Written by David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, causing the king to send him away. 2
my mouth will continually praise him. 4
let the oppressed hear and rejoice! 6
34:3 Magnify the Lord with me!
Let’s praise 7 his name together!
he delivered me from all my fears.
34:5 Those who look to him for help are happy;
their faces are not ashamed. 9
34:6 This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard;
he saved him 10 from all his troubles.
34:7 The Lord’s angel camps around
1 sn Psalm 34. In this song of thanksgiving the psalmist praises God for delivering him from distress. He encourages others to be loyal to the Lord, tells them how to please God, and assures them that the Lord protects his servants. The psalm is an acrostic; vv. 1-21 begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (Verse 6 begins with the letter he (ה) and v. 7 with the letter zayin (ז). The letter vav (ו), which comes between ה and ז, seems to be omitted, although it does appear at the beginning of v. 6b. The final verse of the psalm, which begins with the letter pe (פ), is outside the acrostic scheme.
2 tn Heb “By David, when he changed his sense before Abimelech and he drove him away and he went.”
sn Pretended to be insane. The psalm heading appears to refer to the account in 1 Sam 21:10-15 which tells how David, fearful that King Achish of Gath might kill him, pretended to be insane in hopes that the king would simply send him away. The psalm heading names the king Abimelech, not Achish, suggesting that the tradition is confused on this point. However, perhaps “Abimelech” was a royal title, rather than a proper name. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 278.
3 tn Heb “bless.”
4 tn Heb “continually [will] his praise [be] in my mouth.”
7 tn Or “exalt.”
8 tn Heb “I sought the
9 tc Heb “they look to him and are radiant and their faces are not ashamed.” The third person plural subject (“they”) is unidentified; there is no antecedent in the Hebrew text. For this reason some prefer to take the perfect verbal forms in the first line as imperatives, “look to him and be radiant” (cf. NEB, NRSV). Some medieval Hebrew
10 tn The pronoun refers back to “this oppressed man,” namely, the psalmist.
11 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the
12 tn Heb “those who fear him.”
13 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive here carries the same generalizing force as the active participle in the first line. See GKC 329 §111.u.