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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 70

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-5


This psalm describes the desire of the God-fearing to be saved by God from people who are after him. This is true about Christ and the believing remnant who speak in this way by the Spirit of Christ. Through the suffering Christ endures, He connects Himself with the remnant in their suffering.

Like Psalm 69, the need is high and the water has come to their lips. Because of that, this psalm has an SOS character, the 911 emergency number is called (Psalms 70:1). The prayers are short and powerful, without repetition of words, something you don’t have time for in a time of need. Three times a cry for help is heard: “O God, [Hasten] to deliver me;” (Psalms 70:1), “Hasten to me, O God!” (Psalms 70:5) and “O LORD, do not delay” (Psalms 70:5).

Prayer for Prompt Help

For “for the choir director” (Psalms 70:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

For “a Psalm of “David” see at Psalm 3:1.

The phrase “for a memorial” is also found in the heading of Psalm 38. The phrase means ‘to call to mind’. It is a call to God to remember what He has said in His covenant and His promises. Reminding God of something is an indirect request to intervene. The expression can also mean that the believer is called to remember God and call upon Him in his need.

Psalms 70:1-Deuteronomy : are almost word-for-word similar to a section in Psalm 40 (Psalms 40:13-Esther :). Yet it is not a repetition in the sense that these verses have been copied from Psalm 40. The slight differences between the two portions indicate that David is here in even greater distress and praying with even greater urgency. In Psalm 40, for example, he says to the LORD: “Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me” (Psalms 40:13), whereas in this psalm he says to God: “O God, [hasten] to deliver me” (Psalms 70:1).

The text in this verse is short and comes in punches, like someone in great distress. Literally: “O God … to my deliverance … LORD … to my help … hasten.” We find this great need in Psalm 71 (Psalms 71:12). The Lord Jesus also prayed the same word three times in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:44). At the same time, there is a climbing fervor in His prayers (Luke 22:44).

We too often use the same words to say something to God. Yet, when doing it in the right way, it is not a formal repetition, but each time a new experience of dealing with God. We also regularly go through the same exercises, crying out to God with the same words. This, by the way, is of a different order than the inspired repetition we have in the prayers in God’s Word.

The place between Psalm 69 and Psalm 71 is also not coincidental. In both psalms the cry to God for His speedy help occurs (Psalms 69:17; Psalms 71:12).

David begins with an urgent request to “God” to make haste to save him. God is the name of the almighty God. He also cries out to the “LORD”. With that Name he appeals to the God of the covenant with His people to come to his aid soon. It is about God’s promises to him and His people.

This call to God to hasten is similar to the call of the church: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). However, the reason for asking Him to come soon is not so much to ask for help but the desire to be with Him (Revelation 22:17).

David asks for God’s speedy help because he is in mortal danger (Psalms 70:2). He is going to be killed. When God rescues him from this mortal danger, those who want to kill him will be brought to shame and humiliated. They have thought that God has given up on David. David knows this is not so. Therefore, he cries out to God.

He asks if God will cause those who “delight” in his hurt – which proves their inner wickedness – to turn back and be dishonored, that is, to lose face. This is a severe humiliation and intolerable to the Israelites (cf. Psalms 44:10; Psalms 44:15; Hosea 4:7). He does so because he knows God. He knows that God will never assist such people in their wicked attempts to kill a righteous man. God will always punish righteously the evil that is done to His own. However, He also determines the time for this, which we sometimes forget.

David asks God that He will turn back his persecutors “because of their shame” (Psalms 70:3). That is, they will return empty-handed because they did not succeed in their plan to kill him. These persecutors say “aha, aha!” about the misfortune that befalls the righteous. It is an expression of gloating and also of contempt. It makes clear the attitude of these enemies of the remnant. The Lord Jesus experienced this on the cross, where the bystanders told Him the same (Mark 15:29-Amos :). He feels what is being done to the remnant because He knows it from His own experience. He identifies Himself with them in their suffering.

In the midst of the distress, David also asks God to make all who seek Him “rejoice and be glad” in Him (Psalms 70:4). He knows that this is the result of God’s deliverance. This is reflected in the feasts of the LORD, in the thanksgiving and worship of God. It is about being joyful and glad in God.

There are many things that make us joyful and glad. We may be glad about all that God gives us, but here it is about being glad in God. In doing so, the believer is thinking not only of himself, but of “all” who seek Him. This is not about sinners seeking God, but about those who seek help from God and not from themselves.

It results from the salvation of God (cf. Romans 13:11; 1 Peter 1:5; Revelation 12:10). The believing remnant looks forward to this and cherishes it. Paul speaks in this context of loving the appearing of the Lord Jesus. There is a special crown attached to this, which is not only for him, but for all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

The appearing of the Lord Jesus heralds God’s salvation of the realm of peace. There all need has come to an end and the full blessing, the full joy in God, is enjoyed by all who partake of this salvation. They will “continually”, unceasingly, magnify God for His salvation.

However, it is not yet that far. “But” says David – and in him prophetically the remnant in the end times – “I am afflicted and needy” (Psalms 70:5). David is indeed God’s anointed king, but is in a situation where he is in mortal danger. There is with him no posturing or boasting of his position. This also applies to our lives now. We are a kingdom, we will be allowed to reign with Christ, but now we still have to walk a path of faith, which often involves suffering.

David ends the psalm as he began, with the urgent plea to God to hasten to him. It is again a so-called ‘envelope psalm’ (see at Psalm 67:4), where the beginning and the end are alike to emphasize that this psalm is about need and that the need is extremely high.

He has grown in his confidence throughout his cry for help. In the beginning, he has asked that God hastens to his help. In doing so, the need is paramount. Now he asks not for help, but for the Helper and Deliverer Himself, Whom he calls “my help and my deliverer”. He has a personal relationship with Him.

From that personal relationship he prays even more insistently to the “LORD” not to wait any longer. A personal, living relationship with the God of the covenant gives great boldness to implore God to intervene quickly and deliver from life-threatening circumstances.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 70". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-70.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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