Verse 1. - Give ear to my words, O Lord (comp. Psalm 66:1; Psalm 86:6). Cries of this kind are common with the psalmists, even when they do not express the purport of their prayer. Consider my meditation; or, my silent musing (Kay); comp. Psalm 39:3, where the same word is used.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
Verse 2. - Hearken unto the voice of my cry (comp. Psalm 27:7; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 64:1; Psalm 119:149; Psalm 130:2; Psalm 140:6). The Oriental habit of making requests in loud and shrill tones is the origin of these forms of speech. My King. David was "king" over Israel; but Jehovah was "King" over David (comp. Psalm 10:16; Psalm 29:10; Psalm 44:4; Psalm 47:6, etc.). And my God (see Psalm 84:3). For auto thee will I pray. To thee, i.e., and to no other.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Verse 3. - My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord (compare "At evening, and at morning, and at noonday will I pray, and he shall hear my voice," Psalm 55:17; and see also Psalm 59:16; Psalm 88:13; Psalm 119:147). The appointment of daily morning and evening sacrifice (Numbers 28:4) pointed out morn and eve as times especially appropriate for prayer. A natural instinct suggested the same idea (Job 1:5). In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee. The repetition adds force to the implied injunction (comp. Psalm 130:6). The word translated "direct my prayer" means "arrange" or "set in order," as the priests did the altar before a sacrifice (Leviticus 1:7, 8, 12; Leviticus 6:5; Numbers 28:4). Prayer is viewed as a sort of sacrificial act. And will look up; or, look out - keep on the watch - in expectation of my prayer being granted (see the Revised Version).
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
Verse 4. - For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness. Thou wilt listen to the prayer of a righteous man (Psalm 4:1), since thou dost not delight in wickedness, but in goodness. Neither shall evil dwell with thee. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Evil men can obtain no support from thee, who art All-holy. They will scarcely venture to ask thy aid.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Verse 5. - The foolish (or, the arrogant - "the boasters") shall not stand in thy light. Rather shall they be cast down and dismayed (Psalm 73:3, 18). Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. David has in mind the wicked and presumptuous men who have handed themselves together against him, and "take his contrary part" (Psalm 109:3, Prayer-book Version). These he is sure that God hates.
Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
Verse 6. - Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing (comp. Psalm 4:2). David's adversaries were cunning, treacherous, and quite regardless of truth (see 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 13:28; 2 Samuel 15:7-9; 2 Samuel 20:10, etc.). God's vengeance was sure to fall upon them, either in this world or in the next. The Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. An individual seems to be pointed at, who is probably Ahithophel.
But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
Verse 7. - But... I will come into thy house; rather, unto thy house. David, as a layman, would not be entitled to enter within the tabernacle. He would draw near to it, probably bring his offering, and then worship toward it (see the following clause). In the multitude of thy mercy; or, through the abundance of thy mercy (comp. Psalm 69:13, 16). It was by God's mercy that David lived, that he was maintained in health and strength, that he had a desire to go to God's house, and was permitted to worship there. Of all these mercies he is deeply sensible. And in thy fear will I worship. David's worship is never without fear - a reverent sense of God's greatness, power, and perfect holiness. Toward thy holy temple. "David would, according to the custom of the worship then established, turn himself in the time of prayer to the place where the gracious presence of the Lord had its seat" (Hengstenberg; scrap. Psalm 28:2; Psalm 138:7; 1 Kings 8:30, 33, 38, 42, 44, 48; Daniel 6:10; Jonah 2:4).
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
Verse 8. - Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness. Here at last we find what David prayed for. Previously, we have only heard him entreat that his prayer may be heard (vers. 1, 2), declare that he will pray early (ver. 3), and before the tabernacle (ver. 7); now we learn what his prayer is. It is that God will lead him in the path of his righteousness - that righteousness of which he is the pattern, and whereof he approves; and will "make his way plain for him," i.e. show it him clearly, so that he cannot mistake it. God is asked to do this, especially because of David's enemies, or of "those that lie in wait for him" (Revised Version margin), lest, if he were to make a false step, they should triumph over him, and so he should bring discredit upon the cause of God and of his saints. Make thy way straight (plain, Revised Version) before my face. Not so much "smooth my way," or "make it level" or "easy," as "put it plainly before me" (scrap. Psalm 25:5; and Psalm 27:11, '"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies").
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
Verse 9. - For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; or, no steadfastness - "no sincerity" (Kay, Cheyne); see the comment on ver. 6. Their inward part is very wickedness; literally, wickednesses; i.e. nothing but wickedness. Their throat is an open sepulchre. "Emitting the noisome exhalations of a putrid heart" (Bishop Horns). They flatter with their tongue; literally, they make smooth their tongues, which may, perhaps, include flattery, but points rather to smooth arguments, specious reasonings, and the habit of making the worse appear the better cause (see the comment of Bishop Horsley, 'Book of Psalms,' vol. 1. pp. 154, 155). The last two clauses of this verse are quoted by St. Paul (Romans 3:13), and applied generally to the character of the ungodly.
Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
Verse 10. - Destroy thou them, O God; rather, condemn them, or declare them guilty (Kay); κρῖνον αὐτούς (LXX.). Let them fall by their own counsels. No condemnation naturally follows punishment. David assumes that God will make his enemies fall; he prays that they may fall from the effect of their own counsels. The fate of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) perhaps fulfilled this imprecation. Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; Thrust them out (Revised Version); "Thrust them down" (Kay). Punish them at once, in the midst of their many transgressions. For they have rebelled against thee. They have sinned, not against me only, but equally - nay, far more - against thee.
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Verse 11. - But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice. David is fond of contrasts. Here he sots the lot of the righteous over against that of the wicked. While the wicked "fall," and are "cast out," or "thrust down' to hell, the righteous "rejoice " - nay, ever shout for joy, displaying their feelings in the true Oriental manner. Because thou defendest them. There is no "because" in the original. The passage runs on without any change of construction, "Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, and do thou defend them; and let them that love thy Name be joyful in thee."
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
Verse 12. - For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous. All the joy of the righteous springs from the fact that God's blessing is upon them. The sense of his favour fills their hearts with rejoicing. With favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Tsinnah (צִנָּה)is the large, long shield that protected the whole body (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. p. 445). God's favour, thus encompassing a man, effectually secured him against all dangers.