Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

What is the writer depicting?


Pupil | אִישׁ֣וֹן Ishon is the "apple" of your eye. - Eyelids "guard" the pupil.

Psalms | Tehillim 17:8

"Guard me like-[the] pupil of Your-Eye" שָׁ֭מְרֵנִי כְּאִישׁ֣וֹן בַּת־עָ֑יִן

Radak on Psalm 17:8

Keep me as the pupil (אישׁון) of the ball of the eye: – as a man guards the pupil of his eye – that is, the black part through which the light (passes).

Rashi on Psalm 17:8

[as the apple] Heb. (כאישון). That is the pupil (lit. the black) of the eye, on which the vision depends. Because it is black, it is called אישון, an expression of darkness, and the Holy One, blessed be He, prepared a guard for it, viz. the eyelids, which constantly cover it.


What is the apple of God's eye?

The 'apple of God's eye' is the pupil as defined by the original Hebrew word (see Biblehub's #380 ishon).

What is the writer depicting?

Think about this: if you get an eyelash or speck of dust between your eye and eyelid, you would feel it immediately and the irritation would urge you to remove the foreign particle with haste.

In Ps 17:8, David is asking to guard him just like we would our own eyes. If anything was to irritate David, he is asking Jehovah God to remove it as quickly as possible.
This shows us how David perceived the welfare of God's people.

(Additional information can be read in the article "Eye" from the Insight on the Scriptures.)


Let's see the parallelism of Psalm 17:8

 Keep me as    the apple     of your eye; 
 hide me in    the shadow    of your wings

It's a symbol of protection from God.

as the apple
כְּאִישׁ֣וֹן (kə·’î·šō·wn)
Preposition-k | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 380: The little man of the eye, the pupil, ball, the middle

Barnes depicts it nicely:

Keep me as the apple of the eye - Preserve me; guard me; defend me, as one defends that which is to him most precious and valuable. ...
The literal translation would be, "Keep me as the little man - the daughter of the eye." ...
the apple or pupil of the eye, "in which, as in a mirror, a person sees his own image reflected in miniature." ...
The idea here is, that the little image is the "child" of the eye; that it has its birth or origin there. The prayer of the psalmist here is, that God would guard him, as one guards his sight - an object so dear and valuable to him.

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