Psalms 4:1

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

1 [a]Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalms 4:1 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
English Standard Version (ESV)
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
New Living Translation (NLT)
1 Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
The Message Bible (MSG)
1 When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
American Standard Version (ASV)
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness; Thou hast set me at large [when I was] in distress: Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness. You have freed me from my troubles. Have pity on me, and hear my prayer!
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
1 Answer me when I call, God, who vindicates me. You freed me from affliction; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
1 My faithful God, answer me when I call out to you. Give me rest from my trouble. Show me your favor. Hear my prayer.

Psalms 4:1 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 4:1

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness
Or, "my righteous God" F8, who is righteous in his nature, ways, and works, the just Judge of the whole earth, who will do right; or "the vindicator of my righteousness", as the Syriac version renders it; that is, of his innocence and uprightness, which the Lord knew and was a witness of: and since he was his covenant God, he doubted not but he would bring it forth as the light, and favour his righteous cause, and do him justice upon his enemies: or the psalmist addresses God in this manner, because he was the author of his righteousness, and was the justifier of him, by imputing the righteousness of his Son unto him. So Christ addresses his Father, ( John 17:26 ) ; who he knew would justify him, and by whom he was justified as the surety of his people, when he, rose from the dead: and so the saints can draw nigh to God the Judge of all, through the righteousness of Christ; knowing that he is just, and the justifier of him that believes in Jesus; and that he is just and faithful to forgive their sins, and cleanse them from all unrighteousness, on account of his blood. The petition put up by the psalmist is, to be heard when he called, that is, to hear his prayer, as it is explained in the latter part of the verse: and God is a God hearing prayer; and so David, Christ, and all the saints, have found him to be: and the encouragement to pray to the Lord, in hope of being heard, arose from past experience of divine goodness;

thou hast enlarged me [when I was] in distress;
when he had like to have been killed by Saul casting a javelin at him; and when his house was watched by men that Saul set there, and he was let down through a window and escaped; and when he was shut in at Keilah, where Saul thought he had him safe; and at other times, to which he may here refer, as in ( Psalms 18:19 ) ( 31:8 ) ; and this may be applied to the Messiah, when in the garden, beset with sorrows, and an angel strengthened him; and when on the cross, surrounded by various enemies, whom he conquered; and when in death and the grave, from the pains and cords of which he was loosed, and set in a large place. And this agrees also with the experience of the saints; who, when in distress through sin, Satan, and the law, have been set free, through the Gospel proclaiming liberty to the captives to such enemies; and the opening of the prison to them that have been bound by them: and when they have been so shut up and straitened in themselves, that they could not come forth in the discharge of duty, and in the exercise of grace; through the Spirit of the Lord, who is a spirit of liberty, they have been enlarged in the duty of prayer and of praise, and in the exercise of faith and love; and their hearts have been enlarged through the discoveries of the love of God towards them, so that they have run cheerfully in the ways of his commandments; who also gives them largeness of heart, an increase of the knowledge of Christ, and of the love of God, and tills them with joy and peace in believing, and draws out the desires of their souls to his name, and the remembrance of him;

have mercy upon me:
the psalmist pleads no merit nor worthiness of his own, but applies to the grace and mercy of God; and sensible of his sin, both original and actual, he entreats a discovery of pardoning grace and mercy. The words may be rendered, "be gracious unto me" F9, or "show me favour"; bestow the blessings of grace, grant larger measures of grace, and fresh supplies of it: and so all sensible sinners apply to God for mercy; and all the saints have recourse to him as the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, for every mercy, both temporal and spiritual. Nor is this unsuitable to the Messiah, as man and Mediator; with whom, God keeps his mercy for evermore, as the head and surety of his people, and upon whom, as man, the grace of God was; and who increased, as in stature, so in favour with God and man; and which, no doubt, was desirable by him;

and hear my prayer:
the same petition with that in the beginning of the verse; invocation and prayer being the same thing.


F8 (yqdu yhla) .
F9 (ynnx) "gratiosus esto mihi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

Psalms 4:1 In-Context

1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods
3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Psalms 13:3; Psalms 27:7; Psalms 69:16; Psalms 86:7; Psalms 102:2
  • 2. S Genesis 32:7; S Judges 2:15
  • 3. Psalms 30:10; Psalms 25:16
  • 4. Psalms 17:6; Psalms 54:2; Psalms 84:8; Psalms 88:2

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 4:1-8 is numbered 4:2-9.
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