on Psalms 34 :7
The angel of the Lord encampeth round - I should rather consider this angel in the light of a watchman going round his circuit, and having for the objects of his especial care such as fear the Lord.
on Psalms 34 :7
The angel of the Lord - The angel whom the Lord sends, or who comes, at his command, for the purpose of protecting the people of God. This does not refer to any particular angel as one who was specifically called "the angel of the Lord," but it, may refer to any one of the angels whom the Lord may commission for this purpose; and the phrase is equivalent to saying that "angels" encompass and protect the friends of God. The word "angel" properly means a "messenger," and then is applied to those holy beings around the throne of God who are sent forth as his "messengers" to mankind; who are appointed to communicate his will, to execute his commands; or to protect his people. Compare Matthew 24:31, note; Job 4:18, note; Hebrews 1:6, note; John 5:4, note. Since the word has a general signification, and would denote in itself merely a messenger, the qualification is added here that it is an "angel of the Lord" that is referred to, and that becomes a protector of the people of God.
Encampeth - literally, "pitches his tent." Genesis 26:17; Exodus 13:20; Exodus 17:1. Then the word comes to mean "to defend;" to "protect:" Zechariah 9:8. The idea here is, that the angel of the Lord protects the people of God as an army defends a country, or as such an army would be a protection. He "pitches his tent" near the people of God, and is there to guard them from danger.
About them that fear him - His true friends, friendship for God being often denoted by the word fear or reverence. See the notes at Job 1:1.
And delivereth them - Rescues them from danger. The psalmist evidently has his own case in view, and the general remark here is founded on his own experience. He attributes his safety from danger at the time to which he is referring, not to his own art or skill; not to the valor of his own arm, or to the prowess of his followers, but, to the goodness of God in sending an angel, or a company of angels, to rescue him; and hence, he infers that what was true of himself would be true of others, and that the general statement might be made which is presented in this verse. The doctrine is one that is frequently affirmed in the Scriptures. Nothing is more clearly or constantly asserted than that the angels are employed in defending the people of God; in leading and guiding them; in comforting them under trial, and sustaining them in death; as it is also affirmed, on the other hand, that wicked angels are constantly employed in leading men to ruin. Compare Daniel 6:22, note; Hebrews 1:14, note. See also Genesis 32:1-2; 2 Kings 6:17; Psalm 91:11; Luke 16:22; Luke 22:43; John 20:12. It may be added that no one can prove that what is here stated by the psalmist may not be literally true at the present time; and to believe that we are under the protection of angels may be as philosophical as it is pious. The most lonely, the most humble, the most obscure, and the poorest child of God, may have near him and around him a retinue and a defense which kings never have when their armies pitch their tents around their palaces, and when a thousand swords would at once be drawn to defend them.
on Psalms 34 :7
34:7 The angel - The angels, the singular number being put for the plural.