New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary


Psa 28:1 By David.
To You, Yahweh, I call. My rock, don’t be deaf to me; lest, if You are silent to me, I would become like those who go down into the pit-
Rocks are only a place of safety if they have caves within them. The imagery suggests this is a wilderness Psalm, whilst David was on the run from Saul. Indeed this is how probably most of the Psalms originated, although they were edited for relevance to later situations and generations. 

Psa 28:2 Hear the voice of my petitions when I cry to You, when I lift up my hands toward Your Most Holy Place-
There is a repeated Biblical theme that the believer's relationship with the Father too is essentially mutual. David lifts himself up to God (Ps. 25:1; 28:2; 86:4), and asks God to lift up Himself in response (Ps. 7:6; 10:12; 94:2). David at this point is in exile from the sanctuary but still prays towards it. This therefore became appropriate material for the Jewish captives of later generations.

Psa 28:3 Don’t draw me away with the wicked-
This is the language of final condemnation. David is asking not to be condemned along with the wicked at the last day. 

With the workers of iniquity who speak peace with their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts- Clearly David has in view specific people with whom he mixed, but knew they would be condemned at the last day. We query whether such judgment of others' salvation was appropriate.


Psa 28:4 Give them according to their work, and according to the wickedness of their doings. Give them according to the working of their own hands; bring back on them what they deserve-
Throughout David’s Psalms in Ps. 1-72, he repeatedly asks for torture upon the sinners and blessing upon himself as the righteous. He speaks of how sinners should be “contemned” in the eyes of the righteous (Ps. 15:4), the gatherings of sinners should be “hated” and sinners should not be fellowshipped (Ps. 26:4-6; Ps. 31:6) and how God’s uprightness is shown to the upright and His judgment to the judgmental (Ps. 18:25,26; Ps. 33:22). He invites God’s judgment upon himself and others according to their and his works (Ps. 28:4).  Frequently he alludes to Saul as “the violent man”- even though David committed his share of violence- and asks judgment upon him (Ps. 18:48). Only those with clean hands and pure heart like himself could have fellowship with God (Ps. 24:3,4). Psalm 37 doesn’t indicate any desire to convert the sinners but rather an expectation of their judgment and destruction. God and David laugh at the wicked because their day is coming (Ps. 37:13). There’s no spirit of grace here at all- perhaps that’s why Zech. 12:10 specifically says that the spirit of grace will have to be poured out upon the house of David in the last days. This attitude changed after the sin with Bathsheba, but still something of the old self righteousness and judgmental attitudes are to be found in David in Psalms written after that.

Psa 28:5 Because they don’t respect the works of Yahweh, nor the working of His hands, He will break them down and not build them up-
This is alluded to in 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10 about how we ought to build up the weak and condemned, rather than destroying them. It's as if Paul felt David had things the wrong way around at this point. See on :3,4.

Psa 28:6 Blessed be Yahweh, because He has heard the voice of my petitions-
As so often in the Psalms, there appears a change in attitude half way through them. What begins as desperate pleading turns into a peaceful sense of having been answered by God. This could have been because of some visible or audible answer coming in the course of the prayer. But I would suggest it is far truer to the experience of prayerful people that in the course of prayer, we who began in urgent pleading with God for action become convinced that in essence He has already responded. And we see this often in the Psalms.

Psa 28:7 Yahweh is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in Him, and I have been helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices. With my song I will thank Him-
This is another reference to Abraham, for whom Yahweh was a shield (Gen. 15:1). As noted on :6, David feels motivated to thank God for answers which he has apparently not yet received.

Psa 28:8 Yahweh is their strength-
"Strength" is Yeshua. So we have here an allusion to 'Jesus Christ / the anointed'.  

He is a stronghold of salvation to His anointed- In Old Testament times, God described His whole people as His anointed one, His Christ: “The Lord is a strength unto his people, and he is the saving strength of his anointed” (Ps. 28:8 RVmg.). The whole people were His anointed King, His Messiah, the anointed one. And so it is for all those today who are “in Christ”. Thus the prophecy about Christ personally that He would tread upon snakes and wild animals (Ps. 91:13) is quoted as being fulfilled in the disciples, who ‘were’ Christ on their preaching mission (Lk. 10:19; Mk. 16:18). Zion was the stronghold, but even outside the sanctuary, David realized God was just as much present and active.

Psa 28:9 Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance. Be their shepherd also, and bear them up forever
- The feelings and pulse of David are expressed at more length than those of any other Bible character; and therefore in these we are to see something of the Lord we follow. It is significant that David is seen as the representative of Israel ["be their shepherd also"], just as was and is the Lord- hence, e.g., the confusion between “the city of Judah” and “the city of David” (2 Kings 14:20 cp. 2 Chron. 25:28 AVmg.). Or consider how David parallels his own afflictions and need for forgiveness with Israel’s need for redemption (Ps. 25:18,22); or how the saving strength of Yahweh’s anointed (i.e. David) was to be Israel’s saving strength likewise (Ps. 28:8,9).