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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 54

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-7

Psalms 54:1-7. Title. This psalm seems to contain the prayer and confident expectation of David, in the extremity of danger; when the Ziphites led Saul and his army to the very spot, where David and his small company lay concealed; and when, surrounded on every side by blood-thirsty, deceitful foes, nothing but an extraordinary divine interposition could possibly preserve him. Viewed in this light, and compared with the event, it appears peculiarly interesting ; and shews that the Psalmist’s confidence in God and fervency in prayer, increased in proportion to the emergency. (Notes, 1 Samuel 23:19-28; 1 Samuel 26:1-4

V. 1 . The honour of God, and of his holy name, was deeply concerned in David’s preservation ; as the Lord had expressly engaged to give him the kingdom. And as the Omnipotent Judge of all could not want power, to defend his servant from the cruelty and iniquity of Saul and his party, and thus to vindicate his the Psalmist in assured faith appealed to his righteous decision, and

applied for his effectual protection. (Notes, Psalms 7:8-11. Psalms 26:1. 1 Samuel 24:8-15.) His argument resembles that of Joshua : " O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies ? For the Canaanites shall ... cut off our name from the earth : and wha " wilt thou do unto thy great name ? " (Marg. Ref. Notes, Joshua 7:6-9.)

V. 2, 3. (Marg. Ref.) The Ziphites belonged to the same tribe as David ; yet they acted as strangers : and Saul, the Lord’s anointed king, and his party, were become most cruel and blood-thirsty tyrants : for they had " not set God before them. Selah." Let that be noted.

(Notes, Psalms 3:1-2. Psalms 36:1.)

V. 4. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 11:1-3. Psalms 118:5-13. Isaiah 12:2.) Uphold.] Jonathan and some others adhered to David, and upheld his cause : but they were comparatively a small company. This however encouraged him, that " God was with them, and would certainly both prosper " and bless them." (Notes, Genesis 12:1-3. 1 Chronicles 12:16-18.)

V. 5. In thy truth.] In fulfilling his promises the God of truth would certainly cut off the enemies of his servant. (1 Samuel 26:10.) This was well known; and therefore David only prayed for the accomplishment of the promises, attended with those circumstances, from which it was inseparable. ’ The application to Christ and to Christians is ’ plain and easy ; for which reason our church hath ap’ pointed this psalm to be read on Good Friday.’ Bp. Home.

(Notes, Psalms 21:8-12; Psalms 69:22-28; Psalms 109:6-20.)

V. 6. It is good.] To offer thank-offerings and praises was right, pleasant, and honourable and acceptable to God.

(Notes, Psalms 92:1-2. Psalms 107:8-9. Psalms 116:17-19. Hebrews 13:15-16.)

V. 7. The words " his desire" are not in the original, either in this or in any of the similar passages. (Note, Psalms 92:11.) We may suppose that David, as well as Jeremiah, could say, " I have not desired the woeful day, thou " knowest." (Notes, Jeremiah 17:15-18; Jeremiah 18:19-20. Romans 9:1-3.) But he was assured that he should witness the awful judgments of God on his enemies, as well as the performance of his engagements to him.


Our nearest relations may prove more unkind than strangers ; those who ought to protect us may become our oppressors ; and mere professors of true religion will generally behave to believers, with malignity and treachery, which even heathens would avoid and condemn. So that, looking unto David betrayed by the men of Judah, and to Jesus betrayed by his apostle, and delivered to death by the Jewish rulers and people ; what can we expect from any who " have not set God before them," except ingratitude, treachery, malice, and cruelty ? But God is the Helper of his people: he will favour and prosper those " that uphold " their souls," while he confounds their persecutors : and his truth is engaged to reward evil to their enemies. Let us trust him and call upon him, when injured or tempted for his name’s sake he will then save us, and plead our cause with all his power. We should recollect past deliverances to encourage our faith and prayer in present trials : and it is good and acceptable for us to sacrifice freely our spiritual oblations of grateful praise for the past while we wait for further mercies. As the risen and ascended Jesus could adopt the Psalmist’s words, and say " He hath delivered me from all trouble, and mine eyes " hath looked upon mine enemies;" so will his risen people at length be enabled to join in them. O Lord, help us to bear our cross without repining, and at length faring us to behold, and to share thy victories and glory.

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 54". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-54.html. 1804.
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