To the chief Musician upon Muthlabben, A Psalm of David.
1 I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. 3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence. 4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right. 5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. 6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them. 7 But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. 8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. 9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. 10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. 11 Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. 12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. 13 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: 14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. 15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 16 The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. 17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. 19 Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. 20 Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.)
David opens up explaining the reason for the chief Musician to play this Psalm. Easton’s Illustrated Dictionary gives this as one of the definitions of the word “Muthlabben”:
Others render the word, “on the death of the son;” i.e., of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:33). —Easton’s Illustrated Dictionary
In my research, I discovered that in Jewish tradition, this Psalm was used in times of grieving the loss of a loved one. So it stands to reason that Easton’s possible rendering of the word was probably accurate. As I re-read this Psalm with that reasoning behind it, it took on a different “flavor.”
I noticed David’s acknowledgement of his sin (verse 13). David doesn’t dwell on the sin as much as he dwells praising God for executing right judgment. Psalm 6 was filled with remorse. Now David is acknowledging God’s “right” to judge him for his sin. David is also acknowledging the repercussions as a result of his sin. The people knew of David’s sin and they hated him for it. It was not a sin done in secret – it had become public knowledge. David’s rebellion brought about judgment from God.
Not all are quick to acknowledge that some of their circumstances are a result of God’s judgment. Some are so prideful they do not see that the judgment is a direct result of their sin. However, as God’s child, I must recognize God’s judgment as His chastisement. I am not being judged for my salvation as Christ paid that penalty and my salvation is covered under His blood. However, I will be “spanked,” so to speak. Scripture says that God chastens His children:
~Hebrews 12:5-7 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
I cannot be quick to judge David as I have been down similar paths of rebellion. But praise the Lord for this Psalm! I learned that David was quick to learn and quick to repent! He acknowledged His God and His judgment – and, as a result, David praised Him! What a wonderful Psalm and pattern for me to follow!