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Psalm 59

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam, when Saul ordered his house to be watched in order to kill him.


Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;

protect me from those who rise up against me.


Deliver me from those who work evil;

from the bloodthirsty save me.



Even now they lie in wait for my life;

the mighty stir up strife against me.

For no transgression or sin of mine, O L ord,


for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.


Rouse yourself, come to my help and see!


You, L ord God of hosts, are God of Israel.

Awake to punish all the nations;

spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah



Each evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.


There they are, bellowing with their mouths,

with sharp words on their lips—

for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”



But you laugh at them, O L ord;

you hold all the nations in derision.


O my strength, I will watch for you;

for you, O God, are my fortress.


My God in his steadfast love will meet me;

my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.



Do not kill them, or my people may forget;

make them totter by your power, and bring them down,

O Lord, our shield.


For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,

let them be trapped in their pride.

For the cursing and lies that they utter,


consume them in wrath;

consume them until they are no more.

Then it will be known to the ends of the earth

that God rules over Jacob. Selah



Each evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.


They roam about for food,

and growl if they do not get their fill.



But I will sing of your might;

I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been a fortress for me

and a refuge in the day of my distress.


O my strength, I will sing praises to you,

for you, O God, are my fortress,

the God who shows me steadfast love.

13 Consume, consume them in wrath, that they may not be David may seem to contradict himself in praying for the utter destruction of his enemies, when immediately before he had expressed his desire that they might not be exterminated at once. 374374     Williams observes, that the Hebrew rendered consume “literally means to finish, bring to an end; namely, the banditti. The Psalmist, verse 11, prays, ‘Slay them not;’ i.e., take not away their lives as individuals, but put an end to the conspiracy.” What else could he mean when he asks that God would consume them in wrath, but that he would cut them off suddenly, and not by a gradual and slower process of punishment? But he evidently refers in what he says here to a different point of time, and this removes any apparent inconsistency, for he prays that when they had been set up for a sufficient period as an example, they might eventually be devoted to destruction. It was customary with the victorious Roman generals, first to lead the captives which had been kept for the day of triumph through the city, and afterwards, upon reaching the capital, to give them over to the lictors for execution. Now David prays that when God had, in a similar manner, reserved his enemies for an interval sufficient to illustrate his triumph, he would upon this consign them to summary punishment. The two things are not at all inconsistent; first, that the divine judgments should be lengthened out through a considerable period, to secure their being remembered better, and that then, upon sufficient evidence being given to the world of the certainty with which the wicked are subjected in the displeasure of God to the slower process of destruction, he should in due time bring them forth to final execution, the better to awake, by such a demonstration of his power, the minds of those who may be more secure than others, or less affected by witnessing moderate inflictions of punishment. He adds, accordingly, that they may know, even to the ends of the earth, that God ruleth in Jacob Some would insert the copulative particle, reading, that they may know that God rules in Jacob, and in all the nations of the world, an interpretation which I do not approve, and which does violence to the sense. The allusion is to the condign nature of the judgment, which would be such that the report of it would reach the remotest regions, and strike salutary terror into the minds even of their benighted and godless inhabitants. He was more especially anxious that God should be recognised as ruling in the Church, it being preposterous that the place where his throne was erected should present such an aspect of confusion as converted his temple into a den of thieves.

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