Psalm 34:1
A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
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Psalm 34:1-2. I will bless the Lord at all times — I will never forget to bless God for this miraculous deliverance. My soul shall make her boast, &c. — Shall glory in this, that I have so powerful and gracious a Lord and Master. The humble shall hear — Or the meek, that is, the righteous; and be glad — Both from their love to me, and the public good, which they know that I design and seek above all things; and for the comfort and benefit of my example to them, in similar straits and difficulties.

34:1-10 If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, Php 4:11-18. Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.I will bless the Lord - I will praise him; I will be thankful for his mercies, and will always express my sense of his goodness.

At all times - In every situation of life; in every event that occurs. The idea is, that he would do it publicly and privately; in prosperity and in adversity; in safety and in danger; in joy and in sorrow. It would be a great principle of his life, expressive of the deep feeling of his soul, that God was always to be regarded as an object of adoration and praise.

His praise shall continually be in my mouth - I will be constantly uttering his praises; or, my thanks shall be unceasing. This expresses the "purpose" of the psalmist; and this is an indication of the nature of true piety. With a truly pious man the praise of God is constant; and it is an indication of true religion when a man is "disposed" always to bless God, whatever may occur. Irreligion, unbelief, scepticism, worldliness, false philosophy, murmur and complain under the trials and amidst the dark things of life; true religion, faith, love, spirituality of mind, Christian philosophy, see in God always an object of praise. People who have no real piety, but who make pretensions to it, are disposed to praise and bless God in times of sunshine and prosperity; true piety always regards him as worthy of praise - in the storm as well as in the sunshine; in the dark night of calamity, as well as in the bright days of prosperity. Compare Job 13:15.


Ps 34:1-22. On the title compare 1Sa 21:13. Abimelech was the general name of the sovereign (Ge 20:2). After celebrating God's gracious dealings with him, the Psalmist exhorts others to make trial of His providential care, instructing them how to secure it. He then contrasts God's care of His people and His punitive providence towards the wicked.

1-4. Even in distress, which excites supplication, there is always matter for praising and thanking God (compare Eph 5:20; Php 4:6).

1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 34:1

"I will bless the Lord at all times." - He is resolved and fixed, "I will;" he is personally and for himself determined, let others do as they may; he is intelligent in head and inflamed in heart - he knows to whom the praise is due, and what is due, and for what and when. To Jehovah, and not to second causes our gratitude is to be rendered. The Lord hath by right a monopoly in his creatures' praise. Even when a mercy may remind us of our sin with regard to it, as in this case David's deliverance from the Philistine monarch was sure to do, we are not to rob God of his meed of honour because our conscience justly awards a censure to our share in the transaction. Though the hook was rusty, yet God sent the fish, and we thank him for it. "At all times," in every situation, under every circumstance, before, in and after trials, in bright clays of glee, and dark nights of fear. He would never have done praising, because never satisfied that he had done enough; always feeling that he fell short of the Lord's deservings. Happy is he whose fingers are wedded to his harp. He who praises God for mercies shall never want a mercy for which to praise. To bless the Lord is never unseasonable. "His praise shall continually be in my mouth," not in my heart merely, but in my mouth too. Our thankfulness is not to be a dumb thing; it should be one of the daughters of music. Our tongue is our glory, and it ought to reveal the glory of God. What a blessed mouthful is God's praise! How sweet, how purifying, how perfuming! If men's mouths were always thus filled, there would be no repining against God, or slander of neighbours. If we continually rolled this dainty morsel under our tongue, the bitterness of daily affliction would be swallowed up in joy. God deserves blessing with the heart, and extolling with the mouth - good thoughts in the closet, and good words in the world.

Psalm 34:2

"My soul shall make her boast in the Lord." Boasting is a very natural propensity, and if it were used as in this case, the more it were indulged the better. The exultation of this verse is no mere tongue bragging, "the soul" is in it, the boasting is meant and felt before it is expressed. What scope there is for holy boasting in Jehovah! His person, attributes, covenant, promises, works, and a thousand things besides, are all incomparable, unparalleled, matchless; we may cry them up as we please, but we shall never be convicted of vain and empty speech in so doing. Truly he who writes these words of comment has nothing of his own to boast of, but much to lament over, and yet none shall stop him of his boast in God so long as he lives. "The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." They are usually grieved to hear boastings; they turn aside from vauntings and lofty speeches, but boasting in the Lord is quite another matter; by this the most lowly are consoled and encouraged. The confident expressions of tried believers are a rich solace to their brethren of less experience. We ought to talk of the Lord's goodness on purpose that others may be confirmed in their trust in a faithful God.

Psalm 34:3

"O magnify the Lord with me." Is this request addressed to the humble? If so it is most fitting. Who can make God great but those who feel themselves to be little? He bids them help him to make the Lord's fame greater among the sons of men. Jehovah is infinite, and therefore cannot really be made greater, but his name grows in manifested glory as he is made known to his creatures, and thus he is said to be magnified. It is well when the soul feels its own inability adequately to glorify the Lord, and therefore stirs up others to the gracious work; this is good both for the man himself and for his companions. No praise can excel that which lays us prostrate under a sense of our own nothingness, while divine grace like some topless Alp rises before our eyes, and sinks us lower and lower in holy awe. "Let us exalt his name together." Social, congregated worship is the outgrowth of one of the natural instincts of the new life. In heaven it is enjoyed to the full, and earth is likest heaven where it abounds. A Psalm made upon that occasion, though not at that time.

His behaviour; or, his habit or posture, or his reason, as this word is taken, 1 Samuel 25:33 Psalm 119:66 Proverbs 11:22. When he counterfeited madness. Wherein, whether he sinned or not, is matter of dispute; but this is undoubted, that God’s favour and his deliverance at that time was very remarkable, and deserved this solemn acknowledgment.

Abimelech, called Achish, 1 Samuel 21:10. But Abimelech seems to have been the common name of the kings of the Philistines, Genesis 20:2 26:1, as Pharaoh was of the Egyptians, and Caesar of the Romans.

David praiseth God, Psalm 34:1,2, and exhorteth others thereto from his own experience of God’s kindness, Psalm 34:3-7. He showeth that they are blessed who trust in God, Psalm 34:8-10. He exhorteth others to learn to fear him, Psalm 34:11, and showeth the way to happiness, Psalm 34:12-14. The privileges of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked, Psalm 34:15-22.

I will never forget to bless God for this miraculous deliverance.

I will bless the Lord at all times,.... That is, ascribe blessing, give honour, praise, and glory to him, both as the God of nature and providence, for every temporal mercy; and that every day, and at all times in the day; since these are renewed every morning, and continue all the day long: and as the God of grace, for all spiritual blessings; and that continually, because these last always; they are irreversible, unchangeable, and without repentance; yea, saints have reason to bless God in times of adversity as well as prosperity, since it might have been worse with them than it is; they have a mixture of mercy in all, and all things work together for their good;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth; not the "praise" of which God is the author, but of which he is the object; which is due unto him, and is given him on account of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, and the blessings of his providence and grace; this, the psalmist says, should be in his mouth: his meaning is, that he should not only retain in his heart a grateful sense of the divine favours, but should express it with his lips; should both make melody in his heart to the Lord, and vocally sing his praise; and that "continually", as long as he lived, or had any being, Psalm 146:2.

<<A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.>> I will bless the LORD {a} at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

(a) He promised never to become unmindful of God's great benefit for his deliverance.

1. His praise] Cp. Psalm 33:1.

1, 2. Resolution of praise.

Verse 1. - I will Bless the Lord at all times; i.e. even in times of adversity. If the statement in the title may be relied upon, David's fortunes were now at the lowest ebb. He had fled from the court of Saul on finding that Saul was determined to put him to death (1 Samuel 20:31). He had hoped to find a safe refuge with Achish, but had been disappointed. He was on the point of becoming a fugitive and an outlaw, a dweller in dens and caves of the earth (1 Samuel 22:1). He had as yet no body of followers. We cannot but admire his piety in composing, at such a time, a song of thanksgiving to God. His praise shall continually be in my mouth (comp. Psalm 92:1, 2; Psalm 145:1, 2; Psalm 146:1, 2; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). "Continually" must be understood as meaning either "every day" or "many times every day," but must not be taken quite literally, or the business of life would be at a stand. Psalm 34:1(Heb.: 34:2-4) The poet begins with the praise of Jahve, and calls upon all the pious to unite with him in praising Him. The substantival clause Psalm 34:2, is intended to have just as much the force of a cohortative as the verbal clause Psalm 34:2. אברכה, like ויגרשׁהו, is to be written with Chateph-Pathach in the middle syllable. In distinction from עניּים, afflicti, ענוים signifies submissi, those who have learnt endurance or patience in the school of affliction. The praise of the psalmist will greatly help to strengthen and encourage such; for it applies to the Deliverer of the oppressed. But in order that this praise may sound forth with strength and fulness of tone, he courts the assistance of companions in Psalm 34:4. To acknowledge the divine greatness with the utterance of praise is expressed by גּדּל with an accusative in Psalm 69:31; in this instance with ל: to offer גּדלּה unto Him, cf. Psalm 29:2. Even רומם has this subjective meaning: with the heart and in word and deed, to place the exalted Name of God as high as it really is in itself. In accordance with the rule, that when in any word two of the same letters follow one another and the first has a Sheb, this Sheb must be an audible one, and in fact Chateph Pathach preceded by Gaja (Metheg), we must write וּנרוממה.
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