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Psalm 4

Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.


Answer me when I call, O God of my right!

You gave me room when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.



How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?

How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah


But know that the L ord has set apart the faithful for himself;

the L ord hears when I call to him.



When you are disturbed, do not sin;

ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah


Offer right sacrifices,

and put your trust in the L ord.



There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!

Let the light of your face shine on us, O L ord!”


You have put gladness in my heart

more than when their grain and wine abound.



I will both lie down and sleep in peace;

for you alone, O L ord, make me lie down in safety.

5. Sacrifice ye. Many are of opinion that David exhorts his enemies to give some evidence of their repentance; and I certainly admit, that sacrifices were partly enjoined for the purpose of inducing men to walk in newness of life. But when I consider the character of the men who opposed David, I am satisfied that he here censures their hypocrisy, and beats down their groundless boasting. David, when he wandered as a fugitive in deserts, or in caves, or on mountains, or in the regions beyond his own country, might seem to have been separated from the Church of God; and certainly he was commonly accounted as a corrupt member cut off from the body and the communion of the saints. Meanwhile the ark of the covenant was in the hands of his enemies, they kept possession of the temple, and they were the first in offering sacrifices. They, therefore, vaunted themselves against David with the same boldness and presumption with which we know hypocrites to have been always puffed up. Nor is it to be doubted, but they proudly abused the name of God as if they only had been his true worshippers. 5555     “Comme s’ils eussent este gens de bien, adonnez a son service et qu’il n’y eust eu zele qu’en eux.” — Fr. As if they had been his genuine people devoted to his service, and that there was no zeal but among them. But as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:4) rebukes the ungodly, because of the false confidence which they placed in the temple of the Lord; so David also denies that God is pacified by mere outward ceremonies, since he requires pure sacrifices. There is in the words an implied contrast between the sacrifices of righteousness, and all those vain and spurious rites 5656     “Entre les sacrifices de justice et toutes les ceremonies, quand elles sont destituees de la verite interieure et destournees de leur droit usage et par consequent falsifiees.” — Fr. Between the sacrifices of righteousness, and all ceremonies, when they are unaccompanied with sincerity of heart, and perverted from their proper use, and are consequently spurious. with which the counterfeit worshippers of God satisfy themselves. The sum, therefore, is, “You boast of having God on your side, because you have free access to his altar to offer your sacrifices there with great pomp; and because I am banished from the Holy Land, and not suffered to come to the temple, you think that I am not an object of the divine care. But you must worship God in a far different manner, if you would expect any good at his hand; for your unclean sacrifices with which you pollute his altar, so far from rendering him favorable to you, will do nothing else but provoke his wrath.” Let us learn from this passage, that, in contending with the corrupters of true religion, who may have the name of God continually in their mouth, and vaunt themselves on account of their observance of his outward worship, we may safely rebuke their boasting, because they do not offer the right sacrifices. But, at the same time, we must beware lest a vain pretense of godliness foster in us a perverse and ill founded confidence, in place of true hope.

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