Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Prayer of a Persecuted Saint
A Psalm "by David" which has points of contact with Psalm 85:1-13 (cf. Psalm 86:2, חסיד, with Psalm 85:9; Psalm 86:15, חסד ואמת, with Psalm 85:11) is here inserted between Korahitic Psalms: it can only be called a Psalm by David as having grown out of Davidic and other model passages. The writer cannot be compared for poetical capability either with David or with the authors of such Psalms as Psalm 116 and Psalm 130:1-8. His Psalm is more liturgic than purely poetic, and it is also only entitled תּפּלּה, without bearing in itself any sign of musical designation. It possesses this characteristic, that the divine name אדני occurs seven times,
(Note: For the genuine reading in Psalm 86:4 (where Heidenheim reads יהוה) and in Psalm 86:5 (where Nissel reads יהוה) is also אדני (Bomberg, Hutter, etc.). Both the divine names in Psalm 86:4 and Psalm 86:5 belong to the 134 ודּאין. The divine name אדני, which is written and is not merely substituted for יהוה, is called in the language of the Masora ודאי (the true and real one).)
just as it occurs three times in Psalm 130:1-8, forming the start for a later, Adonajic style in imitation of the Elohimic.
A Prayer of David. Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.The prayer to be heard runs like Psalm 55:3; and the statement of the ground on which it is based, Psalm 86:1, word for word like Psalm 40:18. It is then particularly expressed as a prayer for preservation (שׁמרה, as in Psalm 119:167, although imperative, to be read shāmerah; cf. Psalm 30:4 מיּרדי, Psalm 38:21 רדפי or רדפי, and what we have already observed on Psalm 16:1 שׁמרני); for he is not only in need of God's help, but also because חסיד (Psalm 4:4; Psalm 16:10), i.e., united to Him in the bond of affection (חסד, Hosea 6:4; Jeremiah 2:2), not unworthy of it. In Psalm 86:2 we hear the strains of Psalm 25:20; Psalm 31:7; in Psalm 86:3, of Psalm 57:2.: the confirmation in Psalm 86:4 is taken verbally from Psalm 25:1, cf. also Psalm 130:6. Here, what is said in Psalm 86:4 of this shorter Adonajic Psalm, Psalm 130:1-8, is abbreviated in the ἅπαξ γεγραμ. סלּח (root סל, של, to allow to hang loose, χαλᾶν, to give up, remittere). The Lord is good (טּוב), i.e., altogether love, and for this very reason also ready to forgive, and great and rich in mercy for all who call upon Him as such. The beginning of the following group also accords with Psalm 130:1-8 in Psalm 86:2.
Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.
Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.Here, too, almost everything is an echo of earlier language of the Psalms and of the Law; viz., Psalm 86:7 follows Psalm 17:6 and other passages; Psalm 86:8 is taken from Exodus 15:11, cf. Psalm 89:9, where, however, אלהים, gods, is avoided; Psalm 86:8 follows Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalm 86:9 follows Psalm 22:28; Psalm 86:11 is taken from Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11 from Psalm 26:3; Psalm 86:13, שׁאול תּחתּיּה from Deuteronomy 32:22, where instead of this it is תּחתּית, just as in Psalm 130:2 תּחנוּני (supplicatory prayer) instead of תּחנוּנותי (importunate supplications); and also Psalm 86:10 (cf. Psalm 72:18) is a doxological formula that was already in existence. The construction הקשׁיב בּ is the same as in Psalm 66:19. But although for the most part flowing on only in the language of prayer borrowed from earlier periods, this Psalm is, moreover, not without remarkable significance and beauty. With the confession of the incomparableness of the Lord is combined the prospect of the recognition of the incomparable One throughout the nations of the earth. This clear unallegorical prediction of the conversion of the heathen is the principal parallel to Revelation 15:4. "All nations, which Thou hast made" - they have their being from Thee; and although they have forgotten it (vid., Psalm 9:18), they will nevertheless at last come to recognise it. כּל־גּוים, since the article is wanting, are nations of all tribes (countries and nationalities); cf. Jeremiah 16:16 with Psalm 22:18; Tobit 13:11, ἔθνη πολλά, with ibid. Psalm 14:6, πάντα τὰ ἔθνη. And how weightily brief and charming is the petition in Psalm 86:11 : uni cor meum, ut timeat nomen tuum! Luther has rightly departed from the renderings of the lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate: laetetur (יחדּ from חדה). The meaning, however, is not so much "keep my heart near to the only thing," as "direct all its powers and concentrate them on the one thing." The following group shows us what is the meaning of the deliverance out of the hell beneath (שׁאול תּחתּיּה, like ארץ תּחתּית, the earth beneath, the inner parts of the earth, Ezekiel 31:14.), for which the poet promises beforehand to manifest his thankfulness (כּי, Psalm 86:13, as in Psalm 56:14).
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.
Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.The situation is like that in the Psalms of the time of Saul. The writer is a persecuted one, and in constant peril of his life. He has taken Psalm 86:14 out of the Elohimic Psalm 54:5, and retained the Elohim as a proper name of God (cf. on the other hand Psalm 86:8, Psalm 86:10); he has, however, altered זרים to זרים, which here, as in Isaiah 13:11 (cf. however, ibid. Psalm 25:5), is the alternating word to עריצים. In Psalm 86:15 he supports his petition that follows by Jahve's testimony concerning Himself in Exodus 34:6. The appellation given to himself by the poet in Psalm 86:16 recurs in Psalm 116:16 (cf. Wisd. 9:5). The poet calls himself "the son of Thy handmaid" as having been born into the relation to Him of servant; it is a relationship that has come to him by birth. How beautifully does the Adonaj come in here for the seventh time! He is even from his mother's womb the servant of the sovereign Lord, from whose omnipotence he can therefore also look for a miraculous interposition on his behalf. A "token for good" is a special dispensation, from which it becomes evident to him that God is kindly disposed towards him. לטובה as in the mouth of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:31; of Ezra 8:22; and also even in Jeremiah and earlier. ויבשׁוּ is just as parenthetical as in Isaiah 26:11.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.