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Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21 Listen
O Lord, deliver my life (Psalm 6)
To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.
10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.
Psalm 6 was written by David and is one of the seven penitential psalms, the others being Psalm 32 (see notes), Psalm 38 (see notes), Psalm 51 (see notes), Psalm 102 (see notes), Psalm 130 (see notes) and Psalm 143 (see notes). From Expositor's Bible Commentary regarding the word, "Sheminith" in the introduction of the Psalm: "This term appears in Psalms 6 and 12 and in 1 Chronicles 15:21. As its form is related to the Hebrew word for eight, it may denote the manner of singing or musical accompaniment (octave) or possibly an instrument with eight strings." Here's another Psalm of David on deliverance delivered to the musicians.
It is difficult with what is written in this Psalm to place it in a specific period of time. Some of David's Psalms beseech the Lord to strengthen David to defeat or destroy his enemies, but not so with regard to his bouts with Saul in I Samuel or his bouts with his renegade son, Absalom, in II Samuel. In the Psalms that we know to have been written on the occasion of conflicts with these two characters, David generally asks, as he does here in verse 10, "Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly." He doesn't call upon God for their destruction as he does in Psalm 9 (see below). David just wants them to back off - go away - give up.
To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
We sing this in a chorus at church from time to time. Note that the first and last verses of the Psalm have the same phrase. The subtitle to this Psalm is, "To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David." Easton's defines "Gittith" as: "a stringed instrument of music." This word is found in the introductions of Psalms 8, 81, 84. When the children in the temple shouted out, "Hosanna to the Son of David," Jesus quoted Psalms 8:2 in Matthew 21:16 (see notes) when he says, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise." He did so in reply to the officials when they complained about the cheers from the children. How do you answer that? In Hebrews 2:6-8 (see notes) Paul quotes from from Psalm 8:4-6 to demonstrate that God had intended for man to have dominion over everything on earth, but lost it. Then, in verse 9, he makes the case that only because of Jesus will the originally-prescribed order of things be set right once again.
To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David.
1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence.
4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.
5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.
6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.
7 But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.
8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.
13 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.
15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
19 Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight.
20 Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.
The subtitle says, "To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David." Easton's on Muthlabben: "Occurring only in the title of Psalm 9. Some interpret the words as meaning 'on the death of Labben,' some unknown person. Others render the word, 'on the death of the son;' i.e., of Absalom (II Samuel 18:33). Others again have taken the word as the name of a musical instrument, or as the name of an air to which the psalm was sung."
We find a reference to "Zion" in this Psalm. This is the geographical location of Jerusalem and specifically became the place of worship during David's reign; the temple was built there. David captured this city from the Jebusites in II Samuel 5:7 (see notes). In this Psalm we see the rewards of the righteous from God and the judgment against the wicked.
Unlike Psalm 6, David calls for very harsh treatment against his enemies in this Psalm as he calls for their destruction. That seems to lend further evidence to the notion that David differentiated in his Psalms with regard to the nature of the enemy (see note on Psalm 6 above). It appears that when his enemies were family or near family, he prayed that they would just go away and leave him alone; when he considered them heathen, he prayed for their destruction.
1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
9 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
10 He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.
13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
14 Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.
16 The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.
17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
18 To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
This unspecified Psalmist is praying to God concerning the prosperity of wicked people. He calls for action in his prayer from God beginning with verse 12. Do you ever wonder why some just won't get saved? There's your answer in verse 4, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." Upon hearing the presentation of the gospel message, people make a choice regarding salvation. When people respond to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, they get saved; when they resist the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, they remain in their lost condition.
Incidentally, Paul quotes from verse 7 in Romans 3:14 (see notes).
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.
7 Oh that the salvation of Israel WERE COME OUT OF ZION! WHEN THE LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
This Psalm, ascribed to David in the subtitle, is parallel to Psalm 53 (see notes and parallel). It's functionally identical and virtually word for word. Paul quotes from this Psalm in Romans 3:10-12 (see notes) as he describes the desperate state of the unregenerate man. As mentioned in the notes on Psalm 9 (see above), Zion at the end of this Psalm is a name David prescribed for Jerusalem. It's used over 150 times in the scripture. I think verse 1 is worth memorizing for those occasions when you come across those who proclaim to be atheists, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
Verse 7 in this Psalm is curious, "Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad." The subtitle for this Psalm assigns it to David, but the language of verse 7 sounds like it was written by someone else during the exile period after the fall of Jerusalem. Various theories have been put forth to explain this, but it seems clear to me that David was speaking prophetically. After all, do we not clearly see Messianic prophesies in several of David's Psalms? The reality of the captivity was prophesied by Moses himself hundreds of years earlier in Deuteronomy 29-30 (see notes). It should, therefore, be no surprise that David should include this prophetic statement in his writings.
Michtam of David.
1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.
2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;
3 But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.
4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant PLACES; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
The subtitle to this Psalm says, "Michtam of David." The word "Michtam" appears in the subtitles of the following Psalms: 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60. What does it mean? Who knows for certain? All six are psalms of lament and four of the headings have historical references to Davids struggles with the Philistines (56), Saul (57, 59) and the Arameans (60). Since the word comes from a Hebrew root meaning to cover, perhaps it could mean a song of covering." Other scholars understand the term to mean an engraving, such as an inscription on a stone slab, perhaps with gold letters. This view would set apart these Psalms as special to David.
Notice verse 10, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." This verse is used by both Peter and Paul as Old Testament prophecies regarding the resurrection of the Messiah. Peter quotes it in Acts 2:27, 31 (see notes) and Paul in Acts 13:35 (see notes).
Another tribute to God (Psalm 19)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the LORD is PERFECT, CONVERTING THE SOUL: THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are RIGHT, REJOICING THE HEART: THE COMMANDMENT OF THE LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is CLEAN, ENDURING FOR EVER: THE JUDGMENTS OF THE LORD are TRUE AND righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired ARE THEY than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: AND IN KEEPING OF THEM THERE IS great reward.
12 Who can understand HIS ERRORS? CLEANSE THOU ME FROM SECRET FAULTS.
13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous SINS; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
God is great; his law is perfect; may I dwell in him. Verse 1 is a good verse to memorize. It presents the universe as evidence that all of this is God's creation. Note verse 7, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." I'm reminded of Romans 10:17 (see notes) where Paul says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." David similarly places this level of importance upon the Law of Moses as he declares it to be perfect and valuable for "converting the soul." The Hebrew word for "convert" there is "shoob" which means "return to the starting point." That's the value of God's word; it increases our faith and purifies our lives. The last verse of this Psalm (verse 14) says, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." If you're looking for a verse that suggests how Christians should conduct themselves, here's a good one.
God has provided protection for David (Psalm 21)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.
3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
7 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
10 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
11 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.
13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
David praises God for his protecting hand. His enemies do not have a chance. Notice the way David refers to himself in third person in these two verses: "The king shall joy in thy strength" (verse 1); "For the king trusteth in the LORD" (verse 7). These two verses really sum up this Psalm: Because David trusts in the Lord, he shall joy in the strength of the Lord. That concept works for Christians today as well. What about his enemies? He has just turned them over to the Lord; let God deal with them.