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Psalms 59:1-17

Context
Psalm 59 1 

For the music director; according to the al-tashcheth style; 2  a prayer 3  of David, written when Saul sent men to surround his house and murder him. 4 

59:1 Deliver me from my enemies, my God!

Protect me 5  from those who attack me! 6 

59:2 Deliver me from evildoers! 7 

Rescue me from violent men! 8 

59:3 For look, they wait to ambush me; 9 

powerful men stalk 10  me,

but not because I have rebelled or sinned, O Lord. 11 

59:4 Though I have done nothing wrong, 12  they are anxious to attack. 13 

Spring into action and help me! Take notice of me! 14 

59:5 You, O Lord God, the invincible warrior, 15  the God of Israel,

rouse yourself and punish 16  all the nations!

Have no mercy on any treacherous evildoers! (Selah)

59:6 They return in the evening;

they growl 17  like a dog

and prowl around outside 18  the city.

59:7 Look, they hurl insults at me

and openly threaten to kill me, 19 

for they say, 20 

“Who hears?”

59:8 But you, O Lord, laugh in disgust at them; 21 

you taunt 22  all the nations.

59:9 You are my source of strength! I will wait for you! 23 

For God is my refuge. 24 

59:10 The God who loves me will help me; 25 

God will enable me to triumph over 26  my enemies. 27 

59:11 Do not strike them dead suddenly,

because then my people might forget the lesson. 28 

Use your power to make them homeless vagabonds and then bring them down,

O Lord who shields us! 29 

59:12 They speak sinful words. 30 

So let them be trapped by their own pride

and by the curses and lies they speak!

59:13 Angrily wipe them out! Wipe them out so they vanish!

Let them know that God rules

in Jacob and to the ends of the earth! (Selah)

59:14 They return in the evening;

they growl 31  like a dog

and prowl around outside 32  the city.

59:15 They wander around looking for something to eat;

they refuse to sleep until they are full. 33 

59:16 As for me, I will sing about your strength;

I will praise your loyal love in the morning.

For you are my refuge 34 

and my place of shelter when I face trouble. 35 

59:17 You are my source of strength! I will sing praises to you! 36 

For God is my refuge, 37  the God who loves me. 38 

1 sn Psalm 59. The psalmist calls down judgment on his foreign enemies, whom he compares to ravenous wild dogs.

2 tn Heb “do not destroy.” Perhaps this refers to a particular style of music, a tune title, or a musical instrument. These words also appear in the superscription to Pss 57-58, 75.

3 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew word מִכְתָּם (miktam), which also appears in the heading to Pss 16, 56-58, 60 is uncertain. HALOT 582-83 s.v. defines it as “inscription.”

4 tn Heb “when Saul sent and they watched his house in order to kill him.”

sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm on the occasion when Saul sent assassins to surround David’s house and kill him in the morning (see 1 Sam 19:11). However, the psalm itself mentions foreign enemies (vv. 5, 8). Perhaps these references reflect a later adaptation of an original Davidic psalm.

5 tn Or “make me secure”; Heb “set me on high.”

6 tn Heb “from those who raise themselves up [against] me.”

7 tn Heb “from the workers of wickedness.”

8 tn Heb “from men of bloodshed.”

9 tn Heb “my life.”

10 tn The Hebrew verb is from the root גּוּר (gur), which means “to challenge, attack” in Isa 54:15 and “to stalk” (with hostile intent) in Ps 56:8.

11 sn The point is that the psalmist’s enemies have no justifiable reason for attacking him. He has neither rebelled or sinned against the Lord.

12 tn Heb “without sin.”

13 tn Heb “they run and they are determined.”

14 tn Heb “arise to meet me and see.” The Hebrew verb קָרָא (qara’, “to meet; to encounter”) here carries the nuance of “to help.”

15 tn HebLord, God, Hosts.” One expects the construct form אֱלֹהֵי (’elohey) before צְבָאוֹת (tsÿvaot, “hosts”). See Ps 89:9, but יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים (yÿhvahelohim) precedes צְבָאוֹת (tsÿvaot) in Pss 80:4, 19; 84:8 as well.

16 tn Heb “wake up to punish” (see Pss 35:23; 44:23).

17 tn Or “howl”; or “bark.”

18 tn Heb “go around.”

19 tn Heb “look, they gush forth with their mouth, swords [are] in their lips.”

20 tn The words “for they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The following question (“Who hears?”) is spoken by the psalmist’s enemies, who are confident that no one else can hear their threats against the psalmist. They are aggressive because they feel the psalmist is vulnerable and has no one to help him.

21 sn Laugh in disgust. See Pss 2:4; 37:13.

22 tn Or “scoff at”; or “deride”; or “mock” (see Ps 2:4).

23 tc Heb “his strength, for you I will watch.” “His strength” should be emended to “my strength” (see v. 17). Some also emend אֶשְׁמֹרָה (’eshmorah, “I will watch”) to אֱזַמֵּרָה (’ezammerah, “I will sing praises [to you]”) See v. 17.

24 tn Or “my elevated place” (see Ps 18:2).

25 tn Heb “the God of my [Qere (marginal reading); the Kethib (consonantal text) has “his”] loyal love will meet me.”

26 tn Heb “will cause me to look upon.”

27 tn Heb “those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 54:5; 56:2.

28 tn Heb “do not kill them, lest my people forget.”

sn My people might forget the lesson. Swift, sudden destruction might be quickly forgotten. The psalmist wants God’s judgment to be prolonged so that it might be a continual reminder of divine justice.

29 tn Heb “make them roam around by your strength and bring them down, O our shield, the Lord.”

30 tn Heb “the sin of their mouth [is] the word of their lips.”

31 tn Or “howl”; or “bark.”

32 tn Heb “go around.”

33 tn Heb “if they are not full, they stay through the night.”

34 tn Or “my elevated place” (see Ps 18:2).

35 tn Heb “and my shelter in the day of my distress.”

36 tn Heb “my strength, to you I will sing praises.”

37 tn Or “my elevated place” (see Ps 18:2).

38 tn Heb “the God of my loyal love.”



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