This is an evening hymn, and though no occasion is mentioned it may perhaps be referred, like Psalms 3 (its natural companion), to the time of Absalom's revolt, but to a somewhat later stage in the course of events, when the peril had largely passed away. It contains David's appeal to God (Psalms 4:1), his appeal to his enemies (Psalms 4:2-5), and his own resolve (Psalms 4:6-8).
Title.—(RV) 'For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments (Neginoth).'
1. God of my righteousness] The God who is on the side of the Psalmist's righteous cause.
Enlarged me] RV 'set me at large.'
2. Sons of men] in contrast with God, who is addressed in v.
1. How long will ye turn, etc.] RV 'how long shall my glory be turned,' etc. Leasing] RV 'falsehood.'
3. Butknow] introduces the truth which the Psalmist's enemies ignored.
4. Stand in awe] LXX renders, 'Be ye angry,' and is followed by St. Paul in Ephesians 4:26. Be still] cease your striving after vanity. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.
5. Sacrifices of righteousness] sacrifices accompanied by right conduct, offered in a right spirit, and so acceptable to God. Perhaps there may be a reference to the insincere sacrifices of 2 Samuel 15:12.
6. There be many] possibly in allusion to the discontented people whom Absalom sought to win by fair promises (2 Samuel 15:4). Lord, lift thou up] a striking transition from the vain quests of men to the one source of the chief good. The light of thy countenance] favour, such as earthly kings express by a smiling face: see Numbers 6:26; Psalms 80:3, Psalms 80:7, Psalms 80:19.
7. More than in the time] RV 'more than they have when,' etc. 'They' seems to refer to the enemies of the writer. He in his hardships is happier than they in their plenty: the peace of God is better than the mirth of harvest.
8. The note of evensong. Read, 'In peace will I both lay me down and sleep.' The whole night's rest is peaceful, because God, the only source of protection, is on the Psalmist's side.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany