Verses 1–3

We may observe here, 1. The great distress that David was now in, which the title gives an account of. The Ziphim came of their own accord, and informed Saul where David was, with a promise to deliver him into his hand. One would have thought that when David had retired into the country he would not be pursued, into a desert country he would not be discovered, and into his own country he would not be betrayed; and yet it seems he was. Never let a good man expect to be safe an easy till he comes to heaven. How treacherous, how officious, were these Ziphim! It is well that God is faithful, for men are not to be trusted, Mic. 7:5. 2. His prayer to God for succour and deliverance, Ps. 54:1, 2. He appeals to God’s strength, by which he was able to help him, and to his name, by which he was engaged to help him, and begs he would save him from his enemies and judge him, that is, plead his cause and judge for him. David has no other plea to depend upon than God’s name, no other power to depend upon than God’s strength, and those he makes his refuge and confidence. This would be the effectual answer of his prayers (Ps. 54:2), which even in his flight, when he had not opportunity for solemn address to God, he was ever and anon lifting up to heaven: Hear my prayer, which comes from my heart, and give ear to the words of my mouth. 3. His plea, which is taken from the character of his enemies, Ps. 54:3. (1.) They are strangers; such were the Ziphites, unworthy the name of Israelites. “They have used me more basely and barbarously than the Philistines themselves would have done.” The worst treatment may be expected from those who, having broken through the bonds of relation and alliance, make themselves strangers. (2.) They are oppressors; such was Saul, who, as a king, should have used his power for the protection of all his good subjects, but abused it for their destruction. Nothing is so grievous as oppression in the seat of judgment, Eccl. 3:16. Paul’s greatest perils were by his own countrymen and by false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26), and so were David’s. (3.) They were very formidable and threatening; they not only hated him and wished him ill, but they rose up against him in a body, joining their power to do him a mischief. (4.) They were very spiteful and malicious: They seek after my soul; they hunt for the precious life; no less will satisfy them. We may, in faith, pray that God would not by his providence give success, lest it should look like giving countenance, to such cruel bloody men. (5.) They were very profane and atheistical, and, for this reason, he thought God was concerned in honour to appear against them: They have not set God before them, that is, they have quite cast off the thoughts of God; they do not consider that his eye is upon them, that, in fighting against his people, they fight against him, nor have they any dread of the certain fatal consequences of such an unequal engagement. Note, From those who do not set God before them no good is to be expected; nay, what wickedness will not such men be guilty of? What bonds of nature, or friendship, or gratitude, or covenant, will hold those that have broken through the fear of God? Selah—Mark this. Let us all be sure to set God before us at all times; for, if we do not we are in danger of becoming desperate.