<> Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
Verse 1. - Hear the right, O Lord (comp. Psalm 9:4). Here and elsewhere the psalmist assumes that right is on his side, and that he is persecuted unjustly. Unless he had been convinced of this, he could not have called on God to vindicate him. The narrative in 1 Samuel 18. - 27, fully justifies his conviction. Attend unto my cry (comp. Psalm 4:1; Psalm 5:2; Psalm 61:1). Rinnah, the word translated "cry" here (and in Psalm 61:1) is a strong term: it means "shout," "outcry" - most often, though not here, "a shout of joy." Give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips; rather, feigning lips, or guileful lips - lips, i.e., that speak falsehood knowingly.
Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.
Verse 2. - Let my sentence come forth from thy presence. David does not doubt, any more than Job (Job 13:18), what the sentence will be. As right is on his side (ver. 1), it must be in his favour. Let thine eyes behold the things that are equal; literally, Let thine eyes behold equities.
Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
Verse 3. - Thou hast proved mine heart (comp. Psalm 26:2; Psalm 66:9; Psalm 95:9; Psalm 139:23). "Proved" means "tried," "tested," examined strictly, so as to know whether there was any wickedness in it or not. Thou hast visited me in the night. The night is the time when men can least escape those searching, testing thoughts which God's providence then especially sends, to "try the very heart and reins" (Psalm 7:9). Thou hast tried me., and shalt find nothing; rather, and findest nothing. The process was one begun in the past, and continuing on in the present. God was ever searching David and trying him; but "found nothing," i.e. no alloy, no base rectal, no serious flaw in his character; not that he was sinless, but that he 'was sincere and earnest - a true worshipper of God, not a hypocrite. I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man" (James 3:2). David's resolution to "keep the door of his lips" would have a chastening influence over both his thoughts and acts.
Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.
Verse 4. - Concerning the works of man; i.e. "with respect to the actions of ordinary life " - here called "the works of Adam" ? i.e. of the natural man. By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. By attending to thy Law, and following it (see Psalm 119:11), I have refrained myself from sin, and avoided the wicked courses of the violent (comp. 1 Samuel 24:4-10).
Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
Verse 5. - Hold thou up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. So De Wette and Rosenmuller; but most recent critics prefer to consider the words as an assertion rather than a prayer, and translate, "My steps have held fast to thy paths: [therefore] my feet have not been moved" (Kay, Hengstenberg, Alexander, Cheyne, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Revised Version).
I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.
Verse 6. - I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God (comp. vers. 1, 2). Having established, as the ground of his claim to be heard of God, his own sincerity, steadfastness, and virtuous course in life (vers. 3-5), David now recurs to his original intent, and resumes his "prayer." He is sure that God will hear him, since his prayer is grounded on "right." Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech (comp. Psalm 71:2; Psalm 88:2, etc.).
Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
Verse 7. - Show thy marvellous loving kindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. It is uncertain to which clause of the sentence the word בִּימִיגָך belongs. Its position seems to attach it rather to those who resist God than to those who trust in him. See the marginal version, which has, O thou that savest them which trust in thee from those that rise up against thy right hand. But the rendering in the text of the Authorized Version is preferred by most writers.
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
Verse 8. - Keep me as the apple of the eye (comp. Deuteronomy 32. ]0, where the same simile is used). Here, however, the expression employed is still more tender and more practical: "Keep me," says David," as the apple, daughter of the eye." Hide me under the shadow of thy wings. This seems also to be a reminiscence of Deuteronomy, where, after the mention of the "apple of the eye," the water continues, As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him" (Deuteronomy 32:11, 12; comp. further Psalm 36:7; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 63:8; Psalm 91:4).
From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
Verse 9. - From the wicked that oppress me; or, lay me waste - treat me as invaders treat an enemy's territory (see Isaiah 15:1). From my deadly enemies, who compass me about; literally, my enemies in soul - those who in heart and mind are wholly set against me. When hunted by Saul upon the mountains, David was often "compassed about" with foes (1 Samuel 23:14, 15, 26; 1 Samuel 26:20).
They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.
Verse 10. - They are enclosed in their own fat (comp. Deuteronomy 32:15; Job 15:27; Psalm 119:70). Self-indulgence has hardened their feelings and dulled their souls. An organ enclosed in fat cannot work freely. So their feelings cannot work as nature intended through the coarseness and hardness in which they are, as it were, embedded. With their mouth they speak proudly (comp. Psalm 12:3, 4; Psalm 86:14).
They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;
Verse 11. - They have now compassed us in our steps; rather, [following] our steps, they now compass me (comp. ver. 9; and see 1 Samuel 23:26). They have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; rather, they have set their eyes, to east [me] down to the earth. The simile of the lion is already in the writer's mind. As the lion, before making his spring, fixes his eyes intently upon the prey - not to fascinate it, but to make sure of his distance - with intent, when he springs, to cast the prey down to the earth; so it is now with my enemies, who have set their eyes on me. (So Dr. Kay, the 'Speaker's Commentary,' and the Revised Version.)
Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
Verse 12. - Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey; literally, his likeness [is] as a lion that is greedy to rend (comp. Psalm 7:2; Psalm 10:9; Psalm 57:4). And as it were a young lion (kephir, "a lion in the first burst of youthful vigour") lurking in secret places; rather, crouching. The attitude of the lieu when he is just preparing to spring.
Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
Verse 13. - Arise, O Lord (comp. Psalm 7:6; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 10:12; Psalm 44:26, etc.). Having described the character of the wicked man, and pointed out his ill desert (vers. 9-12), the psalmist now invokes God's vengeance upon him. "Right" requires equally the succour of the godly and the punishment of the ungodly man. Disappoint him, cast him down; literally, get before him, bow him down; i.e. intercept his spring, and bow him down to the earth (see Psalm 18:39). Deliver my soul from the wicked. This will be the result of the interposition. When the ungodly are cast down, the righteous are delivered out of their hand. Which is thy sword. 4. true statement (see Isaiah 10:5), but scarcely what the writer intended in this place, where he is regarding the wicked as altogether opposed to God. It is best to translate, with the Revised Version, Deliver my soul from the wicked by thy sword.
From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.
Verse 14. - From men which are thy hand, O Lord; rather, from men, by thy hand, as in the margin of the Authorized Version, and in the text of the Revised Version. From men of the world; i.e. men who are altogether worldly, whose views, aspirations, hopes, longings, are bounded by this life - the "children of this world," as our Lord expressed it (Luke 16:8). Which have their portion in this life; i.e. who have here all that they will ever receive, and all that they care to receive. And whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure; rather, with thy stores - the good things that thou makest the earth to produce. There seems to be some allusion here to the frequent worldly prosperity of the ungodly (comp. Job 12:6; Job 21:7-13; Psalm 73:3-12). They are full of children (so Job 21:8, 11; Job 27:14). And leave the rest of their substance to their babes (comp. Psalm 49:10). No doubt this is often the case; but the ill-gotten gains handed on by the wicked to their children seldom prosper (see Job 27:14-17).
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Verse 15. - As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; i.e. "As for me, I do not envy the wicked man's prosperity. I set against it the blessedness of which I am quite sure. I in my righteousness shall behold the face of God, have the light of his countenance shine upon me, and thus be raised to a condition of perfect happiness." Moreover, I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. David had already spoken of death as a "sleep" (Psalm 13:3). Now he speaks of "awaking." What awaking can this be but an awaking from the sleep of death? When he so awakes, he says, he will he "satisfied with God's likeness." The word used is the same as that employed in Numbers 12:8, of the manifestation of the Divine glory to Moses - viz. temunah. David therefore expects to see, on awaking, a similar manifestation, he will have the enjoyment of the "beatific vision," if not in the Christian sense, at any rate in a true and real sense, and one that will wholly "satisfy" him.