To the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
¹ Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
3 How long will you attack a man?
You shall be slain, all of you,
Like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.
4 They only consult to cast him down from his high position;
They delight in lies;
They bless with their mouth,
But they curse inwardly. Selah
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
7 In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
9 Surely men of low degree are a vapor,
Men of high degree are a lie;
If they are weighed on the scales,
They are altogether lighter than vapor.
10 Do not trust in oppression,
Nor vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase,
Do not set your heart on them.
11 God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.
Jeduthun (Intro) — A Levite, chief singer and instructor, father of one of the three families of Levitical singers. See 1 Chronicles 9:16; 16:38-42; 25:1-6; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 35:15; Nehemiah 11:17. He is mentioned in the inscriptions of Psalms 39; 62; 77.
truly (v.1) = The words “truly,” “only,” and “surely” are translations of the one Hebrew word. It occurs six times in the Psalm. Its modern meaning is “Whatever happens.” — Williams, page 348.
silently waits (v.1) = better translated “tranquility”
Verses 3 and 4 are addressed to the enemy.
David begins this second section by reiterating (in vs. 5-6) the comforting confidence with which he began the psalm, the only substantive difference begin that he substitutes “hope” for “salvation”—affirming that the “salvation” of which he spoke in verse 2 is still unrealized (and hence a reference to future and final salvation), just as “hope,” by definition, pertains to that which is yet unaccomplished and unseen (cf. Hebrews 11:1, where “things hoped for” is parallel to “things not seen”).
David concludes by exhorting his “people” (those he addresses in v.8) to look beyond the apparent prosperity of the wicked (v.9—”men of low degree”), for power and lovingkindness belong to God (i.e., they are His to the utmost degree) and by them He will eventually recompense every man according to his work (culminating at that time when Jesus returns in glory … and wrath Matthew—16:27; Romans 2:6). — Wechsler, page 166-167
“men of low degree are a vapor, men of high degree are a lie” (v. 9). I think this means that men who are “important” are impostors and lowborn men are like a breath that disappears. Verse 10 supports this by referring to the lack of value of oppression (by the important) and robbery (by the lowborn).
vapor (v.9) = air
The first two verses reveal the perfection of Messiah’s trust when suffering the hatred described in verses 3 and 4: and verses 5-8 predict the faith which His people, animated by His spirit, will repose in God when suffering the oppression of the men described in verses 9 and 10. Except morally, verses 5 and 6 are not a repetition of verses 1 and 2. They are separated by a long period of time: the one is the expression of Christ personally when on earth; the other, that of Christ sympathetically in His people’s time of future trouble.
The presence of the word “glory” in verse 7 in relation to verse 2 points to the distinction between His first coming in weakness and His future coming in power, and marks the distance which separates these two verses — Williams, page 348.
Some of what Wechsler brought out in his quote (above) seem to lean toward Williams’ interpretation, but don’t go quite as far.
One of my commentaries guesses that David wrote this Psalm at the time of Absalom’s rebellion, but says nothing to back this claim up. If David wrote this when he was king, the people mentioned in verse 8 would be those under his rule. If that’s the case, there must have been some spiritual conflict with the enemies mentioned in verses 3 and 4. There was surely some contemporary application, but I find Williams’ take compelling.
In either case, the lesson on trusting tranquilly in the Lord, who is our Rock, Salvation, and Hope, even when our enemies expect us to tumble like a leaning wall is a powerful message. I have a long way to go.