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|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21 Listen
O Lord, deliver my life (Psalm 6)
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
2 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
5 For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back 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). According to the introduction, 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 my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; Let them turn back 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.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your 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. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David." The "instrument of Gath" is likely some sort of a stringed instrument.
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 the Jewish leaders complained about the cheers from the children by asking, "Do You hear what these are saying?" Jesus replies in that verse by saying, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?" 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.
God is a just ruler (Psalm 9)
To the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Death of the Son.” A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back,
They shall fall and perish at Your presence.
4 For You have maintained my right and my cause;
You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.
5 You have rebuked the nations,
You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 O enemy, destructions are finished forever!
And you have destroyed cities;
Even their memory has perished.
7 But the LORD shall endure forever;
He has prepared His throne for judgment.
8 He shall judge the world in righteousness,
And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion!
Declare His deeds among the people.
12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them;
He does not forget the cry of the humble.
13 Have mercy on me, O LORD!
Consider my trouble from those who hate me,
You who lift me up from the gates of death,
14 That I may tell of all Your praise
In the gates of the daughter of Zion.
I will rejoice in Your salvation.
15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made;
In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
16 The LORD is known by the judgment He executes;
The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell,
And all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten;
The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.
19 Arise, O LORD,
Do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged in Your sight.
20 Put them in fear, O LORD,
That the nations may know themselves to be but men.
The subtitle says, "To the Chief Musician. To the tune of 'Death of the Son.' A Psalm of David." 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 underlying Hebrew word to be 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.
A prayer about the wicked people (Psalm 10)
1 WHY DO YOU STAND AFAR OFF, O LORD?
Why do You hide in times of trouble?
2 The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;
He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.
4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts.
5 His ways are always prospering;
Your judgments are far above, out of his sight;
As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.
6 He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
I shall never be in adversity.”
7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.
8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the secret places he murders the innocent;
His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.
9 He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den;
He lies in wait to catch the poor;
He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 So he crouches, he lies low,
That the helpless may fall by his strength.
11 He has said in his heart,
“God has forgotten;
He hides His face;
He will never see.”
12 Arise, O LORD!
O God, lift up Your hand!
Do not forget the humble.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God?
He has said in his heart,
“You will not require an account.”
14 But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
To repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.
16 The LORD is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land.
17 LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,
18 To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.
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 in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of 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).
Only a fool says there is no God (Psalm 14)
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the LORD?
5 There they are in great fear,
For God is with the generation of the righteous.
6 You shame the counsel of the poor,
But the LORD is his refuge.
7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel 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 has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good."
Verse 7 in this Psalm is curious, "Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel 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.
This must have been one of David's favorites (Psalm 16)
A Michtam of David.
1 ¶ Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
2 O my soul, you have said to the LORD,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.”
3 As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
Nor take up their names on my lips.
5 O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
7 I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs 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 rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
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 You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your 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 shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
6 Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
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 forever;
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 Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your 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 comes 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 Your 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 have joy in Your strength, O LORD;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire,
And have not withheld the request of his lips.
3 For You meet him with the blessings of goodness;
You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
4 He asked life from You, and You gave it to him—
Length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great in Your salvation;
Honor and majesty You have placed upon him.
6 For You have made him most blessed forever;
You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD,
And through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find all Your enemies;
Your right hand will find those who hate You.
9 You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger;
The LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath,
And the fire shall devour them.
10 Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth,
And their descendants from among the sons of men.
11 For they intended evil against You;
They devised a plot which they are not able to perform.
12 Therefore You will make them turn their back;
You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces.
13 Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength!
We will sing and praise Your 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 have joy in Your strength…" (verse 1); "For the king trusts 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.