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Psalms 56:1-2

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 

56:2 Those who anticipate my defeat 8  attack me all day long.

Indeed, 9  many are fighting against me, O Exalted One. 10 

Psalms 56:9


56:9 My enemies will turn back when I cry out to you for help; 11 

I know that God is on my side. 12 

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.

8 tn Heb “to those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 54:5; 59:10.

9 tn Or “for.”

10 tn Some take the Hebrew term מָרוֹם (marom, “on high; above”) as an adverb modifying the preceding participle and translate, “proudly” (cf. NASB; NIV “in their pride”). The present translation assumes the term is a divine title here. The Lord is pictured as enthroned “on high” in Ps 92:8. (Note the substantival use of the term in Isa 24:4 and see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs (Psalms [ICC], 2:34), who prefer to place the term at the beginning of the next verse.)

11 tn Heb “then my enemies will turn back in the day I cry out.” The Hebrew particle אָז (’az, “then”) is probably used here to draw attention to the following statement.

12 tn Heb “this I know, that God is for me.”

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