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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 54

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

Verse 1

Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

Psalms 54:1-7.-Prayer for deliverance from godless oppressors (Psalms 54:1-3); confident anticipation of it, and promise of thanksgiving for it (Psalms 54:4-7).

Title. - On Neginoth - (see note on title, Psalms 4:1-8.) The singular, Nªgiynaah (H5058), denotes not a particular stringed instrument, but the music on such instruments; the plural, Nªginowt (H5058), is the music formed by numerous notes running into one another, not various instruments (Delitzsch).

Doth not David hide himself with us? Twice the Ziphites informed Saul of David's hiding in their country, (1 Samuel 23:19, and 1 Samuel 26:1-25.) The former is the occasion referred to here, because the words are the same - "Doth not David hide himself with us in strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?" The Hebrew participle implies a state continuing-Is he not hiding with us? implying Saul's earnest seeking after David, and the Ziphites' surprise that Saul should be still ignorant that David was hiding among them. The Ziphites, by this treachery to their countryman, acted as "strangers," and therefore are so called (Psalms 54:3); this term therefore forms no objection to the title.

Save me, O God, by thy name. From men, who are all against him, David turns to God, his only Saviour. Thus the general name, `'Elohiym (H430),' is appropriate here, as the God of creating and preserving power.

And judge me by thy strength - the cry of one who asks for help as a matter of justice: not merely "save me," but vindicate my right; do me justice (Psalms 7:8; Psalms 26:1). So Christ, the Righteous One, David's Antitype, alone could pray, in the fullest sense (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22-23). So also the Church prays in Luke 18:3 (Greek), 'Do me justice on mine adversary.'

Verse 2

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

For strangers are risen up against me. The Ziphites, who ought, by the ties of country, to have been David's friends, acted as hostile strangers (Isaiah 25:5), and tried to betray him. So in Psalms 120:5 the Psalmist says. "Woe is me ... that I dwell in the tents of Kedar;" not that he was dwelling among those pagan people, but, figuratively, his countrymen, among whom he dwelt, behaved as unkindly to him as if they were hostile pagan. Stumbling at the difficulty that the Ziphites-countrymen of David's (Joshua 15:24; 1 Chronicles 4:16) - are called "strangers," some reject the title; others, as the Chaldaic, change the Hebrew for "strangers" [ zaariym (H2114) into zeediym (H2086).] into 'the proud,' copying the parallel (Psalms 86:14), which is designedly varied.

Oppressors. The Hebrew ( `aariytsiym (H6184)) implies the strong and violent.

They have not set God before them (Psalms 55:19) - they act as if God did not see or hear.

Verse 4

Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

Behold. He already, with the eye of faith, sees God advancing as his "helper," though to the eye of sense nothing presented itself but destruction on every side.

The Lord is with them that uphold my soul in opposition to the "oppressors," who "seek after my soul" (Psalms 54:4). Compare the phrase with Psalms 118:7. David supposes two parties his opponents and his helpers: the Lord constituted the latter party (Psalms 55:18, "there were many with me"). He does not mean that he had other helpers besides the Lord (cf. the phrase, Judges 11:35).

Verse 5

He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

He shall reward evil unto mine enemies. So the Qeri' reads [ yaashiyb (H7725)]; but the Khethibh reads better, 'the evil shall return [ yaashuwb (H7725)] unto mine enemies' (Psalms 7:16). 'The evil' is that which the Psalmist's adversaries wished to inflict. "Mine enemies" ( shorªraay (H8324)) - literally, those who watch me; insidious liers in wait for my halting (Psalms 5:8, note).

Cut them off in thy truth. The imperative expresses the certainty, and carries with it the operative power of the Word of God, which works by its own intrinsic efficacy. The truth of God ensures the destruction of the wicked, as necessary both for the fulfillment of God's promise to save the righteous, and for the vindication of God's justice in repaying wickedness at last, though He, in long-suffering, give a lengthened time for repentance.

Verse 6

I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.

I will freely sacrifice unto thee. "Freely" - literally, 'with a freewill offering' [ nªdaabaah (H5071)] (Exodus 25:2; Exodus 35:29), distinguished from an offering which one was bound to pay, as ordained by the law, or as having vowed it in trouble (Leviticus 7:15-16). It answers in parallelism to "I will praise thy name."

For it is good - namely, to "praise thy name" (Psalms 52:9, note; 92:1)

Verse 7

For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

For he hath delivered me out of all trouble. In faith he sees the deliverance already accomplished, and 'praises' God by anticipation for it (Psalms 54:6).

And mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies - not that he would feast his eyes on the sufferings of his foes, out of private revenge, but he rejoices in the vindication of God's justice.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 54". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-54.html. 1871-8.
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