Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tom Lowe


Psalm 5—Perfect Man in the Midst of Enemies.


1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.



This psalm is also thought to be a psalm of David. There is evidence in the psalm itself that the author at the time of its composition was beset by enemies, but the occasion on which the psalm was composed is not specified. At least one prominent commentator believes that the psalm was composed during the time of Saul, and that it references the persecutions which David experienced at that time; but most interpreters have assigned it to the time of Absalom‘s rebellion. The psalm may be divided into four parts:

                               I.            An earnest prayer of the author to God to hear him; to listen to his cry, and to deliver him, verses: 1-3

                            II.            An expression of unwavering confidence in God as the protector and the friend of the righteous, and the enemy of all wickedness, verses 4-7.

                         III.            A Prayer to God for His guidance and protection while he is under this duress, verses 8-10.

                          IV.            An exhortation for all to put their trust in God, verses 11-12.


1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Give ear to my words, O Lord.

 We naturally incline the ear toward anyone when we wish to hear clearly what he says, and we turn away the ear when we do not. The meaning here is that David prayed that God honor him by listening to his prayer, that he would pay attention to his “words”—to what he was about to “express” as his great desire. He intended to convey only what he wished to be granted.

Consider my meditation

He calls his prayer his “meditation,” to signify that it was not merely words, but that it proceeded from, and was accompanied with, the deepest thoughts and most fervent cares of his soul.

He wanted the Lord to carefully think about what he called here his “meditation;” that is, he desired him not merely to listen to his “words,” but to the secret and unexpressed desires of his soul. The idea seems to be that while his words would be sincere and truthful, yet they could not express “all” he wanted to convey. There were desires of the soul which no language could convey—deep, unuttered “groanings” [“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27).], which could not be expressed in language. It is not easy to determine the true meaning of the word translated “meditation,” but in all probability it refers to an internal emotion—an intense, passionate feeling—perhaps finding partial expression in sighs [Romans 8:26], but which does not find expression in words, and which words could not convey. He prayed that God would listen to the “entirety” of his soul’s desires—whether expressed or unexpressed.

David knew Him to be a prayer hearing God, Psalms 65:2, and that his ears were always open to hear complaints and requests: that’s why he had such great confidence in prayer.


2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

Hearken unto the voice of my cry.

David’s cry is for assistance. The word “voice” refers to the utterance, expression, and communication of his desires, or to his “expressed” wishes in a time of trouble. It seems to mean more than groans or words, more like a loud outcry of a person in great distress; such as the strong crying of Christ, when He was on the cross, forsaken by God, deserted by his friends, and surrounded by his enemies [“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7).]; and David, to a lesser degree, was in similar peril.

The sincerity and earnestness of our cry to God will be in proportion to the sense we have of our sins and wants, and distress.

My King, and my God.

Though he was a king himself, he forgets his own royalty in the presence of the heavenly King; he acknowledged his subjection to Him as his supreme Ruler, and his dependence upon Him for protection from his enemies and to restore him to his rightful position as king. He was, at the same time, his God—his covenant God—to whom he felt that he was permitted to come in the hour of trouble, and whose blessing he was permitted to invoke.

David was set upon the throne by Him, had received his kingdom from Him, and was accountable to Him: and He was his King in a natural sense, the kingdom of nature and providence belonging to Him, because He was his Creator, preserver, protector, and defender; and in a spiritual sense, he was delivered from the dominion of other rulers, sin, Satan, and the world, and brought to a subjection to Him by His Spirit and grace; and so David owned Him as his King and Lawgiver, as well as his Saviour. And he was his God; not in a general way, as he is the God of all living flesh; nor merely in the peculiar way in which he was the God of the people of Israel; but in a very special since He was his covenant God and Father in Christ. He was his God, not only as the God of nature and providence, but as the God of all grace; who had distinguished him by special and spiritual blessings; and whom David loved, believed in, and worshipped as his God. And this is the relationship he has with Him, and he uses it with great diligence, humility and respect as an argument that he might be heard by him; since the Lord was his King, and he was His subject; the Lord was his God, and he was one of His people; the Lord was his father, and he was a child of His; and therefore he prays and hopes to be heard [“Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?” (Isaiah 63:15).].

It is the duty of a king to answer the sincere, righteous, and humble desires of his subjects; and my God, I will pray unto thee—to thee alone will I direct all my prayers, for to whom should a sinner pray but to his God? And therefore, from thee alone I expect rescue and relief.

For unto thee will I pray.

“For unto thee will I pray;” and only to thee: not to the gods of the Heathen, to idols, the works of men's hands, who can neither hear nor save: and to thee always; suggesting, that he would continue to pray until he was heard; he would give him no rest, day or night, until he received an answer. He had no one else to go to in his troubles, and he felt that he “might” approach the living God. It was his fixed purpose—his regular habit—to pray to Him, and to seek His favor and friendship, and he felt that he could do so now, seeing that he faced such great danger. He expected that God would answer his prayer, because He had done so in the past under similar circumstances.

Others live without prayer, but David will pray. Kings on their own thrones (as David was) must be beggars at God's throne. “Others pray to strange gods, and expect relief from them, but to thee, to thee only, will I pray.” The assurances God has given us of his readiness to hear prayer should confirm our resolution to live and die praying.

There is something here very important for us to comprehend; though it may seem elementary, it is an essential aspect of prayer. Often we come to prayer so full of our request or our feelings that we never consciously focus on God and sense His presence. David was a great man of prayer because His prayer time was focused on God. We need to do likewise. “Very much of so-called prayer, both public and private, is not unto God. In order that a prayer should be really unto God, there must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.” (Torrey)


3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord.

 The voice refers to prayer; probably to the habit of praying in the morning, though he makes a particular reference to his circumstances at that time. The psalmist felt, no doubt, that while it was both a general duty and privilege to call upon God each morning, there was a special reason for it because of the circumstances in which he was in at that time. He was surrounded by enemies, and was in danger, and it was only by trusting in God that he could hope for protection even for a single day. The appropriateness of looking to God in the morning by prayer commends itself to any rational mind. Who knows what a day may give rise to? Who knows what temptations may lie ahead? Who can protect himself from the dangers which may await him? Who can enable us to perform the duties which are incumbent on us every day? Feeble, helpless, sinful, prone to mistakes, in a world of temptation, and surrounded by dangers, visible and invisible, there is an obvious appropriateness in looking to God each morning for his guidance and protection; and the attitude expressed by the psalmist here should be the firm purpose of every man.

In the morning.

David made it a point to pray in the morning. He did this because he wanted to honor God at the beginning of his day, and set the tone for an entire day dedicated to God.

Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, had trouble finding time alone with God. He began to wake himself up at 2:00 in the morning and using those quiet hours when everyone else slept to commune with God. Observe what two prominent Bible scholars said on the subject:

·         “What is a slothful sinner to think of himself, when he reads, concerning the holy name of Jesus, that “in the morning, rising up a great while before the day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed?” (Mark 1:35).]. (Horne)

·         “This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul.” (Spurgeon)

Will I direct my prayer unto thee.

David is saying that for him prayer would be a regularly performed service before God. It would be a kind of morning sacrifice, and it would be arranged and performed with a suitable regard to the nature of the service—bearing in mind the fact that it was rendered to the great God. There would be a heartfelt regard for modesty and devotion with serious and solemn attention given to the duties involved in the worship of a holy God. Prayer should not be thoughtless; it should not be performed casually or with a frivolous spirit; it should involve the introspective thought of the soul, and it should be performed with the same serious regard for time and reverence which was demanded in the solemn and carefully prescribed rites of the ancient temple-service.

And will look up.

 The word used here means “to look about,” “to view from a distance.” It brings to mind a sentry posted at the top of a tower where he has a clear view in every direction. The idea here is that he would watch, intently and carefully (as one does who is stationed on top of a tower), for some token of divine favor—for some answer to his prayer—for some divine intervention—for some indication of the divine will. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the Savior’s repeated command to “watch and pray.” The notion of looking “up” is not necessarily in the word used here, but it indicates the state of mind where there is deep and careful attentiveness to the answer to prayer.


4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

Thou are not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness. 

This contrasts the character of true Deity with the character of pagan gods and goddesses who were portrayed by their advocates as being pleased with decadence and other forms of evil.

The wicked in this passage regardless of their many names have one thing in common. God hates them! Unfortunately, they have nothing good to look forward to, because God hates them! I am sure someone will say, “Doesn’t God love all men?” Yes, He certainly does. God's love potentially belongs to every man who was ever born, but the practice of wickedness alienates that love and changes it into hatred. Some would insist that Jesus Christ has changed all of that; but the New Testament indicates no such change.

"God will destroy ... them that speak lies ... the bloodthirsty." Lying and murder appear to be specially hated by the Heavenly Father. Satan himself is designated as the father of these very sins. Regarding murderers, modern society is reaping the very violence and bloodshed that would have been prevented if human society had heeded God's commandment in Genesis 9:6 [“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”], in which is found the Divine Commandment to put murderers to death. That is not permission to do so, or a suggestion to that effect, it is a heavenly order! Let people see in our own nation this very day the result of society's failure to obey God in this specific mandate.

As David drew closer to God he became more aware of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. This is a good way to measure how well you are praying and whether, as you pray, you are drawing close to God or are merely mouthing words. If you are drawing close to God, you will become increasingly sensitive to sin, especially your own, which is inevitable since the God you are approaching is a holy God. When he says, Thou art not a God that has pleasure in wickedness, he means, "Thou art a God that hates it, because it is directly contrary to thy infinite purity and righteousness, and holy will." Though the workers of iniquity prosper, no one should infer from that that God takes pleasure in wickedness. God has no pleasure in wickedness even though it may be covered with a cloak of religion. Let those therefore who delight in sin know that God has no delight in them.


Neither shall evil dwell with thee.

Evil cannot dwell with God—it cannot live or abide with Him. Evil men cannot live with God in the same house [“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (Psalms 15:1)], nor can they enjoy His favor or friendship. In verses 4-6 seven designations are given to the wicked, and all of them are abhorrent to God. God does not delight in the wicked, because between them there are no points of agreement. If God showed kindness to the wicked, it would seem as if he admitted them to his home (and approved of their wicked ways), as we do our friends and those whose company we enjoy. But since God would not do this, the psalmist feels that it was proper for him to call upon the Lord to deliver him from wicked people.

At least one commentator thinks this refers to that Law of Moses which would not permit strangers, who persisted in their idolatry, to dwell in the land of Israel.

5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

These are strong words, but not too strong. God is not tolerant of evil, and those who are like him in other respects will be like him in this matter also.

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight.

 The foolish or “arrogant” person shall not stand in thy sight or “endure the holiness of thy presence.” Literally, the mad shall not stand in your presence; shall not be permitted to call upon you, nor shall they be acquitted at the judgment of the great day. David was aware that the One to whom he prayed was absolutely upright (holy). Consequently those who are boastful and presumptuous cannot count on standing before Him and finding favor in His eyes. God hates and destroys liars, deceivers, and murderers. The word holelim,” rendered here as the foolish, denotes the madmen, which is discovered by consulting Isaiah 44:25 [“who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense”.]. [Also see Ecclesiastes 2:2; Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Ecclesiastes 10:13]. By the foolish and madmen is meant “Wicked men,” as the next clause expresses it; who are undeniably madmen, morally and really, in that they oppose and fight against Omnipotence, and voluntarily expose themselves to such dreadful miseries as are implied in everlasting banishment from God—and they do it for such trivial and momentary gains or pleasures that are found in sin.

Well, who will be able to stand? In the fifth chapter of Romans, verses 1 and 2, we read, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” Every believer has a standing before God of which the worldly (those devoted to this world and its pursuits rather than to religion or spiritual affairs) knows nothing about. The unsaved man has no standing, but every child of God stands complete in the risen Christ in all the infinite value of the precious atoning blood of Jesus.

“Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

 What does that mean? Are we wrong in telling men that no matter how sinful they are God loves them? We cannot be wrong for the Word itself says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), and that world is made up of sinners. What does, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” mean? God abhors the work of ungodly men. No matter how true it is that He loves the sinner, He hates his sin and longs to see the sinner separated from his sin. If men persist in continuing in their sin there can be nothing but banishment from God for eternity, and so destruction comes to the workers of iniquity.

"The LORD 'hates' the wicked in the sense that he despises their wicked character and deeds and actively opposes and judges them for their wickedness [“The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates” (Psalms 11:50).].

6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing.

Thou shalt destroy—with an everlasting destruction from thy presence, and the glory of thy power, them that speak leasing (falsehood or lies). They don’t tell just one lie, but they continue to do so, and they will not be reformed. I once knew a man who would lie when the truth would serve him better. Some men are entirely without integrity and honesty, and they allow themselves to be used by the father of lies to spread lies and slanders. The area of greatest concern here is probably matters of religion, such as false doctrines, errors, and heresies, which are nothing but lies; hence, all that deny the deity, Sonship, and Messiahship of Christ, are liars, and followers of the man of sin who only speaks lies. Moreover, they are hypocrites, since they pretend to be religious while spreading false doctrine in common conversations; like Satan, they are abominable in the sight of God; and he will destroy them, either with bodily diseases, like Gehazi, who was smitten with a leprosy; or with physical death, like Ananias and Sapphira; or with eternal destruction, the destruction of body and soul in hell; for all liars have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).].

The LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

The bloody . . . man or “bloodthirsty” man is generally understood to be a man guilty of murder, or willing to do so. The Lord will hate the bloody and deceitful man; or "the man of blood and deceit"; who thirsts for blood; who sheds innocent blood, as the Targum paraphrases it. He showed his resentment of Cain, the first murderer, in a way that was intolerable to him. He very early established a law, requiring that he who shed man's blood, by man should his blood be shed.

Along with the bloody man there is the deceitful man; those who flatter for selfish reasons, and are said to be double-tongued, because they lie in wait to deceive their neighbor, whether in things worldly or spiritual—they are the objects of his abhorrence and indignation [“But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you” (Psalm 55:23).]. Liars and murderers are in a particular manner said to resemble the devil and to be his children, and therefore it may well be expected that God would despise them. Now David's knew his enemies were these kind of persons—foolish wicked men, proud and haughty, workers of iniquity, liars, bloodthirsty and deceitful men, men that God detested, therefore David hoped and was confident that God would hear his prayers against them, and for himself. These were the natures of David's enemies and such men as these are still the enemies of Christ and his church, men lacking all virtue and honor and the worse they are the surer we may be of their destruction in due time.

7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

But as for me.

 It appears he is making a comparison of himself with his enemies—While it is their nature to be wicked, and have no desire to serve God, they can have no reason to suppose that He will hear their cry; but I am welcome in His house, and I know that he will listen to my prayer, because He has done so before. David’s character and approach to God was completely different than theirs.

I will come into thy house.

 This phrase indicates that he expected to be welcomed to the House of God and permitted to enter into His courts, from which he had been driven away, and his purpose was to seek protection and blessing from God. The word “house” refers to the tabernacle, which was regarded as the house or dwelling place of God. The word was applied to the entire structure, including all the courts, and later it was applied to the whole temple. It was the holy of holies, however, which was regarded as the special dwelling-place of God, and no one was permitted to enter except the high priest, and he could only enter once a year. (See Hebrews 9:1-7.)

David, as a layman, would not be entitled to enter within the tabernacle. He would come close to it, probably bring his offering, and then worship while facing toward it.

In the multitude of thy mercy.

In the multitude of thy mercy means “through the abundance of thy mercy.” [“But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me” (Psalms 69:13, 16).]. It was only due to God's mercy that David lived, that he was healthy and strong, that he had a desire to go to God's house, and was permitted to worship there. He was deeply appreciative of all these mercies.

            He expected to be delivered from his present troubles, and he felt assured that God would permit him to once again enter into His earthly courts, and there to offer his thanksgivings and praise. But he does not say that his personal purity is what gives him the right of entry. Instead, he declares that his right of entry to the palace is God’s "multitude of mercy," not his own innocence.

And in thy fear.

“And in thy fear” means “in great reverence and respect for thee.” Fear, or reverence, is often utilized to denote devotion or worship. The next verse contains the phrase "in Thy righteousness" which expresses God’s connection to man that makes access possible, and here the phrase "in Thy fear" expresses man’s disposition to God which makes worship acceptable. "In the multitude of Thy mercy" and "in Thy fear," taken together, describe the conditions necessary for approaching God. David's worship was never without fear—a reverent sense of God's greatness, power, and perfect holiness.

Will I worship toward thy holy temple?

 The worshippers were not permitted to enter the temple, so they worshipped “toward” it; that is, by looking toward it, or prostrating themselves toward it as the special dwelling-place of God. If they were in the courts around the temple, they worshipped with their faces toward the place where God was supposed to reside; if they were far away, even in distant lands, they still turned their faces toward Jerusalem and the temple [“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10).], like the Muslims who face Mecca do now. At the time of prayer, David would, according to the custom of the worship established at that time, turn himself so he was facing in the direction of the tabernacle where the gracious presence of the Lord dwelt [See Psalms 28:2; Psalms 138:7; 1 Kings 8:30, 1 Kings 8:33, 1 Kings 8:38, 1 Kings 8:42, 1 Kings 8:44, 1 Kings 8:48; Daniel 6:10; Jonah 2:4].

Some have raised the objection that the use of the word “temple” means that this psalm could not have been written by David, since the temple was not built until the time of Solomon. But in reply to this it may be observed that the word rendered here as “temple” has a generous application, and might be applied to any place of worship. It means a large and magnificent building, a palace [see Proverbs 30:28; Isaiah 39:7; Daniel 1:4]. Here it means the place where Yahweh was supposed to reside, or the place where He is worshipped; and it might be applied to the tabernacle as well as to the temple. In fact, it is “often” applied to the tabernacle that was in use before the building of the temple [1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3; 2 Samuel 22:7].

8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness.

The psalmist makes his request known: “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness,” not in mine, but thine; in the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel, from faith to faith, and is imputed by God, and received by faith; in this righteousness he desired to be led into the house of God, and appear before him. It is only because we have had the righteousness of Christ bestowed upon us that any man can stand before God and worship. Or else the meaning is, that God would lead him in the way of righteousness, in his righteous statutes, judgments, and ordinances, which is the way in which the Lord does lead his people [“He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake” (Psalm 23:3).]. Or the idea is that He would lead him for His righteousness' sake; because of His faithfulness to his promises, he would direct, uphold, and never leave nor forsake him. David was very aware that the destiny of man is not in himself, and that he could not direct his own steps; and therefore he desired to be guided by the Lord, and to be led by the right hand of His righteousness, and to be upheld by it as he journeys through life.

He earnestly prays that God, by his grace, would always guide and protect him as he does his duty for the Lord: “Lead me in thy righteousness, because of my enemies”—"Because of those who observe me, who watch for my halting and seek occasion against me." (Heb.)

Because of mine enemies.

In another place they are called "those that observe me," that lie in wait and watch for my halting, as Jeremiah's enemies did; and would rejoice at my fall, and insult me, and blaspheme thy name; therefore lead, guide, and uphold me. We see here, the good use which David made of the hatred of his enemies against him. The more intent they were in finding faults in him, so that they might have something to accuse him of, the more cautious he was to avoid sin and all appearances of it, and the more anxious he was to always be seen doing his duty to God—that he would give them no opportunity to slander him or his religion. The Lord would show him the way to walk, or the course He would have him take. Thus, by wisdom and grace good may come out of evil.

Make thy way straight before my face.

Show me by thy providence, and thy grace, in which way I should walk; let it appear clear and obvious, and remove all obstructions out of the way, that I may walk straight ahead, without any difficulty or hindrance. He seems to refer to his enemies, who lay in wait along the road he must travel, and he asks God to remove them. This reflects David’s constant reliance on God. He needs God to lead him and to make the way safe. David’s contrast between the wicked and the godly is unassuming, because he knows it is only God’s power and work in him that can keep him from going the way of the wicked.

Direct my heart, my counsels, and my affairs, and all the progress and actions of my life; in thy righteousness—[“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalms 143:10).]. Make the way clear, so that I can clearly discern it, and readily, evenly, and smoothly walk in it without making a mistake, or being hindered, or stumbling, which my enemies would gladly take advantage of. David took the right course and it baffled those who wanted to kill him. He committed himself to divine guidance, begged God both by his providence and by his grace to direct him in the right way, and keep him from turning aside and getting off course. He asked for guidance all the time, and in every situation, that the most critical and devious of his enemies, like Daniel's, might not find anything for which to accuse him. We should always do things God’s way (thy way), and it is our duty to do so, but not on our own, because He has given to us His just and holy laws, which if we sincerely make the rule of our life, we may in faith beg God to direct us in the way we should go. As for how David’s prayer was answered, we have the answer in 1 Samuel 18:14, 15: “In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.”

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth.

 He gives a description of his enemies, and then he prays against them, not for them. If his description of them is true, as no doubt it is, they have a very bad character, and if they had not been bad men, they could not have been enemies of a man after God's own heart. He had said in verse 6 that God hated the bloody and deceitful man. "Now, Lord," says he, "that is the character of my enemies: they are deceitful, there is no trusting them, for there is no faithfulness in their mouth." They thought it was not a sin to tell a deliberate lie if it might serve to stain David’s reputation, and make him appear loathsome. "Lord, lead me," says he (v. 8), "for this is the character of the men I have to deal with; against whose slanders innocence itself is no refuge. Do they speak fair? Do they talk of peace and friendship? They flatter with their tongues in order to cover their hatred, and to make their point, which they could not do if they spoke truth.

There is nothing in them that can be trusted; nothing in their promises and explanations. They are liars and deceitful, and therefore, I can only appeal to you. It is easy to see the appropriateness of this statement, and of those which follow, if we assume that David refers to the rebellion of Absalom. Absalom had gone to Hebron on a false pretense [“At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the LORD. While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.’” The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron. Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron’” (2 Samuel 15:7-10).], and every act of his in this whole transaction had been treacherous and false.

David focuses on what the wicked say that is evidence of their wickedness. He knew what Jesus said later in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Our righteousness or wickedness will sooner or later show up in our speech. David felt the sting of wicked words and lies against him. Yet this prayer shows something good has come out of the attacks from his enemies. A man’s enemies may cause him to pray more passionately, and to watch more closely over his conduct, and for those reasons they may become his best friends.

Their inward part is very wickedness.

 Not only was their external conduct very wicked, but their hearts, their principles, and their motives were very wicked. It was reasonable to conclude this from their conduct. The object of the psalmist is to show that they were completely depraved in all that appropriately constitutes character or that entered into moral conduct. Their inward part is very wickedness, which is evident from what comes out of it— unhappy, distressing, and pathetic evils, severe aggravations; their hearts are the devil’s storehouses.

The word rendered wickedness, seems to mean anything which causes anguish or affliction; evil of any kind, natural or moral. Their inward part is full of revolting stuff or rottenness, which emits nauseous vapors through the throat, as though it were an open sepulcher. They pretend to be religious or a friend, two sacred things, but they are neither: Their inward part is wickedness itself, it is very wickedness. They are bloody men for their throat is an open sepulcher, cruel as the grave, gaping and ready to devour and to swallow up, and as voracious as the grave, which never says, “It is enough" [“The leech has two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry. "There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, 'Enough!’ the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, 'Enough!'” (Proverbs 30:15, 16)].

Romans 3:13 quotes this verse [“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.”] to show the general corruption of mankind for they are all naturally prone to wickedness [“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” (Titus 3:3)].

Their throat is an open sepulcher.

 Their throat is like an open grave that is ready to receive its victim, similarly, their throat is open to devour or swallow up the peace and happiness of others. The main idea is that they are liars, dangerous, deceitful, not to be confided in, and slanderous. These open sepulchers send out a foul stench which frequently will bury the good names of good men. But we may take comfort in the knowledge that there shall one day be a resurrection of our good names as well as our bodies. This verse, along with the one that follows, is used by the apostle Paul to demonstrate the universal depravity of man—there may be an Absalom even in the best of us.

They flatter with their tongue.

 He had referred to the “inward part,” or the “heart,” and to the “throat” as being depraved and evil; now he refers to another member of the body as being equally depraved—the “tongue.” Instead of being employed to speak truth, and to give expression to the real feelings of the heart, it was used to flatter others, with the intention of leading them astray, or to make use of them for immoral and selfish purposes. No one can fail to see the appropriateness of applying this illustration to Absalom and his coconspirators [“In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you." And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:1-6).]. Flattery is a characteristic of the wicked in general.

The apostle, in his letter to the Romans, expressed the same idea as David has here [“Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips” (Romans 3:13).]. It is remarkable, the extent to which man depends on the organs of speech—tongue, lips, mouth, throat—more than on the other senses.

Some good advice from Spurgeon: “Always beware of people who flatter you, and especially when they tell you that they do not flatter you, and that they know you cannot endure flattery, for you are then being most fulsomely flattered, so be on your guard against the tongue of the flatterer.”


10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

Destroy thou them, O God.

 The word that has been translated “destroy”  has been rendered by some Bible scholars as “condemn”—“condemn them; literally, make them guilty; that is, recognize and treat them as such.” The Hebrew word for destroy is 'âsham which means to fail in doing one’s duty, to transgress, to be guilty; the form used here, according to Gesenius, means to “punish; and hence, to destroy.” The idea in the mind of the psalmist seems to have been that he desired, since they were undoubtedly guilty, that God would regard and treat them “as such.” It is not that he wished that God would make them guilty; instead, he desired that they would be found to be so. And it is not that he wished them to be punished or cut off; but rather, since they were guilty, and as they were pursuing a course which tended to overthrow the government of the land, and they were at war with God and with the best interests of the people, God would intervene and stop their progress—that he would show himself to be a righteous and just God. They were enemies of God no less than David’s. There is no evidence of any private animosity in this prayer, or of any spirit of personal revenge. On the contrary, it is a prayer which is consistent with all the wishes of every good person, that the violators of law might be arrested and punished. There can be nothing wrong with that.

If David’s prayer against them was heard, and no doubt it was, they were in a heap of trouble. As men are, and do, so they must expect to fare—doesn’t the Word say, “As a man sows, so shall he reap?” He prays to God to destroy them, which was in accord with what he had said Psalm 5:6, "Thou shalt destroy men of this character."

Let them fall by their own counsels.

 David prays that the wicked will get what they deserve. Since they were rebelling against God’s anointed and ultimately against God Himself, they deserved the “guilty” sentence—and for it to show that they brought this judgment upon themselves. The wish is, that their plans, which were evil, might amount to nothing, and lead to their own overthrow. That is, the psalmist did not wish to stain his hands in their blood, or to be made the instrument of their destruction; but he desired that God would interject himself into the struggle and cause their own plans to be the means of quelling the rebellion. If men are so wicked that they must be destroyed it is desirable that it should be “seen” that they perish as a result of their own foolishness and wickedness, as did Ahithophel, and Haman [“He repays a man for what he has done; he brings upon him what his conduct deserves” (Job 34:11).].

Cast them out.

 Cast them out, expel them, and drive them away; prevent them from being successful in taking possession of the throne, and in overturning the government. Cast them out of God’s protection and goodwill, out of the heritage of the Lord, out of the land of the living, and woe to those whom God casts out. They deserved destruction because of their sins; there was enough to justify God’s complete and utter rejection of them. They were once a terror but the Lord will pour scorn on them; for they are ripe for ruin, because they have added rebellion to their sin [“To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God" (Job 34:37).].

In the multitude of their transgressions.

In the multitude (abundance) of their transgressions (sins), or as a consequence of the number and the gravity of their offences. The intention of the psalmist is to focus attention on the “great number” of their sins as a reason why they should not be allowed to succeed. Prayer like this one is not wrong, because it would not be right to pray that sinners who have committed a multitude of sins be rewarded with success and prosperity. Actually, the fact that they are such sinners is, under a righteous administration, a reason why they should “not” be successful, not why they “should be.”

            Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, by which they have filled up the measure of their iniquity and have become ripe for ruin. Persecuting God's servants fills the measure as quickly as anything [“. . .  You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).]. The enemies of God and His people, may easily be made to fall by their own counsels—that which they do to protect themselves, and to harm others, may be made a means of their own destruction by the over-ruling providence of God [“He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made” (Psalm 7:15); “The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden” (Psalm 9:15).].

For they have rebelled against thee.

This is given as a reason why the psalmist prayed that they should be cut off. It was not that they had wronged him; it was because they had rebelled against God; and it was right, therefore, to hope and to pray that he would interpose and vindicate his government and law. There is no spirit of personal revenge shown here, and nothing said that would encourage or foster such a spirit. What is said here is only what every judge must feel who fairly executes the laws, because it is desirable that the wicked—the violators of the law—the enemies of their country—should be arrested and prosecuted.

He pleads, they have rebelled against thee, and therefore, they are more your enemies than mine, which makes me very hot against them, since I am consumed with zeal for thy glory. Had they been only my enemies, I could easily have forgiven them but they are rebels against God, and His crown and dignity; they oppose His authority, and will not repent, refuse to give him glory, and therefore I clearly foresee their ruin. His prayer for their destruction comes not from a spirit of revenge, but from a spirit of prophecy, by which he predicted that all who rebel against God will without doubt be destroyed by their own opinions. If it is a righteous thing for God to punish those who oppose Him and trouble his people, as we are told it is [“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6).], it is proper for us to pray that it may be done whenever we pray, “Father, thy will be done.”

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice.

            Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You. The righteous aren’t made righteous by their words. The righteous are those who trust the LORD and love His name. But their righteousness is evident in their words. They rejoice, they shout for joy, and their joy is in the LORD. The reason they shout for joy is found in Psalm 2:11-12—“Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” They rejoice because the Lord’s protection is for them. On the other hand, the wicked have everything to dread, since they must be cut off; but the righteous have every reason to be happy, because they shall enjoy the favor of God. This is, at the same time, the earnest expression of a desire that they might rejoice, and their earnest desire is that all of God’s dealings with them might forever be an occasion for joy. Joy comes to those who trust in Him and it is in proportion to the measure of their faith.

·         Do not rejoice, O Israel; do not be jubilant like the other nations. For you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor. (Hosea 9:1)

·         Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit. (Isaiah 65:13, 14)

·          Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8)

This is David’s prayer for the people of God. They are the righteous according to verse 12. Because they put their trust in God, they are assured of His power and all-sufficiency; they risk their all upon His promise, are confident of His protection as they go about doing their duty to Him, and they love his name; they are pleased with how God has made Himself known, and take delight in their relationship with Him. This is true and pure religion, to live a life of contentment in God and dependence on Him.

 Let them even shout for joy.

 Internal joy or happiness is often expressed by shouting, or singing, as the word translated shout frequently signifies. The meaning is that they should give every proper expression to their feeling of joy. This may be done by singing, or by grateful acknowledgments of praise and gratitude. David’s prayer for those who trust God is: "Let them rejoice, and let them have cause to rejoice; let their hearts rejoice, and fill them with joy, with great joy and unspeakable joy; let them shout for joy, with constant joy and perpetual joy; let them eternally shout for joy, with holy joy, and that which focuses on God; let them be joyful in thee, in thy favor, and in thy salvation, not in any creature.

“A touch of enthusiasm would be the salvation of many a man’s religion. Some Christians are good enough people: they are like wax candles, but they are not lighted. Oh, for a touch of flame! Then would they scatter light, and thus become of service to their families. ‘Let them shout for joy.’ Why not? Let not orderly folks object. One said to me the other day, ‘When I hear you preach I feel as if I must have a shout!’ My friend, shout if you feel forced to do so. (Here a hearer cried, ‘Glory!’) Our brother cries, ‘Glory!’ and I say so too. ‘Glory!’ The shouting need not always be done in a public service, or it might hinder devout hearing; but there are times and places where a glorious outburst of enthusiastic joy would quicken life in all around. The ungodly are not half so restrained in their blasphemy as we are in our praise.” (Spurgeon)

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in God: We have permission to do so:

·         You have permission for joy. “You have here a ticket to the banquets of joy. You may be as happy as ever you like. You have divine permission to shout for joy.” (Spurgeon)

·         You have a precept, a command for joy: “Come, ye mournful ones, be glad. Ye discontented grumblers, come out of that dog-hole! Enter the palace of the King! Quit your dunghills; ascend your thrones.” (Spurgeon)

·         You should pray for joy, both in yourself and others - especially servants of the LORD. “If you lose your joy in your religion, you will be a poor worker: you cannot bear strong testimony, you cannot bear stern trial, you cannot lead a powerful life. In proportion as you maintain your joy, you will be strong in the Lord, and for the Lord.” (Spurgeon)

·          You have a promise for joy: “God promises joy and gladness to believers. Light is sown for them: the Lord will turn their night into day.” (Spurgeon)

Because thou defendest them.

 Undoubtedly, the psalmist had in mind in this expression, himself and his current situation, and those who had remained faithful to him and his righteous cause and were standing with him against his enemies; but, as is often the case in the Psalms, he gives to the sentiment a general form, so that it might be useful to all who fear and love God.

The picture that comes to mind is a mother hen with her chicks tucked safely under her wings. I heard a story about a farmer who was inspecting his field after a fire had destroyed his crop. He saw a charred mass nearby, but when he looked closely he discovered it was the carcass of one of his hens. He moved it slightly with his foot and was surprised to see six little chicks emerge from under the wings. Even in death, she defended her chicks.  The Lord will defend and protect those who belong to Him [“Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy. It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain” (Isaiah 4:5-6).]. David’s prayer is: Let them rejoice because you have defended them, covered them, or overshadowed them, and dwell among them. Perhaps he is alluding to the pillar of cloud and fire, which was to Israel a visible token of God's special presence with them and the special protection they were under.

Let them also that love thy name.

 “That love thy name” is the same as “That love thee”—thy name is often used for the person. This is but another method of designating the righteous, because one of their characteristics is that they love the name of God.

The name of a person or a thing is a Hebraism, by which the person or thing is expressed. The correctness of this way of speaking will appear sounder from the religion of names, as practiced by the Egyptians, and conveyed by them to the neighboring nations. The names of their guardian deities were not only names of distinction, but also names of honor. The Deity, when asked his name by Moses, complied with this principle or custom, and assumed the name of JEHOVAH, by which he was considered as the peculiar guardian deity of the Israelites. The love of His name, therefore, implies an abhorrence of idolatry, a strong confidence in Him as their guardian Deity, and a unspoken obligation of obedience to His laws, is generally used in the Old Testament to express a religious conduct; and the frequent use of the word name, instead of the express mention of the divine person, will from now on appear to be no diatribe, but to be consistent with the veneration which all nations had for the names of their deities, when used as terms of honor.

Let us learn from David how to pray, not for ourselves only, but for others, for all good people, for all that trust in God and love His name. Let all that are entitled to God's promises have a share in our prayers. Pray that God’s grace will be with all that sincerely love Christ and you will see eye-to-eye with God.

Be joyful in thee.

 Rejoice in thee—we have so very much to rejoice about—in the Lord’s existence, His perfection, sovereignty, and law; His dealings with men, and His provision; in all the ways He has revealed Himself, and all that He has done [“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! . .” (Philippians 1:3).]. It is one of the characteristics of the truly pious that they do find their happiness in God. They rejoice that there is a God, and that he is just such a being as he is; and they take delight in contemplating His perfections, in the evidences of His favor and friendship, in communion with Him, in doing his will [“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:1).]. Rejoice, and leap for joy, as if they were dancing before the Lord! The martyr, Dr. Taylor, danced when he was near the place where he was to be burnt. Rabbi Zaddi Ben Levi repeated this verse when he was at the point of death. Another recited Psalms 32:6, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found. . .” A third, Psalms 84:10, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” And a fourth, recited Psalms 31:19, “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”

12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous.

 It is one of the characteristics of God that while He will punish the wicked, He will show kindness to the righteous; while He brings deserved punishment upon the one, he will show kindness to the other. It’s a sure thing, the righteous man shall be rich with blessing.

·         “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).

·         “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

·         “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42).

He prays for them because they are God's peculiar people, and for that reason he believes his prayers will be heard. And they shall always rejoice because the assurance of God’s blessings makes them happy. “Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous,” will decree a blessing upon them. The Lord in His Word pronounced them blessed, and therefore He will make them truly so. “Those whom thou blessed are blessed indeed.”

With favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

Favor means goodwill.

Wilt thou compass him means to encircle him.

 The Hebrew word tsinnah,” rendered here as “a shield,” can mean either a pointed weapon, such as a spear, or a shield that covers most of the body. The former denotes a fence of spears or spearmen which would encircle a prince to protect him as he goes into battle—in the same way will the Lord throw His protection around the righteous. By the latter is probably meant a piked shield which had one great boss (the domed metal center of a shield) in the middle with a sharp pike in it used to pierce and wound the adversary [“defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield” (Job 15:26).]. God will be everything to his people—crown, shield, and etc.; they may therefore rejoice, shout, and leap, as related in the previous verse.

This phrase shows clearly that David felt that he could trust in God in times of trouble and danger; and, on the same account, all who are righteous may put their trust in Him also. They are safe under His protection because He will surround them on every side, as a shield [“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).]. A shield in war protects only one side, but the presence of God is to the saints a defense on every side like the hedge He placed around Job, so that, while they keep themselves under the divine protection, they are entirely safe and ought to be entirely satisfied [“But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Psalm 3:3).].

You, O Lord, will bless the righteous with Your favor. You will surround him: This is the greatest blessing of all—the favor of God. Knowing that God looks on us with favor and pleasure is the greatest knowledge in the world. This is our standing in grace.

When Martin Luther was on his way to face a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church to answer for what they said were his heretical teachings, one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted him saying, “Where will you find shelter if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?” Luther answered, “Under the shelter of heaven.”