The Psalms

Psalm 17

David, in confidence of his integrity, craves defense from God against his enemies, 1-9. He shows their pride, craft, and eagerness, 10-12. He prays against them in confidence of his hope, 13-15.

1 [A Prayer of David.]

Hear the right, O LORD./
Attend to my cry./
Give ear to my prayer,/
which does not go out of feigned lips.

Let my sentence come forth from your presence./
Let your eyes behold the things that are equal.

You have proved my heart./
You have visited me in the night./
You have tried me and shall find nothing./
I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Concerning the works of men,/
by the word of your lips/
I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer.

Uphold my goings in your paths/
so that my footsteps do not slip.

I have called upon you, for you will hear me, O God./
Incline your ear to me and hear my speech.

Show your wonderful loving-kindness,/
O you who save by your right hand/
those who put their trust in you/
from those who rise up against them.

Keep me as the apple of your eye./
Hide me under the shadow of your wings,

From the wicked who oppress me,/
from my deadly enemies who encompass me.

10 They are enclosed in their own fat./
They speak proudly with their mouth.

11 They have now compassed us in our steps./
They have set their eyes bowing down to the earth,

12 Like a lion that is greedy of his prey/
and like a young lion lurking in secret places.

13 Arise, O LORD./
Disappoint him. Cast him down./
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,

14 From men who are your hand, O LORD,/
from men of the world who have their portion in this life/
and whose belly you fill with your hidden treasure./
They are full of children/
and leave the rest of their substance to their babies.

15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness./
I shall be satisfied with your likeness when I awake.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 17[➚]


John Calvin's Chapter Summary:

This psalm contains a mournful complaint against the cruel pride of David's enemies. He protests that he did not deserve to be persecuted with such inhumanity, inasmuch as he had given them no cause for exercising their cruelty against him. At the same time, he beseeches God, as his protector, to put forth his power for his deliverance. The inscription of the psalm does not refer to any particular time, but it is probable that David here complains of Saul and his associates.