The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 34

Title. Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. Of this transaction, which reflects no credit upon David’s memory, we have a brief account in 1 Samuel 21:1-15. Although the gratitude of the psalmist prompted him thankfully to record the goodness of the Lord in vouchsafing an undeserved deliverance, yet he weaves none of the incidents of the escape into the narrative, but dwells only on the grand fact of his being heard in the hour of peril. We may learn from his example not to parade our sins before others, as certain vainglorious professors are wont to do who seem as proud of their sins as old Greenwich pensioners of their battles and their wounds. David played the fool with singular dexterity, but he was not so real a fool as to sing of his own exploits of folly. In the original, the title does not teach us that the psalmist composed this poem at the time of his escape from Achish, the king or Abimelech of Gath, but that it is intended to commemorate that event, and was suggested by it. It is well to mark our mercies with well carved memorials. God deserves our best handiwork. David in view of the special peril from which he was rescued, was at great pains with this Psalm, and wrote it with considerable regularity, in almost exact accordance with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This is the second alphabetical Psalm, the twenty-fifth being the first.

Division. The Psalm is split into two great divisions at the close of Psalms 34:10, when the Psalmist having expressed his praise to God turns in direct address to men. The first ten verses are A Hymn, and the last twelve A Sermon. For further assistance to the reader we may subdivide thus: In Psalms 34:1-3, David vows to bless the Lord, and invites the praise of others; from Psalms 34:4-7 he relates his experience, and in Psalms 34:8-10 exhorts the godly to constancy of faith. In Psalms 34:1-14, he gives direct exhortation, and follows it up by didactic teaching from Psalms 34:15-22 to the close.
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 34:6


This poor man cried. Here he returns to his own case. He was poor indeed, and so utterly friendless that his life was in great jeopardy; but he cried in his heart to the protector of his people and found relief. His prayer was a cry, for brevity and bitterness, for earnestness and simplicity, for artlessness and grief; it was a poor man’s cry, but it was none the less powerful with heaven, for the Lord heard him, and to be heard of God is to be delivered; and so it is added that the Lord saved him out of all his troubles. At once and altogether David was clean rid of all his woes. The Lord sweeps our griefs away as men destroy a hive of hornets, or as the winds clear away the mists. Prayer can clear us of troubles as easily as the Lord made riddance of the frogs and flies of Egypt when Moses entreated him. This verse is the psalmist’s own personal testimony: he being dead yet speaketh. Let the afflicted reader take heart and be of good courage.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

Ver. 2-6. See Psalms on “Psalms 34:2 for further information.

This poor man cried. The reasons of crying are

  1. Want cannot blush. The pinching necessity of the saints is not tied to the law of modesty. Hunger cannot be ashamed. “I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise, “saith David Psalms 55:2; and Hezekiah, “Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove” Isaiah 38:14. “I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation” Job 30:28.
  2. Though God hear prayer only as prayer offered in Christ, not because very fervent; yet fervour is a heavenly ingredient in prayer. An arrow drawn with full strength hath a speedier issue; therefore, the prayers of the saints are expressed by crying in Scripture. “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not” Psalms 22:2. “At noon, will I pray, and cry aloud” Psalms 55:17. “In my distress I cried to the Lord” Psalms 18:6. “Unto thee have I cried, O Lord” Psalms 88:13. “Out of the depths have I cried” Psalms 130:1. “Out of the belly of hell cried I” Jonah 2:2. “Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock” Psalms 28:1. Yea, it goeth to somewhat more than crying: “I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard” Job 19:7. “Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer” Lamentations 3:8. He who may teach us all to pray, sweet Jesus, “In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” Hebrews 5:7; he prayed with war shouts.
  3. And these prayers are so prevalent, that God answereth them: This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his fears Psalms 34:6. “My cry came before him, even into his ears” Psalms 18:6. The cry addeth wings to the prayer, as a speedy post sent to court upon life and death: “Our fathers cried unto thee, and were delivered” Psalms 22:5. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth” Psalms 34:17. Samuel Rutherford.

Hints to the Village Preacher

  1. The poor man’s heritage, “troubles.”
  2. The poor man’s friend.
  3. The poor man’s cry.
  4. The poor man’s salvation.

The poor man’s wealth.

The position of prayer in the economy of grace, or the natural history of mercy in the soul.
The Treasury of David.

Ver. 2-6. See Psalms on “Psalms 34:2 for further information.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me. God expects to hear from you before you can expect to hear from him. If you restrain prayer, it is no wonder the mercy promised is retained. Meditation is like the lawyer’s studying the case in order to his pleading at the bar; when, therefore, thou hast viewed the promise, and affected thy heart with the riches of it, then fly thee to the throne of grace, and spread it before the Lord. William Gurnall.

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