Psalm 28:1-9

A Psalm of David.

1 To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.

Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.

Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.

Because they do not regard the works of the Lord,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

The Lord is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

A cursory reading might seem to suggest that his [David’s] appeal for help herein is based on his own merit, a closer reading and consideration of how key phrases are used elsewhere in the Old Testament reveals instead that it is based on God’s mercy, grace, and covenant faithfulness — in short, on His love. Accordingly, in its overall structure and thematic progression this psalm parallels God’s own description in Malachi 1:2-5 of the three ways in which His love for Israel is demonstrated — to wit: (1) in His accomplished gift of unmerited intimacy (Psalm 28:1-2; Malachi 1:2), (2) in His ongoing judgment of their enemies (Psalm 28:3-5; Malachi 1:3-4), and (3) in His future restoration and blessing of the nation (Psalm 28:6-9; Malachi 1:5). — Wechsler, page 87.

pit (v.1) — Sheol (Psalm 30:3; 88:4)

hear (v.2) = hear intelligently, generally used with the implication of response or obedience

supplications (vs.2 and 6) = pleas for grace — which demonstrates that David knew that he did not deserve what God had given him but could expect it because of his relationship with God

I lift up my hands (v.2) — Psalm 63:4; 134:2; 141:2

them (v.4) — the wicked — repeated three times for emphasis and contrast with the psalmist, who does have faith

they do not regard the works of the Lord (v.5) — The wicked are without excuse. They deliberately ignore or deny the evidence for a Creator God. — Isaiah 5:12, 18-19; Romans 1:18-20

strength (v.8) = a fortified place, a fort, defense

forever (v.9) — The salvation David has in mind here is Israel’s final, complete salvation and restoration.

David implores God to demonstrate His love by “requiting” (i.e., judging, both militarily [by defeat] and spiritually) his enemies. In this case those enemies are the Gentile nations around Israel, as indicated by (1) David’s description of them as those who “do not regard (lit. “discern”) the deeds of the Lord, nor the work of His hands” (v.5a), employing the same phraseology used to describe these nations in Deuteronomy 32:27, and (2) his expectation that the Lord “will tear them down and not build them up” (v.5b), which parallels the phraseology of God’s declaration concerning Edom (a biblical prototype of Israel’s enemies in general) in Malachi 1:4: “They may build, but I will tear (them) down.” It should be noted, moreover, that David’s reason for imploring God to requite his/Israel’s enemies is not that they are his/Israel’s enemies per se — or even that they are more intrinsically depraved than the Israelites — but that, as reflected by their opposition to Israel, they are opposed to the person, standards, and work of God Himself. — Wechsler, page 88

Again, Williams sees this Psalm as a prayer by the Messiah on behalf of Israel. He considers “His Anointed” in verse 8 to be the proof of this. His translation of that verse is “Jehovah is His strength; yea, He is a stronghold of salvation to His Messiah.”

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