The superscript here refers to David feigning madness in the presence of Achish, otherwise known by the Philistine title of Abimelech in 1 Samuel 21:10-14 (not to be confused with Ahimelech, the priest of the previous few verses). Barnes identified the following four paragraphs in the psalm: (1) thanksgiving for deliverance (Psalm 34:1-6); (2) from his experience, he invites others to join in praise (Psalm 34:7-10); (3) special instructions and exhortations for the young to trust in God (Psalms 34:11-14); (4) a general summary of the security, joys, and protection for those who truly rely upon God (Psalms 34:15-22).
Don’t misunderstand verses 17-19:
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
Those who have a contrite heart (crushed in spirit) – those who truly repent instead of continuing to do wrong – will be delivered in the end. God has no regard for the prayers of those who have no intention of changing their ways. The righteous will indeed suffer, but their salvation and their comfort is promised.
Of this, Coffman wrote:
“Our Lord himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and he is the ever ready comforter and Saviour of those whose hearts have been broken by the soul’s tragic encounter with the wicked world in which we live.
The words of Kipling come to mind:
‘The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart.
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget; lest we forget!’
— Rudyard Kipling (The Recessional)”
Regarding verse 8’s first half “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!, Coffman rightly stated: “God has made it possible for men to know whether or not his word is true. The person who receives it, obeys it, and trusts its promises will shortly come to know, Whom he has believed, having tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come…” Peter repeated it in 1 Peter 2:1-3. When we dedicate our lives to serving the Lord and continue to grow in prayer and learning from His word, our lives are better because of the goodness of the Lord and the assurance of His promises.
Of verses 9-10 (“those who seek the Lord lack no good thing”), one must not think that the scripture promises that those who fear the Lord will never have any of their earthly needs or desires lacking in satisfaction, for not all things are good for everyone – nor is what may be good for one person necessarily good for another. Instead, we trust that the Lord will provide what we truly need. Just come and taste for yourself!
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.