Psalm 71

1 In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.

2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.

3 Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,
Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

5 For You are my hope, O Lord God;
You are my trust from my youth.

6 By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.

I have become as a wonder to many,
But You are my strong refuge.

8 Let my mouth be filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all the day.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake me when my strength fails.

10 For my enemies speak against me;
And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together,

11 Saying, “God has forsaken him;
Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.”

12 O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!

13 Let them be confounded and consumed
Who are adversaries of my life;
Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor
Who seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.

15 My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.

16 I will go in the strength of the Lord God;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.

17 O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.

18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.

19 Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high,
You who have done great things;
O God, who is like You?

20 You, who have shown me great and severe troubles,
Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 You shall increase my greatness,
And comfort me on every side.

22 Also with the lute I will praise You—
And Your faithfulness, O my God!
To You I will sing with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You,
And my soul, which You have redeemed.

24 My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long;
For they are confounded,
For they are brought to shame
Who seek my hurt.

As to why this Psalm was likely written by David, see my notes on Psalm 70.

The first three verses repeat, with slight differences, the first three verses of Psalm 31.

David follows his petition [stated at the end of Psalm 70] by asserting, unconditionally, that God is his confidence—i.e., no matter what may happen, nor that manner in which God chooses to answer his petition, he has taken refuge in the LORD. Just as God sustained him with life and strength from his birth (v.6), so David implores that He continue to sustain him even now that he has arrived at old age (v.9, and again, with “and gray,” in v.18) and his adversaries are seeking to take advantage of his physical weakness. — Wechsler, pages 181-182

refuge (v.3) = unreserved submission and selfless devotion, grounded in relationship

fortress (v.3) = an inaccessible place on a cliff or mountain

The psalmist returns several times to his reliance on the Lord”continually” and “all the day as follows: continually (v.3), continually (v.6), all the day (v.8), continually (v.14), all the day (v.15), all the day, (v.24).

In typically Davidic fashion this psalm of entreaty concludes with an unconditional declaration of thanksgiving and praise (v.14) both for who God is (i.e., characterized by perfect righteousness, as emphasized by its repetition in vs. 15, 16, 19, and 24) and what He already has done —i.e., His wonders (v.17) and (v.20) the many troubles and distresses that He has already shown (i.e., brought David through). Whatever grief his adversaries and circumstances may cause him in this life, David can (v.23) shout for joy and sing praises to God from his soul, which God has redeemed. — Wechsler, pages 181-182.

very high (v.19) = very distinguished

O Holy One of Israel (v.22) — This title for God is only used here and in Psalms 78:41 and 89:18.

redeemed (v.23) = payment of an outstanding debt.

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, it is revealed that in the last days there is to arise a definite, specific man, who will be inspired and indwelt by Satan, who will be the dictator of the world. He will run unchecked over the earth seeking to destroy all who believe in God, but he will especially seek out the Jews to destroy every living son of Abraham. It will be during that time that the song of hope will be sung by the Faithful Remnant of Jews [presented as a personality throughout this Psalm]. The Psalm projects us into the future time of “Jacob’s Trouble,” which takes place after the Christian Dispensation will have closed, and the last seven years of the interrupted Jewish Age will be here again. …

The opening verses of the 71st Psalm reveal the confidence and trust of the Remnant. They are praying in faith for deliverance. — Phillips, pages 162-163.


The wave of persecution of the Remnant will increase toward the end of the seven years, and as one reads God’s account of it in various places in the Bible, one wonders how anyone will survive. Isaiah describes the activities of the Remnant as follows: “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we hard songs, even glory to the righteous” (Isaiah 24:14-16a).

This prophetically written heart cry of the Remnant, who will live in that awful period ahead, was written while Jerusalem was a great city and while she had her kings and her statesmen. It was a vision that God let His prophet see that all His people might know what is ahead. …

This psalm may be thought of as a preface to Psalm 72, which is a glorious description of the Kingdom Age, when the “Faithful Remnant” will inherit all the promises made the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. — Phillips, pages 165-166.

Williams’ take:

[This psalm] very possibly refreshed David’s heart during the dark days of Absalom’s rebellion. It must  also have refreshed the heart of his Lord when suffering man’s hatred, and it will feed the faith of Israel in the future and darkest days of her history. It will be her response to Messiah’s heartening message of the last two verses of Psalm 31. This seventy-first Psalm shows that she will keep loving Him and trusting Him, and waiting for Him in the confidence that He will deliver her from the wicked, unrighteous, and cruel man of v.4, i.e., Antichrist. — Williams, page 355.

Other commentaries separate this from David and any specific reference to Israel. For example:

This is preeminently a song of the aged, and like old age it is reminiscent. The singer passes from memory to hope, and from experience to praise. … The song opens with a prayer for deliverance (vs. 1-8). This is not so much a cry out of present distress as a prayer that in the event of trouble he may be able to resort to God. The old man is discovered in that the first three verses are almost a direct quotation from a previous psalm (Psalm 31), perhaps one of his own. His experience of God from birth is his confidence that he will be heart now. This leads the son on in a prayer that he may still be helped in age, for his still has adversaries (v.9-13). … The singer rises to higher levels as he tells of his confidence in God, and asks that he may be helped to declare God to the succeeding generation. — Morgan, pages 127-128.

I think the take of Williams and Phillips makes much more sense.

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