for he speaks of himself, and what he says has also been fulfilled in his own person. But this fulfilment is not limited to the condition, that he did not succumb to any peril that threatened his life so long as the kingship would have perished with him, and that, when he died, the kingship nevertheless remained (Hofmann); nor, that he was secured against all danger of death until he had accomplished his life's mission, until he had fulfilled the vocation assigned to him in the history of the plan of redemption (Kurtz) - the hope which he cherishes for himself personally has found a fulfilment which far exceeds this. After his hope has found in Christ its full realisation in accordance with the history of the plan of redemption, it receives through Christ its personal realisation for himself also. For what he says, extends on the one hand far beyond himself, and therefore refers prophetically to Christ: in decachordo Psalterio - as Jerome boldly expresses it - ab inferis suscitat resurgentem. But on the other hand that which is predicted comes back upon himself, to raise him also from death and Hades to the beholding of God. Verus justitiae sol - says Sontag in his Tituli Psalmorum, 1687 - e sepulcro resurrexit, στήλη seu lapis sepulcralis a monumento devolutus, arcus triumphalis erectus, victoria ab hominibus reportata. En vobis Michtam! En Evangelium! -

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