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Psalm 56

Trust in God under Persecution

To the leader: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. Of David. A Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

1

Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;

all day long foes oppress me;

2

my enemies trample on me all day long,

for many fight against me.

O Most High, 3when I am afraid,

I put my trust in you.

4

In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I am not afraid;

what can flesh do to me?

 

5

All day long they seek to injure my cause;

all their thoughts are against me for evil.

6

They stir up strife, they lurk,

they watch my steps.

As they hoped to have my life,

7

so repay them for their crime;

in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

 

8

You have kept count of my tossings;

put my tears in your bottle.

Are they not in your record?

9

Then my enemies will retreat

in the day when I call.

This I know, that God is for me.

10

In God, whose word I praise,

in the Lord, whose word I praise,

11

in God I trust; I am not afraid.

What can a mere mortal do to me?

 

12

My vows to you I must perform, O God;

I will render thank offerings to you.

13

For you have delivered my soul from death,

and my feet from falling,

so that I may walk before God

in the light of life.


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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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