Psalm 34

The Word Made Fresh

(Of David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, so that he would be driven out and turned away.)

1I will praise the LORD always.
At every moment the praise of the LORD will be in my mouth.
2My life honors the LORD.
Let those who are humble hear and rejoice.
3Join me in praising the greatness of the LORD,
and let us glorify the name of the LORD together.
4I searched for the LORD, and the LORD answered me
and rescued me from all the things I feared.
5Look to the LORD and be radiant with praise
and never let your face show any shame.
6This poor soul cried out, and the LORD heard my cry,
and I was rescued from all my troubles.
7The presence of the LORD settles around those who are afraid,
and rescues them.
8So, taste and see that the LORD is good,
and those who take refuge in the LORD are glad.
9Fear the LORD, you who are set apart to serve God,
and you will want for nothing.
10Young lions may experience want and hunger,
but those who seek after the LORD lack nothing that is good.
11Come now, children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you about fearing the LORD.
12Do you want to live
and have many days to enjoy the good things of life?
13Then watch your tongue,
and don’t allow any deceitful words to come from your lips.
14Put evil aside and do good things.
Make the search for peace be your primary pursuit.
15The LORD watches over the righteous
and listens for their cry.
16The LORD’s face is set against those who work evil
and sees to it that they will not be remembered.
17But when those who are righteous cry for help, the LORD hears,
and saves them from their troubles.
18The LORD stays close to those who are brokenhearted,
and rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19Those who are righteous may experience many afflictions,
but the LORD saves them from every problem.
20The LORD protects them all
and they will not suffer any broken bones.
21But evil results in death for the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD reinstates the lives of those who serve God,
and no one who relies on the LORD will be condemned.


Superscription: this is the 30th psalm attributed to David. It is said that David wrote this psalm when he pretended to be insane because he was afraid of the Philistine king (see 1 Samuel 21:12-15), but it was Achish, not Abimelech.

1-3: The psalm opens with a chorus of praise.

4-10: The reason for praise is given: the psalmist was suffering from some unspecified troubles and God saved him. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (verse 8) is an oft-used expression in Christian litanies. This is the only occurrence of it in the Bible.

11-14: Since the psalmist has experienced deliverance from the LORD, he encourages children (perhaps his own children) to learn the things of God.

15-18: He assures them that God watches over the righteous and also the downtrodden “and those whose spirits are crushed” (“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said – Matthew 5:3).

19: This is an important verse: the righteous do indeed often suffer. Righteousness is no guarantee of prosperity or good health or public acclaim. However, righteousness is a guarantee of the LORD’s attentive care.

20: This verse was seen by the followers of Jesus to be a prophecy about his sufferings (see John 19:36). The Roman practice of crucifixion often included breaking the legs of the crucified so they would sag on the cross and die more quickly.

21-22: These sentiments may seem to be a bit naïve, but the psalmist is convinced through his own experience that sooner or later the righteous will be vindicated, and the wicked will receive their just punishment.


Character matters, and the scriptures are clear that character is a choice we make. Choose honesty over selfish concerns. Choose love over scheming for personal reward. Be faith-centered instead of self-centered.