Psalm 59:1-17

To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.”
A Michtam of David when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Defend me from those who rise up against me.

2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloodthirsty men.

3 For look, they lie in wait for my life;
The mighty gather against me,
Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.

4 They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine.
Awake to help me, and behold!

5 You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Awake to punish all the nations;
Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah

6 At evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.

7 Indeed, they belch with their mouth;
Swords are in their lips;
For they say, “Who hears?”

8 But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them;
You shall have all the nations in derision.

9 I will wait for You, O You his Strength;
For God is my defense.

10 My God of mercy shall come to meet me;
God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.

11 Do not slay them, lest my people forget;
Scatter them by Your power,
And bring them down,
O Lord our shield.

12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips,
Let them even be taken in their pride,
And for the cursing and lying which they speak.

13 Consume them in wrath, consume them,
That they may not be;
And let them know that God rules in Jacob
To the ends of the earth. Selah

14 And at evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.

15 They wander up and down for food,
And howl if they are not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.

17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.

they watched the house in order to kill him (heading) — Although married to Saul’s daughter, Michal, David was stalked by men commissioned by Saul to kill him (1 Samuel 19:1, 9-18).

David earnestly implores God to deliver him from his enemies (v.1), referring not to Saul’s soldiers in general—many of whom would have refused to abet the king in his plan “to put [David[ to death” (1 Samuel 19:15), just as they refused Saul’s order to kill the priests at Nob who helped David (1 Samuel 22:17)—but rather to those among Saul’s soldiers whose desire for social and political favor (by supporting the king) was greater than their desire for righteousness; hence David further describes them as those who do iniquity (v.2) and who are treacherous in iniquity (v.5). The futility of their schemes is underscored by his use of the same phraseology as in Psalm 2:4: Thou, O Lord, dost laugh …; Thou dost scoff at them (v.8), implying that in their opposition to him, God’s newly anointed (1 Samuel 16:13), they are ultimately opposed to God Himself. — Wechsler, pages 160-161

O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel (v.5) — Jehovah, the unchanging; Elchim Sabaoth, the God of hosts, indicating the resources at His command; Elohe Israel, the God of Israel in His covenant relations.

God is my defense (v.9) — By contrast with their confident prowling, David is already safe: mark the present tenses. These verses strikingly contrast his enemies’ powerlessness against God with his own power in God, who gives him strength in his own person and the surrounding protection of a fortress. — Guthrie, page 488

defense (v.9) = a secure height, retreat, stronghold

God is his high Tower! There is perhaps no more beautiful description of what God is to His tried people. The phrase suggests at once strength and peace. A tower against which all the might of the foe hurls itself in vain. A high tower so that the soul taking refuge therein is lifted far above the turmoil and the strife, and enabled to view from a vantage ground of perfect safety the violence which is futile, and the victory of God. — Morgan, page 107

David’s plea (vs.11-13) to God for a visitation upon his would-be assassins is shown to be free of vindictiveness. He is concerned for the imparting of a moral lesson to his people (v.11), the just punishment of sin (v.12), and a universal revelation of Israel’s God. He does not ask for their swift destruction; his people would too soon forget that. Rather he asks that these enemies be somehow made a lasting exhibition of how God opposes sinners and judges them. — Guthrie, page 488

in the morning (v.16) — David concludes in typical fashion with unconditional praise—i.e., as for him, regardless of how and when God answers him, he will joyfully sing of God’s lovingkindness in the morning (for every morning they “are renewed” — Lamentations 3:22-23) and sing praises to Him, “my strength.” — Wechsler, pages 161-162

Williams’ take:

The prophecy relates to the last hours of Jacob’s trouble. verses 13 and 16 point to this fact. The believing remnant of Israel is pictured at the last extremity shut up in Jerusalem by the nations and by certain wicked transgressors, i.e., ungodly Jews in league with them (Zechariah 14:14). Messiah in spirit takes His place in their midst; cheers them with the assurance of deliverance; and prays for the destruction of their besiegers (v.5).

The words “me,” “my,” “our,” and “I” express this relationship of Immanuel with His people. When asking deliverance for them, He prays in the first person. Although their conduct will be blameless, as His was in the days of His flesh, yet will men hate them as they hated Him. — Williams, page 346.

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