Psalms 61 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The author of this Psalm is far from Jerusalem. Though his prayers have in part been answered, and he can look forward to his return with confidence, he is still in dispiriting circumstances. He is either a king, or one closely connected with a king and deeply interested in his welfare. At first sight Psa 61:6-7 seem to favour the latter hypothesis; but inasmuch as the stress in these verses is upon the king’s office, not upon his personality, a king might appropriately speak of himself in the third person; and this view best explains the connexion of the verses.
The Psalm belongs therefore to the time of the monarchy; for there is no real ground for supposing that one of the Maccabaean princes, of whom Aristobulus I (b.c. 105) was the first to assume the title of king, is meant. If David was the author, it may best be referred to the time when he was at Mahanaim, after the collapse of Absalom’s rebellion, but before his recall to Jerusalem.
The hope of return to “God’s dwelling-place,” which finds such touching expression in this Psalm ( Psa 61:4), lay deep in his heart as he left the city (2Sa 15:25); Psa 61:3 may refer to the hairbreadth escapes of his earlier life; Psa 61:6-7 allude to the great promise of 2 Samuel 7; the phrase ‘God’s tent’ ( Psa 61:4) may naturally be connected with the tent which David pitched for the Ark. At any rate David’s situation gives point to the Psalm and helps to explain it.
The Psalm is best divided into two equal stanzas.
i. Prayer for support and restoration to God’s dwelling-place (Psa 61:1-4).
ii. He appeals to the experience of answered prayer and to the certainty of God’s promises to the king, and looks forward with confidence to a life of thanksgiving for God’s mercy (Psa 61:5-8).
The Psalm has affinities with Psalms 20, 21, 27, 42, 43, 63, and with Proverbs.
Upon Neginath in the title may mean On a stringed instrument (R.V.), or To the accompaniment of stringed music: or possibly, Set to the song of …, some word of definition being lost. See Introd. p. xxiv.
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".