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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63 Listen
A prayer of David: Deliverance from enemies (Psalm 17)
A Prayer of David.
1 ¶ Hear a just cause, O LORD,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
2 Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.
3 You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night;
You have tried me and have found nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
4 Concerning the works of men,
By the word of Your lips,
I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.
5 Uphold my steps in Your paths,
That my footsteps may not slip.
6 I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.
7 Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You
From those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
9 From the wicked who oppress me,
From my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They have closed up their fat hearts;
With their mouths they speak proudly.
11 They have now surrounded us in our steps;
They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth,
12 As a lion is eager to tear his prey,
And like a young lion lurking in secret places.
13 Arise, O LORD,
Confront him, cast him down;
Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword,
14 With Your hand from men, O LORD,
From men of the world who have their portion in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.
They are satisfied with children,
And leave the rest of their possession for their babes.
15 As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your 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, "With Your hand from men, O LORD, From men of the world who have their portion in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their possession for their babes. As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your 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 those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
3 Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”
4 Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
5 Let them be like 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 pursue them.
7 For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
8 Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden 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 You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”
11 Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
12 They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.
15 But in my adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;
16 With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.
18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.
19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
20 For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.
21 They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.”
22 This You have seen, O LORD;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.
25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who rejoice at my hurt;
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
Who exalt themselves against me.
27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the LORD be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your 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 "who fight against me" that David is talking about fellow Israelites. Initially, he's not asking for their outright destruction, but rather, "Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor" (verse 4). As they persist, however, he requests in verse 8, "Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, And let his net that he has hidden 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, "Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your 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. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David when the Ziphites went and said to Saul, “Is David not hiding with us?”
1 ¶ Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers have risen up against me,
And oppressors have sought after my life;
They have not set God before them.
4 Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
5 He will repay my enemies for their evil.
Cut them off in Your truth.
6 I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.
7 For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my 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.
Written in the wilderness (Psalm 63)
A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 ¶ O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life, 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 jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who 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.