Verse 1. - In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust. If prayer to God for aid in a special time of trouble is the main object of the psalm, the expression of full trust in God is a secondary object, and is maintained throughout (see vers. 3-8, 14, 19-21, 24). Notwithstanding the extremity of his danger, his belief is firm in the coming overthrow of his enemies, and in his own deliverance and restoration. Let me never be ashamed (comp. ver. 17, where the idea is expanded). David's enemies having come to an open rupture with him, and appealed to arms (2 Samuel 15:10-12; 2 Samuel 17:24-26), one party or the other must of necessity be put to shame. Here he prays that it may not be himself; in ver. 17 he goes a step further, and asks that the shame may fall upon his enemies. Deliver me in thy righteousness. Seeing that my cause is the righteous one.
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
Verse 2. - Bow down thine ear to me; or, incline thine ear to me, as the same phrase is translated in Psalm 71:2. Deliver me speedily. Not doubting of deliverance, he makes his request for speedy deliverance (comp. Psalm 38:22; Psalm 40:17; Psalm 70:1; Psalm 71:12, etc.). Be thou my strong Rock, for an House of defence to save me; rather, as in the Revised Version, Be thou to me a strong Rock, an House of defence, etc. (comp. Psalm 18:2).
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
Verse 3., - For thou art my Rock; or, my cliff (סלעי, not צורי). And my Fortress. David prays God to be his Rock and Fortress in the future, because he has always looked to him as his Rock and Fortress in the past. Faith establishes a claim to have its anticipations made good. Therefore for thy Name's sake lead me, and guide me. Metaphor is dropped, and God is simply asked for guidance and direction. In the struggle between Absalom and David more depended upon wise counsel than upon mere force (2 Samuel 15:31-37; 2 Samuel 16:15-23; 2 Samuel 17:5-23).
Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.
Verse 4. - Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me. Absalom set a imp for David when he asked permission to go to Hebron for the purpose of paying a vow, whereas his object was to get possession of a strongly fortified city (2 Samuel 15:7-9). It was, perhaps, by a device of AhithopheI's that David was induced to quit Jerusalem and go into exile. For thou art my Strength (comp. Psalm 18:1; 19:15; 28:1, 7, 8, etc.).
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Verse 5. - Into thine hand I commit my spirit. Our Lord's adoption of these words, and application of them to himself and his own departure from earth, have given them a special sacredness beyond that which attaches to Scripture generally. At the same time, they have impressed on them a new meaning, since David was not thinking of a final committal of his soul, as distinct from his body, into the hands of the Creator, but only intended solemnly to commit himself, both soul and body, into the Divine keeping, to be preserved from the attacks of his enemies. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth; or, thou hast delivered me, O Lord God of truth. It is redemption in the general sense of "deliverance from peril," not redemption from sin, of which the psalmist speaks. David, having frequently experienced such deliverance in the past, is emboldened to expect now another deliverance.
I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.
Verse 6. - I have hated them that regard lying vanities. By "lying vanities" are meant idolatrous practices, or possibly such superstitious usages as recourse to witch-craft and divination. (For David's hatred of such persons as are here glanced at, see Psalm 26:5.) But I trust in the Lord. Who is the direct opposite of all "lying vanities," being at once Almighty, and the "God of truth" (ver. 5).
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
Verse 7. - I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy. Anticipating the "mercy" which he has craved (vers. 2-4), the psalmist determines to "be glad and rejoice in it." For thou hast considered my trouble. When God looks upon trouble and considers it, he is sure to compassionate the sufferer, and to grant him some relief. Thou hast known my soul in adversities (comp. Psalm 1:6, "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous" ). God is said to "know" those on whom he looks with approval.
And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
Verse 8. - And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; i.e. "hast not delivered me up, without chance of escape, into the hands of my enemies" (comp. 1 Samuel 23:12). Thou hast set my feet in a large room. Given me, i.e., plenty of space and freedom for action; not confined me, nor cramped me, nor hindered me in any way (comp. Psalm 4:1; Psalm 18:36). Having cheered himself with the enumeration of these grounds of encouragement (vers. 5-8), the psalmist again returns to prayer.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
Verse 9. - Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble. The psalmist follows up his prayer for mercy by an exposition of his need of mercy. He is in trouble, in sore trouble - "hard pressed," as Hengstenberg translates - distressed both in mind and body. Mine eye is consumed with grief (comp. Psalm 6:7, where the expression is almost identical). The grief intended is "that produced by provocation or spiteful treatment" (Kay). It causes him to weep so much that his eye is well-nigh "consumed" or "eaten away." Yea, my soul and my belly. Some explain this as meaning simply "my soul and my body" (Hengstenberg, Alexander, Revised Version); but others regard the "belly" as denoting "the very centre of physical life and of the emotions" (comp. Job 32:19).
For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
Verse 10. - For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing. The psalmist's grief is of old standing. It dates from the time of his great sin (2 Samuel 11:4-17), which is thought to have preceded the revolt of Absalom by the space of twelve years. This sin necessitated a lifelong repentance (Psalm 38:17; Psalm 51:3, etc.). My strength faileth because of mine iniquity. Other causes had, no doubt, contributed to produce the profound depression of the psalmist at this period, but none was of equal force with this (comp. Psalm 38:3-10; Psalm 51:1-14, etc.). It caused his strength to fail utterly, and led to complete prostration both st mind and body. And my bones are consumed; i.e. racked with pain, as though they were being gnawed away.
I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
Verse 11. - I was a reproach among all mine enemies; rather, I am become a reproach (Kay, Revised Version). The psalmist complains of the loss of his reputation. Absalom's rebellion was preceded by a long course of calumnious accusation of David (2 Samuel 15:1-4), whereby men's hearts were stolen away from him, and his character blackened. His enemies made the most of these ill reports, and turned them to his reproach (camp. Psalm 69:18-20). But especially among my neighbours. Not that they reproached him more than others, but that he felt their reproaches more keenly. And a fear to mine acquaintance. His acquaintances were afraid of being recognized as such, and involved in his ill repute. They that did sea me without; i.e. "out of doors," or "in the street." Fled from me. Avoided my contact, not wishing to be seen with me (comp. Psalm 88:8).
I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
Verse 12. - I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind (comp. Psalm 88:5). I am like a broken vessel. Of no value to any one; only fit to be thrown away.
For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
Verse 13. - For I have heard the slander of many (see the comment on ver. 11). The calumnies circulated against him had reached David's ears, and these had so affected him that he felt as described in the preceding verse. Fear was on every side, while they took counsel together against me. Fear was "on every side" - in his own heart, and in the hearts of all his friends - when it came to the point of his enemies holding a formal council, in which the matter discussed was the best mode of proceeding against him to take away his life. The particulars of such a council are given in 2 Samuel 17:1-14. They devised to take away my life. That David's life was sought is apparent from the last clause of ver. 2, "I will smite the king only."
But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
Verse 14. - But I trusted in thee, O Lord. Having fully represented the miserable condition to which he is reduced (vers. 9-13), David now returns to expressions of trust in God, and to earnest prayer to him (comp. ver. 6). I said, Thou art my God; rather, I have said. In all my sufferings, dangers, and difficulties, I have always clung to thee, and said, "Thou, and thou alone, art, and ever shalt be, my God."
My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
Verse 15. - My times are in thy hand. "My times," i.e. "all the varied events, happy or sad, which make up the parti-coloured web of life" (Kay). Not one of them but is shaped by thee and ordered by thee. Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me (camp. vers. 1, 2, 4). The great need under existing circumstances was deliverance. Absalom was looked for daily to "pass over Jordan, and all the men of Israel with him" (2 Samuel 17:24). A battle was imminent. If the day went against David, and his army was defeated, he would necessarily fall into the hands of his "enemies" and "persecutors," in which case he could not hope that they would spare his life (2 Samuel 17:2, 12).
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake.
Verse 16. - Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. This expression is first used in the blessing of Moses (Numbers 6:25). Its intrinsic beauty and poetry recommended it to the psalmists, with whom it recurs frequently (camp. Psalm 4:6; Psalm 67:1; Psalm 80:5, 7, 19; Psalm 119:135). It may be regarded as equivalent to "Be thou favourable and gracious unto thy servant." Save me for thy mercies' sake; literally, save me in thy mercy.
Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
Verse 17. - Let me not be ashamed, O Lord (see the comment on ver. l). For I have called upon thee. "I have," i.e., "been ever thy true worshipper." Even when I have sinned (ver. 10), my sins have not been "sins of unfaithfulness," but lapses, sins of infirmity, unpremeditated yieldings to temptation. Let the wicked be ashamed. Bring shame, i.e., upon those who are at once my enemies and thine - the wicked and impenitent generally - and, among them on my present adversaries, those who are collected together to carry on war against me. And let them be silent in the grave; or, in Sheol. Let a stop be put to their slanders (ver. 13) and lying speeches (ver. 18); let them he silenced by removal from this world to the land of the departed.
Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Verse 18. - Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous; rather, which speak arrogancy (camp. 1 Samuel 2:3). The pride and insolence of David's enemies is strongly noted in the Second Book of Samuel (see 16:7, 8; 17:1-3).
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
Verse 19. - Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! Another transition. David turns from prayer to praise, and in the four next verses (vers. 19-22) eulogizes the goodness and mercy and marvellous loving-kindness of God, who has wrought gloriously for his people in the past, and has further an ample store of mercies laid up for them in the future. Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! God had wrought his mercies for his own people, but in the sight of men generally, whether good or bad.
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
Verse 20. - Thou shalt hide (or, thou hidest) them in the secret of thy presence from the pride (rather, conspiracies) of man. Intense light forms as good a hiding-place as intense darkness. No vision can penetrate it. It is "too dazzling bright for mortal eye." Thus those whom God brings close to himself, and on whom he pours the light of his countenance, need no other protection. Their life is hid in God. Thou shalt keep them (or, thou keepest them) secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. God keeps his own in a "pavilion," or leafy arbour, a place of coolness and refreshment, far away from the "lying lips" (ver. 18) and slanderous tongues (ver. 13) of the ungodly.
Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.
Verse 21. - Blessed be the Lord: for he hath showed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. The "strong city" has been explained as Ziklag (Delitzsch), or Maha-naim (2 Samuel 17:24), but is probably as much a figure of speech as the "pavilion" of ver. 20. God has showed David his marvellous loving-kindness by giving him an assurance of absolute security.
For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
Verse 22. - For I said in my haste; rather, and I indeed had said in my haste (comp. Psalm 116:11). David's faith was not so firmly fixed but that he was liable, from time to time, to a sudden access of fear (see 1 Samuel 27:1; 2 Samuel 15:14; Psalm 31:13). He had said to God in his heart, on one such occasion, I am cut off from before thine eyes; i.e. he had despaired and given himself up for lost. It is somewhat forced to understand the words as meaning, "I am banished from the city where the ark is placed" ('Speaker's Commentary'). Nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. God did not forsake his servant on account of this temporary failure of faith. No sooner did the psalmist rid himself of his extreme alarm, and turn once more to God in prayer, than he was heard, and his prayer answered.
O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Verse 23. - O love ye the Lord, all ye his saints. The psalmist winds up with a short burst of song, in which his heart goes out to others. He calls upon all God's saints to "love" him, on the ground of his own experience, which is that the Lord preserveth the faithful (literally, those who stand firm, Kay), and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer; i.e. visits with ample vengeance such as in their pride set themselves against him and against his people.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Verse 24. - Be of good courage (see the comment on Psalm 27:14). And he (i.e. God) shall strengthen your heart. "To those who have it shall be given." If they did their best to "be of good courage" when danger and difficulty assailed them, then God would give them supernatural aid, strengthening their hearts with his gracious favour. All ye that hope in the Lord; literally, all ye that hope for the Lord; i.e. that hope for his help - that wait on him (see Job 14:14; and comp. Psalm 33:18, 22), and look to him as your Deliverer.