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Psalms 4:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— [[For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.]] Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness; Thou hast set me at large [when I was] in distress: Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.]] Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me [when I was] in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— [[For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.]] Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.]] Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me [when I was] in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [[To the chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.]] When I call, answer me, O God of my righteousness: in pressure thou hast enlarged me; be gracious unto me, and hear my prayer.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [[To the Chief Musician: with stringed instruments. A Melody of David.]] When I cry, answer me, O mine own righteous God, In a strait place, thou hast made room for me, Show me favour, and hear my prayer.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— To the Overseer with Stringed Instruments.—A Psalm of David. In my calling answer Thou me, O God of my righteousness. In adversity Thou gavest enlargement to me; Favour me, and hear my prayer.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Unto the end, in verses. A psalm for David. When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me. Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [[To the chiefe Musician on Neginoth, A Psalme of Dauid.]] Heare me, when I call, O God of my righteousnesse: thou hast inlarged mee when I [was] in distresse, haue mercy vpon me, and heare my prayer.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [[For the End, a Song of David among [the] Psalms.]] When I called upon [him], the God of my righteousness heard me: thou hast made room for me in tribulation; pity me, and hearken to my prayer.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of Dawid.]] Hear me when I call, O Elohim of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me [when I was] in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[[To the chief Musician 5329
{5329} Prime
A primitive root; properly to glitter from afar, that is, to be eminent (as a superintendent, especially of the Temple services and its music); also (as denominative from H5331), to be permanent.
<8764> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 685
on Nqn נְגִינֹת, 5058
{5058} Prime
From H5059; properly instrumental music; by implication a stringed instrument; by extension a poem set to music; specifically an epigram.
A Psalm 4210
{4210} Prime
From H2167; properly instrumental music; by implication a poem set to notes.
of Dwi דָּוִד.]] 1732
{1732} Prime
From the same as H1730; loving; David, the youngest son of Jesse.
Hear 6030
{6030} Prime
A primitive root; properly to eye or (generally) to heed, that is, pay attention; by implication to respond; by extension to begin to speak; specifically to sing, shout, testify, announce.
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
me when I call, 7121
{7121} Prime
A primitive root (rather identical with H7122 through the idea of accosting a person met); to call out to (that is, properly address by name, but used in a wide variety of applications).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
O lhm אֱלֹהִים 430
{0430} Prime
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
of my righteousness: 6664
{6664} Prime
From H6663; the right (natural, moral or legal); also (abstractly) equity or (figuratively) prosperity.
thou hast enlarged 7337
{7337} Prime
A primitive root; to broaden (intransitively or transitively, literally or figuratively).
<8689> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 2675
me [when I was] in distress; 6862
{6862} Prime
From H6887; narrow; (as a noun) a tight place (usually figuratively, that is, trouble); also a pebble (as in H6864); (transitively) an opponent (as crowding).
have mercy 2603
{2603} Prime
A primitive root (compare H2583); properly to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (that is, move to favor by petition).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
upon me, and hear 8085
{8085} Prime
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.).
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
my prayer. 8605
{8605} Prime
From H6419; intercession, supplication; by implication a hymn.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 4:1

_ _ Psalms 4:1-8. On Neginoth, that is, stringed instruments, as the kind of musical accompaniment. On other parts of title, see-on Introduction., The historical occasion was probably the same as that of the foregoing [see on Psalms 3:1, Title]. The writer, praying for further relief, admonishes his enemies of the vanity of attacking God’s servant, exhorts them to repentance, and avows his confidence and peace in God’s favor.

_ _ Hear — as in Psalms 3:4.

_ _ God of my righteousness — or, “my righteous God, as my holy hill” (Psalms 2:6), who will act towards me on righteous principles.

_ _ thou hast enlarged — expresses relief afforded in opposition to “distress,” which is expressed by a word denoting straits or pressure. Past favor is a ground of hope for the future.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 4:1-5

_ _ The title of the psalm acquaints us that David, having penned it by divine inspiration for the use of the church, delivered it to the chief musician, or master of the song, who (according to the divine appointment of psalmody made in his time, which he was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of) presided in that service. We have a particular account of the constitution, the modelling of the several classes of singers, each with a chief, and the share each bore in the work, 1 Chr. 25. Some prophesied according to the order of the king, Psalms 4:2. Others prophesied with a harp, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, Psalms 4:3. Of others it is said that they were to lift up the horn, Psalms 4:5. But of them all, that they were for song in the house of the Lord (Psalms 4:6) and were instructed in the songs of the Lord, Psalms 4:7. This psalm was committed to one of the chiefs, to be sung on neginothstringed instruments (Habakkuk 3:19), which were played on with the hand; with music of that kind the choristers were to sing this psalm: and it should seem that then they only sung, not the people; but the New Testament appoints all Christians to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), from whom it is expected that they do it decently, not artfully; and therefore there is not now so much occasion for musical instruments as there was then: the melody is to be made in the heart. In these verses,

_ _ I. David addresses himself to God, Psalms 4:1. Whether the sons of men, to whom he is about to speak, will hear, or whether they will forbear, he hopes and prays that God will give him a generous audience, and an answer of peace: “Hear me when I call, and accept my adorations, grant my petitions, and judge upon my appeals; have mercy upon me, and hear me.” All the notice God is pleased to take of our prayers, and all the returns he is pleased to make to them, must be ascribed, not to our merit, but purely to his mercy. “Hear me for thy mercy-sake” is our best plea. Two things David here pleads further: — 1. “Thou art the God of my righteousness; not only a righteous God thyself, but the author of my righteous dispositions, who hast by the grace wrought that good that is in me, hast made me a righteous man; therefore hear men, and so attest thy own work in me; thou art also the patron of my righteous cause, the protector of my wronged innocency, to whom I commit my way, and whom I trust to bring forth my righteousness as the light.” When men condemn us unjustly, this is our comfort, It is God that justifies; he is the God of a believer's righteousness. 2. “Thou has formerly enlarged me when I was in distress, enlarged my heart in holy joy and comfort under my distresses, enlarged my condition by bringing me out of my distresses; therefore now, Lord, have mercy upon me, and hear me.” The experience we have had of God's goodness to us in enlarging us when we have been in distress is not only a great encouragement to our faith and hope for the future, but a good plea with God in prayer. “Thou hast; wilt thou not? For thou art God, and changest not; thy work is perfect.”

_ _ II. He addresses himself to the children of men, for the conviction and conversion of those that are yet strangers to God, and that will not have the Messiah, the Son of David, to reign over them.

_ _ 1. He endeavours to convince them of the folly of their impiety (Psalms 4:2). “O you sons of Men” (of great men, so some, men of high degree, understanding it of the partisans of Saul or Absalom), “how long will you oppose me and my government, and continue disaffected to it, under the influence of the false and groundless suggestions of those that wish evil to me?” Or it may be taken more generally. God, by the psalmist, here reasons with sinners to bring them to repentance. “You that go on in the neglect of God and his worship, and in contempt of the kingdom of Christ and his government, consider what you do.” (1.) “You debase yourselves, for you are sons of men” (the word signifies man as a noble creature); “consider the dignity of your nature, and the excellency of those powers of reason with which you are endued, and do not act thus irrationally and unbecoming yourselves.” Let the sons of men consider and show themselves men. (2.) “You dishonour your Maker, and turn his glory into shame.” They may well be taken as God's own words, charging sinners with the wrong they do him in his honour: or, if David's words, the term glory may be understood of God, whom he called his glory, Psalms 3:3. Idolaters are charged with changing the glory of God into shame, Romans 1:23. All wilful sinners do so by disobeying the commands of his law, despising the offers of his grace, and giving the affection and service to the creature which are due to God only. Those that profane God's holy name, that ridicule his word and ordinances, and, while they profess to know him, in works deny him, do what in them lies to turn his glory into shame. (3.) “You put a cheat upon yourselves: You love vanity, and seek after leasing, or lying, or that which is a lie. You are yourselves vain and lying, and you love to be so.” Or, “You set your hearts upon that which will prove, at last, but vanity and a lie.” Those that love the world, and seek the things that are beneath, love vanity, and seek lies; as those also do that please themselves with the delights of sense, and portion themselves with the wealth of this world; for these will deceive them, and so ruin them. “How long will you do this? Will you never be wise for yourselves, never consider your duty and interest? When shall it once be?Jeremiah 13:27. The God of heaven thinks the time long that sinners persist in dishonouring him and in deceiving and ruining themselves.

_ _ 2. He shows them the peculiar favour which God has for good people, the special protection they are under, and the singular privileges to which they are entitled, Psalms 4:3. This comes in here, (1.) As a reason why they should not oppose or persecute him that is godly, nor think to run him down. It is at their peril if they offend one of these little ones, whom God has set apart for himself, Matthew 18:6. God reckons that those who touch them touch the apple of his eye; and he will make their persecutors to know it, sooner or later. They have an interest in heaven, God will hear them, and therefore let none dare to do them any injury, for God will hear their cry and plead their cause, Exodus 22:23. It is generally supposed that David speaks of his own designation to the throne; he is the godly man whom the Lord has set apart for that honour, and who does not usurp it or assume it to himself: “The opposition therefore which you give to him and to his advancement is very criminal, for therein you fight against God, and it will be vain and ineffectual.” God has, in like manner, set apart the Lord Jesus for himself, that merciful One; and those that attempt to hinder his advancement will certainly be baffled, for the Father hears him always. Or, (2.) As a reason why they should themselves be good, and walk no longer in the counsel of the ungodly: “You have hitherto sought vanity; be truly religious, and you will be truly happy here and for ever; for,” [1.] “God will secure to himself his interest in you.” The Lord has set apart him that is godly, every particular godly man, for himself, in his eternal choice, in his effectual calling, in the special disposals of his providence and operations of his grace; his people are purified unto him a peculiar people. Godly men are God's separated, sealed, ones; he knows those that are his, and has set his image and superscription upon them; he distinguishes them with uncommon favours: They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels. Know this; let godly people know it, and let them never alienate themselves from him to whom they are thus appropriated; let wicked people know it, and take heed how they hurt those whom God protects. [2.] “God will secure to you an interest in himself.” This David speaks with application: The Lord will hear when I call unto him. We should think ourselves happy if we had the ear of an earthly prince; and is it not worth while upon any terms, especially such easy ones, to gain the ear of the King of kings? Let us know this, and forsake lying vanities for our own mercies.

_ _ 3. He warns them against sin, and exhorts them both to frighten and to reason themselves out of it (Psalms 4:4): “Stand in awe and sin not” (be angry and sin not, so the Septuagint, and some think the apostle takes that exhortation from him, Ephesians 4:26); “commune with your own hearts; be converted, and, in order thereunto, consider and fear.” Note, (1.) We must not sin, must not miss our way and so miss our aim. (2.) One good remedy against sin is to stand in awe. Be moved (so some), in opposition to carelessness and carnal security. “Always keep up a holy reverence of the glory and majesty of God, and a holy dread of his wrath and curse, and dare not to provoke him.” (3.) One good means of preventing sin, and preserving a holy awe, is to be frequent and serious in communing with our own hearts:Talk with your hearts; you have a great deal to say to them; they may be spoken with at any time; let it not be unsaid.” A thinking man is in a fair way to be a wise and a good man. “Commune with your hearts; examine them by serious self-reflection, that you may acquaint yourselves with them and amend what is amiss in them; employ them in solemn pious meditations; let your thoughts fasten upon that which is good and keep closely to it. Consider your ways, and observe the directions here given in order to the doing of this work well and to good purpose.” [1.] “Choose a solitary time; do it when you lie awake upon your beds. Before you turn yourself to go to sleep at night” (as some of the heathen moralists have directed) “examine your consciences with respect to what you have done that day, particularly what you have done amiss, that you may repent of it. When you awake in the night meditate upon God, and the things that belong to your peace.” David himself practised what he here counsels others to do (Psalms 63:6), I remember thee on my bed. Upon a sick-bed, particularly, we should consider our ways and commune with our own hearts about them. [2.] “Compose yourselves into a serious frame: Be still. When you have asked conscience a question be silent, and wait for an answer; even in unquiet times keep you spirits calm and quiet.”

_ _ 4. He counsels them to make conscience of their duty (Psalms 4:5): Offer to God the sacrifice of righteousness. We must not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well. Those that were disaffected to David and his government would soon come to a better temper, and return to their allegiance, if they would but worship God aright; and those that know the concerns that lie between them and God will be glad of the Mediator, the Son of David. It is required here from every one of us, (1.) That we serve him: “Offer sacrifices to him, your own selves first, and your best sacrifices.” But they must be sacrifices of righteousness, that is, good works, all the fruits of the reigning love of God and our neighbour, and all the instances of a religious conversation, which are better than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices. “Let all your devotions come from an upright heart; let all your alms be sacrifices of righteousness.” The sacrifices of the unrighteous God will not accept; they are an abomination, Isaiah 1:11, etc. (2.) That we confide in him. “First make conscience of offering the sacrifices of righteousness and then you are welcome to put your trust in the Lord. Serve God without any diffidence of him, or any fear of losing by him. Honour him, by trusting in him only, and not in your wealth nor in an arm of flesh; trust in his providence, and lean not to your own understanding; trust in his grace, and go not about to establish your own righteousness or sufficiency.”

_ _ In singing these verses we must preach to ourselves the doctrine of the provoking nature of sin, the lying vanity of the world, and the unspeakable happiness of God's people; and we must press upon ourselves the duties of fearing God, conversing with our own hearts, and offering spiritual sacrifices; and in praying over these verses we must beg of God grace thus to think and thus to do.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 4:1

O God — The witness and defender of my righteous cause.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 4:1

"(a) To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David." Hear me when I call, (b) O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me [when I was] in (c) distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

(a) Among those who were appointed to sing the psalms and to play on instruments, one was appointed chief to set the tune, and to begin: who had the charge because he was most excellent and he began this psalm on the instrument called Neginoth or in a tune so called.

(b) You who are the defender of my just cause.

(c) Both of mind and body.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Psalms 6:1 [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.]] O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
Psalms 67:1 [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm [or] Song.]] God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
Psalms 76:1 [[To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm [or] Song of Asaph.]] In Judah [is] God known: his name [is] great in Israel.
Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.


Psalms 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
Psalms 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Psalms 41:12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
Isaiah 45:24 Surely, shall [one] say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: [even] to him shall [men] come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. ... For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


Psalms 18:18-19 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. ... He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
Psalms 31:8 And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
Psalms 40:1-3 [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. ... And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Psalms 116:6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Psalms 116:16 O LORD, truly I [am] thy servant; I [am] thy servant, [and] the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
1 Samuel 19:11-12 Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. ... So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.
1 Samuel 23:26-28 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. ... Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth.
Job 36:16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait [into] a broad place, where [there is] no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table [should be] full of fatness.
2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
2 Corinthians 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us];

have mercy upon me:
or, be gracious unto me,
Psalms 56:1 [[To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.]] Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
Psalms 57:1 [[To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.]] Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.
Psalms 86:3-5 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. ... For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
Psalms 119:75-77 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right, and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. ... Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law [is] my delight.
Psalms 119:132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.
Psalms 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
Exodus 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, ... Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].
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Ex 34:6. 1S 17:37; 19:11; 23:26. Jb 36:16. Ps 6:1; 11:7; 18:18; 24:5; 31:8; 40:1; 41:12; 56:1; 57:1; 67:1; 76:1; 86:3; 116:6, 16; 119:75, 132; 143:2. Is 45:24. Jr 23:6. Hab 3:19. 1Co 1:30. 2Co 1:8, 10; 5:20.

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