Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<<A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.>> I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Ps 34:1-22. On the title compare 1Sa 21:13. Abimelech was the general name of the sovereign (Ge 20:2). After celebrating God's gracious dealings with him, the Psalmist exhorts others to make trial of His providential care, instructing them how to secure it. He then contrasts God's care of His people and His punitive providence towards the wicked.
1-4. Even in distress, which excites supplication, there is always matter for praising and thanking God (compare Eph 5:20; Php 4:6).
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
2. make her boast—"glory" (Ps 105:3; compare Ga 6:14).
humble—"the pious," as in Ps 9:12; 25:9.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
3. magnify the Lord—ascribe greatness to Him, an act of praise.
together—"alike" (Ps 33:15), or, equally, without exception.
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
4. delivered … fears—as well as actual evil (Ps 64:1).
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
5-7. God's favor to the pious generally, and to himself specially, is celebrated.
looked—with desire for help.
lightened—or, "brightened," expressing joy, opposed to the downcast features of those who are ashamed or disappointed (Ps 25:2, 3).
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
6. This poor man—literally, "humble," himself as a specimen of such.
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
7. angel—of the covenant (Isa 63:9), of whom as a leader of God's host (Jos 5:14; 1Ki 22:19), the phrase—
encampeth, &c.—is appropriate; or, "angel" used collectively for angels (Heb 1:14).
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
8. taste and see—try and experience.
O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
9. that fear him—who are pious—fear and love (Pr 1:7; 9:10).
saints—consecrated to His service (Isa 40:31).
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
10. not want any good—"good" is emphatic; they may be afflicted (compare Ps 34:10); but this may be a good (2Co 4:17, 18; Heb 12:10, 11).
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
11. children—subjects of instruction (Pr 1:8, 10).
What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
12. What man—Whoever desires the blessings of piety, let him attend.
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
13, 14. Sins of thought included in those of speech (Lu 6:45), avoiding evil and doing good in our relations to men are based on a right relation to God.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
15. eyes of the Lord are upon—(Ps 32:8; 33:18).
The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
16. face … against—opposed to them (Le 17:10; 20:3).
cut off the remembrance—utterly destroy (Ps 109:13).
The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
17, 18. Humble penitents are objects of God's special tender regard (Ps 51:19; Isa 57:15).
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
20. bones—framework of the body.
Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
21, 22. Contrast in the destiny of righteous and wicked; the former shall be delivered and never come into condemnation (Joh 5:24; Ro 8:1); the latter are left under condemnation and desolate.
The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.