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34. Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

4. I sought Jehovah, and he answered me. The Psalmist here explains more plainly and more fully what he had said concerning joy. In the first place, he tells us that his prayers had been heard. This he applies to all the godly, that, encouraged by a testimony so precious, they might stir themselves up to prayer. What is implied in seeking God is evident from the following clause. In some places it is to be understood in a different sense, namely, to bend the mind in earnest application to the service of God, and to have all its thoughts directed to him. Here it simply means to have recourse to him for help; for it immediately follows that God answered him; and he is properly said to answer prayer and supplication. By his fears the Psalmist means, taking the effect for the cause, the dangers which sorely disquieted his mind; yet doubtless he confesses that he had been terrified and agitated by fears. He did not look upon his dangers with a calm and untroubled mind, as if he viewed them at a distance and from some elevated position, but being grievously tormented with innumerable cares, he might justly speak of his fears and terrors. Nay more, by the use of the plural number, he shows that he had been greatly terrified not only in one way, but that he had been distracted by a variety of troubles. On the one hand, he saw a cruel death awaiting him; while on the other, his mind may have been filled with fear, lest Achish should send him to Saul for his gratification, as the ungodly are wont to make sport to themselves of the children of God. And since he had already been detected and betrayed once, he might well conclude, even if he should escape, that the hired assassins of Saul would lay wait for him on all sides. The hatred too which Achish had conceived against him, both for the death of Goliath and the destruction of his own army, might give rise to many fears; especially considering that his enemy might instantly wreak his vengeance upon him, and that he had good reason to think that his cruelty was such as would not be appeased by subjecting him to some mild form of death. 690690     “Et qu’il avoit bien occasion de penser que la cruaute d’iceluy ne se pourroit pas appaiser a le faire mourir de quelque legere mort.” — Fr. We ought to mark this particularly, in order that, if at any time we are terrified because of the dangers which surround us, we may not be prevented by our effeminacy from calling upon God. Even David, who is known to have surpassed others in heroism and bravery, had not such a heart of iron as to repel all fears and alarms, but was sometimes greatly disquieted and smitten with fear.


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