An appeal for deliverance from ungodly foes.
st. 1 = vv. 1-5
st. 2 = vv. 6-8
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-13
st. 5 =vv. 14-15
Psalm 17 asks God, the heavenly King and Judge, to protect his faithful servant from the unprovoked attacks of godless enemies. It appears that the enemies hope to profit from the psalmist's death or downfall, perhaps to fatten their purses with worldly wealth (v. 14), and they seem to have the power to bring him down (vv. 10-12). As in many psalms, it could be that the enemies attack the LORD's anointed with false accusations (v. 10), and the only recourse is to call for God's righteous judgment. The psalmist appeals to God to hear his just cause (st. 1) and declares trust in God's safekeeping (st. 2). A prayer follows, in which the psalmist implores God for safe sanctuary and rescue from plotting and threatening enemies (st. 3-4) and expresses full confidence in God's provision and in the believer's ultimate joy in God's presence (st. 5).
Helen Ann (Brink) Otte (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. Since 1986 Otte has resided in Downs, Kansas, where she is active as a freelance writer of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter.
Situations of threat from the enemies of God's people; remembrance of the suffering of Christ at the hands of those who falsely accused him.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook