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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 61

Verses 1-2

1. Request for salvation 61:1-2

David began this psalm, as he did many others, by asking God to give attention to his prayer. He evidently felt separated from his own people and his secure surroundings on this occasion. The rock he requested may have been a literal butte on which he could take refuge, such as Masada. On the other hand, he may have been speaking figuratively of God (cf. Deuteronomy 32:4; Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 32:18; Deuteronomy 32:30-31; Deuteronomy 32:37; 2 Samuel 22:2; Psalms 18:31; Psalms 18:46; Psalms 28:1; et al.).

Verses 1-8

Psalms 61

Several of the commentators believe David wrote this individual royal lament psalm when he was fleeing from Saul. However, the text itself records no such information (cf. Psalms 61:6 a). David strengthened himself in the Lord-when he felt faint and inadequate-by remembering his Rock and by relying on His promises.

Verses 3-4

David’s desire for God’s protection rested on the Lord’s previous provisions of deliverance for him. God had proved to be his refuge and tower of strength. Now the psalmist longed to dwell in the Lord’s tent or tabernacle and to enjoy the protection of His wings, as though he were a baby chick or bird (cf. Psalms 17:8; Psalms 36:7; Psalms 57:1; Psalms 63:7; Psalms 91:4).

"The psalmist’s longing for God (Psalms 61:1-5) is a familiar motif in the Psalms as an expression of deep love for God arising out of great adversity (cf. Psalms 20; Psalms 21; Psalms 27; Psalms 42; Psalms 43; Psalms 63)." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 417.]

Verses 3-7

2. Confidence in God 61:3-7

Verses 5-7

David knew that God had heard his prayer. The inheritance of those who fear God’s name was prosperity under the promises of the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 29:9). These promises included long life and abiding in God’s presence. David asked God to deal with him in loyal love and truth so that he would indeed endure through his present trial.

Verse 8

3. Promise of praise 61:8

When God would deliver him, David would praise God with song and continue to pay his vowed offerings regularly in the future.

Believers can confidently petition God for deliverance on the basis of His promises and His former faithfulness. These resources can give strength when we feel vulnerable and alone.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 61". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-61.html. 2012.