“Do not slight the discourse of the sages.
Busy yourself with their maxims.
Because from them
You will gain discipline.
You will learn how to serve princes.
Do not ignore the discourse of the aged.
They themselves learned from their parents.
You learn how to understand.
You learn how to give an answer
When the need arises.”
Like many of the biblical writings, there is a respect for the past. In particular, there is a great respect for the oral tradition of those with great experience. Therefore you should listen to the maxims and sayings of the wise old sages. You will learn disciple and how to serve the various rulers. Do not ignore the conversations of the old people since they have learned many of these things from their parents. From them, you should learn how to understand and give an answer at the appropriate time.
Above the heavens!
Let your glory
Be over all the earth!
With your right hand!
Thus those whom you love
May be rescued.”
This refrain is one of the few sections in this psalm that is unique. This section is a call to achieve victory. God was to be exalted above the heavens. His glory should be all over the earth. David wanted victory from the right hand of God. He wanted an answer. He wanted to be rescued because God loved him.
A Prayer of David
“Incline your ear!
I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life!
I am devoted to you.
Save your servant who trusts in you!
You are my God!
Be gracious to me!
I cry to you all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant!
I lift up my soul to you!
You are good.
You are forgiving,
You abound in steadfast love
To all who call on you.
Give ear to my prayer!
Listen to my cry of supplication!
In the day of my trouble,
I call on you.
You will answer me.”
Psalm 86 seems like a personal prayer of David. There is no other indication in the title. David wanted Yahweh to listen to him by giving him his ear. He wanted an answer since he was poor and needy. He wanted to preserve his life since he was devoted to Yahweh. He trusted in Yahweh as a servant. All day long he cried to Yahweh, his God. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and gladden his soul. He knew that Yahweh was good and forgiving due to his steadfast love. David wanted Yahweh to hear him in the times of his trouble. He called and expected an answer.
“O that I had one to hear me!
Here is my signature!
Let the Almighty Shaddai answer me!
O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!
Surely I would carry it on my shoulder.
I would bind it on me like a crown.
I would give him an account of all my steps.
Like a prince I would approach him.”
Job wanted God, the almighty Shaddai to listen to him. Job was willing to give his signature which would have been the Hebrew “taw,” the last letter of Semitic alphabets. More than listening, Job wanted an answer to his prayers and petitions. He wanted a written indictment against him so that he could defend himself. This sounds like he lived in a time where legal documents were disputed. He wanted to explain his whole life. He had nothing to hide. He would wear this indictment on his shoulders or like a crown on his head.