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.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

His ears are open unto their cry. The word “open” is not in the original, but the meaning is that the ear of God is propense, and in a leaning kind of posture, towards the cries of the righteous; the word may here be taken emphatically, as many times in Scripture it is, for some worthy, choice, and excellent strain of righteousness. Those who are worthy and righteous indeed, the ear of God, I say, is propense, and leans and hangs towards them and their prayers, according to that of Song of Songs 2:14, “Let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice.” There is a kind of naturalness and pleasantness between the ear of God and the prayers, and petitions, and cries of such a righteous man. John 15:7. John Goodwin.

His ears are open unto their cry. Hebrew, Are to their cry, or as St. Peter hath it, His ears are into their prayers 1 Peter 3:12; to show that though their prayers are so faint and feeble that they cannot enter into the ears of the Lord of Hosts, yet that he will bow down and incline his ears unto, nay, into their prayers, their breathings. Lamentations 3:56. John Trapp.

Ver. 15-17. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. Strangers may howl, and we take little notice what they ail—it is a venture whether we relieve them or no; but if our children cry, being in great distress, we hasten to their help. Our relation to God may well strengthen our hope that our desires shall be heard. He that can cry, Abba, Father, may be confident of the success of his suit, and that God will deal with him as a son. George Swinnock.

Psalm 34:17

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 34:17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The righteous cry.” Like Israel in Egypt, they cry out under the heavy yoke of oppression, both of sin, temptation, care and grief. “And the Lord heareth;” he is like the night-watchman, who no sooner hears the alarm-bell than he flies to relieve those who need him. “And delivereth them out of all their troubles.” No net of trouble can so hold us that the Lord cannot free us. Our afflictions may be numerous and complicated, but prayer can set us free from them all, for the Lord will show himself strong on our behalf.

Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 27-57 (Vol. 2, p. 126). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

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