Prayer and Consolation at the Time of Persecution.
To the chief musician on Neginoth, the music to be played on stringed instruments as the psalm was rendered in the liturgical service, Maschil, a didactic poem, a psalm of David, when the Ziphims, the inhabitants of the wilderness of Ziph in the southern part of Judah, came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? This event, narrated 1 Sam. 23, 19; 26, 1, occasioned the writing of this hymn, a prayer for deliverance. V. 1. Save me, O God, by Thy name, this being the sum of all God's attributes as revealed to men, especially His grace, mercy, and truth, and judge me by Thy strength, another manifestation of His name or essence. David confidently asks that his case be taken up in the court of God, for he knows that he will be justified in the sight of the Lord. V. 2. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth, lending His ears, to that end, with the most careful attention. V. 3. For strangers are risen up against me, the reference being chiefly to the Ziphites, and oppressors seek after my soul, their object being to bring about his death; they have not set God before them. Selah. The Ziphites were not actuated by the fear of God in treacherously making known David's hiding place, they were not performing a duty which their loyalty to Saul might have demanded of them, but proved themselves strangers, degenerate children of Abraham, and therefore of a wicked, violent, and cruel disposition. In these circumstances David turned to God as His only Helper. V. 4. Behold, God is mine Helper, taking his part against the enemies; the Lord is with them that uphold my soul, not merely one among many who support his soul in this extremity, but their only representative. V. 5. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies, paying the oppressors in their own coin. Cut them off in Thy truth, because of His faithfulness, on account of His promises to help the oppressed who trust in Him. V. 6. I will freely sacrifice unto Thee, with a glad heart and a willing hand, as true gratitude demands; I will praise Thy name, O Lord; for it is good, the revelation of God's essence in the case of David being that of His goodness. V. 7. For He hath delivered me out of all trouble, this deliverance being referred to the name of God; and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies, for such is the confidence of faith that it sees the fulfilment of prayer even while the prayer is being made. It is the same confidence of faith which is found in all Christians when they, in the midst of mighty enemies and oppressors, trust in the deliverance of the Lord, whether this come here in time or hereafter in eternity. They regard all His promises as already fulfilled.