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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 71

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-4

1. A prayer for the Lord’s help 71:1-4

The writer began by reaffirming his confidence in God, in whom he had trusted in the past (cf. Psalms 31:1-3). He wanted God’s deliverance from the attacks of wicked people so that his confidence in God would not prove in vain. He spoke of the Lord as a refuge, a rock, and a fortress. We do not know if he was under verbal, or physical attack, or both types.

Verses 1-24

Psalms 71

This individual lament psalm expresses the faith of an older person in need who had trusted in God for many years. The writer is unknown to us. He combined elements that we find in several other psalms to communicate his thoughts (cf. Psalms 22; Psalms 31; Psalms 35; Psalms 40).

Verses 5-6

The writer had trusted in the Lord from his youth, since God had sustained him from the day of his birth. He had praised Him all his life.

Verses 5-13

2. A review of the psalmist’s faith 71:5-13

Verses 7-8

The psalmist meant that onlookers regarded what was happening to him as an omen of things to come. Evidently they felt God was abandoning the righteous because He appeared to be abandoning this aged saint. Nevertheless the psalmist continued to praise God.

Verses 9-13

The writer appealed specifically to the Lord not to forsake him in his old age, especially since his adversaries were claiming that God had abandoned him. He had no other defender and cried out to God to do what was right.

Verses 14-18

Regardless of the outcome in his case, the writer determined to continue trusting and praising God. The Lord had demonstrated His righteousness, salvation, and mighty deeds for a long time and in many ways. Therefore, the psalmist vowed to speak of them forever, even if he could not tally up all of God’s faithful acts. If God forsook him, he could not fully relate these testimonials to the present generation of his people.

Verses 14-24

3. A new commitment to continued trust 71:14-24

Verses 19-21

The great things of which the writer testified included God’s salvation out of many personal troubles. The psalmist had been down before, but God had always lifted him up. [Note: See C. J. Labuschagne, The Incomparability of Yahweh in the Old Testament.] He prayed that this would be his experience again. His greatness, or honor, came from trusting in God and having that trust rewarded with deliverance.

Verses 22-24

In anticipation of God’s help, the writer promised to praise Him with stringed instruments, as well as vocally. The title "Holy One of Israel" (Psalms 71:22) is common in Isaiah but rare in the Psalms, occurring only three times (cf. Psalms 78:41; Psalms 89:18). In conclusion, the psalmist spoke of his accusers’ humiliation as already present, even though that is what he was requesting. This is probably another instance of expressing confidence that something would happen by describing it as having already taken place.

When people have trusted in God over a lifetime and have seen Him deliver them from many trials, it becomes easier for them to trust Him in the present. Just as continual unbelief makes faith more difficult, continual trust makes unbelief more difficult.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 71". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-71.html. 2012.
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