Psalm 86 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Psalm 86)
The pious appeal of the returned remnant in the land

This psalm is the meek yet confiding and confident appeal of a soul conscious of its godly feelings towards Jehovah and looking to the results of relationship with Him. We have had Jehovah since Psalm 84, which is founded on these covenant relationships in which the remnant feel themselves to be, though awaiting full blessing in the land. Still it is yet in distress, for the people are not revived nor set in their covenant blessings in the land. Holy (v. 2) is pious or gracious (chasid, not kodesh, holy). The three requests of the psalm are, "Bow down thine ear and hear me" (v. 1). The gracious attention of Jehovah is called for to give ear to the prayer of the suppliant; then to attend to the voice of his supplication (v. 6); that is, he looks for his request being granted; thirdly, to be taught in the way of truth (v. 11). Jehovah's mercies in the terrible conflict of the remnant are then owned; but he who thus cried, still looked for His interference in his behalf, that they that hate him may be ashamed, because Jehovah has helped and comforted him. How the state of the remnant, like Job, brings out the great conflict between the power of Satan and divine deliverance, but in which, however low he may be brought, the godly soul owns the source of all to be Jehovah, though his feet may well nigh slip in seeing the prosperity of the ungodly! It is not a psalm of complaint nor bitterness of soul, but of one who is yet poor and needy, but has tasted the comfort of Jehovah's goodness.

It is to be remarked that, save the cases noticed, Lord is Adonai, not Jehovah. This is not the same as Jehovah, that is, the covenant name of God with Israel in eternal faithfulness—here Adonai, one who has taken power and is in the relationship of lordship to those who call. Hence in fact we own Christ to be in this place—"our Lord Jesus Christ"; and so it will be for Jews, though, till they see Him, they will not own Him fully thus. This Adonai is Elohim. Death and human power were before the thoughts of the godly, but the comfort of a known Jehovah as a support. They had found deliverance, but it was not complete in blessing. The psalm is essentially the pious appeal to Jehovah of the returned. remnant of Israel in the land; but in the main its spirit is that into which Christ fully entered, but it is not directly applicable to Him.