Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 34

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Psalms 34:6 . This poor man cried. David, a prince yesterday, was poor to-day; an exile among his enemies, and destitute of friends. Yesterday, Saul sought his life, and now the friends of Goliath ask for his blood. This may represent a sinner pursued by death, or the sword. While among the Philistines, the men of the world, they take counsel to destroy him. He has no friend, no deliverer but the Lord. Faith and prayer are his only resources, and the Lord who saved David from the hands of his enemies will save the contrite from sin and death.

Psalms 34:7 . The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him. The reference seems to be to Mahanaim, or the two hosts of angels who encamped on each side of Jacob’s tents, to guard him against impending danger. Old Hesiod had nearly the same ideas of the angelic ministry as the psalmist.

Αυταρ επιεκεν ταυτο γενος κατα γαια καλυψεν Τοι μεν Δαιμονες εισι , Διος μεγαλου δια βουλας Εσθλοι επιχθονιοι φυλακες θνητων ανθρωπων .

κ . τ . λ . OP. ET DIES. lib. 1. 34:120.

When in the grave this race of men was laid, Soon was a world of holy dæmons made, Aërial spirits, by great Jove designed, To be on earth the guardians of mankind. Invisible to mortal eyes they go, And mark our actions, good or bad below; Th’ immortal spies, with watchful care preside, And thrice ten thousand round their charges glide: They can reward with glory or with gold, A power, they by Divine permission hold. COOKE.

Psalms 34:10 . The young lions do lack. The LXX and the Vulgate read, strong or mighty men do lack. In the Hebrew word the change of a single letter varies the sense, and it is probable that כבירים kabirim, mighty men, was by mistake written כפירים kepirim, young lions.


Nothing puts our piety so much to the test as afflictions and trials. When David fled to Achish, whose title was Abimelech, he heard the king suspect his conduct. 1 Samuel 21:13. Therefore being greatly afraid he was seized with a sort of delirium for the time, after he had cried heartily to the Lord: Psalms 34:13. But he kept his tongue from evil, and his mouth from guile. Hence this whole psalm is a grateful song for his deliverance.

The means he used was prayer: this poor man cried unto the Lord. His humble soul clothed its supplication in humility of language. So we should always do when troubled in mind, afflicted in body, or embarrassed in situation and circumstances.

He ascribes his deliverance to the angel of the Lord. So did Jacob in addressing Pharaoh. So the mountains of Samaria were full of horses and chariots of fire to defend Elisha, and protect the faithful. 2 Kings 6:17. So Peter was delivered from prison, and on ten thousand occasions we should perish if the angels did not preserve us.

David, delivered from death, when suspected as a spy in Gath, encourages others to trust in the Lord, and in the most grateful language. So we are exhorted to comfort others with the consolations wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God; for religion must consist in sentiment, and not in pompous words. We must taste and see that the Lord is gracious; divine favours being better understood by the heart than by the head.

Not only angels, but JEHOVAH himself is the guardian of his people. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers. What an eye was over Joseph in Egypt! What an eye was over David in his seven years of exile. What an eye, what a hand hath been over the church at all times. Surely if we saw the wise designs of the divine love, we should doubt no more of its care; and our weak faith would heartily add, that the Lord will deliver the righteous out of all his afflictions. He keepeth all his bones that not one of them is broken. And if God so preserve us, and redeem our life from the most imminent danger, we ought to devote it to his glory, and employ our hearts and voices in publishing his praise, for assuredly his face is against them that do evil.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 34". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-34.html. 1835.
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