Psalm 17

A Prayer by David.
1 Hear, LORD, my righteous plea; give ear to my prayer, that doesn’t go out of deceitful lips. 2 Let my sentence come out of your presence. Let your eyes look on equity. 3 You have proved my heart. You have visited me in the night. You have tried me, and found nothing. I have resolved that my mouth shall not disobey. 4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of your lips, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to your paths. My feet have not slipped. 6 I have called on you, for you will answer me, God. Turn your ear to me. Hear my speech. 7 Show your marvelous loving kindness, you who save those who take refuge by your right hand from their enemies. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me under the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who oppress me, my deadly enemies, who surround me. 10 They close up their callous hearts. With their mouth they speak proudly. 11 They have now surrounded us in our steps. They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth. 12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey, as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. 13 Arise, LORD, confront him. Cast him down. Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword; 14 from men by your hand, LORD, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life. You fill the belly of your cherished ones. Your sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. 15 As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

This psalm is a prayer. Feigned prayers are fruitless; but if our hearts lead our prayers, God will meet them with his favour. The psalmist had been used to pray, so that it was not his distress and danger that now first brought him to his duty. And he was encouraged by his faith to expect God would notice his prayers. Constant resolution and watchfulness against sins of the tongue, will be a good evidence of our integrity. Aware of man’s propensity to wicked works, and of his own peculiar temptations, David had made God’s word his preservative from the paths of Satan, which lead to destruction. If we carefully avoid the paths of sin, it will be very lead to destruction. If we carefully avoid the paths of sin, it will be very comfortable in the reflection, when we are in trouble. Those that are, through grace, going in God’s paths, should pray that their goings may be held up in those paths. David prays, Lord, still hold me up. Those who would proceed and persevere in the ways of God, must, by faith prayer, get daily fresh supplies of grace and strength from him. Show thy marvellous loving-kindness, distinguishing favours, not common mercies, but be gracious to me; do as thou usest to do to those who love thy name.

Verses 8–15

Being compassed with enemies, David prays to God to keep him in safety. This prayer is a prediction that Christ would be preserved, through all the hardships and difficulties of his humiliation, to the glories and joys of his exalted state, and is a pattern to Christians to commit the keeping of their souls to God, trusting him to preserve them to his heavenly kingdom. Those are our worst enemies, that are enemies to our souls. They are God’s sword, which cannot move without him, and which he will sheathe when he has done his work with it. They are his hand, by which he chastises his people. There is no fleeing from God’s hand, but by fleeing to it. It is very comfortable, when we are in fear of the power of man, to see it dependent upon, and in subjection to the power of God. Most men look on the things of this world as the best things; and they look no further, nor show any care to provide for another life. The things of this world are called treasures, they are so accounted; but to the soul, and when compared with eternal blessings, they are trash. The most afflicted Christian need not envy the most prosperous men of the world, who have their portion in this life. Clothed with Christ’s righteousness, having through his grace a good heart and a good life, may we by faith behold God’s face, and set him always before us. When we awake every morning, may we be satisfied with his likeness set before us in his word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace. Happiness in the other world is prepared only for those that are justified and sanctified: they shall be put in possession of it when the soul awakes, at death, out of its slumber in the body, and when the body awakes, at the resurrection, out of its slumber in the grave. There is no satisfaction for a soul but in God, and in his good will towards us, and his good work in us; yet that satisfaction will not be perfect till we come to heaven.

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