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Psalms 54:1-3

Context
Psalm 54 1 

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song 2  by David. It was written when the Ziphites came and informed Saul: “David is hiding with us.” 3 

54:1 O God, deliver me by your name! 4 

Vindicate me 5  by your power!

54:2 O God, listen to my prayer!

Pay attention to what I say! 6 

54:3 For foreigners 7  attack me; 8 

ruthless men, who do not respect God, seek my life. 9  (Selah)

1 sn Psalm 54. The psalmist asks God for protection against his enemies, confidently affirms that God will vindicate him, and promises to give thanks to God for his saving intervention.

2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52.

3 tn Heb “Is not David hiding with us?”

sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm during the period when Saul was seeking his life. On one occasion the Ziphites informed Saul that David was hiding in their territory (see 1 Sam 23:19-20).

4 tn God’s “name” refers here to his reputation and revealed character, which would instill fear in the psalmist’s enemies (see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, Psalms [ICC], 2:17).

5 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.

6 tn Heb “to the words of my mouth.”

7 tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read זֵדִים (zedim, “proud ones”) rather than זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”). (No matter which reading one chooses as original, dalet-resh confusion accounts for the existence of the variant.) The term זֵדִים (“proud ones”) occurs in parallelism with עָרִיצִים (’aritsim, “violent ones”) in Ps 86:14 and Isa 13:11. However, זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”) is parallel to עָרִיצִים (’aritsim, “violent ones”) in Isa 25:5; 29:5; Ezek 28:7; 31:12.

8 tn Heb “rise against me.”

9 tn Heb “and ruthless ones seek my life, they do not set God in front of them.”



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