Psalm 28:1
A Psalm of David. 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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(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. Psalm 28:1This first half of the Psalm (Psalm 28:1) is supplicatory. The preposition מן in connection with the verbs חרשׁ, to be deaf, dumb, and חשׁה, to keep silence, is a pregnant form of expression denoting an aversion or turning away which does not deign to give the suppliant an answer. Jahve is his צוּר, his ground of confidence; but if He continues thus to keep silence, then he who confides in Him will become like those who are going down (Psalm 22:30), or are gone down (Isaiah 14:19) to the pit. The participle of the past answers better to the situation of one already on the brink of the abyss. In the double sentence with פּן, the chief accent falls upon the second clause, for which the first only paratactically opens up the way (cf. Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 12:1); in Latin it would be ne, te mihi non respondente, similis fiam. Olshausen, and Baur with him, believes that because ונמשׁלתּי has not the accent on the ultima as being perf. consec., it must be interpreted according to the accentuation thus, "in order that Thou mayst no longer keep silence, whilst I am already become like..." But this ought to be ואני נמשׁל, or at least נמשׁלתּי ואני. And if ונמשלתי were to be taken as a real perfect, it would then rather have to be rendered "and I should then be like." But, notwithstanding ונמשׁלתּי is Milel, it is still perf. consecuticum ("and I am become like"); for if, in a sentence of more than one member following upon פן, the fut., as is usually the case (vid., on Psalm 38:17), goes over into the perf., then the latter, in most instances, has the tone of the perf. consec. (Deuteronomy 4:19, Judges 18:25, Proverbs 5:9-12, Malachi 4:6), but not always. The penultima-accentuation is necessarily retained in connection with the two great pausal accents, Silluk and Athnach, Deuteronomy 8:12; Proverbs 30:9; in this passage in connection with Rebia mugrash, just as we may say, in general, the perf. consec. sometimes retains its penultima-accentuation in connection with distinctives instead of being accented on the ultima; e.g., in connection with Rebia mugrash, Proverbs 30:9; with Rebia, Proverbs 19:14 (cf. Proverbs 30:9 with Ezekiel 14:17); with Zakeph. 1 Samuel 29:8; and even with Tiphcha Obad. Oba 1:10, Joel 3:21. The national grammarians are ignorant of any law on this subject.

(Note: Aben-Ezra (Moznajim 36b) explains the perfect accented on the penult. in Proverbs 30:9 from the conformity of sound, and Kimchi (Michlol 6b) simply records the phenomenon.)

The point towards which the psalmist stretches forth his hands in prayer is Jahve's holy דּביר. Such is the word (after the form בּריח, כּליא, עטין) used only in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, with the exception of this passage, to denote the Holy of Holies, not as being χρηματιστήριον (Aquila and Symmachus), or λαλητήριον, oraculum (Jerome), as it were, Jahve's audience chamber (Hengstenberg) - a meaning that is not in accordance with the formation of the word, - but as the hinder part of the tent, from דּבר, Arabic dabara, to be behind, whence dubr (Talmudic דּוּבר), that which is behind (opp. kubl. kibal, that which is in the front), cf. Jesurun p. 87f. In Psalm 28:3, Psalm 28:4 the prayer is expanded. משׁך (instead of which we find אסף in Psalm 26:9), to draw any one down forcibly to destruction, or to drag him to the place of judgment, Ezekiel 32:20, cf. Psalm 10:8; Job 24:22. The delineation of the ungodly David borrows from his actual foes, Should he succumb to them, then his fate would be like that which awaits them, to whom he is conscious that he is radically unlike. He therefore prays that God's recompensing justice may anticipate him, i.e., that He may requite them according to their desert, before he succumbs, to whom they have feigned שׁלום, a good understanding, or being on good terms, whereas they cherished in their heart the רעה that is now unmasked (cf. Jeremiah 9:7). נתן, used of an official adjudication, as in Hosea 9:14; Jeremiah 32:19. The epanaphora of תּן־להם is like Psalm 27:14.

(Note: This repetition, at the end, of a significant word that has been used at the beginning of a verse, is a favourite custom of Isaiah's (Comment. S. 387; transl. ii.134).)

The phrase השׁיב גּמוּל (שׁלּם), which occurs frequently in the prophets, signifies to recompense or repay to any one his accomplishing, his manifestation, that is to say, what he has done and merited; the thoughts and expression call to mind more particularly Isaiah 3:8-11; Isaiah 1:16. The right to pray for recompense (vengeance) is grounded, in Psalm 28:5, upon their blindness to God's just and merciful rule as it is to be seen in human history (cf. Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 22:11). The contrast of בּנה and חרס, to pull down (with a personal object, as in Exodus 15:7), is like Jeremiah's style (Psalm 42:10, cf. 1:10; Psalm 18:9, and frequently, Sir. 49:7). In Psalm 28:5, the prominent thought in David's mind is, that they shamefully fail to recognise how gloriously and graciously God has again and again acknowledged him as His anointed one. He has (2 Samuel 7) received the promise, that God would build him a house, i.e., grant perpetual continuance to his kingship. The Absolomites are in the act of rebellion against this divine appointment. Hence they shall experience the very reverse of the divine promise given to David: Jahve will pull them down and not build them up, He will destroy, at its very commencement, this dynasty set up in opposition to God.

Psalm 28:1 Interlinear
Psalm 28:1 Parallel Texts

Psalm 28:1 NIV
Psalm 28:1 NLT
Psalm 28:1 ESV
Psalm 28:1 NASB
Psalm 28:1 KJV

Psalm 28:1 Bible Apps
Psalm 28:1 Parallel
Psalm 28:1 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 28:1 Chinese Bible
Psalm 28:1 French Bible
Psalm 28:1 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 27:14
Top of Page
Top of Page