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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
Psalms 86



Verses 1-10

1. A request for protection86:1-10

David appealed to God for preservation as a dependent, needy believer who sought to walk in trust and obedience with his God. He viewed God"s granting of his request as based on His grace, not something God owed him. He looked forward to rejoicing when the answer came.

"Hope begins with submitting oneself fully to the protection of God." [Note: VanGemeren, p557.]

David"s attitude of humility comes through in the terms he used in addressing God in this psalm. Seven times he called God his Lord or Master (Heb. adonay), a title that stresses His sovereignty over David ( Psalm 86:3-5; Psalm 86:8-9; Psalm 86:12; Psalm 86:15). This Hebrew title appears as "Lord" in most English translations whereas "Yahweh" translates as "LORD."

The psalmist was sure God would respond to his prayer ( Psalm 86:7). The basis of his confidence was the fact that Yahweh is the only God and that He does great things.

Verses 1-17

Psalm 86

On the basis of God"s goodness, David asked the Lord to demonstrate His strength by opposing the proud who exalted themselves against him. This is the only psalm ascribed to David in Book3 ( Psalm 73-89). It is an individual lament psalm that speaks out of a situation of disorientation. It is a virtual mosaic of other Psalm , and its quotations are almost verbatim.

Verses in Psalm 86

Similar verses elsewhere

Psalm 86:1

Psalm 17:6; Psalm 31:2; Psalm 35:10; Psalm 37:14; and Psalm 40:17

Psalm 86:2

Psalm 25:20

Psalm 86:3

Psalm 57:1-2

Psalm 86:5

Exodus 34:6

Psalm 86:6

Psalm 28:2

Psalm 86:7

Psalm 17:6; and Psalm 77:2

Psalm 86:8

Psalm 35:10; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 89:6; Exodus 8:10; Exodus 9:14; and Exodus 15:11

Psalm 86:10

Psalm 72:18; and Psalm 77:13-14

Psalm 86:11

Psalm 27:11

Psalm 86:12-13

Psalm 50:15; Psalm 50:23; Psalm 56:13; and Psalm 57:9-10

Psalm 86:16

Psalm 25:16

Verses 11-13

2. A request for greater understanding86:11-13

David"s request to know God"s way more fully is typical of the desire of any sincere believer who wants to walk humbly and obediently with his God (cf. Exodus 33:13; Philippians 3:8-10). The motive behind this request was God"s glory ( Psalm 86:12). The psalmist appreciated God"s present loyal love for him and His spiritual salvation.

Verses 14-17

3. A request for strength86:14-17

David"s actual complaint appears in Psalm 86:14. Rebels against God and His anointed king were harassing David. He contrasted their characters with God"s. Specifically, David needed strength of all kinds to deal with these opponents. The sign he requested would have been some physical, tangible proof that God was supporting His servant. God"s deliverance would constitute such a sign.

This is a prayer for help from a very mature believer. David"s understanding of God resulted in his taking a humble place of submission to His Lord. His confidence during his trial was strong because he knew how great and loyal God is. Rather than exhibiting panic in the face of danger, David demonstrated peace, confidence, and even joy.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 86:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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