Psalm 64:1

PSALM 64 OVERVIEW

Title. To the Chief Musician. The leader of the choir, for the time being, is charged with this song. It were well if the chief musicians of all our congregations estimated their duty at its due solemnity, for it is no mean thing to be called to lead the sacred song of God's people, and the responsibility is by no means light. A Psalm of David. His life was one of conflict, and very seldom does he finish a Psalm without mentioning his enemies; in this instance his thoughts are wholly occupied with prayer against them.

Division. From Psalms 64:1-6 he describes the cruelty and craftiness of his foes, and from Psalms 64:7-10 he prophesies their overthrow.

EXPOSITION

Verse 1. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer. It often helps devotion if we are able to use the voice and speak audibly; but even mental prayer has a voice with God which he will hear. We do not read that Moses had spoken with his lips at the Red Sea, and yet the Lord said to him, "Why criest thou unto me?" Prayers which are unheard on earth may be among the best heard in heaven. It is our duty to note how constantly David turns to prayer; it is his battle axe and weapon of war; he uses it under every pressure, whether of inward sin or outward wrath, foreign invasion or domestic rebellion. We shall act wisely if we make prayer to God our first and best trusted resource in every hour of need.

Preserve my life from fear of the enemy. From harm and dread of harm protect me; or it may be read as an expression of his assurance that it would be so; "from fear of the foe thou wilt preserve me." With all our sacrifices of prayer we should offer the salt of faith.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Whole Psalm. This Psalm is applied by R. Obadiah to Haman and Mordecai. The enemy is Haman, the perfect man shot at is Mordecai; about whom Haman communed with his friends to lay snares for him, and search diligently for occasions against him and his people, which issued in his own destruction. The ancient Midrash of the Jews applies it to Daniel, when cast into the den of lions; and Jarchi supposes that David, by a spirit of prophecy, foresaw it, and prayed for him who was of his seed; and that everything in the Psalm beautifully falls in with that account. Daniel is the perfect man aimed at; the enemy are the princes of Darius's court, who consulted against him, communed of laying snares for him, and gained their point, which proved their own ruin. But the Psalm literally belongs to David, by whom it was composed. John Gill.

Whole Psalm. A cry of God's elect, when persecuted for righteousness' sake, to their Deliverer and sure Avenger. The general principle stated is very clear. The Psalm will adjust itself, as an experimental utterance, to the lips of Christian faith wherever brought into contact with the evil forces of the prince of this world, so as to suffer affliction for the gospel's sake; for it expresses the condition and the hope of one actually imperilled for the truth. How aptly a portion of this Psalm applies to the suffering Truth Himself in the days of his affliction, when, pierced in his spirit by lying words, he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, needs not be pointed out. Arthur Pridham, in "Notes and Reflections on the Psalms," 1869.

Verse 1. Preserve my life. Hebrew, lives; so called for the many faculties, operations, revolutions, and commodities of life. John Trapp.

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 1.

  1. The preservation of life desired.
    1. The desire expressed.
    2. Qualified -- from violent death, from fear of, etc.
    3. The preservation of life prayed for.
    4. For self improvement.
    5. For usefulness.
    6. For the divine glory. G. R.