Psalm 63:1-11

A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

¹ O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.

Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.

Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

10 They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

The superscription tells us that it was written in the wilderness of Judah. But the word “king” (v.11) forbids our supposing that the Psalm was penned during the Sauline persecution. It was probably written amid the events recorded in 2 Samuel 15:23-28. — Meyer, page 78

In Hebrew David’s opening expression “Thou art my God” is arranged in grammatically less typical fashion as “My God Thou art,” by which he intends to underscore not simply the deity of the LORD, but the comforting and joy-giving fact that the LORD, who is the only true deity, is his God, personally and intimately, even when he is in the wilderness removed from His dwelling presence in the sanctuary (v.2).

By the statement “Your lovingkindness is better than life” (v.3) David means that God’s [covenant love (His faithful and continual expression of what is best for those whom He views as His own under the promise of the Abrahamic covenant)], which will bring him into the glory and complete joy of the next (eternal) life, is better than anything that the present life has to offer. — Wechsler, page 167

marrow and fatness (v.5) — highly valued and nourishing foods in David’s time

follows close (v.8) = clings, the same word used for husband-wife intimacy in Genesis 2:24.

Portion for jackals (v.10) — Absalom’s army was badly routed, and many of the slain must have fed the jackals which roamed the forest (2 Samuel 18:6-8). — Meyer, page 79

swears by (v.11) = places their confidence in

speak lies (v.11) = contradict what God has said

Williams’ take:

When David was in the Wilderness of Judah exiled from the worship of the Tabernacle (v.2), this prophetic message was given him by the Spirit to refresh his heart and sustain his faith. It sings of the first and second Advents of David’s Son and Lord. His first Advent occupies verses 1-10; His second, verse 11.

Verses 1 and 9 speak of the earth—the one, its surface; the other its lower parts. He descended from the Father’s glory to the surface of the earth and found it dry and thirsty. His enemies shall descend into the lower parts of the earth and will there find not one drop of water to cool their parched tongues.

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