<<A Psalm of David.>> I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
Verse 1. - I will praise thee with my whole heart (comp. Psalm 9:1; Psalm 111:1). Before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. Some suppose the expression, "before the gods," to mean "before the great ones of the earth," and quote Psalm 119:46 as parallel. Others think that the imaginary vain gods of the heathen are intended.
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Verse 2. - I will worship toward thy holy temple. The term "temple" here must designate the tabernacle (comp. Psalm 5:8). And praise thy Name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth. "Mercy" and "truth" are God's two highest attributes (Exodus 34:6). They were especially shown to Israel in God's promises and his fidelity to them. For thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name. Some would amend the text, and read אמתך, "thy truth," for, אמרתך "thy Word." But if we keep the text, and understand אמרתך as "thy promises," the sense will not be very different. God has magnified his promise, and his faithfulness to it, above all his other revealed attributes.
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
Verse 3. - In the day when I cried thou answeredst me. Thy answer came to my prayer almost as soon as it was out of my mouth. And strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. The promptness of thy answer gave my soul fresh strength.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.
Verse 4. - All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord. The world shall be converted to thy worship when it is seen how promptly and fully thou answerest prayer (comp. Psalm 68:31, 32; Psalm 102:15). When they hear the words of thy mouth. The promises that thou makest, and thy performance of them.
Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
Verse 5. - Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord. They, i.e. the kings, shall sing, no longer in their own misguided heathen ways, but in the ways of the Lord, in the mode prescribed by his Law and practiced in his temple (comp. Isaiah 49:22, 23; Isaiah 60:8-5, etc.). For great is the glory of the Lord. (cf. Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 66:18.) It is this "glory" which attracts "all nations and tongues."
Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
Verse 6. - Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly. Notwithstanding all God's glory and greatness, he condescends to look upon the lowly, to consider their needs, and to supply them (comp. Isaiah 57:15). Hence David feels sure that he will not be overlooked (see vers. 7, 8). But the proud he knoweth afar off. God keeps proud men at a distance, does not draw near to them, much less make his abode with them, but leaves them to themselves until they are ripe for punishment.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
Verse 7. - Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me (comp. Psalm 23:4). David "walked in the midst of trouble" during the greater part of his life. When the persecution of Saul was over, he had trouble from foreign enemies (2 Samuel 5-12.); when these were subdued, his domestic troubles began (2 Samuel 13-19; 1 Kings 5:53). God, however, from time to time "gave him a reviving." Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies (comp. Psalm 3:7; Psalm 9:3-6; Psalm 18:14-17, etc.). What God had so often done for him, David is confident that he will do again. He will break the power of his enemies, and deliver him from their machinations. And thy right hand. The symbol of strength. Shall save me; or, "deliver me" (comp. Psalm 18:35; Psalm 60:5; Psalm 63:8; Psalm 108:6, etc.).
The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Verse 8. - The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; i.e. will complete what he has begun for me - will not leave his work unfinished (comp. Psalm 57:2; Philippians 1:6). Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever. Does not suddenly break off and stop. Forsake not the works of thine own hands. This is probably more than a mere personal request. David sees in God's care for himself a portion of his great providential scheme for the redemption of the world.