II. Book II (Psalms Psalms 42–72)

The titles of Psalms 42 and 44–49 indicate that they are psalms of the sons of Korah, who were active in Levitical worship (see 1 Chr 9:17, 19-21; 12:6). Psalm 43 is the only one in this batch without a title. Given this and the fact that the refrain of 42:5 and 11 is repeated in 43:5, it is likely that Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 were originally one.

David wrote this psalm in remembrance of the time he fled before Saul into the cave (see 1 Sam 24:1-22).

57:1-3 David prays for God’s gracious intervention, as if he were a baby bird being protected from danger under the wings of its mother (57:1). He knows that God has a purpose for him and trusts him to fulfill it (57:2). His faithful love and truth guides David’s steps and defends him (57:3).

57:4-6 His circumstances were akin to being surrounded by lions that wanted to devour him (57:4). This is likely a reference to his being pursued by Saul, who desperately wanted to strike him down. But, in spite of the trap laid for him, David’s enemies fell into it (57:6) Therefore, David was determined to exalt God because he had displayed his glory in David’s trying circumstances (57:5).

57:7-11 David remains steadfast and confident in God (57:7), so he can’t help but sing praises—not only among his own people, but also among the nations (57:9). He is in awe of the Lord’s faithful love and faithfulness, which he compares to the grandeur of creation (57:10). David asks that God would be exalted above the heavens and that his glory would be over the whole earth (57:11). Having experienced God’s deliverance in the past and looking expectantly for his deliverance in the future, David was dominated by a desire to glorify God. This is the disposition we should cultivate within our own hearts. Whatever trying circumstances have come our way, we ought to seek to magnify God in them and through them.

58:1-5 David challenges certain mighty ones (that is, unrighteous justices), asking if they speak righteously and judge people fairly (58:1). Human leaders are supposed to act as God’s intermediaries, ruling on his behalf and expressing his own attributes of righteousness and justice. But, these leaders had failed in their accountability before God. David thus compares them to venomous snakes (58:4-5). They were guilty of injustice and violence, having demonstrated depravity from birth (58:2-3).

58:6-8 He pleads with God to execute divine judgment on such evil people, rendering them powerless like defanged lions (58:6). The imagery continues: He prays they would vanish in the ground like water, miss the targets at which they aim, and fail to see the sun (58:7-8).

58:9-11 The execution of divine justice would be like a whirlwind sweeping away the wicked and bringing great rejoicing to God’s people (58:9-10). The judgment of God against evil is a reward for the righteous (58:11). The day will finally come when the Lord will set all things right. All sin will be punished, either in the cross of Christ, or at the final judgment.

David wrote Psalm 59 with reference to the time when Saul sent agents to watch [David’s] house and kill him (see 1 Sam 19:11-18).

59:1-8 David implores God to rescue him from his enemies (59:1), who had come to execute him on behalf of King Saul. They waited to ambush him, but not because he was guilty of any rebellion (59:3). There was, in fact, no fault in David (59:4). He was in danger solely because Saul was consumed by jealousy. So, David calls on the Lord God of Armies to help him (59:4-5). Anyone who opposed David, God’s anointed, was opposing God. Therefore, David had confidence that the Lord would laugh at their attempts (59:8).

59:9-13 God was David’s impregnable fortress, his stronghold (59:9). Though his enemies outnumbered him, David was kept safe by divine protection. He asks God to defeat the wicked men (59:11-13)—not merely so that he would be delivered—but so that people will know throughout the earth that God rules over Jacob (59:13). He wanted God’s glory to be acknowledged everywhere.

It’s easy to be consumed with fear and anxiety when confronted with dreadful circumstances. To whom will you look when you are faced with a problem that’s too powerful for you? Look to the omnipotent “Lord God of Armies” (59:5). He alone can override your negative circumstances so that “all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purposes” (Rom 8:28).

59:14-17 Though his enemies circle him, snarling like dogs (59:14), David was determined to joyfully proclaim [God’s] faithful love every morning (59:16). This is a good way to begin your day—looking to God’s faithful love to provide you with strength to make it through the next twenty-four hours. The faithful God is your strength (59:17).

Psalm 60 is a reflection on some of King David’s battles, points at which he prayed for divine aid to receive victory (see 2 Sam 8).

60:1-5 David prays for a reprieve from some hardship that God had brought on his people when he was angry with them (60:1, 3). Because God was responsible for the damage, only he could restore the nation from its brokenness (60:1). He had called his people to walk under his banner, but then he allowed them to flee and experience defeat (60:4). So, David pleads with God to save his people from their enemies using his mighty right hand (60:5).

60:6-8 From his sanctuary, the tabernacle, God answered. All the land is his—from the territory given to his people, to that of their enemies. He gives land to whomever he will. Judah is David’s tribe, and the Lord calls it his scepter (60:7). In other words, it is the tribe from which future kings would come. God affirms that David would triumph. Moab, Edom, and Philistia were neighboring lands with which Israel was regularly contending. To throw a sandal at someone is to treat them with contempt. God would defeat Israel’s enemies and shout in triumph over them (60:8).

60:9-12 David acknowledges that both victory and defeat come from the hand of God. So, he again appeals to God for aid against the foe, for human help is worthless (60:11). Only the Lord can provide deliverance. Without him, we cannot succeed; with him, we cannot fail.

61:1-2 Overwhelmed, David prays for divine security. Though David is without strength, his God is a rock . . . high above (61:2). David recognized both his own limitations and God’s unconquerable might. Pray for the humility to be able to do the same.

61:3-4 God alone is a strong tower in the face of the enemy (61:3). Therefore, David wanted to remain in his presence. God is like a mother hen providing refuge under the shelter of [his] wings (61:4). The only wise position from which to operate in life, then, is under the divine covering—an unassailable place of safety from elements and enemies.

61:5-8 David expresses confidence that God heard his prayer. To those who fear [his] name, those who take him seriously, God gives a heritage, a promised inheritance (61:5). The specific heritage he had promised to David was a royal dynasty. So, David prays that he might prolong his life and let his sons remain enthroned before God forever (61:6-7) in accordance with God’s covenant promise to him (see 2 Sam 7:11-16). Ultimately, God will fulfill this prayer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David who will reign on David’s throne forever.

David asks that God’s faithful love and truth would guard him (61:7)—protecting him from his enemies and circumstances and from his own sinfulness. He concludes with a commitment to continually sing the Lord’s praises and to daily fulfill his vows he had made (61:8). In other words, if God would deliver him, David would ensure that God receives the glory for it.

62:1-2 Given what he was facing, David confesses that his sole focus was on the God of his salvation. Only such an undistracted, divine focus could give him rest, for God alone provides David with a stronghold—a sure defense against those who attacked him.

62:3-4 David marvels at the attempt of his enemies to oppose him in light of his confidence in God. Did they really think that the king who had God as his stronghold would be as easy to topple as a tottering fence? (62:3). They were wicked men who only wanted to bring [David] down from his throne. Outwardly they bless, but they curse inwardly (62:4). The righteous God would take note of such duplicitous scheming against his anointed king.

62:5-8 David repeats his confident words with which he began the psalm (62:1-2). He exhorts his soul that God alone is his defense and security. With God as his hope, David could not be shaken (62:5-6). David’s kingdom was dependent on God. Without God’s covering of protection, there would be no salvation for David, no glory (62:7). Therefore, he encourages fellow saints to pour out [their] hearts before him, as he was himself doing. Believers have every reason to trust God as their ever-present refuge (62:8).

62:9-10 Life is transitory. We are less than a vapor (62:9). Therefore, David tells us not to put our trust in sinful actions (oppression and robbery) as a means of providing ourselves with security. For riches are as transitory as life itself. Wealth cannot deliver you. Don’t set your heart on it (62:10). Don’t look to the material to do what only the spiritual can do.

62:11-12 God declares that strength and faithful love belong to him. Because of his faithful love, he has compassion on his people. And because of his strength, he has the power to demonstrate that compassion to them. So, all people should take heed: God will repay each according to his works (62:12). Let the believer have confidence; let the unbeliever beware.

This psalm of David reflects his experience in the Wilderness of Judah while he was king (see 63:11)—most likely when he fled Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion.

63:1-2 His experience in the dry, desolate wilderness without water prompts David to consider his thirst—that of his soul. What he truly thirsts for is not water but God (63:1). This thirst had been satisfied when he was able to gaze on the glory of God in his sanctuary, the tabernacle (63:2). But, in the wilderness, David longs for God’s glory.

63:3-5 Even in the wilderness, David finds satisfaction, joy, and comfort in praising God. Better than life itself is the faithful love that God demonstrates toward those who fear him (63:3). When you, like David, realize that God’s faithfulness is more important than life-sustaining necessities such as food and water, you, too, will praise [him] with joyful lips (63:5). Such genuine worship will sustain you in your own wilderness experiences.

63:6-8 As he lay awake at night, David could have been consumed by his troubles. Instead, he disciplines himself to meditate on God, because he is his helper (63:6-7). God’s right hand—a metaphor for his sovereign power—supports David (63:8). David’s musings should make you ask where you focus during your times of suffering. To whom do you first turn for help?

63:9-11 Even though David is in the wilderness, chased from his throne and hunted like an animal, he is certain that his enemies would be defeated (63:9-10). This was not self-confidence but God-confidence. In spite of the fact that a rebellion had taken his crown, David believes that the state of affairs was temporary. He is still the king. Thus, he would rejoice in God, knowing that the liars who oppose him would not succeed (63:11). No matter the negative circumstances you face, put your confidence in the one whose love for you is “better than life” (63:3).

64:1-4 David cries out to God in anguish so that he might protect him from the scheming of wicked people (64:1-2). These evildoers attack the blameless, those innocent of wrongdoing. Their words are like swords and arrows. They tell lies, lay plans, and ruin reputations (64:3-4). All this they did without being afraid of repercussions (63:4).

64:5-6 The wicked encourage one another in their plans to carry out injustice. They are convinced that no one could see the traps they’d laid (64:5). No one knows the secret plan they had perfected (64:6).

64:7-8 David predicts divine intervention against his enemies. Though they aim their words like arrows at the innocent (64:4), God himself would launch his own arrows and cause their tongues to work against them (64:7-8). Their evil deeds would return like a boomerang; the destruction they planned for others would cause their own downfall.

64:9-10 Such a visible manifestation of God’s work would cause everyone to fear him and give testimony to his glorious deeds (64:9). What does the righteous person do when he sees the deliverance of God? He rejoices in God, takes refuge under his covering, and offers him praise (64:10). That was David’s hope for the people of God in his day. Likewise, it should be our hope for the people of God today.

65:1-4 David celebrates the joy of atonement for sin. He knew that only [God] can atone for our rebellions (65:3). When God provides covering for our iniquities and forgives our transgressions, it opens the door for praise and prayer from his people (65:1-3). How happy are those who are able to draw near to him once God has removed the barrier of sin (65:4).

If David experienced the joy of forgiven sins, even though he had to continue to offer the required sacrifices every year, how much more joy can we experience through Jesus Christ? The sacrifices offered by priests in the temple could not atone for sins once and for all. But, when Jesus offered himself as the one perfect sacrifice for sins, he brought eternal forgiveness and sanctification to those who trust in him (see Heb 10:11-18).

65:5-8 David expresses confidence that God would answer the prayers of his people with awe-inspiring works—in light of the salvation he provides and the hope they have placed in him (65:5). The Lord’s power and strength are demonstrated in his sovereignty over creation. Mountains and seas bow to his will (65:6-7). His supernatural activity causes people to fear, rejoice, and enter fellowship with him (65:8).

65:9-13 David is reminded of the goodness of God as he provides his blessings on the earth. By sending rain showers and granting growth, his people received a harvest of grain (65:9-10, 13). Creation itself is robed with joy and shouts in triumph at his works (65:12-13).

And, just as creation displays fruitfulness when it receives God’s blessings, the same is true for us. When we turn to God in repentance and faith—whether as a new believer or as one who has stepped out of fellowship with God because of sin—we can know the blessing of Christ’s atoning work and live a life of fruitfulness (see 1 John 1:9).

66:1-4 The psalmist calls on all peoples of the earth to praise God in song because of his greatness (66:1-2). Our worship should be suitable to the one whom we worship. A great God deserves great praise. The psalmist foretells a day when the whole earth will worship [God] (66:4). This is indeed true (see Phil 2:10-11).

66:5-9 The psalmist rehearses the wonders of God sovereignly demonstrated when he turned the sea into dry land for his people (66:5-6)—both at the Red Sea during the exodus (see Exod 14:15-31) and at the Jordan River as they entered the promised land (see Josh 3:1-17). The rebellious—like Pharaoh who spurned God’s commands—should not exalt themselves (66:7). Even as God supernaturally used the waters to deliver his people, he also used them to vanquish Pharaoh’s army. All peoples should praise the Lord because he will preserve his own (66:8-9).

66:10-12 God also let his people experience hardship and oppression. In all such things, though, our sovereign God works “for the good of those who love” him (see Rom 8:28). He tests us so that we may be refined as silver (66:10). He will permit you to encounter negative circumstances so that he can reveal to you his comfort and power.

66:13-15 The psalmist intends to fulfill his vows to God in his time of distress. He had apparently made his commitment before his troubles began, but he wouldn’t let that prevent him from honoring what he had promised (66:13-14). His offerings and sacrifice would continue, as he trusted God to provide for him (66:15).

66:16-20 Come and listen (66:16). He concludes by sharing his praise with the congregation for God’s answer to his prayer. The psalmist confesses that this deliverance would not have happened if he had clung to sin in his heart (66:18). The principle is clear: honesty and openness before God are essential. Confession and repentance are necessary if our prayers are not to be hindered (see 1 Pet 3:7). But, when we address our personal sin, we open the door to experiencing the faithful love of God (66:20).

67:1-2 The writer of the psalm prays that God would be gracious to his people and bless them (67:1). But, what is the reason for this request? Is it so that they could enjoy material prosperity? Is it so that they might have glory and power? No, the author has a missional reason. He desires the Lord’s favor so that [his] way may be known on the earth and [his] salvation among the nations (67:2). When God delivers his people and showers them with blessings, his goal is that he would receive glory and that other people would experience salvation and discipleship.

God wants all people everywhere to know him, and this should be our desire, as well. He does not bless you merely for your own sake. He blesses you so that you may be a blessing to others, leading them to put their faith in Jesus Christ, to glorify God, and to live their lives in joyful obedience to him.

67:3-5 He prays that all nations would praise . . . rejoice . . . shout for joy over the greatness of God and the justice he establishes. Praise leads to blessing, which results in more praise, which leads to salvation of the lost, which ignites further praise. This circular process ensures that God is exalted more and more.

67:6-7 The psalmist acknowledges how God has blessed them with a bountiful harvest (66:7). And once again, he proclaims the purpose of this rich blessing: so that all the ends of the earth will fear God (66:7).

God does not bless you so that you can kick back, enjoy your blessings, and be self-absorbed. He blesses you so that you will make his priorities your own. He blesses you so that you will give him public praise and use his blessings in such a way that others will see him for who he is and be compelled to take him seriously.

68:1-3 David observes what happens when God arises. When the sovereign Lord goes into action, his enemies scatter (68:1). Like smoke, they are blown away. Like wax, they melt (68:2). But, these same actions cause the righteous to rejoice. When God executes justice on the earth, his people celebrate (68:3).

68:4-6 He calls the people to praise God who rides on the clouds. He is worthy of worship because he is a champion of orphans, widows, and the oppressed (68:5-6). Simultaneously, he rains down judgment on the rebellious (68:6).

68:7-14 David reminds the people of how the Lord led their ancestors in the desert after the exodus from Egypt (68:7). At Sinai, he gave them his law, and he refreshed them in the wilderness (68:8-9). When they entered the promised land, God gave them victory. The kings of the armies fled and were scattered (68:12, 14). Then, he blessed them with the spoil taken from their defeated enemies (68:12-13).

68:15-18 The nations of the world looked with envy on Jerusalem, the city on the mountain that God desired for his abode (68:16). There, he was surrounded by thousands of chariots (68:17)—emphasizing the fact that he is “the Lord of Armies” (46:7; 59:5). He ascended in triumph like a mighty conqueror receiving tribute from those whom he’d defeated (68:18). Paul quotes this verse in Ephesians 4:7-8, emphasizing that when Christ victoriously rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, he rescued those who were captive to Satan and gave them spiritual gifts so that they could serve him and others in his church.

68:19-27 David praises God because he bears our burdens. He provides salvation for his people and defeats their enemies (68:20-23). David describes a victory parade as the Lord, the King, triumphantly entered his sanctuary with singers and musicians (68:24-25). This perhaps describes a procession in which the ark of the covenant was carried into the tabernacle. All the tribes of Israel are called to bless the Lord their God (68:26-27).

68:28-35 He asks God to give a fresh demonstration of his power by subduing all peoples so that kings from foreign lands would pay tribute to him and pay homage (68:28-31). David concludes by exhorting the kingdoms of the earth to praise God for his power and majesty (68:32-34). In light of what he has done among his people, and in light of our great need for him in the future, let us cry out along with David, Blessed be God! (66:35).

The New Testament quotes Psalm 69 numerous times. Its references to the wicked are applied to unbelieving Israel (see Rom 11:9-10 [Ps 69:22-23]) and to Judas (see Acts 1:20 [Ps 69:25]). On most occasions, though, the psalm is quoted with reference to Jesus Christ. Like David, Jesus was consumed with zeal for God’s house, demonstrating this when he cleansed the temple (see John 2:17 [69:9]). In his passion, Christ fulfilled the psalm, showing that he was the perfect righteous sufferer (see John 15:25 [Ps 69:4]; Rom 15:3 [Ps 69:9]).

69:1-4 David laments his circumstances and calls out to God for salvation. He was overwhelmed, like a man sinking in a miry bog. He couldn’t get free and the water was about to cover his head (69:1-2). Unable to help himself, he was looking for [his] God (69:3). His enemies were more numerous than he could count, and they had no legitimate cause for persecuting him (69:4).

69:5-12 Although David recognizes he is a sinful man (69:5), he knows that personal sin was not the cause of his plight. He had endured insults because of [the Lord] (69:7). He was suffering for righteous reasons, which is the only kind of suffering God wants us to undergo. “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet 3:17). His enemies included his own family members, judges at the city gate, and drunkards (69:8, 12). Thus, he was assailed from every direction, causing him to mourn, fast, and wear sackcloth (69:10-11).

69:13-18 David pleads for God’s favor in accordance with his faithful love (69:13, 16). Again, David pictured himself sinking in mud with floodwaters swallowing him (69:14-15). Such helpless feelings are common to the human experience—regardless of the specific circumstances. So, when you are suffering and don’t know what to pray, let David’s prayer here be your own.

69:19-21 David knows that his omniscient God was fully aware of the insults he had endured (69:19), so he needs his compassion. The reproach David suffered had broken [his] heart, and no one extended sympathy or comfort (69:20). Instead, they spitefully offer him bitter food and drink (69:21). This was fulfilled when Jesus was offered vinegar to quench his thirst on the cross (see Matt 27:34; Luke 23:26; John 19:28-30).

69:22-28 David repeatedly prays that the wickedness of his enemies would turn against them. Notice, however, that David does not seek to avenge himself against his enemies but leaves vengeance to God. Because they have sinned against God, David asks that his burning anger would overtake them (69:24). He prays that they would be punished both in history (69:22-23, 25) and in eternity (69:28).

69:29-33 In contrast to those who hated him, David was poor and in pain (69:29). Anticipating God’s delivering hand, David vows to give praise and thanksgiving, which was more pleasing to God than an abundance of sacrifices (69:30-31). He expresses confidence that God hears his own—especially those who are needy and imprisoned (69:33).

69:34-36 David calls for the universal praise of God by all creation, in light of his forthcoming deliverance of his people (69:34-35). This would result in security for God’s people in the land (69:35-36). Thus, David desires not only short-term rescue but also long-term divine covering.

70:1-3 David petitions God to hurry and provide a rapid rescue from those who wish [him] harm (70:1-2). He asks that his enemies would be humiliated and retreat in shame (70:2-3). Our sovereign God is able to cause malice directed at you to return on your adversary’s head.

70:4-5 David wasn’t concerned about himself alone. Rather, he wants all who seek the Lord and love [his] salvation to magnify him. Even in the midst of trouble, David cares about God’s glorification and the saints’ edification. Those who know and have experienced the greatness of God should declare, God is great! (70:4). He concludes with another urgent request for rescue. He acknowledges himself as oppressed and needy, desperately in need of the one and only deliverer (70:5).

71:1-8 The psalmist looks to God as his refuge, his rock and his fortress (71:1, 3) because of the power of the wicked (71:4). Despite their threats, he continues to hope in God, which he had done from [his] youth (71:5). Never underestimate the “staying power” of faith when children are taught to know and love the Lord from an early age. The psalmist’s mouth is full of praise (71:8).

71:9-16 He asks that God would continue to sustain him in his old age (71:9). Growing physically weak, he requests that the Lord protect him from those who sought to take advantage of him as the years pass (71:10-11). The psalmist prays for God’s intervention (71:12-13) and, at the same time, vows that he would continue to hope in God and offer praise to God all day long (71:14-15).

71:17-24 The psalmist emphasizes the longevity of his discipleship. He had learned from God in his youth and was still proclaiming his wondrous works (71:17). Therefore, he prays that God would not abandon him when he was old and gray. He longs to see another generation know and serve the Lord (71:18). Though God had brought many troubles and misfortunes into the psalmist’s life to strengthen, correct, and develop him (see Jas 1:1-12; Heb 12:4-11), he was confident that God would restore him once again (71:20-21). Therefore, his mouth would be filled with praise as he anticipated the disgrace of those who meant him harm (71:22-24). We can look to God with this same confidence regarding the trials he brings into our lives.

This is the first of two psalms ascribed to King Solomon (see also Ps 127).

72:1-4 Solomon requests that God would grant justice and righteousness to the king (and his son after him), so that he would judge with equity for all the people (72:1-2). The result would be peace in the land and relief for the afflicted (72:3-4).

72:5-7 Solomon longs to have a kingdom in which the people fear God forever, to be a king who brings life to the earth, and to cause the righteous to flourish under his rule. Thus, he anticipated the reign of the Messiah, for these things will only be true when the Son of God reigns eternally—beginning with his millennial kingdom.

72:8-11 Solomon desires to see his kingdom stretch to the ends of the earth, as his enemies lick the dust (72:8-9). This is an allusion to the curse on the serpent; it would “eat dust” all of its days (see Gen 3:14). Those who follow the devil’s ways share his fate. Meanwhile, the kings of the world will bring tribute and bow in homage to the king (72:10-11). This is a prophecy that will be fulfilled in the future reign of Christ when “the kings of the earth will bring their glory” into the new Jerusalem (Rev 21:24).

72:12-17 The Messiah’s universal reign will be characterized by justice for the poor and afflicted, as he rescues them from oppression and violence (72:12-14). Solomon prays that this King and the people of his kingdom would be blessed and flourish (72:15-16). He also prays that all nations would be blessed by him (72:17). God had promised Abraham that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him (Gen 12:3). And indeed, through the “seed of Abraham,” Jesus Christ, all those who put faith in him are blessed with justification from sin (see Gal 3:7-9, 16).

72:18-20 Solomon concludes with a doxology of praise, blessing the Lord God and praying that the whole earth would be filled with his glory (72:18-19). Thus ends the second book of the Psalter.

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice