Psalm 28:2
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry to you, when I lift up my hands toward your holy oracle.
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(2) Lift up my hands.—For interesting illustrations of this Oriental custom see Exodus 9:29; 1Kings 8:22, &c. Compare the well-known line:—

“If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer.”

TENNYSON: Morte d’Arthur.

Holy oracle.—Better, the shrine of thy sanctuary (see margin)—i.e., the holy of holies, the adytum, or inner recess of the Temple in which the ark was placed, as we see from 1Kings 6:19-22. The Hebrew word, which is of doubtful derivation, is, with the exception of this place, only found in Kings and Chronicles. The margin, “the oracle of thy sanctuary,” is a better rendering than the text.

Psalm 28:2. When I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle — Earnestly desiring and confidently expecting an answer of peace from thence. The most holy place within the veil is here, as elsewhere, called the oracle. There the ark and the mercy-seat were; there God was said to dwell between the cherubim, and thence he spake to his people, Numbers 7:89. This was a type of Christ, and it is to him that we must lift up our eyes and hands, for through him all good comes from God to us. It was also a figure of heaven, Hebrews 9:24. And from God, as our Father in heaven, we are taught to expect an answer to our prayers.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.Hear the voice of my supplications - It was not mental prayer which he offered; it was a petition uttered audibly.

When I lift up my hands - To lift up the hands denotes supplication, as this was a common attitude in prayer. See the notes at 1 Timothy 2:8.

Toward thy holy oracle - Margin, as in Hebrew, "toward the oracle of thy holiness." The word "oracle" as used here denotes the place where the answer to prayer is given. The Hebrew word - דביר debı̂yr - means properly the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle or the temple, the place where God was supposed to reside, and where He gave responses to the prayers of His people: the same place which is elsewhere called the holy of holies. See the notes at Hebrews 9:3-14. The Hebrew word is found only here and in 1 Kings 6:5, 1 Kings 6:16, 1 Kings 6:19-23, 1 Kings 6:31; 1 Kings 7:49; 1 Kings 8:6, 1 Kings 8:8; 2 Chronicles 3:16; 2 Chronicles 4:20; 2 Chronicles 5:7, 2 Chronicles 5:9. The idea here is that he who prayed stretched out his hands toward that sacred place where God was supposed to dwell. So we stretch out our hands toward heaven - the sacred dwelling-place of God. Compare the notes at Psalm 5:7. The Hebrew word is probably derived from the verb to "speak;" and, according to this derivation, the idea is that God spoke to His people; that he "communed" with them; that He answered their prayers from that sacred recess - His special dwelling-place. See Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89.

2. lift up my hands—a gesture of prayer (Ps 63:4; 141:2).

oracle—place of speaking (Ex 25:22; Nu 7:89), where God answered His people (compare Ps 5:7).

i.e. Towards the holy of holies, which is so called, 1 Kings 6:23, compared with 2 Chronicles 3:10: compare also 1 Kings 6:5 8:6, because there the ark was; from whence God gave oracular answers to his people; and to which they accordingly directed their prayers, not only when they drew near to it, but when they were at a distance from it, as Daniel 6:10. Hear the voice of my supplications,.... Which proceed from the Spirit of grace and of supplication, and are put up in an humble manner, under a sense of wants and unworthiness, and on the foot of grace and mercy, and not merit;

when I cry unto thee; as he now did, and determined he would, and continue so doing, until he was heard;

when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle: the holy of holies, in the tabernacle and in the temple, which was sometimes so called, 1 Kings 6:23; compared with 2 Chronicles 3:10; where were the ark, the mercy seat, and cherubim, between which the Lord dwelt, and gave responses to his people; or heaven itself, which the holy of holies was a figure of; where is the throne of God, and from whence he hears the prayers of his people directed to him; or else Christ himself, who is the most Holy, and the "Debir", or Oracle, who speaks to the Lord for his people; and by whom the Lord speaks to them again, and communes with them. The oracle had its name, "debir", from speaking. Lifting up of the hands is a prayer gesture, and here designs the performance of that duty to God in heaven, through Christ; see Lamentations 3:41; it was frequently used, even by the Heathens, as a prayer gesture (r); see Psalm 141:2.

(r) "Duplices manus ad sidera tendit--et paulo post--et ambas ad coelum tendit palmas", Virgil. Aeneid. 10. vid. Aeneid. 2. "Ad coelum manibus sublatis", Horat. Satyr. l. 2. satyr. 5. v. 97. "Coelo supines si tuleris manus", ib. Carmin. l. 3. Ode 23. v. 1. "Et pandere palmas ante Deum delubra", Lucretius l. 5. prope finem , Homer. Iliad. 5. v. 174.

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

(b) He counts himself as a dead man, till God shows his favour toward him, and grants him his petition.

2. The first line recurs in Psalm 31:22.

when I cry] A stronger word than that in Psalm 28:1, meaning to cry for help.

when I lift up my hands] The attitude of prayer (Psalm 63:4; 1 Timothy 2:8), the outward symbol of an uplifted heart (Psalm 25:1).

toward thy holy oracle] Lit., as R.V. marg., toward the innermost place of thy sanctuary, i.e. the most holy place, where the Ark, the symbol of God’s Presence among His people, was. See 1 Kings 6:16 ff; 1 Kings 8:6. The rendering oracle, following Jerome’s oraculum, rests upon a wrong derivation. The word does not in itself denote the place where God answers. It is used elsewhere only in the accounts of the building of the Temple (1 Kings 6-8; 2 Chronicles 3-5). The worshipper naturally turns as he prays towards Jehovah’s dwelling-place in heaven (1 Kings 8:22), or its earthly counterpart (1 Kings 8:30 ff.). Cp. Psalm 5:7.Verse 2. - Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee. God is said to hear prayer when he grants it, to be deaf to prayer when he withholds the boon requested. The use of the expressions "voice" and "cry" marks the earnestness of the prayers offered. When I lift up my hands, The usual attitude of a Hebrew in prayer (see Exodus 9:29; Exodus 17:11, 12; 1 Kings 8:22, 54; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 141:2; Lamentations 2:19; Lamentations 3:41). Originally, the idea probably was that the hands should be ready to receive the blessings which God would bestow. But, later on, the lifting up of the hands seems to have been regarded as symbolizing the lifting up of the heart (Lamentations 3:41). Towards thy holy oracle (see the comment on Psalm 5:7). 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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