What Is the Context of This Verse?
According to several Bible commentators, this Psalm was written when David reflected on a tough situation with King Abimelech. He pretended to be mentally unstable. It is believed the incident referred to at the beginning of this Psalm occurred in 1 Samuel 21, where the king is named as Achish.
David was in a tight spot. Verse 11 tells us what happened when David met the king’s men.
“But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”
Verse 12 tells us how David responded.
“David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”
Before this happens, it is interesting to see how this chapter opens up in 1 Samuel 21:1.
“David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”
David was alone on a mission. Further in the chapter, we read that David had run out quickly and did not have a weapon. It seems David was fearful when caught without anyone or anything to help him escape.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel something that fuels fear (like being alone) and someone points out the very thing that’s causing fear, I feel even worse. Maybe David did, too.
Psalm 34 is full of reassurances of God’s goodness. It’s David speaking the truths he needs to know. God meets David in his fears and provides radiance instead of shame.
Verses 4-5, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
Perhaps David was reminding his heart that He was not truly alone. He is literally speaking words of courage to a time where he reacted in fear.
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