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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 17



Verses 1-15

The Psalmist makes his appeal to the justice of God (Psalms 17:1-2), and supports his prayer by an assertion of his conscious innocence (Psalms 17:3-5) and an account of the eager cruelty of his enemies (Psalms 17:9-12). The concluding thought, that true satisfaction is found in God alone (Psalms 17:14-15), recalls the teaching of Psalms 16, with which this Ps. presents other points of likeness.

1. Feigned] false, insincere.

2. My sentence] my judgment, in the favourable sense of 'vindication.' Let thine eyes, etc.] better, 'thine eyes look upon equity,' a confident assertion of God's justice.

3. Proved] tested.

In the night] when man is alone with God, and conscience shows things in their true character. Shalt find, etc.] RM 'findest no evil purpose in me.'

4. Concerning] RV 'as for.'

By the word of thy lips] the commandments of God.

5. RV 'My steps have held fast to thy paths, My feet have not slipped.'

8. The apple of the eye] The pupil of the eye, a specially important and delicate organ, with peculiarly sensitive arrangements for its protection: see Deuteronomy 32:10. Under the shadow of thy wings] as a mother-bird shelters her young.

10. They are inclosed in their own fat] better, 'they have shut up their heart,' a figure for arrogance.

11. Us] The Psalmist mentions his companions along with himself.

Bowing down] RV 'to cast us down.'

12. Like as a lion] RV 'He is like a lion,' the chief enemy (perhaps Saul) being meant.

13. Disappoint] RV 'confront.' From the wicked, which is, etc.] RV 'from the wicked by thy sword.'

14. From men which are, etc.] RV 'from men by thy hand.' From men of the world, etc.] RM 'from men whose portion in life is of the world,' whose ideal is animal gratification, a numerous offspring, and wealth to leave behind them. Full of children] RV 'satisfied with children.'

15. The Psalmist's satisfaction, present and future, lies in the fellowship of God. When I awake] either 'after each night's rest,' or 'after the night of trouble is past.' The thought of life after death may not have been clearly in the writer's mind, but his conviction and experience that true life is life in God involve the foundation of the Christian hope.

With thy likeness] cp. Numbers 12:8; Psalms 139:18. The Psalmist seeks continual fellowship with God.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 17:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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Sunday, May 24th, 2020
the Seventh Sunday after Easter
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