Summary: There were numerous occasions in the life of David when all that is expressed in the psalm might have been said by him, just as there are many occasions, in the lives of all of us, to which the sentiments of the psalm would be appropriate.

June 12, 2014

Tom Lowe

Psalm 27 (KJV)

Title: A Changeable Temperament

A psalm of David.

Psalm 27 (KJV)

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.


This is believed to be “A Psalm of David,” and there is no reason to think that the caption is not correct. But the occasion on which it was composed is unknown. There is no hint of this in the title, and there is nothing within the body of the psalm which would enable us to determine this. There were numerous occasions in the life of David when all that is expressed in the psalm might have been said by him, just as there are many occasions, in the lives of all of us, to which the sentiments of the psalm would be appropriate. The Septuagint version has the title, “A Psalm of David Before His Anointing,” but there are several opinions concerning which anointing it was. Grotius supposes the occasion to have been the anointing in Hebron when he was first inaugurated king (2 Samuel 2:4). Rosenmuller suggests that it was the last anointing (2 Samuel 5:3). Many of the Jewish expositors assign the psalm to the last days of David when he was delivered from death by the intervention of Abishai (2 Samuel 21:16-17). But there is no evidence within the psalm that it was composed on any of these occasions, and it is now impossible to ascertain the time or the circumstances of its composition.

The general objective of the psalm is to excite in others confidence in God from the experience which the psalmist had of His merciful intercession in times of trouble and danger (v. 14). The author of the psalm had had some striking evidence of the divine favor and protection in times of peril and sorrow (v. 1), and he makes use of his experiences throughout the psalm to lead others to trust in God in similar circumstances. It may have been that at the time of composing the psalm he was still surrounded by enemies, and exposed to danger; but if that’s the case, he expresses the utmost confidence in God, and gratefully refers to His past intersessions on his behalf in similar circumstances as full proof that all would turn out well, and that God would bless him.

The contents of the psalm are:

1. An expression of confidence in God, which was derived from his personal experience of His merciful intervention in times of danger, (Vs. 1-3). He had been in peril at some time in his life, which is not specified, and had been rescued; and from this gracious intervention, he reasons that it would always be safe to trust in God.

2. The expression of a desire to dwell always where God is; to see His beauty there; to learn more about Him; to offer sacrifices, and to praise Him (vs. 4-6). The psalmist had seen so much of God that he desired to see much more; he had experienced so much of his wonderful favor that he wished to always be with Him; he had found so much happiness in God that he believed that all his future happiness was to be found in His presence and in His service.

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