Psalm 7, Part 1 of 2, (series: Lessons on Psalms)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tom Lowe


Psalm 7—Perfect man in the midst of false witnesses.


Title: Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.


1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:
2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)
5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.
6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.
7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.
8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.
9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
10 My defense is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.


Introduction

This Psalm is basically a plea for divine vindication with regard to the oppressor’s allegations and actions. David’s confidence in the divine judge is the backbone of Psalm 7. Abraham was also one who had the utmost confidence in God bringing judgment to the wicked.

That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)

The title of this psalm contains one of the most enigmatic terms found in the superscriptions of the psalms—“a Shiggaion (Heb.) of David.” It is probably related to the idea of wondering, reeling, veering, or weaving. Although the NKJV translates it “meditation,” it more than likely conveys shifting emotions or movements of thought. Consequently, the term may also indicate the song’s irregularity in rhythm. “He sang” also indicates this was a vocal solo. The occasion or reason given for the writing is concerning the words of Cush* the Benjamite, but it cannot be readily identified from the historical books; however, whoever this was or whatever the name represented, some enemy had obviously been making false charges against David. It is generally assumed that this psalm belongs to the period of Saul’s persecution. The theme is God’s vindication of His servant and judgment on his enemies


* Note: The Talmud identifies Cush with Saul; he may have been one of Saul’s fanatical fellow-tribesmen, like Shimei (2 Sam. 16:5)


Commentary

1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:
2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

David prays for deliverance—“save me . . . deliver me.” This appeal is based upon his personal trust in God. The attack of the enemy also appears personal, as indicated by the terms “persecute me,” “deliver me,” and “my soul.” The attack on the psalmist is made by one person, which we gather from the phrases “Lest he tear my soul” (v. 2), “If I have rewarded evil unto him” (v. 4), and “I have delivered him” (v. 4).

The situation appears to involve David defending himself from false accusations made against him by his enemies; one of which (Cush) is to be particularly feared because he is said here to be as violent as an angry lion. Cush lied about David, and Saul pursued David. David fled to the Lord for refuge, because the Lord knew that David was innocent of Saul’s accusations. David knew that if God did not rescue him, no one could.


3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)

This verse seems to express his enemy’s slanderous charge that he had done evil to one that was at peace with him, robbing him without cause. David affirmed his innocence before the Lord and asked the

Supreme Judge to vindicate him because his hands are clean. David wasn’t claiming to be sinless; he was stating that he was blameless in his motives and actions.

Unjust and innocent suffering in this world is something I don’t understand. I don’t propose to understand it, but I want to say this to you: I know somebody who does understand it, and He is going to explain it to us someday. There are things in my life and things in your life that we don’t understand. I can’t explain your trouble, because I don’t even know why I have had to go through some things; but He is going to explain it someday.

5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

David was certain that he did not deserve to be persecuted in this way and for this reason. His words reveal a conviction of personal innocence almost as vehement as that of Job when he closed the debate with his friends (Job 31). He was willing to put his protest in the form of an oath and to accept any punishment he justly deserved.

It seems highly probable that his protestations of innocence was made in the temple in accordance with a procedure indicated in 1 Kings 8:31-32 . . .

If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house. Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. (1 Kings 8:31-32) When a man has sustained an injury, and charges it on a suspected person, though not able to bring direct evidence of the fact, the accused is permitted to come before the altar of God, and purge himself by his personal oath.

The oath concludes with the Psalmist swearing that if his guilt is proven, he will pay for it with the loss of his life, and probably at the hand of his enemy. He was willing to accept God’s judgment, and should the Lord find him guilty he was willing to accept His discipline, but he knew his hands were pure in this matter.

Self-pronounced curses, such as this, are powerful protestations of innocence (not sinlessness) in the context of being falsely charged. Job was another innocent man falsely accused . . .

"Does He not see my ways And number all my steps?" If I have walked with falsehood, And my foot has hastened after deceit, Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity.…” (Job 31:4-6) I desire nothing more than to have my heart and life weighed in just balances, and searched out by the all-seeing God.

The nature of the accusation against David is not specifically stated, however, several Bible scholars have offered suggestions based upon the context and subject matter, and the Biblical record of Israel’s greatest king. Those who sought David’s life accused him of one of the crimes below:

He attempted to take vengeance upon God’s anointed, King Saul.
The words of verse 4b point to the incident described in 1 Samuel 24:1-12, where David had the opportunity to kill Saul while he slept, but instead, he merely “cut off the corner of his robe,” and left.

He committed a fraud or dishonest act of such proportions that it could be described as plundering. The seriousness of the offense is aggravated by the allegation that he committed the wrong against a friend who trusted him; we might call him a bosom buddy.

He committed the crime of theft against a fellow countryman.
The word “dust” means the dust that fills the grave, or as it is commonly used as a euphemism for the grave itself. To let . . . down my life upon the earth, and lay . . . in the dust means to be dead and buried

Now we come to the wonderful part. This is not the darkness of night as we saw in Psalm 6, but this is morning light.

6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.

David didn’t take matters into his own hands, but in faith turned Saul and his scheming men over to the Lord. “Arise” is like the sound of a battle cry; however, it is a bold figure of speech to use when addressing our God “who never slumbers nor sleeps,” but it is probably used to point out the necessity of immediate judgment. The appeal is for God to arise in His anger and vindicate the psalmist in a judgment in which the fury of my enemies will be brought to an end. It is certain that the psalmist is not thinking here of the final world judgment, since he is in need of an immediate divine intervention in his favor. He assumes that the Lord is not above setting in a great inquest to consider the case of a single petitioner. The conception of the psalmist that each individual has a place in the thoughts of the Lord has parallels in the New Testament (Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 18:1-8).

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