This psalm contains a common prayer of the Church in behalf of the King of Israel, that God would succor him in danger; and in behalf of his kingdom, that God would maintain it in safety, and cause it to prosper:for in the person of David the safety and well-being of the whole community centred. To this there is added a promise, that God will preside over that kingdom of which he was the founder, and so effectually watch over it as to secure its continual preservation.
To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.
1. May Jehovah hear thee in the day of trouble! may the name of the God of Jacob defend thee! 2. May he send thee help from his sanctuary, and sustain thee out of Sion!
The inscription shows that the psalm was composed by David; but though he was its author, there is no absurdity in his speaking of himself in the person of others. The office of a prophet having been committed to him, he with great propriety prepared this as a form of prayer for the use of the faithful. In doing this, his object was not so much to commend his own person, by authoritatively issuing a royal ordinance enjoining upon the people the use of this prayer, as to show, in the exercise of his office as a teacher, that it belonged to the whole Church to concern itself, and to use its endeavors that the kingdom which God had erected might continue safe and prosperous. Many interpreters view this prayer as offered up only on one particular occasion; but in this I cannot agree. The occasion of its composition at first may have arisen from some particular battle which was about to be fought, either against the Ammonites, or against some other enemies of Israel. But the design of the Holy Spirit, in my judgment, was to deliver to the Church a common form of prayer, which, as we may gather from the words, was to be used whenever she was threatened with any danger. God commands his people, in general, to pray for kings, but there was a special reason, and one which did not apply to any other kingdom, why prayer was to be made in behalf of this kingdom; for it was only by the hand of David and his seed that God had determined to govern and maintain his people. It is particularly to be noticed, that under the figure of this temporal kingdom, there was described a government far more excellent, on which the whole joy and felicity of the Church depended. The object, therefore, which David had expressly in view was, to exhort all the children of God to cherish such a holy solicitude about the kingdom of Christ, as would stir them up to continual prayer in its behalf.
1 "Et de le il nous convient recueiller, ce que jay dit, que sous a figure d'un regne temporel nous est descrie un gouvernement bien plus excellent." -- Fr.
2 As the people of Israel here unite in prayer with and for the monarch of Israel, whom we may picture to our minds as repairing to the tabernacle to offer sacrifices, where this animated ode was sung by the priests and people.
3 "Si non qu'il marche derant, et nous conduise a Dieu." -- Fr.