The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 62

Psa 62:1

SUPERSCRIPTION: "A PSALM OF DAVID". Absalom's rebellion -- David's flight from Jerusalem. Companion psalm to Psa 61. Note also the strong resemblances to Psa 28.

MY SOUL FINDS REST IN GOD ALONE: David's response to the cursing of Shimei: 2Sa 16:11; see also Psa 123:2.

(NT) Esp true of Jesus in his trial, when he did not answer the charges being brought against him (Mat 27:12,14). Here is the explanation of those silences before his adversaries: he was praying (cp Psa 37:7)! V 2 now applies very readily: "He is my fortress; I will never be shaken" (cp Psa 37:24).

Psa 62:3

"How long will ye imagine mischief?" (AV): The plots of the rebels.

A MAN: That is, one man, David. Note the emphasis in 2Sa 17:1-3, where the rebels are totally consumed with eliminating the one man David -- an amazing tribute to the power of David's personality. (Yet notice David's estimation of himself, at an earlier time: there is no pride in this man: he is a "dead dog", a "flea", and a "partridge": 1Sa 24:14; 26:20!)

WOULD ALL OF YOU THROW HIM DOWN?: Would David say this to include Absalom? This phrase is there by inspiration surely.

THIS TOTTERING FENCE: This is precisely how they saw (wanted to see?) David. Ct the "rock" of vv 2,6,7. (NT)

Apt figures for the fate of Jerusalem and its people: see Isa 30:13, and the whole section; cp Job 24:16; Mat 6:19; 24:43.

Psa 62:4

THEY FULLY INTEND TO TOPPLE HIM: "They consult" (AV). Absalom's council of war: 2Sa 17:14; sw 2Sa 15:14 ("bring evil").

(NT) See Mat 26:3-5; also see vv 59,60.

FROM HIS LOFTY PLACE: "Eminence" (RSV), ie the kingship.

THEY TAKE DELIGHT IN LIES: "Delight" = Heb "ratzah": a word often used for an acceptable sacrifice! Character assassination was a part of the campaign: ct v 9.

WITH THEIR MOUTHS THEY BLESS, BUT IN THEIR HEARTS THEY CURSE: Overt blessings, and covert curses. This must have gone on for a long time before the rebels came out into the open (cp Psa 5:6,9; 41:6).

SELAH: And hence the allusions in this Psa to God the "Rock". See Lesson, Selah.

Psa 62:5

FIND REST, O MY SOUL, IN GOD ALONE: "If you have a problem, take it honestly to God: that is, honestly seek His guidance, and honestly desire to follow it. Let us not go to God seeking favors, or exception to His holy laws, or confirmation of preconceived answers. Go to God to give, not to get. He has already given us far more than we deserve. Recognize that, and go to Him intensely desiring to make tiny and token repayment in love for His infinite goodness and blessing. Give Him freely everything you have. It is nothing, at its very best (and let us ever realize that) -- but He, as a father with a child, accepts it gratefully in understanding love. But be very sure it is everything. Once you have solemnly committed yourself to Him, be sure you hold nothing back. 'God hath no pleasure in fools.' Remember Ananias and Sapphira" (GVG).

Psa 62:7

MY SALVATION AND MY HONOR DEPEND ON GOD: "Keep your mind on God: on God Himself as a person -- not just on what He has done, or what He has made, or what He has said -- except as these things direct your mind to Him Himself. It is so easy to 'do God's work' all day, study God's Word all day -- and never really think about or make personal contact with God Himself. Build your whole conscious life on God as the closest, most real person of your acquaintance. Keep this personal aspect very prominent in all your thinking. It must become your greatest motive power, your greatest strength, your greatest comfort and joy. It is all you need. It is everything you need. Other crutches and supports are graciously given us because we do not have the spiritual comprehension and maturity to fully utilize this supreme, all-sufficient one. But the less we rely on anything or anyone secondary, the better. Appreciate all other helps and comforts and companionships. Be thankful for them. Draw fully on them as they are given. But never build on them -- only on God, Who can never change, never fail" (GVG).

MY REFUGE: Why did David flee to Mahanaim, and not to one of the official cities of refuge? Was this because, technically, he had not slain anyone? Or was it because he knew himself to be already forgiven (2Sa 12:13)?

Psa 62:8

TRUST IN HIM AT ALL TIMES, O PEOPLE: Particular ref to those who still stayed loyal to David. The word comes 3 times in 2Sa 17:2,3. Note also: "a refuge for us".

POUR OUT YOUR HEARTS TO HIM: Like the blood of the Passover lamb was poured out at the base of the altar (Psa 22:14; 42:4; cp Lam 2:11,12). Ct this openness before God with the secret scheming of v 4.

See Lesson, Selah.

Psa 62:9

LOWBORN MEN ARE BUT A BREATH: "Vanity" (AV) (Hebrew "hebel": nothingness, a wind, a "breath": RV mg) is the key word in Ecclesiastes: "Vanity of vanities... all in vanity!" The life of a man is like a breath of air, just as insubstantial; breathe it out on a cool morning, and watch it disappear! So is man! Literally, here, "men of Adam are Abel"! Contrast a "breath" with THE "rock" (vv 2,6,7).

"Lowborn men (adam) ... highborn men (ish)." This latter phrase comes in Psa 4:2, another "Absalom" psalm. Also, see Psa 49:2.

IF WEIGHED ON A BALANCE, THEY ARE NOTHING: "In the balances they will go up" (RV). Men of low degree are nothing, but men of high degree are a "delusion" -- because they are less than nothing! They are not only "weighed in the balances, and found wanting" (Dan 5:27), but when put in the "scales", with nothing on the other side, they still go up! It is true, an ambitious man wants to "go up" in the world; but hardly in this way!

"Man's worthlessness, taken by himself, is so marked as to defy the force of gravity. Compared with things of substance he is so unsubstantial as to be almost anti-substantial... We need something like this to make us aware of what insuperable obstacles lie in the way of success if we battle alone" (ADN). Similar estimates of the worth of natural man are to be found in Psa 39:5,6; 49:20; 103:15,16; Isa 40:6-8, 15,17; 41:24; 1Pe 1:24,25.

Psa 62:10

EXTORTION... STOLEN GOODS: The inevitable accompaniment of rebellion -- a breakdown of law and order.

THOUGH YOUR RICHES INCREASE: If riches increase, through the expropriation of property of those still supporting David (note the relevance of Pro 1:10-14), set not your heart upon them; ie do not let this loss worry you unduly.

Psa 62:11

ONE THING GOD HAS SPOKEN, TWO THINGS HAVE I HEARD: The extraordinary emphasis (cp Job 33:14; 40:5) here suggests the words to some divine pronouncement, when David was in danger of losing his kingdom: (a) 2Sa 8; Psa 2:4-7; Psa 60, notes, or (b) His present experience -- through Zadok the seer -- perhaps by Urim and Thummim: 2Sa 15:27. (NT) Prob the Father spoke thus to His Son many times, but on two occasions He spoke to him esp for the benefit of others: Mat 17:5; Joh 12:28.

YOU, O GOD, ARE STRONG: "Power belongs to God" (AV). "For with God all things are poss" (Mar 10:27) -- this in the context of rich men's inability to save themselves! "There is no power but of God" (Rom 13:1). He is in control of human affairs. But it calls for real faith to believe this. No wonder so many fall back on the easier, but erroneous (because misinterpreted) philosophy of "Time and chance". (NT) Read vv 9-12a with ref to Barnabas, poss the "rich young ruler" (Mat 19:16-22; Mar 10:17-22; Luk 18:18-23). Born of high degree, he yet made himself of low degree, and learned not to set his heart on his riches. God spoke to him once (through Jesus), and twice (Act 4), and the Holy Spirit (Act 11:24) taught him that power and also mercy belong to God.

Psa 62:12

YOU, O LORD, ARE LOVING: Here David climbs higher than "fortress" or "refuge" or even "rock"; instead, he depends on God's forgiveness of his sins and on the great promise of 2Sa 7: "the sure mercies of David".

SURELY YOU WILL REWARD EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAS DONE: God does not operate on this principle towards men of faith like David; if He did, then all men would perish utterly! But towards faithless sinners like the rebels, yes, He does! Kay sums up this verse: God is "invincible Power to meet the stubborn, or inexhaustible Grace to meet the penitent." Cp Pro 24:12; Jer 17:10; Mat 16:27; Rom 2:6; 1Co 3:8; 2Ti 4:14; Rev 2:23; 20:12,13; 22:12.

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