World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
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.
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.
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.