Title. A Psalm of David. David is pictured in this Psalm as in a faithful miniature. His holy trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here; so that we see the very heart of “the man after God’s own heart.” It is evidently a composition of David’s later days, for he mentions the sins of his youth, and from its painful references to the craft and cruelty of his many foes, it will not be too speculative a theory to refer it to the period when Absalom was heading the great rebellion against him. This has been styled the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is the mark of a true saint that his sorrows remind him of his sins, and his sorrow for sin drives him to his God.
Subject And Division. The twenty-two verses of this Psalm begin in the original with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their proper order. It is the first instance we have of an inspired acrostic or alphabetical song. This method may have been adopted by the writer to assist the memory; and the Holy Spirit may have employed it to show us that the graces of style and the arts of poetry may lawfully be used in his service. Why should not all the wit and ingenuity of man be sanctified to noblest ends by being laid upon the altar of God? From the singularity of the structure of the Psalm, it is not easy to discover any marked divisions; there are great changes of thought, but there is no variation of subject; the moods of the writer’s mind are twofold—prayer and meditation; and as these appear in turns, we should thus divide the verses. Prayer from Psalms 25:1-7; meditation, Psalms 25:8-10; prayer, Psalms 25:11; meditation, Psalms 25:12-15; prayer, Psalms 25:16-22.
The Treasury of David.
The meek will he guide in judgment. Meek spirits are in high favour with the Father of the meek and lowly Jesus, for he sees in them the image of his only begotten Son. They know their need of guidance, and are willing to submit their own understandings to the divine will, and therefore the Lord condescends to be their guide. Humble spirits are in this verse endowed with a rich inheritance; let them be of good cheer. Trouble puts gentle spirits to their wit’s ends, and drives them to act without discretion, but grace comes to the rescue, enlightens their minds to follow that which is just, and helps them to discern the way in which the Lord would have them to go. Proud of their own wisdom fools will not learn, and therefore miss their road to heaven, but lowly hearts sit at Jesu’s feet, and find the gate of glory, for the meek will he teach his way. Blessed teacher! Favoured scholar! Divine lesson! My soul, be thou familiar with the whole.
The meek will he guide in judgment; or the poor (namely, in spirit), will he make to tread in judgment, to foot it aright, to walk judiciously, to behave themselves wisely, as David did 1 Samuel 24:1-22, so that Saul feared him. Natural conscience cannot but stoop to the image of God, shining in the hearts and lives of the really religious. John Trapp.
The meek will he guide in judgment. They have been made meek i.e., desirous of being taught, and praying to be so; but, being now sensible of unworthiness, they are afraid that God will not teach them. This may be done to other sinners but not to them. Therefore they are told who may expect teaching, even they who desire and pray for teaching. John Berridge, 1716-1793.
He will guide the poor in judgment. Never will this docility be found in any man, until the heart, which is naturally elated and filled with pride, has been humbled and subdued. As the Hebrew word denotes the poor or afflicted, and is employed in a metaphorical sense, to denote the meek and humble, it is probable that David, under this term, includes the afflictions which serve to restrain and subdue the frowardness of the flesh, as well as the grace of humility itself; as if he had said, When God has first humbled them, then he kindly stretches forth his hand to them, and leads and guides them throughout the whole course of their life. John Calvin.
The meek, etc. Pride and anger have no place in the school of Christ. The Master himself is “meek and lowly of heart;” much more, surely, ought the scholars to be so. He who hath no sense of his ignorance, can have no desire, or capability of knowledge, human or divine. George Horne.
(last clause). The Lord will teach the humble his secrets, he will not teach proud scholars. Thomas Goodwin.
(last clause). Such as lie at his feet and say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth, “such whose hearts are supple and soluble, tractable, and teachable, so that a little child may lead them. Isaiah 11:6. Austin was such an one. Saith he, “I am here an old man ready to learn of a young man, my coadjutor in the ministry, who hath scarce been one year in the service.” John Trapp.
The meek. Who are they? What are their privileges? How to be like them?
(first clause). Moral purity needful to a well balanced judgment.
The Treasury of David.
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