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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
Psalms 17



Verse 1


The Psalmist is here again at the mercy-seat, pleading his cause against the ungodly. In a tried God, who had before manifested his faithfulness, he now confides, and closeth with the assurance of a happy issue.

A Prayer of David.

Verses 1-3

As none but Jesus could ever make appeal in the justice of his cause, so it is blessed to discover him in this sweet prayer. Reader, you and I may, in his righteousness, look up to that God, who is and can be just, and the Justifier of every poor sinner that believeth in Jesus. To the throne we may, and indeed we are commanded to come, that the sentence of our justification in Jesus may come forth. God hath found no iniquity in our glorious Surety; and, therefore, the sweetest, and strongest, and best of all prayers are those which the poor believer in Jesus puts up, when he tells God, that the life of Jesus was perfect, and his nature wholly free from taint or shadow of sin. Precious Lamb of God! what unanswerable arguments may the souls of thy redeemed find in this holiness of thine as our Surety! And what can a sinner tell Jehovah, so pleasing to him, as when he follows up the gracious voice and proclamation from heaven, in which the Father said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; and saith, Lord! I am well pleased too in Jesus and his justifying righteousness, and am now come for acceptance in the beloved!

Verses 4-6

This is blessed, as it concerns our glorious Surety; for God engaged to carry him through his whole work; see Psalms 89:21-24. And it is blessed also, as it concerns his redeemed in him. The Redeemer committed them to the Father in the moment of his departure. And God our Father hath engaged to keep them also for Jesus's sake: see John 17:11; 1 Peter 1:5.

Verse 7

Over and above all covenant promises we are commanded to seek divine favor. And the apostle tells the Ephesians, by way of encouragement so to do, that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. These mercies may well be called marvellous!

Verse 8

By comparing this verse with what the prophet Isaiah predicted of Jesus, a beautiful light is thrown upon both scriptures, and we are led to see to whom both refer. In the one Jesus is spoken of, under the spirit of prophecy, as praying to be kept and hid: and in the other, as of the thing done, when he saith, the Lord hath called me from the womb; and in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me. Isaiah 49:1-2.

Verses 9-12

It is impossible to read these verses but with an eye to Christ. For though his people, as his people, do partake in the afflictions which the enemies of their salvation excite, yet eminently so in the life of Christ. The whole gospel is full of it: so that I stay not to mention particulars.

Verse 13

This is a beautiful verse, and the doctrine of it is as important as the verse is beautiful. Jesus eyes the hand of the Father in his afflictions. Satan will advance; the enemies of salvation will arise: but the Lord Jehovah is in the permission and appointment: and at the cross also, though Jesus was taken and by wicked hands, crucified and slain; yet, that we may not overlook the first and grand predisposing cause, the Holy Ghost puts it into the mouth of Peter to say, that all this was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Acts 2:23. Reader, it is most profitable, it is blessed, to be always looking beyond second causes in all our trials and distresses, and to discern the Lord's hand, in infinite love and wisdom, appointing all. For this brings the soul into a state of resignation and tranquility at least, if not of holy Joy. I was dumb: I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it. Psalms 39:9.

Verse 14-15

What a beautiful contrast is drawn here between men of the world and the followers of the Lord! The former have their portion in this life. It is all they wish; all they covet; all they can enjoy. From such, the latter saith, the good Lord keep me. But let Jesus and his covenant blessings be mine; and thus, enjoying by faith the sweetness of his love here, by and by I shall arise up to the full and everlasting enjoyment of him and his salvation to all eternity.

Verse 15


BLESSED Jesus! help me to be looking unto thee, and, under the trials my soul is exercised with, teach me, Lord, so to pray, and so to commit my cause unto thee, that in thy righteousness I may find confidence, and wait thy precious decision among all thy redeemed.

And do thou keep me, Lord, as the apple of thine eye; keep me from the world; keep me from the men of the world; keep me from the snares of the world, that neither its smiles nor its frowns may seduce my soul to sin. Keep me, Lord, in thyself, and by thyself, that I may rise above every difficulty, and be made more than conqueror, through thy grace helping me.

Be thou my portion, blessed Jesus, for he hath no need to glean in the fields of worldly men, who hath Jesus for his treasure. None but thou, and wholly thou, canst be a portion to live upon through time and to all eternity. Hence, dearest Lord, I would pray, that thou shouldst be my all in all. For thou art the bottom and only solid foundation of all that can be truly called blessed. And as thou art the foundation, so thou art the superstructure, to complete our blessedness. Thou cornprehendest all, sweetenest all, and suppliest all. Lord Jesus! be thou my daily portion now, and when I shall have done with time, and awake up after thy likeness in eternity, I shall be satisfied forever with thee.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 17:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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