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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Psalms 27



It is apparent from the body of this Psalm, that David was not yet fully delivered from the trouble which his enemies gave him, both by their slanders and other ways. But whether it belong to that history which is reeorded 2 Samuel 21:15-17, as the Jews conceive, whom some others follow, is wholly uncertain, and not necessary for us to know.

David declareth that God is his only comfort and confidence in all danger, Psalms 27:1-3.

His hearty desire to be in the house of God, Psalms 27:4.

The advantage of it, Psalms 24:5,Psalms 24:6.

He prayeth for the light of God’s face, and his salvation, Psalms 27:7-12; and from experience others to wait upon him, Psalms 27:13,Psalms 27:14.

Verse 1

My light, i.e. my counsellor in all my difficulties, and my comforter and deliverer in all my distresses.

The strength of my life, i.e. the supporter and preserver of my life.

Verse 2

To eat up my flesh; greedy to devour me at one morsel. Compare Job 19:22; Job 31:31.

Verse 3

In that which I have now said, that God is my light, &c., Psalms 27:1, and in the experience of his favour and protection, Psalms 27:2.

Verse 4

Though I am exercised with many troubles, there is but one thing that I am very solicitous for, or desirous of, and that is not victory and triumphs over all mine enemies, assured peace and settlement in my throne, the wealth, and pleasure, and glory of enlarging or ruling my empire: or if I have any desire to any of those things, it is chiefly that I may not be disturbed in or driven from the sanctuary and worship of God as I have been, but may have opportunity of constant attendance upon God; that there I may exercise and delight myself in the contemplation of thy amiable and glorious majesty, and of the infinite wisdom, holiness, justice, truth, grace, and mercy, and other perfections, which though hid in a great measure from the world, are clearly manifested in thy church and ordinances. To inquire; or, diligently to seek; either God’s face and favour; or his mind and will, and my own duty; or

the Lord’s beauty, last mentioned, which is discovered more or less, as men are diligent ot negligent in seeking or inquiring into it.

In his temple, i.e. in his tabernacle; which he here and elsewhere calls his

temple, because it was the same thing for substance; and because his thoughts and affections did constantly and eagerly run out upon the temple; and since he was not permitted to build the thing, he would at least take occasion to solace himself with the name, and thereby to enter his protest of his earnest desire to build it, if God had seen it fit.

Verse 5

He shall hide me; or, hath hid me; or, useth to hide me. Justly do I prize the house and service of God so highly, both because I have such vast obligations to him for his former protection and favours, and because all my hope, and confidence, and security depends upon him.

In the secret of his tabernacle; in his tabernacle, into which mine enemies cannot come; and in a secret place in it, where, if they come, they cannot find me. Or, as it were (for the note of similitude is oft understood)

in the secret of his tabernacle, i. e. in as safe a place as the holy of holies, which is called God’s secret, Ezekiel 7:22, where none might come but the high priest, and he but one day in a year. He alludes to the ancient custom of offenders, who used to flee to the tabernacle or altar, where they esteemed themselves safe, 1 Kings 2:28.

Upon a rock; a place high and inacessible, strong and impregnable.

Verse 6

Mine head shall be lifted up above mine enemies; he will advance me above them, and give me a complete victory over them.

Sacrifices of joy, or of shouting or resounding, i.e. of thanksgiving; which were accompanied with the sound of trumpets and other instruments, Numbers 10:10; 1 Chronicles 16:41,1 Chronicles 16:42; Psalms 33:3.

Verse 8

When thou saidst; either by thy word, commanding and inviting me so to do; or by thy Spirit, directing and inclining me to it.

Seek ye my face, i.e. seek my presence, and favour, and help, by fervent and faithful prayer.

My heart said unto thee; my heart readily and thankfully complied with the motion; and upon the encouragement of this command, or invitation and promise couched in it, I resolved I would do so, and do so at this time. But this verse is a little otherwise rendered by divers learned men. And the words lie in another order in the Hebrew text, which runs thus:

To thee my heart said, Thou hast said, (which verb may well be understood here, as it is also 1 Kings 20:34, and as divers other verbs are understood in the sacred text, as Leviticus 24:8; 2 Samuel 18:12; 2 Samuel 23:17, compared with 1 Chronicles 11:19, and in many other places; which is not strange in so concise and short a language as the Hebrew is,)

Seek ye my face (this is thy great command, so oft and so vehemently urged, as containing the very substance and foundation of all true piety).

Thy face, Lord, I will seek; I cheerfully do and will obey thy command therein. Or the verse may be thus translated without any supplement, which, where it can be done, is confessedly the best way of translation: Concerning thee (as the particle lamed is oft used; or, for or instead of thee, as it is unquestionably used, Genesis 11:3; Exodus 13:16; Proverbs 21:18, i.e. in thy name and words, and according to thy mind)

my heart said, ( to wit, to or within myself, as the word said is frequently taken, i.e. I seriously consider within myself this following command of thine oft inculcated in thy word, and press it upon my own conscience,)

Seek ye my face. Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Thou commandest it, and I will obey thee therein.

Verse 9

Hide not thy face; which I in obedience to thy command am now seeking.

Put not thy servant away, to wit, from thy face or presence, or from the place of thy worship, from which he either now was or formerly had been driven. Two ways God and he might be parted; either by God’s departure or withdrawing from him, which he might do even in the place of his worship; or by God’s putting him away from his presence. Against the first he seems to direct his prayer in the first clause, and against the latter in this.

Verse 10

Forsake me; or, leave me; as being unable to help me, and rather a burden than a help to me; for which reason David desired them to leave him, and disposed of them in another place, 1 Samuel 22:0;. Or his father and mother were now dead. Or by his father and mother he may signify his near relations and friends, which forsook him in the time of trouble, as men usually do. Or the words may be rendered, though my father and mother should forsake me. Then; or, yet, as the Hebrew vau frequently signifies.

Will take me up; or, will receive me, to wit, to himself, as this verb is used, Joshua 20:4; Judges 19:15; Matthew 23:37.

Verse 11

Thy way, i.e. what course I shall take to please thee, and to discharge my duty, and to save myself from ruin.

A plain path; of which See Poole "Psalms 26:12", where the Hebrew words are the same.

Because of mine enemies; that I may neither open their mouths against me or religion by my miscarriages, nor fall into their hands by my folly, nor give them any occasion of triumphing over me.

Verse 12

The will, or lust, or desire, Heb. soul; which is so taken, Psalms 41:2; Psalms 78:18; Ezekiel 16:27.

Such as breathe out cruelty; he presseth his request upon the quality of his enemies, who were both false and cruel, and in both respects hateful to God and men.

Verse 13

I had fainted: these words are added to complete the sense; for the speech is abrupt and imperfect, as is very usual, not only in the Holy Scripture, but in many other authors, in all vehement passions or commotions of mind, such as David was in at this time. Having declared what perfidious and cruel enemies did now assault and encompass him, he now subjoins what impression the thoughts thereof made upon him, and speaks like one that wanted words to express how sad and desperate his condition would have been, if he had not been supported by faith in God’s promises.

To see the goodness of the Lord; to enjoy (which is oft expressed by seeing) the mercy which God hath promised me.

In the land of the living, i.e. in this world, which is oft so called, as Job 28:13; Psalms 52:5; Psalms 116:9; Psalms 142:5; Isaiah 38:11; Isaiah 53:8; Jeremiah 11:9; Ezekiel 32:32, and is opposed to the grave, which is the place of the dead. And David was thus earnestly desirous of this mercy in this life, not because he placed his portion in these things, which he so solemnly disclaims, Psalms 17:14, but because the truth and glory of God were highly concerned in making good the promise of the kingdom made to him.

Verse 14

Wait on the Lord, O my soul; to which he now turneth his speech; as he frequently doth in this book.

He shall strengthen thine heart; he will uphold thee, and keep thee from fainting and sinking under thy burdens.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 27". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.