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PSALM 86

A Prayer of David.

  1. Incline your ear, O jehovah, answer me, for I am afflicted and needy.
  2. Preserve my soul, for I am holy; O you my god, save your servant who trusts in you.
  3. Be merciful to me, O lord! for to you do I cry all the day long.
  4. Make glad the soul of your servant: for to you, O lord, do I lift up my soul.
  5. For you, O lord, are good, and ready to forgive; plentiful in mercy to all them that call upon you.
  6. Give ear, O jehovah, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
  7. In the day of my distress I will call upon you; for you will answer me.
  8. Among the gods there is none like you, O lord; nor any works like your.
  9. All the nations whom you have made shall come, and bow themselves down before you, O lord; and shall glorify your name.
  10. For you are great, and do wonders; you alone are god!
  11. Teach me your way, O jehovah, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
  12. I will praise you, O lord my god, with my whole heart; and I will glorify your name for ever.
  13. For great is your mercy towards me; and you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
  14. O god, the proud have risen up against me, and the company of the violent have sought after my soul; they have not set you before them.
  15. But you, O lord, are a god of tender mercy and grace; slow to anger, and plentiful in mercy and truth.
  16. O turn to me, and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the son of your handmaid.
  17. Show me a sign for good, that they who hate me may see, and be ashamed; because you, O jehovah, have been my helper and my comforter.

The Internal Sense

A prayer of the lord to the father to assist him in temptations, verses 1 to 8; because thence arise the worship and confession of the lord, verses 9 to 13; that the hells are in insurrection, verses 14, 15; that they will be overcome through his succour, verses 16, 17.

Exposition

Verse 1. Incline your ear, O jehovah, answer me, for I am afflicted and needy. That by the afflicted, or poor and needy, are not meant the poor and needy as to worldly wealth, but as to spiritual riches, is evident, since David speaks this of himself, wherefore also he said, "jehovah incline your ear and answer." AE 238.

Verse 1. O jehovah, answer me, etc. The expression to answer frequently occurs in the Word, and when predicated of the lord, it signifies influx, inspiration, perception, and information, likewise mercy and aid as in the following passages:" In an acceptable time I answered you, and in the day of salvation I helped you," Isaiah 49:8. "Answer me, when I cry, O god of my justice," Psalm 55:2. AC 471.

Verse 2. Preserve my soul, for I am holy; O you my god, save your servant who trusts in you. Inasmuch as the lord, as to Divine Truth, is meant by David, and since by David is meant Divine Truth, in like manner as by the prophets, therefore by servant also, in these passages, in the spiritual sense is meant what is subservient: he who is not acquainted with the spiritual sense of the Word, may believe, that not only David, but also the rest of the prophets, called themselves servants, by reason that they were all servants of the lord, but still where servants are mentioned in the Word, in the spiritual sense is meant such as are subservient and efficient, for which reason also "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is called the servant of jehovah," Jeremiah 25:9; but specifically by servant in the Word are meant those who receive Divine truth and teach it, since Divine truth is subservient, and by it effects Divine good; hence it is that throughout the Word mention is made of servants, and at the same time of elect, servants denote those who receive Divine truth and teach it, and the elect those who receive Divine good and lead to it. AE 4909.

Verse 8. Among the gods there is none like you, O jehovah. The reason why it is so often said that jehovah is above all gods, and that he is god of gods, was, because at that time several gods were worshiped, and the nations were distinguished by the gods whom they worshiped, and each nation believed that its own god was the supreme, and because hence a plurality of gods had a place in all minds, and because it was a matter of dispute which of them was the greatest, as may sufficiently appear from the historicals of the Word, this opinion had place also in the minds of the Jews, more than others, on which account it is so often said in the Word, that jehovah is greater than all gods, and that he was the king and god of gods. AC 8301.

Verse 15. Tender mercy and gracemercy and truth; see Psalm 85:10, 11, Exposition.

Verse 17. Show me a sign for good, that they who hate me, may see and be ashamed, etc. That to be signed, or to receive a sign, is not literally to be signed, but to be reduced to such a state as that their quality may be acknowledged, consequently that they may he conjoined with those who are in a similar state, and separated from those who are in a dissimilar state, is signified by being signed, and by a sign in the following passages, as in Ezekiel, "jehovah said to the man clothed in linen, [garments,] pass through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and sign a sign upon the foreheads of the men that groan and sigh over all the abominations done in the midst thereof: and pass through the city after him, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither use clemency; but come not near any man, upon whom is the sign, Ezekiel 9:4, 5, 6; treating also concerning the separation of the good from the evil. By being signed on the forehead, is signified the same as in this place in the Apocalypse, namely, to be distinguished and separated from the evil, and to be conjoined to the good; the casting-out and damnation of the evil is also afterwards treated of; they who are in good are described by those that groan and sigh over all the abominations done in the midst of the city of Jerusalem; they that groan and sigh over the abominations are they who are not in evils and falses thence derived, groaning and sighing over them signifying aversion and grief for them, Jerusalem denoting the church, and the city denoting doctrine: the casting-out and damnation of the evil is afterwards described, by its being commanded to pass through the city after him and smite, and not to let their eye spare; to smite and to kill signifies to be damned, for spiritual death, which is damnation, is signified in the Word by natural death. So in Isaiah, "He shall come to gather together all nations and tongues, that they may come and see my glory, and I will set on them a sign;" Isaiah 66:18, 19; these words are said concerning the lord, and concerning the new church to be established by him, consequently concerning the new heaven and the new earth, as is evident from verse 22 of that chapter; by gathering together all nations and tongues is signified the same as by "gathering together the elect from the four winds;" Matt 24:31; to gather together signifies to call to himself those who are his; nations signify those who are in good, and tongues those who are in a life according to doctrine; to come and to see the glory of the lord, signifies to be illustrated in divine truth, and to be thence in the fruition of heavenly joy, for the glory of the lord signifies the divine truth, and illustration and joy therefrom; to set on them a sign signifies to distinguish and separate them from the evil, and to conjoin them to the good. AE 427.

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