Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 27

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalms 27:1-14 -The deliverance which results from waiting on the Lord.

Psalms 27:1-14.-David's fearless confidence amidst dangers, because Yahweh is his salvation. Dwelling by faith in God's temple, he is secure, and will sing triumphant praises (Psalms 27:1-6); prayer that God will not hide His face, but make the path of deliverance plain (Psalms 27:7-12); conclusion sets forth the main thought (Psalms 27:13-14).

Whom shall I fear? With the Lord on his side, all the powers of men, or even Satan, are as nothing against Him. As in the former psalm, so in this, David write under the pressure of trouble, Trust in the Lord was his preservative them (Psalms 26:1) against sliding of his feet. Here he speaks with triumphant confidence, "whom shall I fear?" - indignantly putting away from him fear as unworthy of one who has the Lord for his "light" amidst the darkness of surrounding trials (Micah 7:8-9; Isaiah 50:10).

The Lord life - guarding it from the attacks of all enemies (Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:3-4Isaiah 26:3-4;cf Nehemiah 6:9) The Lord ... life - guarding it from the attacks of all enemies (Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 26:3-4; cf. Nehemiah 6:9).

Verse 2

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

When ... came ... to eat up my flesh, they stumbled. The Hebrew order is emphatic, 'When the wicked came near upon me to eat my flesh (like savage beasts), mine enemies against me (literally, to me [ liy (H3807a]), themselves [ heemaah (H1992)] stumbled and fell.' Themselves it was that fell, not (as they had expected) I, though doubtless, had not the Lord been with me, I should have fallen.

Verse 3

Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

In this will I be confident - "in this" - i:e., even in such a seemingly hopeless position (cf. the same phrase, Job 1:22). "I will confident," answering to "my heart shall not fear."

Verse 4

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

One thing ... that I may dwell in - not literal 'dwelling,' but spiritual (Psalms 15:1; Psalms 23:6; John 14:23; Revelation 3:12). To have a perpetual enjoyment of God's realized grace and presence (John 8:35). All other blessings are included in this, so that this one thing is, and shall always be, the Psalmist's ruling desire. The tabernacle, and subsequently the temple, symbolized the union between God and His true worshippers, dwelling in spirit with Him there.

To behold the beauty - or (to answer to the parallel, "to behold," etc.) to searchingly meditate thereon [ baqeer (H1239)] - (namely, on His beauty: His beautiful grace, wisdom, and love, experimentally seen by His people, Psalms 90:17: "the goodness of the Lord," Psalms 27:13) in His sanctuary (Hengstenberg). The Hebrew, "to behold the beauty of the Lord," is literally, 'to behold IN it' [ chaazah (H2372) with bª-] an idiom expressing the delight which gazing continually into it gives. Compare James 1:25. In the literal sense, not even the priests dwelt always in the sanctuary. What follows as the result of 'dwelling in the house of the Lord' is figurative (Psalms 27:5) - "In the time of trouble ... He shall hide me ... in the secret of His tabernacle;" therefore the dwelling in the house of the Lord must be figurative too. The being hidden by God in a secret place of safety, or sanctuary, is the result of spiritual abiding in and with Him.

Verse 5

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

For in the time of trouble - the reason why the one thing which he desires is to dwell spiritually in the house of the Lord (Psalms 27:4), because this includes all other things, and among them safety from all evil.

In the secret of - in the innermost shrine, the surest asylum, shall He hide me (1 Kings 2:28). So He hid Moses in the secret of His tabernacle, when the people would have stoned him (Numbers 14:10). The term "tabernacle" proves that the psalm was written before the time of Solomon, when the temple was built. Compare Psalms 31:20.

Verse 6

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

And now - "And now" - i:e., seeing that it is so-seeing that I am safe under the hiding of God (Psalms 27:5; Psalms 3:3).

Sacrifices of joy - jubilee offerings accompanied with shoutings of joy for deliverance [ tªruw`aah (H8643)] (Numbers 23:21) - literally, 'sacrifices of shouting;' or else, 'of the clang' of trumpets; alluding to the sounding of the trumpets over the burnt offerings and peace offerings in the solemn days of gladness (Numbers 10:10; Psalms 81:3; Psalms 89:16). If there be reference to the custom here, David must be speaking not merely as an individual, but as the representative of Israel. For the trumpets were not used at private offerings. At the public thank offerings the music was accompanied with joyous shoutings, "Hosanna!"

Verse 7

Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

Transition from triumphant confidence to mournful supplication Descending in thought from heaven to Transition from triumphant confidence to mournful supplication. Descending in thought from heaven to earth, he vividly realizes his pressing dangers, and so cries to the Lord not to forsake him.

Verse 8

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

My heart said unto thee - rather, 'my heart saith unto thee' (i:e., is continually, with silent speech, reminding thee of thine own gracious exhortation), "Seek ye my face (virtually contained, in Deuteronomy 4:29); Thy face, Lord, will I seek." David, in the spirit of faith, appropriates to himself the general exhortation of God, Seek YE (plural) my face;' "Thy face Lord, will (or do). I seek" (singular). To seek they face of a king involves the idea of seeking his favour and protection, answering to Psalms 27:4 (Psalms 24:6; Proverbs 29:26, cf. margin; 2 Samuel 21:1, margin; Hos. 5:16 ).

Verse 9

Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Hide not thy face - in contrast to the finding God's "face" in spirit, which is promised to them that "seek" it (Psalms 27:8).

Put not thy servant away - the plea of the prayer: since I am "thy servant," put me 'not away from thee, which is the portion, not of thy servants, but of the wicked (John 12:26; Matthew 25:41).

Thou hast been my help - Hebrew, 'thou hast been and art (always) [ haayiytaa (H1961)] my help.'

O God of my salvation - Hebrew, 'My salvation-God;' not only a Saviour, but salvation itself to me.

Verse 10

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

When ... forsake me - "when," or 'since' [ kiy (H3588)]. David's father and mother forsook him at all events at their death: even in their lifetime, being forced into exile with him (1 Samuel 22:1-3), they were unable to help or shelter him; possibly-such is the selfishness of man in misfortunes-they even blamed him as the cause of or shelter him; possibly-such is the selfishness of man in misfortunes-they even blamed him as the cause of his and their trials.

Take me up - as a child taken up from the street, and brought home after having been deserted by its parents who disown it [ 'aacap (H622)]. Compare Judges 19:21; Joshua 20:4 - the elders shall "take" the manslayer "into" the city unto them." Compare Christ's gathering Jerusalem's children unto Him, "even, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings" (Matt. 33:37 ). The same Hebrew is translated (Psalms 26:9) "gather my soul:" so here, if we may unite the three ideas, the Lord will take me up, take me in, and finally gather me with his saints.

Verse 11

Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Thy way - i:e., the way of safety, as opposed to the dangers now surrounding David.

A plain path - a straight and even "path," as contrasted with the dangerous and slippery path which he had to tread owing to his, enemies, [Psalms 25:4; Psalms 26:12, "an even place" - literally, 'a path of straightness' - miyshowr (H4334)].

Mine enemies, [ showrªraay (H8324), from shuwr] - 'those who watch me narrowly,' so as to find an opportunity to injure me (Psalms 5:8, note).

Verse 12

Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

The will (literally, the soul) of mine enemies - implying that mischief is the essence of their soul.

Such as breathe out cruelty - `those whose (every) breath is cruelty' (Proverbs 6:19, Hebrew; Acts 9:1).

Verses 13-14

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Conclusion-summing up the psalm. The goodness of the Lord is the antidote to fear amidst troubles; only let us wait on the Lord, and He will strengthen us.

Verse 13. (I had fainted), unless ... land of the living - i:e., in this life (Ezekiel 26:20). His heart is too full of confidence in God actually to utter the language of despair, "I had fainted:" he therefore leaves it to be understood. On "see (experience) the goodness of the Lord" cf. Psalms 25:7; Psalms 31:19; Zechariah 9:17: cf. Psalms 27:4, "the beauty of the Lord." He not merely hoped, but "believed" to see it. Even on earth the believer has a good hope, and is blessed in his portion, though accompanied with trials (1 Timothy 4:8; Mark 10:29-30).

Verse 14. Be of good courage - `act with vigour;' "be strong," [ chªzaq (H2388)]: the address of David's faith to David's fears. So David addresses David his fainting so soul in Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5. Lest, however, he should seem to say that he could at will become strong of himself, he adds,

He shall strengthen - (Psalms 31:24.) He does not mention the Lord by name; he takes it as axiom that none except that One can give Strength.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-27.html. 1871-8.
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