To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
2 How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood?
3 But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”
Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
7 You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
This psalm is directed to the menasseah (“choir director,” “chief musician”), which term occurs 55 times in the psalm headings and once at the end of Habakkuk, and probably signifies the conductor of the entire company of musicians and singers.
This psalm emphasizes both the source and the blessing of trust in the Lord by adopting phraseology from the Aaronic and Mosaic benedictions (v.1: “be gracious to me” [cf. Numbers 6:25b]; v.5: “offer sacrifices of righteousness [cf. Deuteronomy 33:19]; v.6: “lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us” [cf. Numbers 6:25a]; v.7: “When their grain and new wine abound … sleep” [cf. Deuteronomy 33:28; Numbers 6:26]). — Wechsler, page 28.
relieved me (v.1) = lit. “made room for me in tight places”
God of my righteousness (v.1) — God as the source of righteousness —this title for God is found only here
The specific wording here is significant, for it indicates that, based on his past experiences, David does not expect that God will fully remove the distress, but rather that He will extend relief to David in the midst of it (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 4:19; 5:10; 1 Corinthians 10:13). David’s request that God “hear” him refers not to the act of listening (for God knows what we need even before we ask; Matthew 6:8), but rather — as typically when this verb is applied to God — to the act of providing what is most needed by the petitioner. — Wechsler, page 29.
sons of men (v.2) — probably men of wealth and standing — Israelites, as seen from the injunction to sacrifice (v.5)
Be angry, and do not sin (v.4) — “be angry” can also mean “tremble” — Ephesians 4:26
be still (v.4) = be quiet — paralleled with “be angry” (or “tremble”)
many (v.6) — the “godly” of v.3
Who will show us any good? (v.6) — not a question but expressing a wish — “O that someone would provide us what is good!”
show (v.6) = lit. “cause to see” — with the sense of God providing man what is best