For the director of music. Of David.
11:1 In the Lord I take refuge [David’s confidence in the Lord in the face of opposition from the wicked; he will not flee or try to escape; the Lord is a greater and safer refuge than any mountain]. How then can you [David’s advisors] say to me: “Flee like a bird [refers to a quick escape and perhaps an indication of not trusting God] to your mountain [a place of safety and refuge].
11:2 For look, the wicked bend their bows [David was being stalked by the wicked; their slanderous tongues were like bent bows]; they set their arrows [their words] against the strings to shoot from the shadows [in the dark; from hidden places; an indication that evil launches its strike from hidden places and use deceptiveness and treachery] at the upright in heart [those whose lives are characterized by integrity].
11:3 When the foundations [a metaphor for the social and civil order] are being destroyed [by anarchy], what can the righteous do [the answer is to seek refuge in God]?”
11:4 The Lord is in his holy temple [not Solomon’s Temple which had not yet been built; refers to heaven]; the Lord is on his heavenly throne [a symbol of rule and authority]. He observes [from His heavenly vantage point] everyone [no one or no thing escapes His divine gaze] on earth; his eyes [cf. 2 Chron. 16:9] examine [as carefully as a gold or silversmith examines the process of purification] them.
11:5 The Lord examines the righteous [those who obey God’s Word and do His will], but the wicked [those who are out of touch with God], those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
11:6 [God will judge the wicked in His time] On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur [language reminiscent of Sodom and Gomorrah]; a scorching wind [an image of judgment; hot desert wind that destroys vegetation] will be their lot [destruction is the lot of the wicked; “A drop of hell is terrible, but what must a full cup of torment be? Think of it—a cup of misery, but not a drop of mercy.” (Spurgeon)].
11:7 For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright [but not the wicked] will see his face [an expression of deliverance from adversity and the troubles of this life].