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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 59

Verses 1-17

Title.—(RV) ’For the Chief Musician; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of David: Michtam: when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.’ For the first part of the title see on Psalms 57. The second part, which alludes to 1 Samuel 19:11, scarcely explains the contents of the Ps., which has foreign enemies in view throughout (Psalms 59:5, Psalms 59:8, Psalms 59:13). ’My people’ in Psalms 59:11 has been held to imply that the writer was a king, while David at the time in question was only a subject. It is probable that the Ps. should be assigned to the period of the later Jewish monarchy. Like many other Pss., it presents the three features of danger, prayer, and confidence.

2. Bloody] RV ’bloodthirsty.’

3. Not for my transgression] This might express the Psalmist’s conscious innocence before God, but more probably it means that he had done nothing to provoke the hostility of his enemies.

4. Awake] cp. Psalms 44:23.

5. God of Israel] specially invoked because His people are being assailed by the heathen. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.

6. The writer’s foes are compared to the savage dogs which infest Eastern cities and prowl round at night in search of garbage. Possibly there is a hint here that Jerusalem was actually besieged. Make a noise] ’snarl.’

7. Swords are in their lips] Their speech is cutting and injurious. Who, say they, doth hear?] They question whether there is a God.

9. Because of his strength, etc.] RV ’O my strength, I will wait,’ etc.

10. Shall prevent me] i.e. shall come to meet me.

11. Slay them not] must be understood in the light of Psalms 59:13. The prayer is that they may not be suddenly cut off, but may be allowed to perish gradually in their sin, in order that Israel may have a more memorable object-lesson in the righteousness of God.

13. Let them know, etc.] Read, ’Let them know unto the ends of the earth that God ruleth in Jacob.’ Zeal for God’s glory is the one motive of the Psalmist’s prayer, however vindictive some of his requests may appear.

14. Almost a repetition of Psalms 59:6. It may mean that the contemptible attitude of the heathen described in Psalms 59:6 is all that is to be left them.

15. Grudge] RV ’tarry all night.’ 15, 16, Read, ’As for them they shall wander.. But I will sing.’

16. In the morning] Though his enemies prowl all the night it will be in vain.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 59". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.