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17. Psalm 17

1Hear the right, O Jehovah, attend unto my cry;

Give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

2Let my sentence come forth from thy presence;

Let thine eyes look upon equity.

3Thou hast proved my heart; thou hast visited me in the night;

Thou hast tried me, and findest nothing;

I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

4As for the works of men, by the word of thy lips

I have kept me from the ways of the violent.

5My steps have held fast to thy paths,

My feet have not slipped.

6I have called upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God:

Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

7Show thy marvellous lovingkindness,

O thou that savest by thy right hand them that take refuge in thee

From those that rise up against them.

8Keep me as the apple of the eye;

Hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

9From the wicked that oppress me,

My deadly enemies, that compass me about.

10They are inclosed in their own fat:

With their mouth they speak proudly.

11They have now compassed us in our steps;

They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth.

12He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey,

And as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.

13Arise, O Jehovah,

Confront him, cast him down:

Deliver my soul from the wicked by thy sword;

14From men by thy hand, O Jehovah,

From men of the world, whose portion is in this life,

And whose belly thou fillest with thy treasure:

They are satisfied with children,

And leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

15As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness;

I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with beholding thy form.

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Ps 17:1-15. This Psalm is termed a prayer because the language of petition is predominant. With a just cause, sincerely presented, the writer prays for a just decision and help and protection. Pleading former mercies as a ground of hope, he urges his prayer in view of the malice, pride, rapacity, and selfishness of his foes, whose character is contrasted with his pious devotion and delight in God's favor.

2. sentence—acquitting judgment.

from thy presence—Thy tribunal.

things that are equal—just and right, do Thou regard.

3. proved … visited … tried—His character was most rigidly tested, at all times, and by all methods, affliction and others (Ps 7:10).

purposed that, &c.—or, my mouth does not exceed my purpose; I am sincere.

4. works of men—sinful practices.

by the word of thy lips—as a guide (Ps 119:9, 11, 95).

destroyer—violent man.

5. May be read as an assertion "my steps or goings have held on to Thy paths."

6. wilt hear me—that is, graciously (Ps 3:4).

7. Show—set apart as special and eminent (Ex 8:18; Ps 4:3).

thy right hand—for Thy power.

8. Similar figures, denoting the preciousness of God's people in His sight, in De 32:10, 11; Mt 23:37.

9. compass me—(compare Ps 118:10-12).

10. enclosed … fat—are become proud in prosperity, and insolent to God (De 32:15; Ps 73:7).

11. They pursue us as beasts tracking their prey.

12. The figure made more special by that of a lion lurking.

13-15. disappoint—literally, "come before," or, "encounter him." Supply "with" before "sword" (Ps 17:13), and "hand" (Ps 17:14). These denote God's power.

14. men … world—all men of this present time. They appear, by fulness of bread and large families, to be prosperous; but (Ps 17:15) he implies this will be transient, contrasting his better portion in a joyful union with God hereafter.