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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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PSALM 17

Ps 17:1-15. This Psalm is termed a prayer because the language of petition is predominant. With a just cause, sincerely presented, the writer prays for a just decision and help and protection. Pleading former mercies as a ground of hope, he urges his prayer in view of the malice, pride, rapacity, and selfishness of his foes, whose character is contrasted with his pious devotion and delight in God's favor.

2. sentence—acquitting judgment.

from thy presence—Thy tribunal.

things that are equal—just and right, do Thou regard.

3. proved … visited … tried—His character was most rigidly tested, at all times, and by all methods, affliction and others (Ps 7:10).

purposed that, &c.—or, my mouth does not exceed my purpose; I am sincere.

4. works of men—sinful practices.

by the word of thy lips—as a guide (Ps 119:9, 11, 95).

destroyer—violent man.

5. May be read as an assertion "my steps or goings have held on to Thy paths."

6. wilt hear me—that is, graciously (Ps 3:4).

7. Show—set apart as special and eminent (Ex 8:18; Ps 4:3).

thy right hand—for Thy power.

8. Similar figures, denoting the preciousness of God's people in His sight, in De 32:10, 11; Mt 23:37.

9. compass me—(compare Ps 118:10-12).

10. enclosed … fat—are become proud in prosperity, and insolent to God (De 32:15; Ps 73:7).

11. They pursue us as beasts tracking their prey.

12. The figure made more special by that of a lion lurking.

13-15. disappoint—literally, "come before," or, "encounter him." Supply "with" before "sword" (Ps 17:13), and "hand" (Ps 17:14). These denote God's power.

14. men … world—all men of this present time. They appear, by fulness of bread and large families, to be prosperous; but (Ps 17:15) he implies this will be transient, contrasting his better portion in a joyful union with God hereafter.

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