Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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Ps 86:1-17. This is a prayer in which the writer, with deep emotion, mingles petitions and praises, now urgent for help, and now elated with hope, in view of former mercies. The occurrence of many terms and phrases peculiar to David's Psalms clearly intimates its authorship.

1, 2. poor and needy—a suffering child of God, as in Ps 10:12, 17; 18:27.

I am holy—or, "godly," as in Ps 4:3; 85:8.

4. lift up my soul—with strong desire (Ps 25:1).

5-7. unto all … that call upon thee—or, "worship Thee" (Ps 50:15; 91:15) however undeserving (Ex 34:6; Le 11:9-13).

8. neither … works—literally, "nothing like thy works," the "gods" have none at all.

9, 10. The pious Jews believed that God's common relation to all would be ultimately acknowledged by all men (Ps 45:12-16; 47:9).

11. Teach—Show, point out.

the way—of Providence.

walk in thy truth—according to its declarations.

unite my heart—fix all my affections (Ps 12:2; Jas 4:8).

to fear thy name—(compare Ps 86:12) to honor Thy perfections.

13, 14. The reason: God had delivered him from death and the power of insolent, violent, and godless persecutors (Ps 54:3; Eze 8:12).

15. Contrasts God with his enemies (compare Ps 86:5).

16. son … handmaid—homeborn servant (compare Lu 15:17).

17. Show me—literally, "Make with me a token," by Thy providential care. Thus in and by his prosperity his enemies would be confounded.

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