Psalm 35

The LORD the Avenger of His People

A Psalm of David

1  Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me.  2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help.  3 Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me.  Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”  4 Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor who seek after my life; let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt.  5 Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD chase them.  6 Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them.  7 For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life.  8 Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall.  9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation.  10 All my bones shall say, “LORD, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

11 Fierce witnesses rise up; they ask me things that I do not know.  12 They reward me evil for good, to the sorrow of my soul.  13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; and my prayer would return to my own heart.  14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.  15 But in my adversity they rejoiced and gathered together; attackers gathered against me, and I did not know it; they tore at me and did not cease;  16 with ungodly mockers at feasts they gnashed at me with their teeth.  17 Lord, how long will You look on?  Rescue me from their destructions, my precious life from the lions.  18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.

19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies; nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.  20 For they do not speak peace, but they devise deceitful matters against the quiet ones in the land.  21 They also opened their mouth wide against me, and said, “Aha, aha!  Our eyes have seen it.”  22 This You have seen, O LORD; do not keep silence.  O Lord, do not be far from me.  23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, to my cause, my God and my Lord.  24 Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.  25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”  Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”  26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who rejoice at my hurt; let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who exalt themselves against me.  27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; and let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”  28 And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of Your praise all the day long.

The following commentary is from Warren W. Wiersbe’s ‘BE Worshipful’.

Once again, David was being hounded by Saul and slandered by Saul’s men, many of whom had been David’s friends……Instead of managing the affairs of the kingdom, Saul was driven by his paranoia to pursue David and seek to kill him, and his zeal was fueled by the lies of his officers……David made three requests of God, and eventually He granted all of them.

           1. Protect Me (vv. 1-10).  David merged two images in verse 1—the law court(plead my cause”…) and the battlefield.  Saul chose the battle field, but David turned to the Lord and asked Him to be Advocate and Judge in the dispute.  “The LORD is a man of war”(24:8…..), so if Saul wanted a fight, God would accept the challenge……The enemy hated David (v.19), lied about him (v. 11), persecuted him (v. 2), and wanted to hurt him and kill him (vv. 4, 26), so the conflict was a matter of life and death; but there was no just cause for this opposition. (See vv. 7, 19;….)

           David asked the Lord to block the way and stand between him and Saul and his army (v. 3), just as He had done at the exodus (Ex. 14:19).  Then he asked that the angel of the Lord (34:7) confuse the enemy, turn them around, and chase them (v.4).  This would lead to their disgrace, defeat, and eventual destruction (v.8)……Saul treated David like an animal, but it was Saul and his army who were the animals (vv. 15, 17, 25).

         In this psalm, David followed each of his three requests with a song of praise to the Lord (vv. 9-10. 17-18, 27-28)……David knew that God had chosen him to be king of Israel and that his greatest task would be to unite and strengthen the kingdom and lead the people back to God.  Israel had an important work to do in the world, and David’s leadership was essential.

          2. Reward Me (vv. 11-18).  David stated the evidence that proved he was innocent.  The enemy depended on lies, false (‘malicious’) witnesses who accused him of being a traitor. (See 27:12….) Quite the contrary, it was Saul and his officers who were the traitors, for they returned evil for the good David did to them.  On two occasions, David could have killed Saul, but instead, David returned good for evil (1 Sam. 24; 26…..).  Saul even admitted that David was the better man (1 Sam. 24:17)……David knew that God would eventually reward him for his faithfulness, but he didn’t know when.  His first praise to God (vv. 9-10) was personal, but the second expression of praise (v. 18) is in the congregation with the saints.

          3. Vindicate Me (vv. 19-28).  The trial was about to end, and the enemy was confident of victory.  “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it” (David’s defeat, v. 21)……After Saul’s death, David had seven years of trouble with Saul’s son (2 Sam. 1-4), but the Lord eventually solved that problem.  David prayed that God would vindicate him, because David’s cause was God’s cause and the Lord’s reputation was at stake (v. 24).  In verse 26, he repeated his request from verse 4 and asked that the enemy be shamefully defeated.  David’s desire was that the Lord be magnified in His own way and His own time.

           In contrast to the shame of the enemy in their defeat are the joyful shouts of the righteous in David’s victory……The word translated “prosperity” (v. 27) is the familiar Hebrew word shalom (“peace”), which means much more than a mere cessation of hostilities.  It carries the idea of well-being in every aspect of life, including peace with God, with others, with yourself, and with the circumstances of your life.

              David’s experience reminds us of Jesus Christ, the son of David, who was also hated without a cause (John 15:25) and falsely accused and attacked by those for whom He had shown nothing but kindness and love.  God delivered David from his enemies, but the Father “spared not his own Son” (Rom. 8:32) but willingly gave Him to die for the sins of the world.

I wish everyone a very blessed day.


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