Praise of God for deliverance in time of trouble; instruction in "the fear of the LORD.”
st. 1 =vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-7
st. 3 =vv. 8-10
st. 4 = vv. 11-14
Psalm 34's thematic development is striking in that it moves from praise for God's deliverance to wisdom instruction in "the fear of the LORD" (a similar development is found in 92; see also 1, 37, 49, 73, and 112). The person who sings this psalm commits to praising the LORD and calls all people to do the same (st. 1), for God delivers and always protects those who fear the LORD (st. 2). "Taste and see," exhorts the psalmist; God shelters all who fear him (st. 3). Instruction in "the fear of the LORD" points to seeking God's peace and keeping the tongue from evil (st. 4). God sees the needs and hears the cries of those who trust in him but turns away from the wicked (st. 5). Even though the troubles of the godly may multiply, God keeps safe those who fear him and condemns the wicked (st. 6). Marie J. Post (PHH 5) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.
Thanksgiving to God for answered prayer; expressions of how Christian gratitude should result in godly living–trust in God and obedience to his will. Stanza 1 can be a choral call to worship; stanza 3 is appropriate in the liturgy of the Lord's Supper. In a communion service, the entire psalm could be framed by the refrain of 301, "Taste and see that God is good."
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook