The insolent rise up against me.
A band of ruthless men seek my life.
They do not set you before them.
You are a God merciful and gracious.
You are slow to anger.
You abound in steadfast love.
You abound in faithfulness.
Turn to me.
Be gracious to me.
Give your strength to your servant.
Save the child of your serving girl.
Show me a sign of your favor.
Thus those who hate me may see.
May they be put to shame.
You have helped me.
You have comforted me.”
This psalm ends with David asking God to be merciful and gracious because impious people were after him, seeking his life. Yahweh was slow to anger and full of steadfast love. He wanted Yahweh to save him with his strength. He wanted a sign of Yahweh’s favor. He wanted his haters put to shame. He was relying on Yahweh, who had helped and comforted him.
“I give thanks to you.
Yahweh my God!
With my whole heart,
I will glorify your name forever.
Great is your steadfast love toward me.
You have delivered my soul
From the depths of Sheol.”
David gave thanks to Yahweh, his God. With his whole heart he wanted to glorify his name forever. Yahweh’s steadfast love towards him had delivered his soul from the depths of Sheol. It sounds like Yahweh saved David from death at some point because he loved him so much.
“There is none like you among the gods!
There are not any works like yours!
All the nations that you have made shall come.
They shall bow down before you!
They shall glorify your name!
You are great!
You do wondrous things!
You alone are God!
Teach me your way!
Thus I may walk in your truth.
Give me an undivided heart.
Thus I may revere your name!”
David continued his prayer by saying that Yahweh was like no other god. There was nothing like his works. All the nations that Yahweh has made should come and bow down before him. They should glorify his name for all the great deeds that he has done. Yahweh alone was God. This was a strong monotheistic idea that Yahweh was the one true God, while there were other false gods. David wanted to be taught in the ways of God. He wanted to walk in truth with an undivided heart. He wanted to revere the name of Yahweh.
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.