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Psalms 56:1

Psalm 56 1 

For the music director; according to the yonath-elem-rechovim style; 2  a prayer 3  of David, written when the Philistines captured him in Gath. 4 

56:1 Have mercy on me, O God, for men are attacking me! 5 

All day long hostile enemies 6  are tormenting me. 7 

1 sn Psalm 56. Despite the threats of his enemies, the psalmist is confident the Lord will keep his promise to protect and deliver him.

2 tn The literal meaning of this phrase is “silent dove, distant ones.” Perhaps it refers to a particular style of music, a tune title, or a type of musical instrument.

3 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew word מִכְתָּם (miktam), which also appears in the heading to Pss 16 and 57-60 is uncertain. HALOT 582-83 s.v. defines it as “inscription.”

4 sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm when the Philistines seized him and took him to King Achish of Gath (see 1 Sam 21:11-15).

5 tn According to BDB 983 s.v. II שָׁאַף, the verb is derived from שָׁאַף (shaaf, “to trample, crush”) rather than the homonymic verb “pant after.”

6 tn Heb “a fighter.” The singular is collective for his enemies (see vv. 5-6). The Qal of לָחַם (lakham, “fight”) also occurs in Ps 35:1.

7 tn The imperfect verbal form draws attention to the continuing nature of the enemies’ attacks.

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