Bible Commentaries
Psalms 7

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-2

1. Petition for rescue 7:1-2

On the basis of God’s protection of those who trust in Him, David asked for protection from those who were pursuing him, perhaps Saul’s men (cf. 1 Samuel 22:8; 1 Samuel 24:9; 1 Samuel 26:19). He felt like a helpless lamb that a powerful, ferocious lion was about to tear apart (cf. Psalms 10:9; Psalms 17:12; Psalms 22:13; Psalms 22:21; Psalms 35:17; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 58:6). He believed no one but God could rescue him. The idea of God rescuing His own is a common one in the psalms.

Verses 1-17

Psalms 7

In the title, "shiggaion" probably means a poem with intense feeling. [Note: A. F. Kirkpatrick, Psalms, p. xx; Ross, p. 796.] Cush, the Benjamite, received no other mention elsewhere in the Bible. The Benjamites were, of course, King Saul’s relatives who were hostile to David before and after David became king.

David prayed for deliverance from his enemies on the ground that he was innocent, and he asked God to vindicate him by judging them. Elements of an individual lament (Psalms 7:1-2), an oath (Psalms 7:3-5), a psalm of Yahweh’s kingship (Psalms 7:6-12), and a thanksgiving hymn (Psalms 7:17) make designating this psalm’s genre very difficult.

Verses 3-4

David couched his claim to be innocent of the offenses for which his enemies were pursuing him in terms of an oath ("If . . . if . . . then . . ."). This was a strong way to declare his freedom from guilt. Evidently his enemies had charged him with injustice, paying a friend back evil for good, and robbery.

Verses 3-5

2. Protestation of innocence 7:3-5

Verse 5

He was willing to die at his enemy’s hand if guilty. The terms "soul," "life," and "glory" (NASB) are synonyms restating the fate of David in parallel terms.

Verses 6-7

David called on God-as the Judge of everyone–to act for him by executing justice in his case. He assumed God would be angry with his enemies since David was innocent and his adversaries were guilty. As a result of God’s just judgment, the nation of Israel would rally around Him. Moreover, He would enjoy honor when the people realized that He was ruling over them as their true King.

Verses 6-9

3. Appeal for vindication 7:6-9

Verses 8-9

One of God’s functions as Judge is to vindicate the righteous and condemn the guilty. David called on Him to do so in his case. To vindicate means to show a righteous person to be righteous when others have accused him or her of being wicked. It is fitting for God to establish the righteous and to destroy the wicked because He is righteous Himself.

Verses 10-11

David counted on God to defend him as a shield, since God saves the upright in heart, and David was upright. His confidence lay also in God’s righteous character. God would judge justly, and injustice touches His heart as well as His head. Even though God does not always judge as quickly as His people want, injustice does not escape His eye, and one day He will judge righteously (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). In view of this, we can leave vengeance up to Him (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30).

Verses 10-16

4. Description of justice 7:10-16

Verses 12-13

David painted God as a warrior going to battle against the wicked who refuse to repent. God always gives people opportunity to judge their own sinful behavior and turn from it, but if they refuse to judge themselves, He will judge them (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:31).

Verses 14-16

The evil plots the wicked conceive in their minds and give birth to in their actions will not turn out the way they hoped (cf. Mark 7:21-22; James 1:14-15). Rather than snaring the righteous in their traps, they themselves will be caught in them. What they sow they will reap (cf. Exodus 21:24-25; Matthew 26:52; Galatians 6:7).

Verse 17

5. Promise to praise 7:17

David closed his psalm with a vow to thank and praise God for His righteousness.

"The attribute of God’s righteousness is what he does or will do on behalf of his own." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 106.]

Even though God had not yet vindicated him, David’s reflection on the character and activities of the Lord encouraged this psalmist to believe that He would do so at the proper time. He described God as the "Most High," a title used three times in this psalm in the NIV (Psalms 7:8; Psalms 7:10; Psalms 7:17) that pictures Him as sovereign, exalted on His heavenly throne (cf. Genesis 14:18-24).

Reflection on God’s character and ways of working can encourage God’s people to trust in Him and praise Him when we experience injustice and hostility from the wicked.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 7". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.