Psalm 17 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 17)

Verse 1

[1] Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

The right — Regard my righteous cause.

Verse 2

[2] Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.

Sentence — Judgment on my behalf.

Come — From thy tribunal.

Verse 3

[3] Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Proved — Or, searched or tried it, by many temptations and afflictions.

Night — When mens minds being freed from the distraction of business, and from the society of men, they act more vigorously and freely, according to their several inclinations.

Tried — As gold-smiths do metals.

Nothing — Nothing of unrighteousness.

Purposed — I have resolved, upon deliberation, as the word implies.

Mouth — I am so far from practising against Saul's life, as they charge me, that I will not wrong him so much as in a word.

Verse 4

[4] Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.

Concerning — Observing the works of the men of this age, how wicked they are, I was resolved to take more care in ordering my own actions.

By — By the help of thy blessed word.

Paths — The customs and practices.

Destroyer — Or, of the violent man: such as Saul, and his courtiers and soldiers.

Verse 7

[7] Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

By — By thy great power.

Verse 10

[10] They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

They — They live in splendor and prosperity.

Verse 11

[11] They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;

Steps — In all our ways. We go from place to place, to rocks, and caves, and woods; but wheresoever we go they are at hand, and ready to surround us.

Eyes — They keep their eyes fixed upon us.

Bowing — Couching down upon the earth, that they may watch the fittest opportunity to surprize us.

Verse 13

[13] Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:

Sword — Thy instrument to execute vengeance upon thine enemies. Do not punish me with this rod: let me fall into thy hands, and not into the hands of men.

Verse 14

[14] From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

Thy hand — Wherewith thou dost correct me.

World — Who set their hearts upon this world, and neither have, nor desire any other portion.

Belly — Mind or appetite, as that word is used, Proverbs 20:30.

Treasure — With extraordinary wealth and glory.

Children — When many of thy faithful servants are barren, these are blessed with a numerous posterity.

Verse 15

[15] As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

I will — I do not place my portion in earthly treasures, but in beholding God's face, in the enjoyment of God's presence and favour; which is enjoyed in part in this life, but not fully.

Satisfied — The time is coming, wherein I shall be abundantly satisfied with beholding thy face.

Awake — When I arise from he dead.

Likeness — With the image of God stamped upon my glorified soul.