Bible Commentaries
Psalms 27

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 27:1 « [A Psalm] of David. » The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Ver. 1. The Lord is my light ] That is, my comfort and direction, he that dissolveth all my clouds of terrors within and troubles without. To these all he opposeth God’s all sufficiency, as making for him, and as being all in all unto him, light, salvation, strength of life, what not? and therehence his full assurance; and such a masculine magnanimity as feareth not the power of men and devils, be they who they will, and do what they can. Animo magno nihil est magnum. When a man can out of this consideration, God is my light (in things of the mind) and my salvation (in things of the body, as Aben Ezra expoundeth it), contemn and reckon all things else as matters of small moment, it shows he hath in truth apprehended God; and this is true holy magnanimity.

The Lord is the strength of my life, ] He that keeps life and soul together, saith Aben Ezra, as the spirits do soul and body; and therefore, Quis potest me interimere, saith Kimchi, who can do me to death?

Of whom shall I be afraid ] Faith fortifieth the heart against distrustful fears, which it quelleth and killeth. In a fright it runneth to the heart, as the blood doth, and relieveth it, setting it εξω βελων και φοβου , out of the gunshot of creature annoyances. Expertus loquor; for

Verse 2

Psa 27:2 When the wicked, [even] mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Ver. 2. When the wicked, even mine enemies, came upon me ] Made impression upon me, with utmost violence and open mouth, as if they would have devoured me, like a cannibal; or as a lion doth a sheep, inhumanissime, ferarumque more, saith Junius, barbarously and beastly.

They stumbled and fell ] Irritis conatibus corruerunt, they utterly lost their design, as did those Amalekites who had sacked Ziklag, 1 Samuel 30:16-19 , and Saul often. If a man stumble and fall not, he gets ground; but if after much blundering he kiss the ground, he falleth with a force. David’s enemies did so, corruerunt et conciderunt; they were irreparably ruined.

Verse 3

Psa 27:3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this [will] I [be] confident.

Ver. 3. Though an host should encamp against me ] See Psalms 3:6 , See Trapp on " Psa 3:6 " We should propound the worst to ourselves (the best will bring with it, as we say), especially if we find our faith to be in heart and vigour, as here David’s was.

Though war should rise against me ] War is a complex evil, and is, therefore, called so by a specialty: Isaiah 45:7 , "I make peace, and create evil," that is, war. Sin, Satan, and war have all one name, saith a learned divine; evil is the best of them: the best of sin is deformity; of Satan, enmity; of war, misery.

In this will I be confident ] In this? In what? In this one ensuing petition, saith Aben Ezra; or, in this that I have said before, "The Lord is my light and my salvation"; in this confident gloriation of mine, which is such as an unbeliever is a perfect stranger unto.

Verse 4

Psa 27:4 One [thing] have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Ver. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord ] One thing above the rest. Every one of God’s suppliants, have some special request that he mainly insisteth on; and King David’s was the liberty of God’s sanctuary, and enjoyment of his public ordinances, ut cultu Dei libero et legitimo uti possit (Jun.).

Hoc primus petit, hoe postremus omittit.

This was dearer to him than wife, children, goods, all. This suit he knew to be honest, and, therefore, he began it; and being so, he is resolved never to give it over, but to prosecute it to the utmost, and to persevere in prayer (which is a great virtue, Rom 12:12 ) till he had prevailed.

That will I seek after ] As God’s constant remembrancer, who loveth to be importuned, and, as it were, jogged by his praying people. Herein David showed himself a true Israelite, a prince of God, and, as Nazianzen styleth Basil the Great, Aνηρ επιθυμιων των του πνευματος , a man of desires flowing from the Spirit. He knew well that a faint suitor doth but beg a denial.

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord ] i.e. In the place where was the ark, with the prophets, priests, Levites, Asaph and his brethren, &c., with whom David desired to be taken up in the service of God, free from secular cares and delights, at times convenient. Pyrrhus told Cyneas that when he had finished his wars once he would then sit still and be merry. The Roman generals, when they had once triumphed over their enemies, might take their ease and pleasure for ever after. But good David resolves to improve his rest, whenever God shall grant it him, to perpetual piety; "That I may dwell," saith he, or sit "in the house of Jehovah all the days of my llfe": this was the height of his ambition, this was David’s delight.

To behold the beauty of the Lord ] Heb. the delight, amenity, or pleasantness of Jehovah: hoc est cultum Dei ordinatum, saith Kimchi, those ceremonial services which were their gospel, and Christ in figure, Hebrews 8:5 , whom David desired to contemplate.

And to inquire in his temple ] Heb. Early to inquire, that is, earnestly, what that good and holy and acceptable will of God is. Here it was that David used to seek satisfaction and resolution of his doubts and scruples when at any time he was gravelled, Psalms 73:16-17 . Some render it, ut lustrem templum eius.

Verse 5

Psa 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Ver. 5. For in time of trouble he shall hide me ] This protection he boldly promiseth himself as a fruit of his faith, fostered by the use of the ordinances. He knew that the only way to be safe was to get under God’s wing, Psalms 91:4 , to take sanctuary there, to be hid under God’s altar; for upon all the glory there is a defence, Isaiah 4:5 . Joash was preserved six years in the sanctuary, where he was hid. The sanctuary is called God’s hidden place, Ezekiel 7:22 , and his saints his hidden ones, Psalms 83:3 .

In his pavilion ] The Hebrew Succoh is written with a little Samech , Hebrew Text Note to show, say the Masorites, that a little pavilion or cottage where God is shall be sufficient to safeguard the saints, Quod tabernaculum exile συν θεω , est asylum tutissimum.

In the secret of his tabernacle ] I shall be as safe as if I were shut up in his holy ark.

He shall set me upon a rock ] Out of mine enemy’s reach.

Verse 6

Psa 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Ver. 6. And now shall mine head be lifted up ] See Psalms 3:4 , and take notice how clear David was upon his prayer, of the possession of the promise, that he should both get the better of his enemies, and enjoy the public ordinances.

Sacrifices of joy ] Heb. of loud shouting, hoc est sacrificia cum canticis, saith R. Solomon. Sacrifices with triumph, alarm, or jubilation to the Lord; not with profane triumphings, as the manner of the world is, as if by mine own strength or prudence I had gotten the victory. So at the battle of Agincourt, when our Henry V had beaten the French, the honour of the day was, by the king’s command, ascribed only to God. He would not suffer his broken crown or bruised armour to be borne before him in show; or any ballads to be set forth or sung in his honour, &c. (Speed. Daniel).

Verse 7

Psa 27:7 Hear, O LORD, [when] I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

Ver. 7. Hear, O Lord, when I cry ] This was his form of prayer, or to this effect, when he was in any distress or danger. As a good soldier of Jesus Christ, he had weapons, not only defensive (the shield of faith, helmet of hope, breastplate of righteousness, &c., as Eph 6:14-18 ), but also offensive, viz. the darts of prayer, as here, and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, as in the next.

Verse 8

Psalms 27:8 [When thou saidst], Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

Ver. 8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, &c. ] Or, "My heart said unto thee" (or, for thee, and in thy stead), Let my face seek thy face, &c. Or concerning thee, said my heart; that is, I have constantly considered of those words of thine "Seek ye my face," and, therefore I come confidently unto thee. See Deuteronomy 4:19 . Upon which commandment (involving a promise) David seems to ground this speech of his. R. Solomon hath it thus, Thou hast said to my heart, Seek ye my face; that is, Thou hast told me by thy Spirit that all Israel should seek thy face, and as for me, I will surely seek thy face.

My heart said unto thee, &c. ] My heart, moved and inspirited by thy Spirit working in me a gracious compliance, echoed out as it were, "Thy face," &c. See the like Jeremiah 3:22 , "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God." Every godly person hath the duplicate of God’s law in his heart; and is willingly cast into the mould of his word, Romans 6:17 .

Verse 9

Psa 27:9 Hide not thy face [far] from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

Ver. 9. Hide not thy face far from me ] For then it will be to no purpose for me to seek it; eclipse not thy favour, withhold not thy succour, but meet me; yea, prevent me with thy loving kindness. Tantum velis, et Deus tibi praeoccurret, saith an ancient.

Put not thy servant away in anger ] Thy servant I am, though a sinful servant, and such as provoketh thee to displeasure; nevertheless reject me not, as thou hast done Saul, and sundry others, for their misdoings. 2 Samuel 24:10 , "Take away the iniquity of thy servant"; and to prove himself so, he addeth, "for I have done foolishly"; as some godly learned think, hereby intimating, that if he deserved not to be called God’s servant in regard of his late sin, yet in regard of his latter service of confession. God puts away many in anger for their supposed goodness, but not any at all for their confessed badness.

Thou hast been my help, leave me not, &c. ] It is a good note that one giveth upon these words: The godly many times have such earnest affections in prayers, that they can hardly content themselves with any words to express their minds withal.

Verse 10

Psa 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Ver. 10. When my father and my mother forsake me ] Or, For my father and my mother do forsake me (that is, they are not able to help me), but thou, &c., 1 Samuel 22:1 ; 1 Samuel 22:3 . There is an ocean of love in a parent’s heart toward their even untoward children, as was in David toward Absalom, after all his unnatural miscarriages; insomuch as Joab upbraideth him with it, 2 Samuel 19:6 . But all the mercies of all the fathers and mothers in the world put together make not the tithe of God’s mercy toward his children, Isaiah 41:15 .

Then the Lord will take me up ] Heb. will gather me, that is, take me into his care and keeping. In the civil law we find provision made for outcasts and friendless persons; some hospitals to entertain them, some liberties to comfort and compensate their trouble. It is sure that in God the forlorn and fatherless find mercy, Hosea 14:3 ; 1Sa 22:2-3; Joh 9:35; Jeremiah 30:17 . In the Israelites’ marching through the wilderness, at the fourth alarm arose the standard of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali; and to these was committed the care of gathering together the lame, feeble, and sick, and to look that nothing was left behind; whence they were called the gathering host, Joshua 6:9 . Unto this, some think, David here alludeth.

Verse 11

Psa 27:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

Ver. 11. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me, &c. ] Deus non deserit suos, dum eos docet ac ducit, God shows that he forsaketh not his (whatever other friends do) so long as he teacheth and leadeth them. See Psalms 25:4-5 . See Trapp on " Psa 25:4 " See Trapp on " Psa 25:5 "

In a plain path ] Heb. In a way of plainness, wherein I may escape mine enemies’ ambushes.

Because of mine enemies ] Or, Because of mine observers; so it may be read ( propter insidiatores meos ); such as Saul and Doeg were, who looked upon David with an evil eye, and watched for his halting. It was the wisdom of the Lacedaemonians always to send two ambassadors together which disagreed among themselves; that so they might mutually eye one another’s actions (Aristot. Polit. lib. ii. cap. 7). The wicked will be eyeing and prying into the practices of good people, who must therefore watch and pray.

Verse 12

Psa 27:12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

Ver. 12. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies ] Heb. unto the soul; for the wicked are carried on against the godly, with all their soul, as it were.

For false witnesses ] Such as whereof Saul’s court was full, viz. his Aiones et Negones, who fed his humour by traducing and denigrating innocent David.

And such as breathe out cruelty ] As Saul breathed out threatening against the disciples, Acts 9:1 ; so did David’s spit fires.

Verse 13

Psalms 27:13 [I had fainted], unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Ver. 13. I had fainted, unless I had believed ] Saved he was then by his faith, which drank to him as it were in a cup of Nepenthes, and fetched him again when ready to swoon and sink. See Psalms 119:92 . The word rendered unless here is (as the Masorites note) one of the fifteen Scripture words, that were extraordinarily pointed by the men of the great synagogue ( Lule habet puncta supra and infra ). Hebrew Text Note The reason whereof given by Kimchi and others (as if David doubted of his salvation) is not satisfactory nor sound.

To see the goodness of the Lord ] That is, to taste; one sense usually put for another; the soul also hath her senses; and these must be habitually exercised to discern good and evil, Hebrews 5:14 .

In the land of the living ] That is, here on earth, Psa 116:9 Isaiah 38:11 , where men live; and I myself have not only a portion of life with them, but a promise of many good things besides. To blame, therefore, was good David, when he said in his haste, All men are liars, prophets, and all who had promised him the kingdom, Psalms 116:10 . But the best have their passions; which they daily outgrow, and add to their faith patience, 2 Peter 1:5-6 . And albeit as Calvin here noteth, every one’s case is not like David’s, who had particular promises concerning this life, beyond many other faithful persons; yet, because according to every man’s faith it shall be unto him, let us all likewise trust in God, as we are all hereupon exhorted in the next words.

Verse 14

Psa 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Ver. 14. Wait on the Lord ] Expecta, expecta. See how earnest good David is with himself and others; for he knew men’s dulness, and the difficulty of the duty. Religious men find it more easy to bear evil than to wait till the promised good he enjoyed; Hebrews 10:36 , the spoiling of their goods required patience; but this more than ordinary. Let our distance from God, our dependence upon him, and our undone condition without him, be but considered; and we shall be the more willing to wait, yea, to want and go without some things, that we are but too much set upon.

Be of good courage ] Be confirmed, hold fast, play the man (as the Seventy have it, and the apostle useth the same word, 1Co 16:13 ), and let not the big words of thine enemies make thee to cast away thy confidence, which hath so great recompense of reward.

And he shall strengthen thy heart ] Or, let thine heart be confirmed, cheer up, hold out faith and patience.

Wait, I say, on the Lord ] i.e. De die in diem expecta, wait still; do it from one day to another. God is a free agent, neither is it fit for us to send for him by a post. Many of his promises bear a long date; but they are sure and infallible. Wait, therefore; and why? See Habakkuk 2:3 . See Trapp on " Hab 2:3 "

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 27". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.