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An Exposition

Exposition Paper of Psalm 62

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I completed this paper for my class on Psalms at Liberty.

Text of Exposition Paper of Psalm 62

Page 1: Exposition Paper of Psalm 62

An Exposition of Psalm 62

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Synthesis and Outline of Psalm 62

Summary: Psalm 62 states an unshakable faith in Almighty God in which the psalmist finds himself the recipient of mistreatment by enemies but his resolve is, nevertheless, unshaken. More than a mere personal statement of faith, Psalm 62 encourages the entire community of faith to exalt in the Lord as the Refuge and Rock of those who trust in the Lord to find their rest. Trusting in humanity or one’s position in society is not enough for the psalmist to encourage faith. His hope, and that of the entire community of faith, is found in the power and unfailing love of the Great King, the Lord Almighty.

Outline:I. Finding one’s rest in God (62:1-6) –David opens Psalm 62 with the statement of faith that his rest is found only in the Lord because his salvation comes only from Him.

A. Salvation comes from God: It is in God the psalmist finds salvation as the Rock and Fortress in whom “I will never be shaken” (62:1-2).

B. The need for rest from enemies: In spite of a solid faith in the firm foundation of the Lord, David finds himself surrounded by those who wish for his demise (62:3-4).

C. Salvation comes from God: His enemies remind David of the need and blessing of salvation from them; therefore, he reasserts, “yes, my soul finds rest” (62:5-6).

II. Finding one’s refuge in God (62:7-8) –David turns his attention to the greater community of faith observing his actions in light of the persecution he suffers. Here the Psalmist encourages the faithful to “trust him at all times”.

A. God provides protection: The Lord is the refuge for those who are His and the Lord alone provides protection and security (62:7).

B. God hears the concerns of His people: The refuge one finds in the Lord is made secure because the Lord is attentive to the concerns of His people; therefore, he can be trusted “at all times” (62:8).

III. Finding one’s rest in the power of God (62:9-12) –The mighty power of God is cause for trust because His power and protection far outweigh the insignificance of humanity. To trust in human position or power is an exercise in futility.

A. Humans and their ingenuity are insignificant compared to God: In spite of bearing the image of God Himself, humans are insignificant compared to the greatness of power of the Great King (62:9-10).

B. God has all power, love, and reward: The Lord’s steadfast love brings with it the reward for the faithful through His power (62:11-12).

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Joining Psalms 11, 16, and 23, Psalm 62 is classified as a psalm of confidence. Unlike

the psalms of thanksgiving, these psalms do not always assume the crisis from which the

psalmist is praying for deliverance has passed. In presenting the lament, Psalm 62 is more

reflective than the psalms of lament or thanksgiving and is more reserved than the psalms of


Psalm 62 faithfully represents its classification by calling God “my rock, my salvation,”

and “my fortress” (verse six).2 Furthermore, the author, David, exhorts the congregation to “trust

in him...pour out your hearts...for God is our refuge” (verse eight). The closing verses of Psalm

62 further validate this classification stating that power and love is the Lord’s and He rewards

“everyone according to what they have done” (verse twelve).

A difficulty of this genre as a whole is the tendency towards obscurity in identification of

the crisis prompting the occasion for writing. Even this Psalm is not overtly specific although

the lament expressed in verses three and four state the concern over those wishing for the

psalmist’s demise. Some scholars suggest the backdrop of this psalm is Absalom’s rebellion, but

in spite of its specific lament, Psalm 62 does not reveal the exact circumstances in the life of

David that inspired the psalm.3

The heading indicates David, to whom many of the Psalms are attributed, as the author

and there is no compelling or convincing reason to doubt his authorship. His message is the

absolute trust the Lord inspires and has earned. Although it may be easy to find rest in station of

1 Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms, Augsburg OT Series (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984), 152.

2Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).

3 Willem A. VanGemeren, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Revised Edition, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), 483.

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life or wealth, King David encourages his soul and the community of the redeemed to find

salvation and deliverance in God alone.

The Heading of Psalm 62

In many ways, the heading of Psalm 62 is a formula presented throughout the Psalms. In

this specific Psalm, as in several others, there are additions demanding treatment. In Psalm 62,

there is an addition of “for Jeduthun”. Along with Psalms 39 and 77, there are three occurrences

of this heading. Many conclude this is the same Jeduthun appointed in 1 Chronicles 16:41-42 as

one of the choir directors. There are others, however, who translate the Hebrew word not as a

name but as a term meaning “confession.” To this group of scholars, this term is a description of

the psalm itself or a psalm tune and not a reference to a specific person.4 Whether or not this

minority view is correct or not, Psalm 62 had a function in the corporate worship of Israel as

their declaration of trust.5

Finding One’s Rest in God (62:1-6)

Salvation Comes from God (62:1-2)

Opening the inclusio of verses one and two with verses five or six, the need for salvation

is apparent in the life of the psalmist as he is one whose demise is sought by his enemies. With

the threat of people’s evil actions looming before him, David has no other option but expression

of trust in the salvation coming from God alone.6 The inspiration of the psalmist to find rest in

God is directly proportional to his evaluation of the greatness of God. Because of the Lord’s

attributes, He is able to provide the salvation needed. In the mind of the writer, salvation was not

4 Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator's Handbook on the Book of Psalms, Helps for translators (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 373.

5 This is drawn from the text of Psalm 62 itself as it addresses “you people” in verse eight and shifts into the second person.

6 Marvin E. Tate, vol. 20, Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 120.

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exclusive to a deliverance from those seeking his demise. Salvation included the Lord’s

vengeance on those attacking His people, but it also extended to the maintenance of the blessings

of covenantal fellowship with Him. In terms of Old Testament theology, salvation is an all-

inclusive understanding of a total relationship with God.7

Reiterated by David’s use of the Hebrew word ‘ak, translated “truly” in verses one and

two, he establishes his passionate dedication to the rest found in God. This emphasis continues

throughout the psalm as a demonstration of David’s absolute certainly in the statements he is

making.8 In Hebrew, ‘ak, begins these sentences in which they are used and provides not only

structure to the Psalm but also underscores the absoluteness of the thoughts following this


These are the statements of one whose trust has been refined through exercising it in the

faithfulness of God. David’s specific experience with God has taught him this level of

confidence and trust.10 It is this confidence that moves David to conclude in verse two, “I will

never be shaken.” In spite of the outward appearances (presented in verses three and four), “the

psalmist’s faith rises to a new height in believing the promise of God...”11

The Need for Rest from Enemies (62:3-4)

In spite of the insistence of some scholars to insist these verses refer to Absalom, the text

does not specify the enemies. The issue that is specified is the “assault” David is enduring.

There are two problematic verbs in the first part of verse three. The Hebrew verb translated

7 VanGemeren, 484.

8 Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72, Tyndale OT Commentaries 14a (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 1973), 239.9

C. Hassell Bullock, Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001), 173

10 Brueggemann, 152.

11 VanGemeren, 484.

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“assault” is unique as it only occurs here in Psalm 62:3. The second problematic verb is

translated “throw” and usually means “murder” or “slay”. For exegeting the passage, however,

the question is rhetorical although the meaning is figurative and refers to their desire to bring

down the king.12

The rhetorical question asked by David in verse three is answered in verse four.

Beginning with the Hebrew word ‘ak, the psalmist demonstrates his insistence on the reality of

the statements that follow. The enemies of the psalmist attack when he is at his weakest and

desire to give the last push to “this tottering fence.” Even in his weakness, David is the king of

Israel and occupies a “lofty place”. Nevertheless, these people are ruthless and have no respect

for the status, dignity, or position of the king whom they attack. Their goal is to attack the

weakened walls of David’s spirit until he is destroyed.13

The assault of his enemies will not result in physical murder; it is verbal assassination.

David’s reputation and honor is the target of their attack as they “delight in lies” (verse four). In

this battle of lies and deceit, David’s enemies speak blessing but their hearts speak cursing (verse

four).14 David’s use of the Hebrew word translated “delight” indicates their pleasure and favor

with themselves in this character attack.15 They are not accidentally causing this to happen, but

they have set their wills against him.

12 Bratcher and Reyburn, 542.

13 Tate, 121.

14 Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1 NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 879.15

Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000), 953a. Subsequent citations are abbreviated BDB.

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Salvation Comes from God (62:5-6)

Closing the inclusio started in verses one and two, David restates the pointlessness of his

enemy’s assaults on him. His hope remains in God. Although the NIV restates the sentences

poetically, these verses are nearly exact quotations of verses one and two with the exception of

“hope” instead of “salvation” and “never” replaces “not”.

In using the word “hope”, David is not stating a mere wish but waits in a confident trust

of deliverance by the Lord.16 His hope is in the Warrior of Israel to rise to his defense and

provide deliverance and salvation. The faith demonstrated by the psalmist is based in God’s

promise of provision and protection. This is why David can write, “I will not be shaken” (verse

six). With this certainly of hope in God, David stands encouraged.

Finding One’s Refuge in God (62:7-8)

God Provides Protection (62:7)

Turning from the lamentation regarding his enemies, David brings his attention singularly

to God. Although he uses similar words and expressions, the psalmist provides a new emphasis

on the Lord. It is God alone Who is the refuge and rock of David’s honor. It would not be

enough, in the psalmist’s mind, to be protected from physical harm only to lose his good name.

David’s honor is dependent on God. By using the word “honor,” David is speaking of

more than just his reputation but also his place of authority and position. In his position as king,

he was given a place of honor. This place of honor was his right as the anointed king of Israel.

This is why the Lord’s provision for protection of this honor was so necessary.17 It would not be

the psalmist’s personal aptitude nor might protecting his honor or reputation. Instead, God is the

16 BDB, 876a.

17 Bratcher and Reyburn, 543.

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restorer and protector of the benefits of the covenant David enjoys with God. By extension, the

restoration of David’s honor is also the restoration of the nation’s honor.18

Furthermore, verse seven links to verse six and carries the momentum stated in finding

his hope in the Lord and the resolve to be unshaken. In verse seven, David reaffirms his absolute

dependence on the Lord. It is as true for David as anyone: “everything which makes a person

important and strong depends upon God’s favor and help.”19 Verse seven, therefore, is a

statement of faith based on the inclusio above affirming the power of God and the ultimate

futility of the enemies attacks.

God Hears the Concerns of His People (62:8)

This verse is a turning point in the psalms as David’s attention shifts from personal

testimony to teaching the congregation of worshippers lessons in trusting God. The psalmist

tells the hearers to demonstrate trust in the Lord “at all times”. David’s personal testimony is

used as a source of inspiration for the covenant people of God. The deliverance God provided

David was the same deliverance offered to all of them.

The God who is David’s refuge, the psalmist asserts, “is our refuge”. In God’s concern

for His people, David’s example of faithful trust in God is the impetus for the assembly’s trust.

In the same way, God listened to David’s prayers for protection and proved Himself a

trustworthy Savior. Consequently, He listens to all of His people bound to Him in covenant.

Their concerns move His heart. They can “trust in him at all times” because God hears their

hearts being poured out to Him.20

18 Kidner, 249.

19 Tate, 121.

20 Wilson, 880.

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The shift in thought from self-exhortation to teaching the congregation of the redeemed

prepares the listener for the lessons of wisdom that follow in the final section of Psalm 62.

These fellow worshippers can tell God the secrets of their hearts not only because He already

knows them but also because He is their only hope for salvation.

Finding One’s Rest in the Power of God (62:9-12)

Humans and Their Ingenuity are Insignificant Compared to God (62:9-10)

Common to wisdom literature of the Bible and other Near Eastern cultures, verses nine

and ten reassure the congregation of the necessity to trust in God by presenting the futility of

human effort. In their insignificance, humanity is an unreliable source of hope and inspiration.

Whether they are lowborn or highborn, “they are nothing” (verse nine).21

The final ‘ak, translated “surely” is in verse nine and signifies the absoluteness of

David’s statements about humanity. Station in life, whether more or less important in the eyes of

society, only amounts to “a breath” (verse nine). The limited influence and power of human

beings results in an unwise source to find inspiration or hope.22

Most modern translations attempt to convey the different Hebrew words by the use of the

concept of important people verses less important people. The Hebrew text does use different

words, but it is also conceivable that David used different words to provide variety. The psalmist

could have been making parallel statements about humanity. VanGemeren offers an alternative

translation of “humanity is but a breath; humanity is but a lie.”23 If the implication of differing

status is the intended meaning of the words and phrase, then it is consistent with other cultures’

21 VanGemeren, 486.

22 Tate, 121-122.

23 VanGemeren, 486.

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expressions for those of greater and lesser influence. David could, in essence, be employing a

euphemism for the wealthy and the poor.24

Regardless of the specific meanings of the words, the point of verse nine is clear: the

totality of human status means nothing when weighed against the Warrior of Israel.

Furthermore, any financial means gained dishonestly still would have no value in offering

protection against one’s enemies. Although the temptation to manipulate situations in one’s

favor is always present, the psalmist asserts the ineffectiveness of such practices. Even “though

your riches increase”, David states in verse ten, hope in one’s ingenuity of position or

manipulation of circumstances will not be enough to provide the shelter and refuge David finds

in God.25

In telling the congregation, “do not set your heart on them” in verse ten, the psalmist is

not telling them they have no reason to fear the evil brought against them by humans. He is

reiterating the point that there is no reason to find hope in them for salvation and protection.26

Ultimately, the wealth or position of other humans holds no power over the redeemed as their

hope is firmly rooted in the promises and faithfulness of God.

God has all Power, Love, and Reward (62:11-12)

The pattern of “one thing...two things” is the first occurrence of parallelism involving

numbers in this psalm. Just as in any type of parallelism, the second line is intended to increase

the significance of the first line. When this numeral parallelism is used, the increase of

significance is in using a higher number. In the case of Psalm 62:11, this increase of significance

24 Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Ps 62:9.

25 Wilson, 880-881.26

Kidner, 241.

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is the psalmist’s use of “one thing” followed by “two things.” Some commentators explain its

use as a way of making the subsequent statements intensifications of the first.27

As applied specifically to Psalm 62, this numeral parallelism speaks of God’s single

revelation to David and his expression of this message in two parts. The two applications of this

single message intensify the message itself. The message David received summarizes the psalm:

“power belongs to you, God” (verse 11). It is also possible that this parallelism with the

numbers one and two serves as a summary of the two parts of the psalm, which provides a

powerful conclusion.28

David has already used many adjectives of the Lord’s power. He has called God a rock

(verses two, six, and seven), fortress (verses two and six), and refuge (verses seven and eight).

This power is expressed through two concepts presented in verse twelve: with the Lord “is

unfailing love” and God rewards “everyone according to what they have done.”

The Lord’s love is the Hebrew word hesed. This word carries the idea of “goodness and

kindness” and is the loving expression of His power.29 God’s love displays itself to his people in

His faithfulness to be their rock, fortress, and refuge. To His people, God’s love is a comfort.30

At the same time, the Lord’s power is revealed as a judge who will give a desired reward

to the faithful while those who are evil will also receive the reward “according to what they have

done.” This is not an outright statement of final judgment, although there are overtones of that

concept. Instead, the psalmist focuses on the steadfastness of the Lord in juxtaposition to those

who are treating the faithful with evil.31

27 Bratcher and Reyburn, 545.

28 Tate, 122.

29 BDB, 338b.

30 VanGemeren, 487.31 Kidner, 242.

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Theological Message

The suffering of the faithful at the assault of the unfaithful is a recurring theme

throughout Scripture. The greater Son of David, Jesus, was not immune to the effects of the sin

of others against Him. Psalm 62, however, does not present the struggle with this as much as

finding a place of solitude in the faithfulness of God.32

This rest, as Psalm 62 calls it, involves the trust flowing from a life lived through the

difficulties and the celebrations. Too often, suffering is seen as punishment when both Old and

New Testaments reaffirm God’s use of suffering for a greater purpose (cf. Job and James 1).

The call of perseverance echoes the call of resting in the trust of the Lord. The lament that

causes one to pray can become the launch pad of praise and confidence.33

There is also a very important reminder to continue exhorting oneself to remember the

past deliverances of the Lord. David began Psalm 62 reminding himself of the power of God in

which he finds protection and hope. This lesson from his life is used to encourage others in the

community of faith to continue remembering God’s faithfulness.

An often overlooked but nonetheless significant aspect of Psalm 62 is indicative of many

psalms of confidence: the resolution is not apparent. Christians often look for closure in the

trials facing them, but this psalm subtlety teaches the resolution in this life is not the point of

faith. Confidence in the deliverance from the persecution facing the people of God is found in

trusting while moving along in the journey of faith. David never expressed in Psalm 62 the

complete resolution on earth but the reality that God protects His own and He will take any

revenge necessary (cf. Deuteronomy 32:35).

32 Wilson, 882.

33 Bullock, 166.

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Finally, the celebration of God’s faithfulness is a source of strength for future testing.

The psalmist’s underlying belief is nothing could shake the confidence God has earned from the

people of God. The Lord has demonstrated His faithfulness repeatedly and His people have only

cause for celebration for deliverance that has been, is happening, or will come in the future.34

This hope is worth making tangible in worship of the Lord as “my soul find rest in God” (Psalm



Bratcher, Robert G. and William David Reyburn. A Translator's Handbook on the Book of Psalms. Helps for translators. New York: United Bible Societies, 1991.

34 Brueggemann, 152.

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Brown, Francis, Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. electronic ed. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000.

Brueggemann, Walter. The Message of the Psalms. Augsburg OT Series. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.

Bullock, C. Hassell. Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72. Tyndale OT Commentaries 14a. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 1973.

Matthews, Victor Harold, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton. The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Tate, Marvin E. Vol. 20, Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

VanGemeren, Willem A. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Revised Edition, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.

Wilson, Gerald H. Psalms, vol. 1. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.