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Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63 Listen
A prayer of David: Deliverance from enemies (Psalm 17)
A Prayer of David.
1 Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
2 Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.
3 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.
4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.
5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.
7 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.
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,
9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.
11 They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;
12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
14 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.
15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
It is not clear what event prompted this prayer from David. It certainly sounds like it could have very well been written by David during the ordeal of I Samuel 23 (see notes). It's yet another prayer where David is praying that righteousness will be rewarded over wickedness. He claims his position before God as one who strives for righteousness.
We don't find a lot of references in the Old Testament regarding eternal life. David expresses his personal beliefs on the issue in verses 14-15, "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. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Notice the contrast David gives between those who only "have their portion in this life" as opposed to himself who anticipates awakening one day in the likeness of God.
Lord, turn loose your wrath on the wicked (Psalm 35)
A Psalm of David.
1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:
16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.
22 This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
David just trusts God to deal with the wicked. It's interesting in this Psalm that David seeks God's help in turning the enemy back by causing confusion. One is left with the impression from David's pleas regarding the treatment of those "that fight against me" that David is talking about fellow Israelites. Initially, he's not asking for their outright destruction, but rather, "Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion." As they persist, however, he requests in verse 8, "Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall." He also speaks of betrayal beginning with verse 11. This is surely written during the time that Saul is leading an army in pursuit of David. I Samuel 26 (see notes) provides a good back drop for this Psalm, although absolute, certain linkage with this occasion cannot be established.
We see in this Psalm that David is calling upon God to provide some supernatural relief. He calls specifically for a manifestation of the "angel of the LORD" in verse 5, and again in verse 6. That's a call for God, himself, to manifest himself in the form of an angel as had been evidenced on numerous occasions to the patriarchs. He appeals for a call to action by God in verses 22-23; David's looking for some relief.
Here's the bottom line to David's prayer in verse 24, "Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me." God's judgment is the only one that really counts. He seeks vindication from God in the face of his enemies so that they will see that he is righteous before God.
Who are the Ziphites? (Psalm 54)
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?
1 Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
2 Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
4 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
5 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.
The introduction here connects this Psalm with Davids flight from Saul. We see from I Samuel 23:19-21 (see notes) and I Samuel 26:1 (see notes) that the Ziphites seemed intent on helping Saul find David. It's interesting that, while Saul commends these Ziphites for their assistance in tracking down David, he invokes the blessings of Jehovah on them for doing so in I Samuel 23:21. That just goes to show you; evil men with evil intentions many times do so "in the name of the Lord." The spirit of this psalm reflects that of an individual lament in which David complains against strangers and asks the Lord to come to his rescue. The prayer ends with thanksgiving and a vow. This Psalm is a prayer model for any Believer who is maligned.
Incidentally, the subtitle to this Psalm begins with "To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil." Following is an excerpt from Easton's regarding these words:
Neginoth: i.e., songs with instrumental accompaniment, found in the titles of Ps. 4; 6; 54; 55; 67; 76; rendered stringed instruments, Hab. 3:19, A.V. It denotes all kinds of stringed instruments, as the harp, psaltery, viol, etc. The chief musician on Neginoth is the leader of that part of the temple choir which played on stringed instruments.
Maschil: instructing, occurs in the title of thirteen Psalms (Ps. 32, 42, 44, etc.). It denotes a song enforcing some lesson of wisdom or piety, a didactic song. In Ps. 47:7 it is rendered with understanding.
Written in the wilderness (Psalm 63)
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
According to the introduction, this Psalm is associated with Davids stay in the Judean wilderness. Perhaps it was during his escape from Saul in I Samuel 23 (see notes) or in a later period from Absalom in II Samuel 15:13-37 (see notes); there's no way of knowing for certain. However, David's reference to the "king" in verse 11 causes me to think that this is the latter occasion with Absalom. It is true that he had been anointed king by Samuel prior to his flight from Saul, but not installed as such. Whichever, he's trusting in God and writing songs.