Psalm 28:1
To you will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if you be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
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(1) My rock.—Heb., tsûr, from a root implying “bind together” (Deuteronomy 14:25), not necessarily therefore with sense of height, but with that of strength and solidity. Thus Tyre (or Tsûr) is built on a broad shelf of rock. We see from Deuteronomy 32:30-31; 1Samuel 2:2, that “rock” was a common metaphor for a tutelary deity, and it is adopted frequently for Jehovah in the Psalms and poetical books. Sometimes in the Authorised Version it is rendered “strong” (Psalm 60:9; Psalm 71:3; see margin). The LXX. (followed by Vulg.) here, as generally, apparently through timidity, suppresses the metaphor, and renders “my God.” In the song of Moses in Deuteronomy, the metaphor occurs nine times, and Stanley thinks it was derived from the granite peaks of Sinai (Jewish Church, p. 195).

Be not silent to me.—Vulg. and margin, rightly, “from me.” The word rendered “silent” appears, like κωφὸς in Greek, to have the double meaning of deaf and dumb, and is apparently from an analogous derivation. (See Gesenius, Lex., sub voce.) Hence we might render, “turn not a deaf ear to me,” or “turn not from me in silence.”

Them that go down into the piti.e., the dead, or those just about to die (Psalm 30:3). In Psalm 88:4, the expression is parallel to “My life draweth nigh unto the grave;” pit (bôr) is either the sepulchre (as Isaiah 14:19), or the world of the dead (Psalm 88:4). The two significations pass one into the other. This expression suggests that the psalmist was on a bed of sickness.

Psalm 28:1. Be not silent to me — Hebrew, אל תחרשׁ ממני, al techeresh mimmenni, be not deaf to me, that is, to my prayers; do not act as if thou didst not hear, or didst disregard my prayers; lest, if thou be silent to me — And return no answer to my petitions; I become like them that go down to the pit — That is, lest I be in the same condition with them, a dead, lost, undone creature, as I certainly shall be if thou do not succour me. If God be not my friend, and appear not for me, my help and hope are perished. Nothing can be so distressing to a gracious soul as the want of God’s favour and the sense of his displeasure. Or, as some understand it, lest I be like those that go down to hell; for what is the misery of the damned but this, that God is for ever silent to them, and deaf to their cry?28:1-5 David is very earnest in prayer. Observe his faith in prayer; God is my rock, on whom I build my hope. Believers should not rest till they have received some token that their prayers are heard. He prays that he may not be numbered with the wicked. Save me from being entangled in the snares they have laid for me. Save me from being infected with their sins, and from doing as they do. Lord, never leave me to use such arts of deceit and treachery for my safety, as they use for my ruin. Believers dread the way of sinners; the best are sensible of the danger they are in of being drawn aside: we should all pray earnestly to God for his grace to keep us. Those who are careful not to partake with sinners in their sins, have reason to hope that they shall not receive their plagues. He speaks of the just judgments of the Lord on the workers of iniquity, ver. 4. This is not the language of passion or revenge. It is a prophecy that there will certainly come a day, when God will punish every man who persists in his evil deeds. Sinners shall be reckoned with, not only for the mischief they have done, but for the mischief they designed, and did what they could to effect. Disregard of the works of the Lord, is the cause of the sin of sinners, and becomes the cause of their ruin.Unto thee will I cry - That is, under the consciousness of the danger to which I am exposed - the danger of being drawn away into the society of the wicked. In such circumstances his reliance was not on his own strength; or on his own resolutions; on his own heart; or on his fellowmen. He felt that he was safe only in God, and he appeals to Him, therefore, in this earnest manner, to save him.

O Lord my rock - See the notes at Psalm 18:2.

Be not silent to me - Margin, "from me." So the Hebrew. The idea is that of one who will not speak to us, or who will not attend to us. We pray, and we look for an "answer" to our prayers, or, as it were, we expect God to "speak" to us; to utter words of kindness; to assure us of His favor; to declare our sins forgiven.

Lest, if thou be silent to me - If thou dost not answer my supplications.

I become like unto them that go down into the pit - Like those who die; or, lest I be crushed by anxiety and distress, and die. The word "pit" here refers to the grave. So it is used in Psalm 30:3; Psalm 88:4; Isaiah 38:18; Isaiah 14:15, Isaiah 14:19. The meaning is, that if he did not obtain help from God he despaired of life. His troubles would overwhelm and crush him. He could not bear up under them.


Ps 28:1-9. An earnest cry for divine aid against his enemies, as being also those of God, is followed by the Psalmist's praise in assurance of a favorable answer, and a prayer for all God's people.

1. my rock—(Ps 18:2, 31).

be not silent to me—literally, "from me," deaf or inattentive.

become like them, &c.—share their fate.

go down into the pit—or, "grave" (Ps 30:3).

1 Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock; be not silent to me, lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.

Psalm 28:1

"Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock." - A cry is the natural expression of sorrow, and is a suitable utterance when all other modes of appeal fail us; but the cry must be alone directed to the Lord, for to cry to man is to waste our entreaties upon the air. When we consider the readiness of the Lord to hear, and his ability to aid, we shall see good reason for directing all our appeals at once to the God of our salvation, and shall use language of firm resolve like that in the text, "I will cry." The immutable Jehovah is our rock, the immovable foundation of all our hopes and our refuge in time of trouble: we are fixed in our determination to flee to him as our stronghold in every hour of danger. It will be in vain to call to the rocks in the day of judgment, but our rock attends to our cries. "Be not silent to me." Mere formalists may be content without answers to their prayers, but genuine suppliants cannot; they are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in calming the mind and subduing the will - they must go further and obtain actual replies from heaven, or they cannot rest; and those replies they long to receive at once, if possible; they dread even a little of God's silence. God's voice is often so terrible that it shakes the wilderness; but his silence is equally full of awe to an eager suppliant. When God seems to close his ear, we must not therefore close our mouths, but rather cry with more earnestness; for when our note grows shrill with eagerness and grief, he will not long deny us a hearing. What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become for ever silent to our prayers! This thought suggested itself to David, and he turned it into a plea, thus teaching us to argue and reason with God in our prayers. "Lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit." Deprived of the God who answers prayer, we should be in a more pitiable plight than the dead in the grave, and should soon sink to the same level as the lost in hell. We must have answers to prayer: ours is an urgent case of dire necessity; surely the Lord will speak peace to our agitated minds, for he never can find it in his heart to permit his own elect to perish.

Psalm 28:2

This is much to the same effect as the first verse, only that it refers to future as well as present pleadings. Hear me! Hear me! "Hear the voice of my supplications!" This is the burden of both verses. We cannot be put off with a refusal when we are in the spirit of prayer; we labour, use importunity, and agonise in supplications until a hearing is granted us. The word "supplications," in the plural, shows the number, continuance, and variety of a good man's prayers, while the expression, "hear the voice," seems to hint that there is an inner meaning, or heart-voice, about which spiritual men are far more concerned than for their outward and audible utterances. A silent prayer may have a louder voice than the cries of those priests who sought to awaken Baal with their shouts. "When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle:" which holy place was the type of our Lord Jesus; and if we would gain acceptance, we must turn ourselves evermore to the blood-besprinkled mercy seat of his atonement. Uplifted hands have ever been a form of devout posture, and are intended to signify a reaching upward towards God, a readiness, an eagerness to receive the blessing sought after. We stretch out empty hands, for we are beggars; we lift them up, for we seek heavenly supplies; we lift them towards the mercy seat of Jesus, for there our expectation dwells. O that whenever we use devout gestures, we may possess contrite hearts, and so speed well with God. THE ARGUMENT

This Psalm seems to be made upon the same occasion with the former, and is mixed, as many others of his Psalms are, of hopes and fears, of prayers and praises.

David prayeth earnestly for himself, Psalm 28:1,2, that he might not be led away with the wicked, Psalm 28:3,4. The reason of his prayer, Psalm 28:5. He blesseth God for hearing him, Psalm 28:6-8; and prayeth for the people, Psalm 28:9.

Be not silent; be not deaf to my prayers, nor dumb as, to thy answers to them: lest I be in the like or same condition with them

that go down into the pit, i.e. a lost creature; as I shall certainly be, if thou dost not succour me.

Unto thee will I cry,.... This denotes the distress the psalmist was in, fervency and ardour in prayer, resolution to continue in it, and singularity with respect to the object of it; determining to cry to the Lord only; to which he was encouraged by what follows;

O Lord my rock; he being a strong tower and place of defence to him, in whom were all his safety, and his trust and confidence, and in whom he had an interest;

be not silent to me; or "deaf" (q); persons that do not hear are silent, and make no answer; as the Lord seems to be, when he returns no answer to the cries of his people; when he does not arise and help them; when he seems not to take any notice of his and their enemies, but stands at a distance from them, and as if he had forsaken them; see Psalm 39:12; the words may be considered, as they are by some, as an address to Christ his rock, his advocate and intercessor; that he would not be silent, but speak for him, and present his supplications to God, with the much incense of his mediation; see 1 Samuel 7:8;

lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit; either like such that fall into a ditch, and cannot help themselves out, and they cry, and there is none to take them out from thence; or like such that die in battle, and are cast into a pit, and there buried in common with others; which David might fear would be his case, through Saul's violent pursuit after him; or lest he should be like the dead, who are not regarded, and are remembered no more; or lest he should really die by the hands of his enemies, and so be laid in the grave, the pit of corruption; or be in such distress and despair as even the damned in hell be, the pit out of which there is no deliverance.

(q) "ne obsurdescas", Vatablus, Tigurine version, Gejerus; so Ainsworth, Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis.

Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
1. Render with R.V.,

Unto thee, O Lord, will I call;

My rock, be not thou deaf unto me.

He appeals to Jehovah as his rock, the ground of his confidence. See Psalm 18:2 (note), 31.

be not silent unto me] Lit. from me; and similarly in the next line. The rendering be not silent may stand, as in Psalm 35:22; Psalm 39:12; or we may render with R.V., be not thou deaf. The sense is, ‘Turn not away from me as though thou didst not hear, lest if thou turn away in unregarding silence, I become’ &c. like them that go down to the pit] i.e. the dying or the dead. The pit is the grave or Sheol. Cp. Psalm 22:29; Psalm 88:4; Proverbs 1:12. How natural a prayer if people were dying of pestilence all round him! The last line recurs in Psalm 143:7.

1, 2. Introductory appeal for a hearing, emphasising the urgency of the need.Verse 1. - Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock; be not silent to me; rather, as in the Revised Version, to thee, O Lord, will I call; my Rock, be not thou deaf unto me. "My Rock" belongs to the second clause. It is with David, in these early psalms, an epitheton usilatum (comp. Psalm 18:2; Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:2, 3; Psalm 40:3; Psalm 61:2; Psalm 62:2, etc.). The Hebrew term used is sometimes taut, sometimes sela, which call to our minds the two great rook-fortresses of Tyre and Petra. Lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit; i.e. without hope, desperate. The requests are now poured forth with all the greater freedom and importunity, that God may be willing to be entreated and invoked. The Hiph. הטּה signifies in this passage standing by itself (cf. Job 24:4): to push aside. The clause עזרתי היית does not say: be Thou my help (which is impossible on syntactical grounds), nor is it to be taken relatively: Thou who wast my help (for which there is no ground in what precedes); but on the contrary the praet. gives the ground of the request that follows "Thou art my help (lit., Thou has become, or hast ever been) - cast me, then, not away," and it is, moreover, accented accordingly. Psalm 27:10, as we have already observed, does not sound as though it came from the lips of David, of whom it is only said during the time of his persecution by Saul, that at that time he was obliged to part from his parents, 1 Samuel 22:3. The words certainly might be David's, if Psalm 27:10 would admit of being taken hypothetically, as is done by Ewald, ֗362, b: should my father and my mother forsake me, yet Jahve will etc. But the entreaty "forsake me not" is naturally followed by the reason: for my father and my mother have forsaken me; and just as naturally does the consolation: but Jahve will take me up, prepare the way for the entreaties which begin anew in Psalm 27:11. Whereas, if כי is taken hypothetically, Psalm 27:11 stands disconnectedly in the midst of the surrounding requests. On יאספני cf. Joshua 20:4.
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