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Introduction

This purports to be “A Psalm of David,” and there is no reason to think that the inscription is not correct. But the occasion on which it was composed is wholly unknown. There is no intimation of this in the title, and there are no historical marks in the psalm which would enable us to determine this. There were not a few occasions in the life of David when all that is expressed in the psalm might have been said by him - as there are many occasions, in the lives of all, to which the sentiments of the psalm would be appropriate. The Septuagint version has the title, “A Psalm of David before his anointing,”...πρὀ τοῦ χρισθῆναι pro tou christhēnai. Grotius supposes the occasion to have been the anointing in Hebron, when he was first inaugurated as king, 2 Samuel 2:4. Rosenmuller refers it to the last anointing, 2 Samuel 5:3. Many of the Jewish expositors refer the psalm to the last days of David, when he was delivered from death by the intervention of Abishai, 2 Samuel 21:16-17. But there is no internal evidence that the psalm was composed on either of these occasions, and it is now impossible to ascertain the time or the circumstances of its composition.

The general object of the psalm is to excite in others confidence in God from the experience which the psalmist had of His merciful interposition in times of trouble and danger, Psalms 27:14. The author of the psalm had had some marked evidence of the divine favor and protection in seasons of peril and sorrow Psalms 27:1; and he makes use of this as an argument running through the psalm to lead others to repose on God in similar circumstances. It may have been that at the time of composing the psalm he was still surrounded by enemies, and exposed to danger; but if so, he expresses the utmost confidence in God, and gratefully refers to His past interposition in similar circumstances as full proof that all his interests would be secure.

The contents of the psalm are:

I. An expression of confidence in God as derived from his own experience of His merciful interposition in times of danger, Psalms 27:1-3. He had been in peril at some time which is not specified, and had been rescued; and from this gracious interposition he argues that it would be safe always to trust in God.

II. The expression of a desire to dwell always where God is; to see his beauty there; to inquire further after him; to offer sacrifices; and to praise him, Psalms 27:4-6. The psalmist had seen so much of God that he desired to see yet more; he had had such experience of his favor that he wished always to be with Him; he had found so much happiness in God that he believed that all his happiness was to be found in His presence, and in His service.

III. An earnest prayer that God would hear him; that he would grant his requests; that he would save him from all his enemies; that he would lead him in a plain path, Psalms 27:7-12. This is founded partly on his own past experience, that when God had commanded him to seek His face he had obeyed Psalms 27:8, and it is connected with the fullest assurance that God would protect him, even if he would be forsaken by his father and mother Psalms 27:10.

IV. The conclusion - the exhortation to wait on the Lord, Psalms 27:13-14. This exhortation is derived from his own experience. He says that he himself would have fainted if he had not confided in God and hoped in His mercy, when there was no other hope Psalms 27:13; and, in view of that experience, he encourages all others to put their trust in Him Psalms 27:14.

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