28:1 Deaf and silent are often connected with being “far from” (35:22). These concepts describe God’s lack of intervention in a time of need. “Pit” is sometimes parallel with Sheol, the realm of the dead (30:3; Jb 33:18; Pr 1:12; Is 14:15), so those going down to the Pit refers to those who are going to die.
28:2 Lifting up hands was a common gesture for prayer, perhaps related to the image of showing that one’s hands were clean and therefore one’s motives were pure before the Lord (134:2; 1Kg 8:35,38,42). Sanctuary is a specific word (Hb devir) referring to the innermost part of the sanctuary—the most holy place. This was the place where the ark of the covenant resided, but more importantly it was the location of the mercy seat—the place from which the Lord dispensed mercy on his people (Ex 26:34).
28:3-5 The psalmist’s plea that he not be punished (i.e., dragged away) with the wicked is because he was not connected with them, either in association or in activities (26:9-10). Repay them appears twice as a call for retribution on one’s enemies; it is also known as an imprecation (see note at 109:1-31). The reason for this request for judgment on these evildoers is that they did not consider what the Lord had done. Some think that this refers to God’s judgment on the wicked; however, the phrase work of his hands is more commonly used for God’s work of creation (19:1; 102:25) or for his work in delivering his people (143:5; Is 60:21). The second of these options seems more likely in this context where there is praise for the Lord’s help.
28:7 The Lord provides him with strength and protection.
28:8-9 The relationship between the individual and the community is evident in identifying the Lord as the psalmist’s strength in v. 7 and the strength of his people in v. 8. Though his anointed can refer to the Davidic king of Israel (18:50; 20:6; 45:7), in this case it is parallel to “his people” and represents the nation as a whole (105:15; Hab 3:13). Israel was also known as the Lord’s possession (see 135:4; Ex 19:5 and note there). On the designation shepherd, see note at 23:1.