After David in the beginning of the psalm has prayed to God to help him, he immediately turns his discourse to his enemies, and depending on the promise of God, triumphs over them as a conqueror. He, therefore, teaches us by his example, that as often as we are weighed down by adversity, or involved in very great distress, we ought to meditate upon the promises of God, in which the hope of salvation is held forth to us, so that defending ourselves by this shield, we may break through all the temptations which assail us.
To the chief musician on Neginoth. A psalm of David.
It is uncertain at what time this psalm was composed. But from the tenor of it, it is conjectured, with probability, that David was then a fugitive and an exile. I therefore refer it to the time when he was persecuted by Saul. If, however, any person is disposed rather to understand it as referring to the time when he was compelled by the conspiracy of Absalom to secure his safety by flight, I will not greatly contend about the matter. But as, a little after, he uses an expression, namely, "How long?" (verse 3)1 which indicates that he had a lengthened struggle, the opinion which I have already brought forward is the more probable. For we know with what varied trials he was harassed, before he obtained complete deliverance, from the time when Saul began to be his enemy. Concerning the words which are contained in this verse, I shall only make one or two brief observations. Some translate the word
1 "Ascavoir, Jusques a quand, a vers. 3." -- Fr.
2 "Et ils disent que c'estoit le commencement d'une chanson commune au chant de laquelle ce psaume a este compose." -- Fr.
3 "Le principal chantre, ou maitre de la musique qui avoit charge de mettre les psaumes en chants et accords." -- Fr. The chief singer or leader of the music who had the charge of setting the psalms to tunes and harmonies.