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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 7



Verse 1

1. In thee do I put my trust—David begins, as in Psalms 31:1, by boldly defining his trust. His refuge is in God alone. If he uses methods and forethought, it is God who giveth them efficiency; if his case lies beyond the reach of means, God can interpose in a way all his own.

Verse 2

2. Tear… rending—Different words of kindred import, describing the habits of wild beasts in lacerating, crushing, and separating part from part, their prey. David compares his enemies to lions for their power and ferocity.


Verse 3

3. O Lord my God—A solemn appeal for the truth of what he is about to utter.

If I have done this—The shedding of blood in revenge, or to open my way to the throne, of which his enemies accused him. See 2 Samuel 16:5-8

Verse 4

4. Yea, I have delivered him, etc.A plain allusion to the events of 1 Samuel 24:6-7; 1 Samuel 26:8-11

Verse 5

5. Let the enemy persecute my soul—Here is a direct and solemn appeal to God to judge and punish him if he were not upright and pure in the matters urged by his accuser. Here is the boldness of conscious righteousness before God, even before his judgment seat. Compare in the evangelical sense, Romans 8:33-34; 1 John 3:19-21; 1 John 4:17.

Lay mine honour in the dust— “Honour,” or glory as it is more commonly rendered, unquestionably refers to his kingly dignity, and proves that David had, at this time, come to the throne of Israel, which corroborates the date and occasion above given to this psalm. The significant pause “selah” fitly follows so solemn an appeal to God as has just been made, and closes the strophe.

Verse 6

6. Arise, O Lord, in thine anger—From the judgment seat of Jehovah, before which he had just brought his cause, he hears the voice of acquittal, and now (Psalms 7:6-8) calls upon God to arise to immediate execution of the sentence upon his enemies, and the public vindication of his own righteousness.

Thou hast commanded—Judgment had not only been given in the case, but a special order for its enforcement, and hence the urgency and confidence of this prayer of the persecuted, righteous man.

Hupfeld gives the construction: “Awake for me; thou hast ordained judgment.” The idea is the same as that above given.

Verse 7

7. So shall the congregation of the people— “People,” here, is in the plural peoples, and refers not to Israel only, but the nations, probably those tributary to David. The effect of divine judicial intervention in this individual case should be salutary to the nations, as illustrating the character of the divine administration.

Compass thee about—Surround thy throne, as having confidence in thy judgments.

Return thou on high— That is, return to thy throne of judgment, which, by the temporary triumph of the wicked, he had seemed to vacate. The Hebrew word for throne, means an elevated seat. Solomon’s throne was ascended by six steps, (1 Kings 10:19,) and Jehovah’s throne is described as “high and lifted up,” (Isaiah 6:1,) “in heaven.” Psalms 11:4. The text is a poetical allusion to the custom of kings in ascending their thrones whenever they would give public audience or administer justice.

Verse 8

8. The Lord shall judge the people—The peoples, or nations, as in Psalms 7:7.

Judge me—Again David urges his special judgment in connexion with the universal and ultimate right. “The final judgment is only the finale of that judgment which is in constant execution in the world itself.” Delitzsch.

Verse 9

9. Oh let the wickedness of… come to an end—A prayer for universal right and justice in the earth, with calm faith in the result, finds expression in Psalms 7:9-10. It is not against men, but against wickedness, that David prays: and this is the true key to all the imprecatory psalms.

Verses 11-13

11-13. God judgeth—These verses present an earnest warning, not only to David’s wicked persecutors, but to all contemners of law and justice. The style is more impassioned, although of a didactic turn, and the imagery, apparently rude, is such as is suited to the barbarous and bloodthirsty spirits with whom he has to contend. The present participial form, God is judging, God is angry, shows that the wrath of God is already “revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men,” for their timely warning. Not, indeed, his ultimate punishment of sin, but his corrective, disciplinary judgment against it.

If he turn not—If the sinner, whoever he be, heed not these incipient and forewarning indications of displeasure. The conditional sentence proves that the present judgments against sin are corrective, and admonitory of what will follow if repentance do not supervene.

He will whet his sword—That is, will proceed to ultimate punishment. This, to the subject, is never corrective. The imagery is now wholly borrowed from the use of the deadly weapons of the warrior, not at all from the corrective and disciplinary methods of a parent or magistrate. Instruments of death, are not disciplinary, yet these are prepared for those who “turn not,” repent not: God is [now] ready to inflict punishment on the incorrigible.

Verses 14-17

14-17. He travaileth—Literally, he shall bring forth with pain. The dark hearted Cush of the title now re-appears. He brings forth in his conduct, with agony, what he had already conceived in his heart. Both his character and punishment are described, and he shall reap as his reward what he hath sown. Psalms 7:15-16. These are eternal truths in ethics and in the moral government.

Pit—An allusion to the mode of catching wild animals.

Fallen into the ditch which he made—Here is the lex talionisthe most literal form of retributive justice. When will men learn there is “a God that judgeth in the earth?” Psalms 58:11. The closing verse of the psalm is a spontaneous outbreak of praise to God for his righteous dealings with men.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 7:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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