David praises God, and encourages to trust him. (1-10) He exhorts to fear. (11-22)
Verses 1-10 If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, ( Philippians 4:11-18 ) . Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.
Verses 11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.
\\<<[A Psalm] of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech\\; \\who drove him away, and he departed>>\\. The author of this psalm is expressed by name; and the time and occasion of it are plainly intimated: it was composed by David, "when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech"; not Ahimelech the priest, sometimes called Abimelech, 1Ch 18:16; to whom David went alone for bread, pretending he was upon a private business of the king's; to which sense the Syriac version inclines, rendering the words, "when he went to the house of the Lord, [and] gave the firstfruits to the priests". But this Abimelech was king of Gath, the same with Achish, 1Sa 21:10; who either had two names; or this of Abimelech, as it should seem, was a common name to all the kings of the Philistines; see Ge 20:2, 26:8; as Pharaoh was to the Egyptian kings, and Caesar to the Roman emperors: the name signifies a "father king", or "my father king", or a "royal father"; as kings should be the fathers of their country: before him "David changed his behaviour", his taste, sense, or reason: he imitated a madman; behaved as if he was out of his senses, scrabbling on the doors of the gates, and letting his spittle fall down upon his beard; for he being known and made known by the servants of the king, he was in great fear of losing his life, being in the hands of an enemy, and who he might justly fear would revenge the death of their champion Goliath; wherefore he took this method to get himself despised and neglected by them, and escape out of their hands: and which succeeded; for Abimelech, or Achish, seeing him behave in such a manner, treated him with contempt, was displeased with his servants for bringing him into his presence, and ordered them to take him away, or dismiss him; which is here expressed by this phrase, "who drove him away", with scorn and indignation; "and he departed" to the cave of Adullam, glad at heart he had escaped such danger: upon which, under a sense of divine goodness, and by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, he composed the following psalm; see 1Sa 21:10-15, 22:1.