Psalm 17 8 Meaning

Now, David follows up his statement of confidence in his own innocence with some requests to God in verses 6 through 8. Particularly, David asks for protection – based on God’s loyal covenant love. Let’s read verses 6 through 8.

6 I have called upon thee,
for thou wilt hear me, O God:
incline thine ear unto me,
and hear my speech.
7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness,
O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye,
hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

So, David asks God to do several things for him. He submissively demands that God would incline his ear to David. The picture there is of someone bending down and stretching out his ear to hear the request of another. David wants God to do that for him. And David wants God to “hear” his speech. That word “hear” is in italics in our King James Version. And that usually indicates that the word isn’t there in the Hebrew. But it actually is in the Hebrew, so bonus points to anyone who can figure out why the KJV translators made it italic.

But beyond the very general request for God to hear him, David gets a little more specific in verse 7. He asks God to “shew” his “marvellous lovingkindness”. David wants God to “set apart” and “display” his hesed, which is marvelous in David’s eyes. David wants to see a token of God’s loyal covenant love to him.

Well, how would God do this? How would he put his loyal covenant love on display for David? That’s where David’s next statement comes in. David recognizes God as one who saves with his right hand those who put their trust in God from those who rise up against that person. David wants that to be the case with him – that God would save him from his deadly enemies. And in that way – by protecting David from his enemies, God would put on display his loyal covenant love.

And not only this, but David lastly asks God to keep him as the apple of God’s eye. Keep him like the pupil of God’s eye. How do you protect your eye’s pupil? Do you let anything touch it? Do you let anything get near it? No, it’s natural to protect your eyes. And that’s how God is with his people. It’s only natural for him to protect us. David wants God’s protection.

And continuing with the picture of protection that comes naturally, David pleads with God to hide him under the shadow of God’s wings. Like a mother bird protects her little ones under her wing – that’s how David pictures God as protecting his people – and in particular, David, this innocent man.

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