Bible Commentaries

Psalms 71

Verses 1-24

This is pre-eminently a song of the aged, and, like old age, it is reminiscent. The singer passes from memory to hope, and from experience to praise. No very definite division is possible. Generally speaking, it may be noticed that the first part expresses need, and is principally prayer, while the second half affirms con6dence and is principally praise.

The song opens with a prayer for deliverance (verses Psalms 71:1-8). This is not so much a cry out of present distress as a prayer that in the event of trouble the singer may be able to resort to God. The old man is discovered in that the first three verses are almost a direct quotation from a previous psalm (31), perhaps one of his own. His experience of God from birth is his con6dence that he will be heard now. This leads the song on in prayer that he may still be helped in age, for he still has adversaries (verses Psalms 71:9-13). Here again are quotations from earlier psalms which the marginal references will aid the reader in discovering.

The singer then rises to higher levels as he tells of his confidence in God, and asks that he may be helped to declare God to the succeeding generation. The psalm is a song of sunset, and it is full of beauty. There are storm clouds in the western sky. Some are spent, and some still threaten; but on all is a light which transfigures them.