To the chief musician, for use in the liturgical service, upon Nehiloth, flutes or wind instruments of the Temple-orchestra, a psalm of David.
David was at this time in Jerusalem and composed the hymn before attending divine worship.
V. 1. Give ear to my words, O Lord, for the purpose of answering his prayer speedily; consider my meditation, hearing his sighs, his gentle complaints.
V. 2. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, his loud and insistent clamoring for help, my King, the special Ruler of Israel, and my God, for whose protection David pleads, expecting it with all confidence; for unto Thee will I pray, that being the proper attitude of the Christian at all times, and especially when he draws near to the Lord in worship.
V. 3. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning, at the time of the morning sacrifice, will I direct my prayer unto Thee, laying it on the altar as a sacrifice to God, for without true prayer neither the wood nor the burnt offering has any value, and will look up, carefully watching for every token of divine favor. David now gives the reason for his confident approach to the Lord.
V. 4. For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, God’s holiness cannot abide godless meanness; neither shall evil dwell with Thee, not being accepted as a guest of God, not abiding in His presence.
V. 5. The foolish, the boasters, the vain mockers, shall not stand in Thy sight, be in any way regarded with favor, regard, and affection; Thou hatest all workers of iniquity, those who make wrong-doing a practice.
V. 6. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing, engaging in falsehood and lying; the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. All the ungodly people, as here described, are an abomination before the Lord, and all their service is blasphemy before Him, Rev. 21, 8. 27. In opposition to them stands David, who knows himself to be sincere in his relation toward Jehovah.
V. 7. But as for me, I will come into Thy house, the Tabernacle, whose place was to be taken by a fine permanent structure, in the multitude of Thy mercy, the riches of the grace of God in the Messiah; and in Thy fear, in the proper childlike awe and reverence, will I worship toward Thy holy Temple, the place of Jehovah’s throne, for the lowly Tabernacle was soon to be replaced with a magnificent palace dedicated to God. It is in the spirit of true worship that David now makes his plea.
V. 8. Lead me, O Lord, in Thy righteousness, in the virtue of true piety, which is a gift of God, because of mine enemies, the adversaries who were carefully watching, who would have been more than pleased with any misfortune which might have befallen David; make Thy way, the path which accorded with the will of God, straight before my face, so that he might walk without hindrance and without the danger of losing his way. This is so very necessary for all believers because of the occasions of temptation and the ambushes which beset their path.
V. 9. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth, they are not steadfast and of one mind in their speech, they cannot be depended upon in what they say; their inward part, their entire heart and mind, is very wickedness, an abyss of destruction; their throat is an open sepulcher, held wide apart, in order to grab and to devour; they flatter with their tongue, they hide their real intentions under the guise of flattery. This description is used also by Paul in his description of the godless, Rom. 3, 13. David now calls down upon all such the anger of Jehovah.
V. 10. Destroy Thou them, O God, letting them expiate their guilt by a well-merited destruction; let them fall by their own counsels, the foolishness of their own planning being the cause of their overthrow; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, thrusting them aside from the midst of the congregation of believers, to whom they do not rightfully belong; for they have rebelled against Thee, this rebellion showing also in their refusal to turn to the Lord in true penitence.
V. 11. But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice, this sentence being the statement of a definite fact, for all believers rejoice in the Lord of their salvation; let them ever shout for joy, in an ecstasy of pleasure, because Thou defendest them, the protection of Jehovah being their safeguard against all attacks of the enemies; let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee, Phil. 4, 4.
V. 12. For Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous, with such spiritual blessings as make for eternal happiness; with favor wilt Thou compass him, surround him on all sides, as with a shield, the large buckler which covered the whole body being meant. That is the blessed assurance of the believers of all times, the certain protection of God against all wicked designs of all opponents, no matter how numerous and how mighty they may be. The believer trusts in Jehovah, the God of his salvation, and worships Him in holy fear, knowing that he is safe in His care.
– from Paul Kretzmann, ‘Popular Commentary of the Bible’