Psalms 86 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
This Psalm is a mosaic of fragments from other Psalms and scriptures  . It claims no poetic originality, yet it possesses a pathetic earnestness and tender grace of its own. It is distinguished by the seven times repeated use of Adonai, ‘Lord,’ in addressing God, a title which expresses the consciousness of specially belonging to God, of standing under His immediate guidance and protection. To this title corresponds the Psalmist’s designation of himself as God’s servant, and the son of His handmaid ( Psa 86:16, cp. Psa 86:3-4). The Psalm furnishes at least one noble phrase which is unique ( Psa 86:11 b), and in Psa 86:9 it rises to a height of Messianic hope not surpassed elsewhere. It is the composition of some pious soul whose mind was steeped with the scriptures already in existence, and who recast reminiscences of them into a prayer to suit his own particular needs. Primarily it appears to be an expression of personal devotion, rather than a prayer for the use of the congregation; though sometimes perhaps the Psalmist identifies himself with the community of which he is a member, and speaks of its circumstances and needs as his own ( Psa 86:13-14).
 The references are given in the notes. Psalms 25, 26, 27, 40, 54 are quoted almost verbatim. Psalms 5, 6 (?), 9, 17, 22, 28, 31, 50 (?), 55, 56, 57, 72, 77, 116, 130 (?) seem to have been laid under contribution, though where the language is general, it is impossible to say that it is derived from one Ps. rather than another. The use of the two groups 25 28, 54 57 is noticeable.
It is the only Psalm in the Third Book which has the name of David prefixed to it. The title A Prayer of David can only mean that it is an imitation of the Prayers of David (Psa 72:20), and was probably never intended to mean more than this. It cannot have been written till after the Return from the Captivity (to which Psa 86:13 may be an allusion), but at what period there is nothing to shew. The author apparently had the Elohistic collection in his hands as revised by its editor ( Introd. p. lvi), for he quotes Psa 54:3 in Psa 86:14 in the Elohistic form.
One thought leads to another and no definite structural arrangement can be traced in the Psalm. It may perhaps be divided as follows.
i. A series of petitions, each followed by some reason which the Psalmist urges for the hearing of his prayer (Psa 86:1-5).
ii. Renewing his supplication, he finds a ground of confidence in the incomparable nature of God, which suggests the thought of the universal homage which will one day be offered to Him as the only true God (Psa 86:6-10).
iii. Prayers for guidance and vows of thanksgiving lead on to the description of present dangers. Pleading God’s revealed character as a God of lovingkindness, he prays for further blessing, and such a clear token of God’s favour as may prove to his enemies that he is under God’s protection (Psa 86:11-17).
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".