This psalm consists of a string of pious sayings of a proverbial kind, all beautiful in themselves, but combined with no art beyond the alphabetical arrangement, and even this, as in Psalms 25, not strictly carried out. A common authorship with that psalm is marked by the same omission of the Vau stanza, and by the completion of the number 22 by an extra Pe stanza at the end. Certainly the composition is of a time far later than David, and the inscription (see Note) is of no historic value. A late, even an Aramaic origin, is indicated by the meaning of nahar in Psalm 34:5, and possibly by the fact that the Pe stanza must have originally preceded that beginning with Ayin—an error due to the common Aramaic tendency to interchange Ayin and Tsadde. But beyond this there is nothing by which to appropriate the psalm to any particular period, still less to any particular event or individual, and it reads more like a gnomic composition expressive of the faith of the pious community than as the outpouring of individual feeling.
Title.—There seems little doubt that this title was suggested by the form of the word rendered “taste” in Psalm 34:8, taamû, reminding the compiler of taamô (“his behaviour,” 1 Samuel 21:13), combined with that of tithhalêl (“shall boast,” Psalm 34:2), with uithholêl (“he is mad,” 1 Samuel 21:14). At least no other conjecture can account for an inscription so entirely foreign to the contents of the psalm, and containing besides an historical blunder in the king’s name (the margin corrects it).
and Vulg., “the meek.” It means here those who have learnt patience in the school of suffering.
As to the construction, the subject must either be supplied from Psalm 34:2, or it must be general. The LXX. and Vulg. avoid the difficulty by changing to the second person.
“The spangled hosts keep watch in squadrons bright.”
This verse, according to the sense, should certainly change places with Psalm 34:15. This would disarrange the acrostic, bringing pe before ayin; but, as in Lamentations 2, 3, 4 the same sequence of letters occurs, we are led to the conclusion that the order of the alphabet was not definitely or invariably fixed in respect of these two letters, a license intelligible enough when we remember that tsadde, which follows pe, was often interchanged with ayin, which precedes it.