The psalmist prays to God to plead his cause, and judge for him. (1-9) He expresses confidence in God, and will give him the glory of his deliverance. (10-17)
Verses 1-9 David flees to God for succour. But Christ alone could call on Heaven to attest his uprightness in all things. All His works were wrought in righteousness; and the prince of this world found nothing whereof justly to accuse him. Yet for our sakes, submitting to be charged as guilty, he suffered all evils, but, being innocent, he triumphed over them all. The plea is, "For the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins." He knows the secret wickedness of the wicked, and how to bring it to an end; he is witness to the secret sincerity of the just, and has ways of establishing it. When a man has made peace with God about all his sins, upon the terms of grace and mercy, through the sacrifice of the Mediator, he may, in comparison with his enemies, appeal to God's justice to decide.
Verses 10-17 David is confident that he shall find God his powerful Saviour. The destruction of sinners may be prevented by their conversion; for it is threatened, If he turn not from his evil way, let him expect it will be his ruin. But amidst the threatenings of wrath, we have a gracious offer of mercy. God gives sinners warning of their danger, and space to repent, and prevent it. He is slow to punish, and long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish. The sinner is described, ver. ( 14-16 ) , as taking more pains to ruin his soul than, if directed aright, would save it. This is true, in a sense, of all sinners. Let us look to the Saviour under all our trials. Blessed Lord, give us grace to look to thee in the path of tribulation, going before thy church and people, and marking the way by thine own spotless example. Under all the persecutions which in our lesser trials mark our way, let the looking to Jesus animate our minds and comfort our hearts.
Psalms 7:1-17 . Shiggaion--a plaintive song or elegy. Though obscure in details, this title seems to intimate that the occasion of this Psalm was some event in David's persecution by Saul. He prays for relief because he is innocent, and God will be glorified in his vindication. He thus passes to the celebration of God's righteous government, in defending the upright and punishing the wicked, whose malignant devices will result in their own ruin; and, confident of God's aid, he closes with rejoicing.
1, 2. Though many enemies set upon him, one is singled out as prominent, and compared to a wild beast tearing his prey to pieces (compare 1 Samuel 20:1 , 23:23 , 26:19 ).
3. if I have done this--that is, the crime charged in the "words of Cush" (compare 1 Samuel 24:9 ).
4. If I have injured my friend.
yea, I have delivered, &c.--This makes a good sense, but interrupts the course of thought, and hence it is proposed to render, "if I have spoiled my enemy"--in either case (compare 1 Samuel 24:4-17 , 1 Samuel 31:8 1 Samuel 31:11 ).
5. This is the consequence, if such has been his conduct.
mine honour--(compare Psalms 3:3 , 4:2 )--my personal and official dignity.
6. God is involved as if hitherto careless of him ( Psalms 3:7 , 9:18 ).
rage--the most violent, like a flood rising over a river's banks.
the judgment . . . commanded--or, "ordained"; a just decision.
7. compass thee--as those seeking justice.
return thou on high--assume the judgment seat, to be honored as a just Ruler by them.
8. Though not claiming innocence in general, he can confidently do so in this case, and in demanding from the Judge of all the earth a judgment, he virtually asks acquittal.
9. the hearts and reins--the affections and motives of men, or the seat of them (compare Psalms 16:7 , 26:2 ); as we use heart and bosom or breast.
10. defence--literally, "shield" ( Psalms 5:12 ).
11. judgeth--as in Psalms 7:8 .
the wicked--Though not expressed, they are implied, for they alone are left as objects of anger.
12, 13. They are here distinctly pointed out, though by changing the person, a very common mode of speech, one is selected as a representative of wicked men generally. The military figures are of obvious meaning.
13. against the persecutors--Some render "for burning," but the former is the best sense. Arrows for burning would be appropriate in besieging a town, not in warring against one man or a company in open fight.
14. The first clause expresses the general idea that wicked men labor to do evil, the others carry out the figure fully.
15, 16. 1 Samuel 18:17 , 31:2 illustrate the statement whether alluded to or not. These verses are expository of Psalms 7:14 , showing how the devices of the wicked end in disappointment, falsifying their expectations.
17. his righteousness--( Psalms 5:8 ). Thus illustrated in the defense of His servant and punishment of the wicked.