Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
The key to Psalm 16 was in the words, "In thee do I put my trust"; to Psalm 17, "Hear the right." In Psalm 16 we have seen the blessed path and working of that spirit of confidence. It is, though the same spirit works in the remnant, essentially applicable to Christ Himself in Person. Psalm 17 doubtless applies to Him also, but not so entirely so. It is on somewhat lower ground, though one on which the Spirit of God speaks. We see distinctly that it contemplates others, though not without Christ, in Verse 11 (Psa 17:11). "They have now compassed us in our steps." Still, Christ is found here: without Him none really could say to purpose, Hear the right. It is an appeal to the judgment of Jehovah, God, coming forth to vindicate the righteousness of Him that cries to Him. The godly remnant will be, in the main, delivered from their deadly enemies. Jehovah will arise and disappoint them.
Still, some will fall, even of the wise (Dan 11:35) Christ Himself, the perfect One, though for more glorious reasons, still in sympathy with His people, did. Hence the righteousness goes higher up than the present deliverance by God's government of the godly remnant on earth, to a result true of Christ, and a comfort for the faith of all those who may fall under the oppression of the enemy. "I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake up after thy likeness." This is fully true of Christ, who is before His Father in righteousness, and is the very image of the invisible God He in whom He is displayed in glory. But He traces the path He trod as the righteous One on earth, in the midst of evil, and where He underwent the temptations of the enemy. First, there was perfect integrity of heart, and that in the most secret thoughts of it. There was purpose not to transgress. In obedience the words of God's lips guided Him; and thus the paths of the destroyer were never an instant entered on; the words of God's lips never lead there. This the Lord showed in His temptation in the wilderness. In the paths of Jehovah He looked to Him to hold up His goings. This is a part of righteousness in man dependence. He called on God, sure that He would hear Him. This is the confidence we have. Such was His path.
He applies it then as the ground of looking for the intervention of God's power to protect Him as He does those that trust in Him from the wicked that oppressed Him. Prosperous and lifted up as they were, Jehovah was His refuge when He did not yet interfere. But He looked to His openly doing so. Remark that the perfectness of moral character gives nearness of confidence and sense of preciousness to Jehovah. Even in us God would have this. We are of more value than many sparrows the very hairs of our head counted. Here it is perfect, and He looks to be kept as the apple of the eye that which is most preciously guarded by him whose it is.
After all, these prosperous oppressors were but the hand of Jehovah men of this world, who got all heart could desire from the outward providence of God. But what a lesson among Jews, whose legal portion was blessing in basket and store and children! (Compare the parables of Dives and Lazarus, and of the unjust steward). Here then the breach with this world, and a place in glory in the next, are fully contemplated. Jehovah's face in righteousness, and likeness to Him when thus woke up into another world, were well worth the portion of the men of this world. But here, mark, death and another world are contemplated, though deliverance is also (the remnant being more distinctly brought in). It is the same as we have seen in Matthew 5, where also both are contemplated. We have thus, in this first book, the Jews at the end of days, but in circumstances analogous to what Christ's life was, that is, moving as godly ones in the midst of the wicked people.