Psalms 54 COMMENTARY (Ellicott)

Psalm 54
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

If this Psalm is the outcome of individual feeling, the traditional title will suit it as well as any that conjecture can supply. But it reads more like the cry of a people in distress, an oppressed race, powerless except in its religious hope. A stanza of five lines, with marked and elegant rhythm is followed by eight loosely connected lines.

Title.—See Notes to titles of Psalms 4, 32; and comp. 1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 26:1.

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.
(1) By thy name.—See Note, Psalm 20:1. (Comp. Isaiah 30:27.)

Judge me by thy strengthi.e., in Thy power see that justice is done me.

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
(3) For strangers.—This verse, with some variations, occurs again (Psalm 86:14); some MSS. even reading here “proud,” instead of “strangers.” With the received reading we must understand by the word “foreign oppressors”—though, doubtless, the inscription of the Psalm may be defended by taking the word in a derived sense of those Israelites who have degenerated, and so deserve the name “aliens.”

Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
(4) With them . . .—Better, is a supporter of my life. So LXX. and Vulgate.

He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
(5) Cut them off.—Or, put them to silence.

In thy truth.—Or, according to thy faithfulness.

I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
(6) I will freely sacrifice.—Better, I will offer a willing (or freewill) sacrifice.

For it is good.—Comp. Psalm 52:9.

For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.
(7) This verse does not actually state what has happened, but, according to a well-known Hebrew idiom should be rendered, When he shall have delivered, &c

Hath seen his desire.—Or, hath gloated on The Hebrews use the words seeing and looking very expressively, making the simple verb do almost what the eye itself can do: show hatred, love, triumph, defeat, wistfulness, disgust, &C (See Psalm 35:21; Psalm 52:6; Psalm 59:10; Psalm 92:11; Song of Solomon 6:13; &c)

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