This is one of the eight psalms assigned by their inscriptions to the time of David’s persecution by Saul.
There is nothing in the contents either to support or controvert the title, unless the recurrence of expressions found in Psalms 42, 61, 77, marks dependence on them. But such dependence would not detract from the originality of the poem before us, an originality shown rather in the passion and play of feeling than in the poetic figure and expression. The parallelism is varied.
Title.—Maschil. (See Title Psalms 32) For the rest of the inscription see Introduction.
“On the path by which I must walk they have laid a trap for me;
Look to the right and see,
Not a friend is in sight.
Failed has refuge from me,
There is none who careth for my soul.”
To the “right,” because according to the regular Hebrew metaphor it was on the “right hand” that the protector would stand. (See Note Psalm 16:8, &c; and comp. Psalm 109:6; Psalm 109:31; Psalm 110:5; Psalm 121:5.)
Compass me about.—The Hebrew word here employed is used in a hostile sense in Psalm 22:12; Judges 20:43; Habakkuk 1:4. It is better, therefore, to follow the LXX. and render:
“In my case the righteous are waiting
This sense “waiting for,” besides being favoured by the construction, suits well the passage, Proverbs 14:18.
“The simple inherit folly,
But the prudent wait for knowledge,
and is Aquila’s rendering there of the word as it is here.