David strengthens his prayer by the consciousness of his religion, 1-4; by the goodness and power of God 5-10. He desires the continuance of former grace, 11-13. Complaining of the proud, he craves some token of God's goodness, 14-17.
1 [A Prayer of David.] Bow down your ear, O LORD. Hear me, for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my soul, for I am holy. O you, my God, save your servant who trusts in you.
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to you daily.
4 Bring joy to the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is no one like you, O Lord, neither are there any works like your works.
9 All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things. You are God alone.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD. I will walk in your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart and I will glorify your name forevermore.
13 For your mercy is great toward me, and you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
14 O God, the proud have risen against me and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul. They have not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion and gracious. You are patient and abundant in mercy and truth.
16 O turn to me and have mercy upon me. Give your strength to your servant and save the son of your handmaid.
17 Show me a token for good so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 86[➚]
John Calvin's Chapter Summary:
In this psalm prayers and holy meditations, engaged in with the view of nourishing and confirming faith, together with praises and thanksgivings, are intermingled. It having been difficult in the judgement of carnal reason for David to escape from the distresses with which he was environed, he sets in opposition to its conclusions the infinite goodness and power of God. Nor does he simply request deliverance from his enemies; but he also prays that the fear of God may be implanted and firmly established in heart.
[v.9] - Quoted in Revelation 15:4.