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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 64:1

 

 

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; Preserve my life from dread of the enemy.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Hear my voice - The psalmist feared for his life, and the lives of his fellow-captives; and he sought help of God. He prayed, and he lifted up his voice; and thus showed his earnestness.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-64.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer - The use of the word voice here would seem to imply that this was audible prayer, or that, though alone, he gave utterance to his petitions aloud. We have this same use of the word often in the Psalms, making it probable that even private prayers were uttered in an audible manner. In most cases, when there is no danger of being overheard, or of its being construed as ostentation or Pharisaism, this is favorable to the spirit of secret devotion. Compare the notes at Daniel 6:10. The word here rendered prayer means properly speech, discourse; then, complaint; then, meditation. It is most commonly rendered complaint. See Job 7:13; Job 9:27; Job 10:1; Job 21:4; Psalm 55:2 (notes); Psalm 142:2. It refers here to a state of mind caused by trouble and danger, when the deep meditation on his troubles and dangers found expression in audible words - whether those words were complaint or petition. As there are no indications in the psalm that David was disposed to complain in the sense of blaming God, the proper interpretation here is that his deep meditations took the form of prayer.

Preserve my life from fear of the enemy - Either Saul or Absalom. He prayed that his life might be made so secure that he would not have occasion to be afraid of his enemy.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-64.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 64

EVIL SLANDERERS JUDGED BY THE LORD

SUPERSCRIPTION: FOR THE CHIEF MUSICIAN. A PSALM.

A SONG OF DAVID.

Again, there is no legitimate objection to receiving the superscription as correct. It is an older opinion, by many centuries, than those hypothetical ascriptions which represent it as "reflecting the situation between Mordecai and Haman,"[1] or as concerning the conflict "Between Daniel and his enemies in Babylon which found its climax in the lion's den."[2]

Not only are the words of this psalm applicable to both Mordecai and Daniel, but to many other persons and situations also.

David's life was troubled by many situations in which the words of this psalm might have been inspired; but very few scholars have even hazarded a guess as to what, exactly, the real occasion was. We respect the words of Rawlinson who named it.

"The author is probably David, as asserted in the title; and the occasion or time was that period a little preceding the open revolt of Absalom."[3]

The frequent mention of the "secrecy" of the enemies in the first part of the Psalm might indicate that the revolt of Absalom was in its formative stages. It is also true that there could have been many other occasions in the psalmists reign when similar opposition was manifested.

Seemingly, the most natural divisions of the psalm are (1) Psalms 64:1-4; (2) Psalms 64:5-6; and (3) Psalms 64:7-10.

Psalms 64:1-4

"Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint:

Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

Hide me from the secret counsel of evil-doers,

From the tumult of the workers of iniquity;

Who have whet their tongues like a sword,

And have aimed their arrows, even bitter words,

That they may shoot in secret places at the perfect:

Suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not."

"Preserve my life from fear of the enemy" (Psalms 64:1). The interest in this verse is that the psalmist does not pray for protection against the enemy, but that he may be delivered from the fear that might be caused by the situation. "This makes good sense, because such deliverance would put an end to all impediments to clear thinking and firm resistance."[4]

"Secret counsel ... secret places" (Psalms 64:1,4). A prominent feature of the activity of the evil-doers here is their secrecy. They did not come out openly against David, but contrived many devices by which they hoped to undermine his authority and eventually destroy him.

"They whet their tongues ... aim their arrows ... even bitter words" (Psalms 64:3). A second prominent feature of this conspiracy was simple enough. It was a campaign of secret slander. Spurgeon has a priceless little paragraph about that type of campaign.

"Is it possible for justice to invent a punishment sufficiently severe to meet the case of the dastard who defiles my good name and remains himself in concealment? An open liar is an angel compared with this demon. Vipers and cobras are harmless and lovable creatures compared with such a reptile. The devil himself might blush at being the father of so base an offspring."[5]

"In this situation, the psalmist knows of his enemies but not when they may strike."[6] That is why he prays to be hidden (Psalms 64:2).

Speaking of all that activity of the enemies mentioned in Psalms 64:3, Matthew Henry observed: "If they spent half that much energy in the pursuit of righteousness, it might serve to save them."[7]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-64.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer,.... The prayer of the psalmist was vocal and expressed in a mournful manner, with groans and cries, as the wordF26בשיחי "in querimonia mea", Tigurine version; "in oratione mea gemebunda", Gejerus; so Michaelis. used signifies, and with great ardour and fervency; his condition, by reason of his enemies, being very distressing, and therefore he is very eager and earnest that he might be heard;

preserve my life from fear of the enemy; David had his enemies. Saul and his courtiers, and was afraid of them; Christ had his enemies the wicked Jews, who sought his life before the time, and therefore he walked no more in Judea till near the time; and whose human nature was sometimes possessed of the fears of death, though they were sinless ones: the church and people of God have their enemies; as the men of the world, who revile, reproach, and persecute them; Satan their adversary, who goes about seeking to devour them; and their own corruptions and lusts which war against their souls; and death, the last enemy, which is so to human nature, though by the grace of Christ friendly to the saints. And the people of God have their fears of these enemies; they are afraid of men, their revilings and persecutions, though they have no reason since God is on their side; and of Satan, whose fiery darts and buffetings are very distressing, though if resisted he will flee; and of their own corruptions, lest they should one day perish by them; or, at least, lest they should break out, to the wounding of their souls, and the dishonour of God: and some of them, through fear of death, are all their lifetime subject to bondage: which fears, though they are not the saints' excellencies, but their infirmities, yet are consistent with the grace of God; and under the power and influence of these fears they apprehend sometimes their life to be in danger; and therefore pray to the God of their life, who has given them it, and is the preserver of it, that he would preserve their natural life, as he does; as also their spiritual life, which is preserved by him; is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord their God, and is hid with Christ in God.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-64.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

"To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David." Hear my a voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

(a) In that he calls to God with his voice, it is a sign that his prayer was vehement, and that his life was in danger.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-64.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalm 64:1-10. A prayer for deliverance from cunning and malicious enemies, with a confident view of their overthrow, which will honor God and give joy to the righteous.

preserve … fear — as well as the danger producing it.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-64.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Hear my voice, O God! He begins by saying that he prayed earnestly, and with vehemence, stating, at the same time, what rendered this necessary. The voice is heard in prayer, proportionally to the earnestness and ardor which we feel. He condescends upon the circumstances of distress in which he was presently placed, and takes notice of the dangers to which his life was exposed from enemies, with other points fitted to excite the favorable consideration of God. His praying that God would protect his life, proves that it must have been in danger at this time. In the second verse, he intimates that his enemies were numerous; and that, without divine assistance, he would be unable to sustain their attacks. Some difficulty attaches to the words, from their being susceptible of two meanings. The Hebrew term סוד , sod, which signifies a secret, is understood by some to refer here to the secret plots of the wicked, and by others, to denote their meeting together for consultation. In translating it, I have employed a word which admits of either interpretation. The term רגשת , rigshath, used in the second part of the verse, may also be rendered in two ways, as meaning either an assembly of men, or noise and uproar. It comes from רגש, ragash, a root signifying to make a tumult. This would suggest that the word סוד , sod, in the former clause, might refer to the clandestine plots of the wicked, and רגשת, rigshath, in the latter, to their open violence; and that David prayed to be protected, on the one hand, from the malicious purposes of his enemies, and, on the other, from the forcible measures by which they proceeded to put them into execution. But the meaning first given, and which I have adopted, seems the most simple and natural, That he solicits the compassion of God, by complaining of the number that were banded against him. Still his language implies that he looked upon the protection of heaven as amply sufficient against the greatest combination of adversaries. I may add, that there is an implied plea for strengthening his cause in prayer, in what he says of the malice and wickedness of those who were opposed to him; for the more cruel and unjust the conduct of our enemies may be, we have proportionally the better ground to believe that God will interpose in our behalf.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-64.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

GOD THE DEFENCE OF THE PERSECUTED

‘Preserve my life.’

Psalms 64:1

I. This is the cry of distress, and yet not of despair.—The Psalmist is beset by wily enemies who plan and plot against him with malicious and persistent determination. In great detail he describes their method. It is that of secret counsel and studied cruelty. They have one object, that of harming the righteous by shooting at him from secret places. They strengthen themselves by declaring that none can see them. This is his distress. The warfare is unequal. His foes are not in the open, but under cover. At verse seven we have the beginning of his account of the reason why his distress is not despair. Over against their evil determination to shoot at the righteous is the fact that God shall shoot at them. That is the security of the trusting soul.

II. In New Testament times the truth is expressed differently, but the principle abides, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’—The practical application of this to the righteous is that there is no need for them to attempt to take vengeance on their enemies. Their one care is to trust in God. Such trust will issue in gladness, and the inevitable vindication of their faith. In order to this we ever need to pray, as the Psalmist does, not so much for deliverance from enemies as for deliverance from fear of them.

Illustration

‘The Divine deed, patent to all, of judicial retribution, becomes a blessing to humanity. Passed on from mouth to mouth it becomes a warning. For the righteous in particular it becomes a consoling and joyous confirmation of faith. The righteous rejoices in his God, Who by judging and redeeming in this fashion makes history the history of redemption; with so much the more confidence he hides himself in Him; and all the upright glory in God, Who looks into the heart, and in deeds acknowledges those whose hearts are conformed to Him.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/psalms-64.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 64:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

A Psalm of David] Of like argument with the former. The Arabic prefaceth, when Taluth (i.e. Saul) persecuted him. By this and many the like psalms we may see that David did not complain for nothing; and his singular constancy under so many trials may well make us resolve as Jerome did when he had read the Life of holy Hilarion, he rolled up the book and said, Well, Hilarion (David) shall be the champion that I will imitate.

Ver. 1. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer] Or, in my meditation. To an effectual prayer must concur meditation, invocation, affection, and belief of audience, as here.

Preserve my life] Heb. lives; so usually called for the many faculties, operations, revolutions, commodities of life.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-64.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 64.

David prayeth for deliverance, complaining of his enemies: he promiseth himself to see such an evident destruction of them, that the righteous shall rejoice at it.

To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד מזמור למנצח lamnatseach mizmor ledavid. This psalm was probably written by David when he was fallen into disgrace with Saul, and driven from his court, perhaps, through the calumnies and falsehoods which Saul's courtiers vented against him, in order to ingratiate themselves with the king. He complains in it greatly of the treachery of his enemies, which he describes in strong metaphors to the 6th verse, after which follows the assurance of their downfall, and the exaltation of the righteous.

Psalms 64:1. From fear of the enemy The fear seems to be something contrived to destroy, by way of terrifying. See Isaiah 24 where it is mentioned with the pit and the snare, as an engine of destruction.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-64.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Psalm is very similar to many that we meet with. It contains the cry of an awakened soul against the enemies of his salvation, in which is contained an assurance of deliverance, from the well known character of a covenant God, and a well-grounded dependence upon him.

To the chief musician, A Psalm of David


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-64.html. 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

PSALM 64

THE ARGUMENT

The matter of this Psalm plainly declares that it was made in a time when David was greatly distressed and reproached; which he was both under Saul, and in the time of Absalom’s rebellion.

The psalmist complaining of his enemies, and describing their crafty and wicked practices, prayeth unto God for guard and deliverance, Psalms 64:1-6; foretelleth also their utter ruin, to the honour of God, and joy of the righteous, Psalms 64:7-10.

From fear, i.e. from danger; the act or passion of fear being oft put for its object, danger, as Psalms 14:5 1 Peter 3:14, and oft elsewhere.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-64.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. My prayer—The word “prayer,” here, takes the sense of complaint, as in Psalms 55:2, and title of Psalms 102, “not in tones of pain, but in words.”Delitzsch.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-64.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Of the captivity. That is, the people of the captivity of Babylon. This is not in the Hebrew, but is found in the ancient translation of the Septuagint. (Challoner) --- From the word canticle. (Haydock) --- It is of little authority. Jeremias and Ezechiel were never together. (Calmet) (Berthier) --- Perhaps the former might have put this psalm of David into the hands of the people, when they were going to Babylon, and Ezechiel might have exhorted them to recite it at their return. (Haydock) --- It seems to have been composed by David, in thanksgiving for rain; (Psalm xxviii.; Muis) or some of the Levites wrote it, after God had removed the scourge of drought, with which he had afflicted the people, in consequence of their neglecting to finish the temple, Aggeus i. 4., and Malachias iii. 9. (Calmet) --- David predicts the return from captivity, (Berthier) and the vocation of the Gentiles, (St. Hilary, &c.; Menochius) which the prophets Jeremias, &c., had insinuated, by the coming of the nations from Babylon, so as to forsake idolatry. (St. Augustine, &c.) (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-64.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Title. A Psalm. Hebrew. mizmor. App-65.

of David = relating to David and the true David.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

prayer = musing.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-64.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

Psalms 64:1-10.-Two strophes. He prays for preservation from the secret counsels of the wicked (Psalms 64:1-5); the completion of laying their plots foreruns their sudden destruction, God turning their malice upon themselves, so that all discern God's doing, and the righteous are glad in Him (Psalms 64:6-10). The slanders of tongue apply to the Sauline persecution. But the truth is general: all the plots of the ungodly, including the last Antichrist, shall utterly fail, when seeming on the verge of my success.

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer - Hebrew 'in my meditating'-my plaintive, meditative prayer [ b


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-64.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) My prayer.—Rather, my cry, complaint, as in Psalms 55:2.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-64.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
A. M. 2943. B.C. 1061. Hear
27:7; 55:1,2; 130:1,2; 141:1; 143:1-3; Lamentations 3:55,56
preserve
17:8,9; 31:13-15; 34:4; 56:2-4; Acts 18:9,10; 27:24

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 64:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-64.html.

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