Psalm - 28:2

2 Hear the voice of my petitions, when I cry to you, when I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Psalm 28:2.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication, when I pray to thee; when I lift up my hands to thy holy temple.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward the oracle of thy holiness.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry to thee, when I lift my hands towards thy holy oracle.
Hear the voice of my supplications, In my crying unto Thee, In my lifting up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Give ear to the voice of my prayer, when I am crying to you, when my hands are lifted up to your holy place.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, When I lift up my hands toward Thy holy Sanctuary.

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

Hear the voice of my prayers when I cry to thee. This repetition is a sign of a heart in anguish. David's ardor and vehemence in prayer are also intimated by the noun signifying voice, and the verb signifying to cry. He means that he was so stricken with anxiety and fear, that he prayed not coldly, but with burning, vehement desire, like those who, under the pressure of grief, vehemently cry out. In the second clause of the verse, by synecdoche, the thing signified is indicated by the sign. It has been a common practice in all ages for men to lift up their hands in prayer. Nature has extorted this gesture even from heathen idolaters, to show by a visible sign that their minds were directed to God alone. The greater part, it is true, contented with this ceremony, busy themselves to no effect with their own inventions; but the very lifting up of the hands, when there is no hypocrisy and deceit, is a help to devout and zealous prayer. David, however, does not say here that he lifted his hands to heaven, but to the sanctuary, that, aided by its help, he might ascend the more easily to heaven. He was not so gross, or so superstitiously tied to the outward sanctuary, as not to know that God must be sought spiritually, and that men then only approach to him when, leaving the world, they penetrate by faith to celestial glory. But remembering that he was a man, he would not neglect this aid afforded to his infirmity. As the sanctuary was the pledge or token of the covenant of God, David beheld the presence of God's promised grace there, as if it had been represented in a mirror; just as the faithful now, if they wish to have a sense of God's nearness to them, should immediately direct their faith to Christ, who came down to us in his incarnation, that he might lift us up to the Father. Let us understand, then, that David clung to the sanctuary with no other view than that by the help of God's promise he might rise above the elements of the world, which he used, however, according to the appointment of the Law. The Hebrew word dvyr, debir, which we have rendered sanctuary, [1] signifies the inner-room of the tabernacle or temple, or the most holy place, where the ark of the covenant was contained, and it is so called from the answers or oracles which God gave forth from thence, to testify to his people the presence of his favor among them.


1 - dvyr, debir, is derived from dvr, dabar, to speak.

Hear the voice of my supplications - It was not mental prayer which he offered; it was a petition uttered audibly.
When I lift up my hands - To lift up the hands denotes supplication, as this was a common attitude in prayer. See the notes at 1-Timothy 2:8.
Toward thy holy oracle - Margin, as in Hebrew, "toward the oracle of thy holiness." The word "oracle" as used here denotes the place where the answer to prayer is given. The Hebrew word - דביר debı̂yr - means properly the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle or the temple, the place where God was supposed to reside, and where He gave responses to the prayers of His people: the same place which is elsewhere called the holy of holies. See the notes at Hebrews 9:3-14. The Hebrew word is found only here and in 1-Kings 6:5, 1-Kings 6:16, 1-Kings 6:19-23, 1-Kings 6:31; 1-Kings 7:49; 1-Kings 8:6, 1-Kings 8:8; 2-Chronicles 3:16; 2-Chronicles 4:20; 2-Chronicles 5:7, 2-Chronicles 5:9. The idea here is that he who prayed stretched out his hands toward that sacred place where God was supposed to dwell. So we stretch out our hands toward heaven - the sacred dwelling-place of God. Compare the notes at Psalm 5:7. The Hebrew word is probably derived from the verb to "speak;" and, according to this derivation, the idea is that God spoke to His people; that he "communed" with them; that He answered their prayers from that sacred recess - His special dwelling-place. See Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89.

Toward thy holy oracle - דביר קדשך debir kodshecha; debir properly means that place in the holy of holies from which God gave oracular answers to the high priest. This is a presumptive proof that there was a temple now standing; and the custom of stretching out the hands in prayer towards the temple, when the Jews were at a distance from it, is here referred to.

Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy (b) holy oracle.
(b) He counts himself as a dead man, till God shows his favour toward him, and grants him his petition.

Hear the voice of my supplications,.... Which proceed from the Spirit of grace and of supplication, and are put up in an humble manner, under a sense of wants and unworthiness, and on the foot of grace and mercy, and not merit;
when I cry unto thee; as he now did, and determined he would, and continue so doing, until he was heard;
when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle: the holy of holies, in the tabernacle and in the temple, which was sometimes so called, 1-Kings 6:23; compared with 2-Chronicles 3:10; where were the ark, the mercy seat, and cherubim, between which the Lord dwelt, and gave responses to his people; or heaven itself, which the holy of holies was a figure of; where is the throne of God, and from whence he hears the prayers of his people directed to him; or else Christ himself, who is the most Holy, and the "Debir", or Oracle, who speaks to the Lord for his people; and by whom the Lord speaks to them again, and communes with them. The oracle had its name, "debir", from speaking. Lifting up of the hands is a prayer gesture, and here designs the performance of that duty to God in heaven, through Christ; see Lamentations 3:41; it was frequently used, even by the Heathens, as a prayer gesture (r); see Psalm 141:2.
(r) "Duplices manus ad sidera tendit--et paulo post--et ambas ad coelum tendit palmas", Virgil. Aeneid. 10. vid. Aeneid. 2. "Ad coelum manibus sublatis", Horat. Satyr. l. 2. satyr. 5. v. 97. "Coelo supines si tuleris manus", ib. Carmin. l. 3. Ode 23. v. 1. "Et pandere palmas ante Deum delubra", Lucretius l. 5. prope finem , Homer. Iliad. 5. v. 174.

lift up my hands--a gesture of prayer (Psalm 63:4; Psalm 141:2).
oracle--place of speaking (Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89), where God answered His people (compare Psalm 5:7).

Towards - Towards the holy of holies, because there the ark was; from whence God gave oracular answers to his people.

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