Thanksgiving for Supplications Heard
1 Of David.
To you I call out, O Lord, my Rock;[b]
do not turn a deaf ear to my cry.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear my voice in supplication
as I plead for your help,
as I lift up my hands[c]
toward your Most Holy Place.
3 Do not snatch me away with the wicked,
with those whose deeds are evil,
who talk of peace to their neighbors
while treachery is in their hearts.[d]
4 [e]Repay them as their deeds deserve
in accordance with the evil they inflict;
repay them for the works of their hands
and heap upon them what they justly deserve.
5 Since they have paid no heed to the deeds of the Lord
or to the works of his hands,
he will strike them down
and refuse to restore them.
6 Blessed[f] be the Lord,
for he has heard my cry of supplication.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart[g] places its trust in him.
He has helped me, and I exult;
then with my song I praise him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people,
the refuge where his anointed one[h] finds salvation.
9 Save your people and bless your heritage;
be their shepherd[i] and sustain them forever.
- Psalm 28:1 The psalmist calls upon God and curses his persecutors; such vehemence indicates that he is close to the end of his strength. Deaf for a time, the Lord finally hears his servant; after anguish here is the thanksgiving. The concluding formula transforms the psalm into a prayer for Israel, the “anointed one,” that is, the people consecrated (v. 8) to the service of God. Believers will one day refuse the sentiments of vengeance that spring up here from the experience of the oppressed psalmist; for God could not indistinctly combine honesty with wrongdoing.
In praying this psalm, we should keep in mind that in this life Christ does not normally answer our desire for escape or special privilege. He sends us out and immerses us in the world and its tribulations (see Jn 15:18—16:4; 17:18) after his election has drawn us out of it (see Jn 15:19). Yet we already foresee victory, for the same divine power that raised Christ from the dead will raise us also and lead our humanity into a state of glory (see Eph 1:17-20).
- Psalm 28:1 Rock: the Lord is the Rock, who gives strength and sustenance to his people and provides refuge for them (see Ps 18:3 and note). Pit: metaphor for the grave.
- Psalm 28:2 Lift up my hands: the usual posture for prayer (see Pss 63:5; 134:2; 141:2). Most Holy Place: the innermost part of the temple, the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was looked upon as the place of God’s presence on earth (see 1 Ki 6:16, 19-23; 8:6-8).
- Psalm 28:3 The psalmist prays that the Lord will deliver him from his adversities (see Ps 26:9-12) so that he will not be numbered with the wicked nor judged with them. Hearts: see note on Ps 4:8.
- Psalm 28:4 The wicked have not learned to respond to the Lord and his wondrous deeds in redemptive history (the works of his hands). Therefore, they will be judged according to the works of their hands. Justice requires that evil be removed so that its power will be completely voided. See notes on Pss 5:11; 35.
- Psalm 28:6 The psalmist gives praise to the Lord for having heard his prayer; this will result in righteous judgment and vindication. Blessed: see note on Ps 18:47.
- Psalm 28:7 No longer does the psalmist feel threatened to the point of despairing. He is overjoyed and jubilant because he knows that the Lord will come to his aid as his strength (see Ex 15:2) and his shield (see Ps 3:4). Heart: see note on Ps 4:8. With my song I praise him: see note on Ps 7:18.
- Psalm 28:8 Anointed one: here the reference seems to be to the entire people of God, which is consecrated to his service (see Ps 105:15; Ex 19:6; Hab 3:13). See also note on Ps 2:2.
- Psalm 28:9 Be their shepherd: a theme found also in Ps 80:2; Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10; Ezek 34; Mic 5:4. The Lord answered this prayer by sending the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ (Jn 10:11, 14), who died for his sheep.