Psalms – Chapter 4

A Note for the Conductor

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

According to the Radak, this Psalm, like the previous one, was composed by David as he was on the run from Avshalom.

As he is on the run from those who have turned against him, David asks G-d to vindicate him, as He has done in the past. David acknowledges that his accusers are the descendants of great men (the forefathers, says Rashi) and says that they disparage him unfairly. They cling to Avshalom, but his rule will prove fleeting. Just as G-d initially elevated David, so too will He answer him now.

David tells his attackers that even if they have no regard for him, they should fear G-d and desist. They should take a break and think about what they’re doing; if they do this, they will surely give up this persecution. If they start behaving properly, it will be a “sacrifice of righteousness” to G-d.

People are always looking for something better than what they have. Such dissatisfaction is pointless. The greatest good is not to be found in material things, but in G-d. David does not feel envy or jealousy, since G-d has placed more joy in his heart than others feel over their material possessions. David feels that he could sleep peacefully, as G-d makes him feel secure – if only others would share this with him!

This Psalm is the first to start “lamnatzeach,” “to the conductor,” i.e., to the musical director of the Temple. (Remember that these were musical compositions, as per our comment in the previous chapter.)

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