David, after having recounted the former victories which he had gained, and exalted in lofty strains the grace and power of God in their happy issue, now again, when he sees new enemies and dangers rising up, implores the protection of the same God by whom he had before been delivered, and beseeches him to overthrow the pride of his enemies.
To the chief musician Almuth Laben. A Psalm of David.
This inscription is variously explained. Some translate it, Upon the death of Laben, and are of opinion that he was one of the chief captains of David's enemies. Others are inclined to think it was rather a fictitious name, and that Goliath is the person spoken of in this psalm. According to others, it was a musical instrument. But to me it seems a more correct, or, at least, (as I am accustomed to speak when the matter is obscure,1 a more probable opinion, that it was the beginning of some well-known song, to the tune of which the psalm was composed. The disputes of interpreters as to what victory David here celebrates, in my judgment, are unnecessary, and serve no good purpose. In the first place, their opinion that it is a song of victory, in which David simply gives thanks to God, is confuted, and shown to be erroneous from the scope of the psalm. The greater part is indeed occupied in singing the praises of God, but the whole ought to be considered as a prayer; in which, for the purpose of elevating his mind to confidence in God, he calls to his remembrance, according to his usual manner, by what wonderful displays of the power of God he had formerly been delivered from the violence and power of his enemies. It is therefore a mistake to limit to one victory this thanksgiving, in which he intended to comprehend many deliverances.
1 "Comme on a accoustum de parler quand la chose est obscure." -- Fr.