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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 34

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-10

Thanksgiving and Instruction of One Delivered out of Great Trouble.

A psalm of David when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, this being the title of the Philistine rulers, Genesis 20:2, the name of this king of Gath being Achish; who drove him away, and he departed, 1 Samuel 21:10 to 1 Samuel 22:1. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, David embodied the lessons of this incident in his life in the present hymn.

David Praises God for His Deliverance

v. 1. I will bless the Lord at all times, in every season, David's own cheerfulness being so notable because his troubles at that time were by no means at an end, since he was obliged to hide in the cave Adullam, in the wilderness of Judah; His praise shall continually be in my mouth, for there is never an occasion when praise is not proper in the believer's mouth.

v. 2. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord, glory in Jehovah, setting forth His majesty and goodness; the humble, that is, the sufferers, the pious who have been humbled in the school of sorrows, shall hear thereof and be glad, their own faith will be strengthened by the experiences of David.

v. 3. O magnify the Lord with me, ascribing greatness to Him, in an act of praise, and let us exalt His name together, acknowledging His loving-kindness and tender mercies.

v. 4. I sought the Lord, eagerly entreating Him for help, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears, the evils and dangers which inspired terror in his heart.

v. 5. They, all sufferers in the class of David, looked unto Him, in eager longing for salvation, and were lightened, they became bright, reflecting the beaming kindness of the heavenly Father; and their faces were not ashamed, they did not need to be abashed and blush with disappointment, with vain crying.

v. 6. This poor man cried, this distressed one, the reference being to David in particular, but applying in all similar cases as well, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles, not merely from the danger threatening him in Gath. From this fact David draws a general conclusion:

v. 7. The Angel of the Lord, that powerful minister of Jehovah, in whose person the Son of God so often revealed Himself in the Old Testament, who is always near to the believers with His mighty and gracious protection, encampeth round about them that fear Him, like an armed host, affording the safest protection, and delivereth them, setting them free from all dangers and oppressors.

v. 8. O taste, trying it out as something extremely palatable, and see, enjoying it also with the eyes, that the Lord is good, the psalmist urging the believers to seek the experience, to make certain for themselves. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him, makes Jehovah his refuge; for he who fears Him has all blessings in Him.

v. 9. O fear the Lord, ye His saints; for there is no want to them that fear Him, they have the fullness of all they need.

v. 10. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing; that is, it will sooner happen that the irrational animals, for whom the providence of God provides so regularly, Psalms 145:16, will suffer hunger, than that those who strive after the true fellowship with God will be in any kind of need. So much all believers should learn from the deliverance which David experienced in Gath.

Verses 11-22

David Teaches True Piety

v. 11. Come, ye children, the master addressing his disciples, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. He himself had learned in the school of experience, under the guidance of God, and wanted to pass this information on to others.

v. 12. What man is he that desireth life, prosperity in the best sense of the word, and loveth many days, a long life being considered a special blessing, that he may see good? That is, To whom will God show His goodness in richest measure, by showering blessings upon him? David describes such a person in a series of admonitions.

v. 13. Keep thy tongue from evil, from all sins in speech, and thy lips from speaking guile. Cf James 1:26; James 3:2-13.

v. 14. Depart from evil, every form of transgression, and do good; seek peace and pursue it, aspiring after it with all zeal, Romans 12:9-18; 1 Peter 3:8-17.

v. 15. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, in gracious affection, and His ears are open unto their cry, always ready to answer their prayer.

v. 16. The face of the Lord, set, in this case, in hard lines, is against them that do evil, opposed to their wicked ways, expressing His disapproval, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth, so that they will be utterly destroyed.

v. 17. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, answering those whose call comes forth from a heart acknowledging its own unworthiness, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

v. 18. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, whose self-righteousness and selfishness have been broken at the root by the thunderbolt of the Law; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit, whose natural pride has been humbled into the dust, so that they have been led to the proper realization of their damnable sinfulness. People in whom the work of the Law has been done, who see in themselves nothing but unworthiness and damnableness, are in a condition to receive the glorious assurances of salvation, to receive the redemption in the Messiah.

v. 19. Many are the afflictions, the distresses, snares, and persecutions, of the righteous, which he experiences at the hand of the wicked; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all, if not here in time, surely in eternity.

v. 20. He, Jehovah, keepeth all his bones, the entire framework of his body; not one of them is broken, for without the will of the heavenly. Father not even a hair of our heads may fall to the ground, Matthew 10:30.

v. 21. Evil shall slay the wicked, that being their final destiny; and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate, shall stand in the judgment of God and suffer as guilty.

v. 22. The Lord redeemeth the soul of His servants, making them, finally, possessors of everlasting salvation; and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate, since the guilt of their sins will not be imputed to them, and they will therefore not be condemned to everlasting punishment. With our sins imputed to Jesus Christ and His righteousness imputed to us, we are safe in the last Judgment, sure of eternal bliss and glory in heaven.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 34". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/psalms-34.html. 1921-23.
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