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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 11

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

As a principle of life, David sought refuge from his enemies in the Lord, his Stronghold. Consequently, when his counselors urged him to run and hide in a physical stronghold, he refused to do so (cf. Matthew 16:22; Acts 21:12). He regarded Yahweh a much more secure refuge than any fortress. Fleeing as a bird describes quick escape to a distant and secure place (cf. Psalms 55:6; Psalms 124:7).

Verses 1-3

1. Counsel of despair 11:1-3

Verses 1-7

Psalms 11

David appears to have been fleeing from an enemy when he wrote this psalm, but we do not know the exact background incident. He expressed confidence that, even though lawful authority might perish, the godly can trust in the Lord to punish the wicked and deliver the righteous. The central issue in this psalm of individual lament, with emphases on trust and thanksgiving, is the persecution of the righteous by the wicked.

Verse 2

The wicked were attacking the upright and David in particular. He was the target of their deadly missiles. They may have been shooting at him or he may have been under verbal attack.

Verse 3

David’s faint-hearted counselors evidently felt the very foundations of their nation were in danger of being destroyed, namely: the Mosaic Law and the institutions of Judaism. [Note: C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms , 1:89-90.] They felt distressed to the point of distraction over this possibility. Many faint-hearted people behave similarly today when they see foundational elements of their society under attack.

"God sometimes ’shakes things’ so that His people will work on building the church and not focus on maintaining the scaffolding (Hebrews 12:25-29; Haggai 2:6)." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 109.]

Verse 4

David’s perspective included God’s throne in heaven, the symbol of His royal rule and authority to judge. There he visualized Yahweh sitting in perfect control over the nation He had created and promised to maintain (cf. Habakkuk 2:20). The pagans thought their gods dwelt in heavenly temples, but Yahweh really did. The anthropomorphic description of God’s eyes and eyelids (parallelism) portrays His close scrutiny and precise awareness of all that was going on in Israel. He was not unaware of His people’s plight.

Verses 4-7

2. Confidence in God 11:4-7

Verse 5

The Lord’s testing refers to Him examining the righteous and the wicked. He sets Himself against people who love what He hates, including violence, in opposition to His will.

Verse 6

God will eventually punish those who oppose His will. He may use any of a multitude of traps and punishments at His disposal. David seems to have had the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in mind (cf. Genesis 19:24; Ezekiel 38:22).

Verse 7

God hates violence and will punish it (Psalms 11:5-6), but He loves righteousness and will reward it with His fellowship, presence, protection, and favor. He will admit the godly to His presence, and they will enjoy His blessings. This is a greater prize than physical safety.

From time to time it seems as though society as we know it is crumbling around us. The prophets of doom counsel us to take drastic measures to preserve ourselves or we will perish, they say. The godly should remember that God is still in control, and He will take care of those who trust in Him and behave in harmony with His will.

"Our Lord Jesus also had confidence in the Father when he faced the temptations of Satan and the hostility of people. When our hearts trust in him, he has promised to help us in crisis situations. Confidence in the Lord is a mark of Christian maturity." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 131.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 11". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-11.html. 2012.
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