Psalms 61

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of David.

1 [a]Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b]
5 For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations.
7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

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Psalms 61 Commentary

Chapter 61

David seeks God upon former experience. (1-4) He vows to serve God. (5-8)

Verses 1-4 David begins with prayers and tears, but ends with praise. Thus the soul, being lifted up to God, returns to the enjoyment of itself. Wherever we are, we have liberty to draw near to God, and may find a way open to the throne of grace. And that which separates us from other comforts, should drive us nearer to God, the fountain of all comfort. Though the heart is overwhelmed, yet it may be lifted up to God in prayer. Nay, I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relieved. Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. God's power and promise are a rock that is higher than we are. This rock is Christ. On the Divine mercy, as on a rock, David desired to rest his soul; but he was like a ship-wrecked sailor, exposed to the billows at the bottom of a rock too high for him to climb without help. David found that he could not be fixed on the Rock of salvation, unless the Lord placed him upon it. As there is safety in Him, and none in ourselves, let us pray to be led to and fixed upon Christ our Rock. The service of God shall be his constant work and business: all must make it so who expect to find God their shelter and strong tower. The grace of God shall be his constant comfort.

Verses 5-8 There is a people in the world that fear God's name. There is a heritage peculiar to that people; present comforts in the soul, earnests of future bliss. Those that fear God have enough in him, and must not complain. We need desire no better heritage than that of those who fear God. Those abide to good purpose in this world, who abide before God, serve him, and walk in his fear; those who do so, shall abide before him for ever. And these words are to be applied to Him of whom the angel said, the Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there shall be no end, ( Luke 1:32 ) . God's promises, and our faith in them, are not to do away, but to encourage prayer. We need not desire to be better secured than under the protection of God's mercy and truth. And if we partake of that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ, we may praise him, whatever be our outward circumstances. But renewed experience of God's mercy and truth towards his people in Christ, is the main matter of our joy in him, and our praise unto him.

Cross References 16

  • 1. Psalms 64:1
  • 2. Psalms 4:1; Psalms 86:6
  • 3. S Psalms 6:2; Psalms 77:3
  • 4. Psalms 18:2; Psalms 31:2; Psalms 94:22
  • 5. Psalms 9:9; S Psalms 46:1; Psalms 62:7
  • 6. Psalms 59:9; Proverbs 18:10
  • 7. S Psalms 15:1; Psalms 23:6
  • 8. S Deuteronomy 32:11; S Matthew 23:37; Psalms 91:4
  • 9. S Numbers 30:2; Psalms 56:12
  • 10. S Exodus 6:3; S Deuteronomy 33:9; Nehemiah 1:11; Psalms 102:15; Isaiah 59:19; Matthew 6:9; Psalms 86:11
  • 11. 1 Kings 3:14
  • 12. S Psalms 21:4
  • 13. S Psalms 41:12; Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1
  • 14. Psalms 40:11
  • 15. S Exodus 15:1; Psalms 7:17; Psalms 30:4; Psalms 65:1; Psalms 71:22
  • 16. S Numbers 30:2; S Deuteronomy 23:21

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 61:1-8 is numbered 61:2-9.
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Neginah, [A Psalm] of David. "Neginah" is either the beginning of a song, as Aben Ezra; or the musical note or tune of one: or rather the name of a musical instrument, which was touched by the hand, or with a quill or bow. It is the singular of "neginoth," See Gill on "Ps 4:1." This psalm was written by David, when at the end of the earth, or land of Judea, as appears from Psalm 61:2; either when he was fighting with the Syrians, as R. Obadiah, and so was composed about the same time with the former; or when he was in the land of the Philistines, being obliged to fly there from Saul, as Kimchi and others: or rather after he himself was king, since mention is made of the king in it; and when he fled from his son Absalom, and passed over to the other side of Jordan, and came to Mahanaim, 2 Samuel 17:22; where very probably he wrote this psalm. In it respect is had to the Messiah, as in Psalm 61:2; though Arama thinks it was composed after the prophecy came to Nathan that David should not build the temple; see Psalm 61:4.

Psalms 61 Commentaries

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