Psalms 7 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Psalmist is assailed by ruthless enemies who are bent upon taking his life, charging him with heinous crimes. He solemnly protests entire innocence, and appeals to God as the supreme Judge to vindicate his cause.
The title gives a clue to the circumstances under which the Psalm was written. It is called “ Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush a Benjamite.” Shiggaion (see Introd. p. xx) probably denotes a poem of passionate ecstatic character, written under the influence of strong emotion, and reflecting its origin in its form.
Cush is not mentioned elsewhere. It is plain however that he was one of those fellow tribesmen and close adherents of Saul, who insinuated that David was intriguing against the king’s life (1Sa 22:8) and by their baseless calumnies further inflamed his already irritated mind. Of such slanderers David complains in 1Sa 24:9; 1Sa 26:19. Cush is simply a proper name not otherwise known to us. There is no reason for taking it to mean a Cushite or Ethiopian ( super verba Aethiopis, Jerome); or as a by-name for Saul himself as a black-hearted man (though the identification of Cush with Saul is as old as the Targum); still less for identifying Cush with Shimei.
The fact that Cush is not elsewhere mentioned shews that the title is of great antiquity. It comes, if not from David himself, at least from an editor who possessed fuller information about David’s history, either in still living tradition, or in writings such as those mentioned in 1Ch 29:29.
The Psalm belongs then to that period of David’s life, when he was hunted from place to place by Saul; and it strikingly reflects the characteristic feelings of that time as they are portrayed in the Book of Samuel. 1 Samuel 21-26, especially 24 and 26, should be read in illustration of it. Compare particularly the reference to slanders in the title with 1Sa 24:9; 1Sa 26:19: the virulence of persecution described in Psa 7:1-2 with 1Sa 20:1; 1Sa 20:31 ; 1Sa 23:15, &c.: the protestations of innocence in Psa 7:3-4 with 1Sa 20:1; 1Sa 24:10-11; 1Sa 24:17; 1Sa 26:18 ; 1Sa 26:23-24: the appeal to God as Judge in Psa 7:6 ; Psa 7:8 with 1Sa 24:12 ; 1Sa 24:15.
The energy and vigour of the Psalm correspond to the circumstances. Pressing danger, the rankling sense of injustice, a strong faith in the judicial righteousness of God, are its inspiring motives.
Ancient Jewish tradition prescribes it for use on the feast of Purim.
The Psalm falls into two principal divisions, the first mainly personal, the second general:
i. David’s prayer for God’s intervention on his behalf, Psa 7:1-10.
After an appeal setting forth the urgency of his need (Psa 7:1-2) and a solemn protestation of his innocence of the crimes laid to his charge (Psa 7:3-5), David prays God to appear as Judge, and publicly do him justice (Psa 676 8). A prayer for the triumph of righteousness, and a confident expression of trust in God, (Psa 7:9-10) close the first part, and form the transition to the second part.
ii. The judicial activity of God, Psa 7:11-17.
God unceasingly executes vengeance on the wicked (Psa 7:11-13); and wickedness works its own punishment (Psa 7:14-16). Concluding ascription of praise to Jehovah for this manifestation of His righteousness (Psa 7:17).
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".