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PSALM 56

Ps 56:1-13. Upon Jonath-elem-rechokim—literally, "upon the dove of silence" of distant places; either denoting a melody (see on Ps 9:1) of that name, to which this Psalm was to be performed; or it is an enigmatical form of denoting the subject, as given in the history referred to (1Sa 21:11, &c.), David being regarded as an uncomplaining, meek dove, driven from his native home to wander in exile. Beset by domestic and foreign foes, David appeals confidently to God, recites his complaints, and closes with joyful and assured anticipations of God's continued help.

1, 2. would swallow—literally, "pants as a raging beast" (Ac 9:1).

2. enemies—watchers (Ps 54:5).

most High—As it is not elsewhere used absolutely for God, some render the word here, arrogantly, or proudly, as qualifying "those who fight," &c.

3. in—or literally, "unto."

thee—to whom he turns in trouble.

4. in God … his word—By His grace or aid (Ps 60:12; 108:13), or, "I will boast in God as to His word"; in either case His word is the special matter and cause of praise.

flesh—for mankind (Ps 65:2; Isa 31:3), intimating frailty.

5, 6. A vivid picture of the conduct of malicious enemies.

7. Shall they escape? &c.—or better, "Their escape is by iniquity."

cast … people—humble those who so proudly oppose Thy servant.

8. God is mindful of his exile and remembers his tears. The custom of bottling the tears of mourners as a memorial, which has existed in some Eastern nations, may explain the figure.

9. God is for me—or, "on my side" (Ps 118:6; 124:1, 2); hence he is sure of the repulse of his foes.

12. I will render praises—will pay what I have vowed.

13. The question implies an affirmative answer, drawn from past experience.

falling—as from a precipice.

before God—in His favor during life.

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