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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 27

Verses 1-14

Psalms 27:1-14.

V. 1-3. It is probable, that this psalm was composed by David, in the extremity of his danger from Saul, in order to silence the fears of his companions, by shewing them the strength and reasonableness of his confidence. (Note, Psalms 11:1-3.) Some however, think it relates to his subsequent conflicts and dangers. JEHOVAH himself was David’s LIGHT, his Teacher, Guide, Comforter; "and his SALVATION," both from temporal dangers and eternal misery : he was " the Strength of his " life," his powerful Protector and Upholder ; and therefore he had no reason to fear any enemies. (Note, 2 Samuel 22:2-3.) When, in former instances, his wicked persecutors had come against him in force and rage, as if they meant to devour him, (Note, Job 31:29-32,) they stumbled and fell ; and he was assured they would do so again : and, being confident that God was on his side, he was determined that he would not yield to fear, even if a whole army should march in battle-array, to wage the most desperate war against him. (iii. 6.) Compare this with it; complaint of Saul. (1 Samuel 28:15.) When the malignant enemies of Christ came to seize him in his deepest humiliation, at one word of his they went backward and fell to the ground. (Note, John 18:4-9,)

V. 4- 6. David was conscious, that the service of God was his choice, and, as it were, his element. (Note, Psalms 26:6-8.) Though a brave soldier, a renowned commander and conqueror, and an anointed king ; yet it was his one desire above all others, and his constant prayer and persevering endeavour, to dwell in, or at, the tabernacle of the Lord, where his ordinances were administered; which were types of the promised Messiah and his salvation, means of grace to believers, and acts of worship to God.

If he might choose for himself, he would spend all the days of his life in the courts of the Lord; that he might meditate with joy upon the beauty and glory of the divine perfections there displayed, (Notes, Psalms 50:1-2; Psalms 63:1-4,) and have constant opportunity of enquiring the will of God, by the high priest, and from his word ; and that he might take shelter, as in the pavilion or royal tent of his heavenly King, where no enemy could find him, or would dare to approach him. Thus he hoped to be fixed as on a rock, immoveable by changes or assaults. Indeed, though now driven from the courts of God, he was assured that he should at length be exalted above all his enemies, and be brought back again to the Sanctuary ; when he would offer sacrifices of joy and thanksgiving, with animated and triumphant songs of praise and gratitude.

V. 8. This verse may be literally rendered, "My heart " said unto thee, Seek ye my face : Thy face LORD will I " seek." In retired meditation, the exhortations of God to the sons of men to seek his face or favour, were recollected by the Psalmist : and his heart answered, ’ Dost thou deign thus to invite us ? Then without delay or hesitation, I will seek thy face.’

V. 9. ’ Do not in anger reject my suits, because I am a ’ sinner ; but accept them, because I am thy servant ; ’ whom in former times thou hast so often relieved, that ’ from thence also I am emboldened to beseech thee not to * desert me ; ... but . . . continue to give me deliverance ’ and safety.’ Bp. Patrick. David expected eternal salvation from the tried mercy and truth of the God of his salvation ; and this gave him confidence as to temporal deliverances. (Note, Psalms 119:121-122.)

V. 10. Perhaps David’s parents died about this time, or he was deprivta of the solace of their company : or he meant in general, that the favour of God would compensate the loss of all earthly friends, and of the nearest and most endeared relations; that the Lord would surely prove faithful, though they should prove cruel and treacherous ; and that he was determined to stay his mind on God alone.

V. 11, 12. The Psalmist knew himself to be constantly beset with spies and false witnesses, who pried into all his actions, in order to find some handle against him ; that they might gratify their cruel malice, under the pretence of justice : and this led him to pray frequently for heavenly wisdom, and that God would lead him in the path of uprightness, and at a distance from the " appearance of evil," that so his observers (marg.) might be disappointed. Thus the Son of David also was continually watched, that some accusation might be found against him; but his perfect holiness and wisdom completely frustrated and confounded his implacable foes, who thirsted for his blood. (Marg. Rcf.)

V. 13. " Unless I had believed," the consequences must have been dreadful. The broken form of the sentence, adds greatly to the effect. Perhaps some person had asked David, how he kept up his spirits under his manifold trials and dangers : and he gave him this answer, as :comprising the whole secret of his cheerful confidence. " The land of the living," in this connexion, seems to

imply a prospect beyond this present dying world.

V. 14. Some understand this verse, as the Psalmist’s apostrophe to his own soul : but perhaps it was chiefly intended as an exhortation to his discouraged companions in tribulation ; and also as a pious counsel to every one, who might at any future time read this admirable psalm. ( Notes, Psalms 25:4-5; Psalms 52:1-9. Micah 7:5-7. Habakkuk 2:1-3.)


He, who is " the Light of the world, is the eternal JEHOVAH : and whosoever " followeith him shall not abide " in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

(Notes, John 8:12; John 9:4-7; John 12:44-50.) He will guide every believer into the knowledge of his truth and the comforts of his salvation ; and into an acquaintance with the dangers, snares, and enemies, which beset his path, and the manner in which they are to be avoided and overcome. He will uphold and protect their souls, and their lives also, as long as that is good for them ; and he will keep them by his power through faith unto complete salvation. Happy are they, whose faith and hope are as vigorous as the security is valid. They need not fear armies of hostile assailants, or legions of infernal spirits, united for their destruction, with rage equal to their force. " In thus they " may be confident ; " for " the eternal God is their Refuge." (Notes, Deuteronomy 33:27-29.) The temporary success of the wicked is only an introduction to their deeper disgrace and misery : they shall soon stumble, and fall, and rise no more : but the trials of believers will terminate in everlasting honour and felicity. Let us then intreat the Lord to " give us faith, and to " increase our " faith ; " that we may be delivered from tormenting fears, and honour our Protector by cheerful composure, when the hearts of others are shaken, as the trees of the wood are moved by the tempestuous wind. (Is. 7: 2.) But the believer’s confidence should be carefully distinguished from the hypocrite’s presumption. Whatever be the Christian’s rank, expectations, reputation, or employment ; he considers the salvation and service of God, as his " one thing needful." (Note, Luke 1:38-42.) This he prays for and seeks after ; for what is heartily desired will be diligently sought. He devises how he may dwell near the ordinances of God, that he may have constant access to them ; for they are the rest of his Soul, to which he returns with pleasure, when he has necessarily been called from them. He delights in contemplating the beauty and glory of the Lord, in the person of Jesus Christ ; and he enquires his will, by studying his word, and praying for his teaching Spirit : he hides himself, from cares, and fears, and foes, in the presence chamber of his King and Father, where no pursuer can discover him, or will venture to assault him ; and while he drinks the waters, which flow from the Rock of ages, he fixes his hope and soul upon the Rock itself, for stability and support. With such desires and experiences, we may triumph amidst conflicts, and " rejoice in tribulation." The Saviour, who suffered and conquered for us, will conquer by us : and, in hope of rendering eternal songs of praise in the temple above, we may now celebrate every mercy, with sacrifices of exulting joy and thanksgiving here on earth. But we should all be far more joyful and thankful, if we were more instant and fervent in prayer. To the blessings of salvation the word of God invites sinners at large : yet, instead of attending to this call to seek his face, men turn their backs on him and his ways ; for the heart of him alone, who is " born of God," echoes to the invitation, and says, " Thy face, Lord, will I geek : " he fears nothing so much as the hiding of his face, and being excluded from his service, or left to come short of his salvation : every token of his displeasure grieves him ; and this renders him watchful and jealous of his own heart, and animates his supplications. The loss of earthly friends, or their unkindness, or his anxiety about them, leads him more diligently to seek, and more highly to value, a relation to his heavenly Friend : and should his attachment to the Lord forfeit the favour of all his relatives, that loss would prove his richest gain. Let then the destitute, the orphan, and the widow, seek to the LOUD, who is " a " Father of the fatherless," and he will take them up; let us all seek to be taught and led in his ways, and in a plain path, that we may neither wander, nor stumble, nor cause our enemies to rejoice : and if we meet with the envenomed tongue of slander, or with cruel persecutions, let us remember " the man after God’s own heart ; " or rather let us look unto the suffering Saviour, and pray in faith not to be delivered up into the hands of our enemies. Having found the supports and comforts of the Lord’s favour in times past ; let us not faint, but " verily " hope to see his goodness in the land of the living." Let us encourage others to " wait for the LORD," and not to yield to fear in the midst of dangers and enemies ; for his grace will be sufficient for their support and deliverance. And whatever we may meet with in this dying world, he will strengthen our hearts ; and we shall see and enjoy his goodness, " in the land of the living," in heaven, where sin and death never entered. Let us then, I say, encourage each other to " wait on the LORD," with patient expectation and with fervent prayer.

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 27". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.