New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 62:1

For the Chief Musician. To Jeduthun. A Psalm by David.
My soul rests in God alone. My salvation is from Him-
As noted on :4 and elsewhere, the Psalm seems relevant to David's betrayal by Ahithophel and Absalom. He emphasizes that God alone can save; seeing he has been stabbed in the back by those he considered his own family and friends.

Psa 62:2

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress-
"Alone" is related to the word for "one". Because God is one, the only source of power, we are to trust in Him alone. Here we see the meaning of the unity of God in practice. David sees that Yahweh will be a "high tower" or place of refuge at the day of future judgment (Ps. 9:8,9, quoted about this in Acts 17:31). But David feels God has been like this to him in this life (2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2; 46:7; 48:3; 59:9,16,17; 62:2; 94:22; 144:2). He therefore sees a seamless experience in his relationship with God in this life, and at the future day of judgment. God saves us right now and is a refuge for us in countless life situations; and this is the guarantee that He will be likewise at the last day.

I will never be greatly shaken-
David's faith grows as his prayer goes on, for by :6 he is saying that he will not be shaken at all. And so we find in our prayer experience too; the process of prayer is such that we rise from our knees far stronger in faith and clarity of spiritual understanding than when we knelt down.

Psa 62:3

How long will you assault a man, would all of you throw him down, like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence?- The "assault" would refer to their intentions (:4) and words. David sees their attitudes and words for what they really were. David feels his power is tottering, but is angry they seek to push him over.

Psa 62:4

They fully intend to throw him down from his high place- "Fully intend" is s.w. "counsel", the word used of Ahithophel, David's counsellor who was Bathsheba's grandfather, who later betrayed him and turned against him (2 Sam. 15:12; 16:23). Perhaps David is commenting upon Ahithophel's counsel to Absalom which was designed to destroy him. See on Ps. 32:8.

They delight in lies; they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah-
We may well enquire how David thought he knew the state of heart [AV "inward part"] of his enemies (Ps. 5:9; 36:1; 49:11; 62:4; 64:6). Perhaps it was a result of his reflection upon how he had only had a right spirit or heart given by God "within" him as a result of his repentance (Ps. 51:10 s.w.). His enemies were impenitent, and so perhaps on that basis he knew what was in their hearts.

Psa 62:5

My soul, wait in silence for God alone, for my expectation is from Him-
Again we note that "alone" is related to the word for "one". The unity of God implies our total trust in Him alone. And we have another example of how within prayer (for this Psalm is a prayer) we can deviate from talking to God, to addressing ourselves within our own self talk. This is the stuff of real spiritual mindedness. David's "expectation" in the context of Ps. 62:5 was the continuation of his own kingdom, despite all the threats against it from the likes of Saul, Absalom and others who would usurp his Davidic kingship and kingdom. Solomon likely uses the word for "expectation" with the same subtext; that all opposition to him was based upon a false expectation which would be dashed by God (s.w. Prov. 10:28; 11:7,23; 23:18; 24:14). The hope or expectation of David was that of all exiled Judah (s.w. Jer. 31:17; Lam. 3:29). 

Psa 62:6

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I will not be shaken-
David in his earlier Psalms exalts and boasts to God that his feet have not slipped / been shaken, indeed he was overly confident that his feet would never slip / "be shaken" (Ps. 17:5; 21:7; 55:22; 62:2,6; 125:1). His more mature reflection is that he had wrongly said "I shall never slip [AV "be moved"]" (Ps. 30:6), and his feet had indeed slipped, not least over the Bathsheba incident (Ps. 38:16; 94:18). Solomon didn't learn this lesson, for he likewise assumed that the righteous would never be moved / slip (Prov. 10:30), although he appears to accept that even a righteous man like his father had indeed slipped (Prov. 25:26). And Solomon himself did so, not learning the lesson from his father's mistaken assumption that the righteous can never slip.

Psa 62:7

With God is my salvation and my honour. The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God-
The continued language of rocks and caves is appropriate to David in the wilderness, running either from Saul or Absalom.

Psa 62:8

Trust in Him at all times, you people-
This is quite a challenge- to consistently trust God "at all times", in all situations, and not just those desperate ones or ones which nudge us specifically towards faith in God.

Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us. Selah-
David knew his sinfulness, he knew his reliance upon the grace of God, more and more as he got older. For this Psalm clearly has some relevance to his situation whilst fleeing from Absalom. One would have thought that after the Bathsheba incident, David would have kept his mouth shut so far as telling other people how to live was concerned. But instead, we find an increasing emphasis in the Psalms (chronologically) upon David's desire to teach others of God's ways- particularly the surrounding Gentile peoples, before whom David had been disgraced over Bathsheba, not to mention from his two faced allegiance to Achish (1 Sam. 27:8-12). There is real stress upon this evangelistic fervour of David (Ps. 4:3; 18:49; 22:25,31; 35:18; 40:9,10; 57:9; 62:8; 66:5,16; 95:1,8; 96:5-8,10; 100:1-4; 105:1,2; 119:27; 145:5,6,12). He wants others to find God a "refuge for us" as He had been for David. Indeed, Ps.71:18 records the "old and greyheaded" David pleading with God not to die until he had taught "thy strength unto this generation". As with Paul years later, the only reason he wanted to stay alive was in order to witness the Gospel of grace to others. David therefore coped with his deep inner traumas by looking out of himself to those around him, eagerly desiring to share with them the pureness of God's grace. He didn't do this as some kind of self-help psychiatry; it came naturally from a realization of his own sinfulness and God's mercy, and the wonderful willingness of God to extend this to men.

Psa 62:9

Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up; they are together lighter than a breath-
David eagerly looks forward to the judgment seat (Ps. 62:9 RV, 12) as a source of comfort in his present distress. Those whom he had trusted in had betrayed him, whatever their social status. But David reasons further to perceive that in fact this is how all men are. These ideas are repeated in the context of the exiles, encouraging them that literally all men, even the great and might of the Babylonian-Persian empire, are too light to influence the balances of Divine judgment (Is. 40:15).

Psa 62:10

Don’t trust in oppression, don’t become vain in robbery-
This seems to have been a characteristic of the reigns of Saul and Absalom. But the language of oppression and robbery is often used in the prophets concerning the leadership of God's people at later points (Is. 30:12; 59:13). This was the equivalent of how Saul oppressed David (Ps. 119:121,122,134). Samuel's insistence that he has not oppressed the people is in the context of his warning that Saul would do this (1 Sam. 12:3,4). When Solomon later condemns the 'oppressors' (s.w. Prov. 14:31; 22:16; 28:3,24), he has in view a wishing of judgment upon the house of Saul. "The poor" whom they had oppressed would easily refer to David (1 Sam. 18:23; Ps. 34:6).

If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them-
The next verses explain why. Our hearts are to be set exclusively upon God and the saving power of His grace (:11,12). Increased wealth tempts people to trust in that wealth for power; but the only power is in God's free gift of grace.

Psa 62:11

God has spoken once; twice I have heard this, that power belongs to God-
"Once... twice" appears to be a Hebraism meaning 'certainly'. "Power" is here placed in opposition to human riches and oppression (:10). The attraction of wealth is here defined as "power". And yet it is mythical that wealth can buy power, ultimately. All power is with God, and the battle is not to the strong nor the race won by the swift. The power of God is revealed above all in His grace (:12); this is His ultimate power, of an order far above human wealth.

Psa 62:12

Also to You, Lord, belongs grace, for You reward every man according to his work-
See on :11. God feels every sin, and judges it at the time, searching our hearts even for our motives- and He rewards sin with the death sentence. For the wages of sin is death. And yet, we don’t die. The fact God views sin like this, and yet by grace forgives us, makes that grace and forgiveness all the more wonderful. Rev. 22:12 quotes this about the latter day of judgment. We cannot be saved by our works. So because that day will on one hand be a reward of works and yet we shall be saved... our acceptance must therefore be by pure grace.