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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 56

Verses 1-13

Psalms 56:0

Theme When we compare Psalms 56:0 and Psalms 34:0, we can see that Psalms 56:0 is a cry of deliverance, while Psalms 34:0 is a psalm of thanksgiving after deliverance.

Psalms 100:4 says to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving (“todah” - Psalms 56:12) and His courts with praise (“tehillah” - Psalms 34:1).

Psalms 100:4, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Psalms 56:12, “Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.”

Psalms 34:1, A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Psalms 56:1 (To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.) Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

Psalms 56:1 “To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim…when the Philistines took him in Gath” - Comments - The title of Psalms 56:0 comes from the story in 1 Samuel 21:10 thru Psalms 22:1. Note:

1 Samuel 21:15, “Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence ? shall this fellow come into my house?”

David went to Gath two different times:

1 Samuel 21:10 to 1 Samuel 22:1

1 Samuel 27-29

Psalms 56:1 “Michtam of David” Word Study on “Michtam” - Strong says the Hebrew word “michtam” ( מִכְתָּם ) (H4387) literally means, “an engraving,” and as a technical term, “a poem.” He says this word comes from a Hebrew root word ( כָּתַם ) (H3799), which means “to carve, or engrave.” Therefore, some translations prefer to use a poetic term ( NLT, Rotherham), while others prefer a more literal translation ( DRC, LXX, VgClem).

NLT, “A psalm of David”

Rotherham, “A Precious Psalm of David”

DRC, “The inscription of a title to David himself”

LXX, “ Στηλογραφία τῷ Δαυιδ ”

VgClem, “Tituli inscriptio, ipsi David”

Comments - A similar Hebrew word ( כֶּתֶם ) (3800) means, “something carved out, i.e. ore; hence, gold.” Peter Craigie tells us that some scholars translate the title “A Golden Psalm” from “early rabbinical interpretations.” [77] Therefore, we get a variety of translations that carry the idea of treasure or gold.

[77] Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 19, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 154.

LITV, YLT, “A Secret Treasure of David”

Luther, “Ein gülden Kleinod David”

There are six so called “Michtam Psalms” (16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60), which open with the phrase “Michtam of David.” A similar title “the writing of Hezekiah” is used as the title for the psalm of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:9-20, which uses a similar Hebrew word ( מִכְתָּב ) (H4385), means “a writing, the characters of something written, or a document such as a letter, a copy, an edict, or a poem.”

Psalms 56:8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?

Psalms 56:8 “put thou my tears into thy bottle” Comments - Mary K. Baxter, in her book A Divine Revelation of Heaven, tells of the room of tears that she visited in heaven. [78] It was a room lined with crystal shelves, where many bottles were placed. These bottles are filled with the tears of the saints that they shed for the Lord. Under each bottle was a plaque with a name on it. What an awesome truth to realize that the angels are catching each of our tears that we shed and is storing them in these precious bottles.

[78] Mary K. Baxter, A Divine Revelation of Heaven (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1998), 32-6.

Arthur Blessitt tells the story of when he was being given a tour of a museum in Iran. The tour guide led them thru the different artifacts. When Blessitt saw a little bottle behind the display cabinet, he asked the tour guide what it was for. The guide said that this was a tear bottle. It was used in the orient even during Bible times. When a soldier went off to battle, the loved ones would keep a tear bottle, with the opening of the bottle shaped to fit comfortably around the eye. Alexander the Great went on a 5-year military campaign before returning home. These tears would be collected in the bottles and kept until the loved one comes home. [79]

[79] Arthur Blessitt, interviewed by Randy and Paula White, on Praise the Lord (Santa Ana, California: Trinity Broadcasting Network, 10 September 2002), television program.

Psalms 56:9 When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.

Psalms 56:10 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.

Psalms 56:11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Psalms 56:11 Scripture Reference - Note:

Hebrews 13:6, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Psalms 56:12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

Psalms 56:12 “Thy vows are upon me, O God” Comments - The word “vows” in Psalms 56:12 refers to “promises” he has made unto God. He praises God’s Word and puts his trust in God (Psalms 56:4; Psalms 56:10-11). God’s Word is sure to happen in his life. So, the Psalmist will, by faith, in the midst of daily oppression (Psalms 56:1), render back or pay back his vow to God through an offering of thanksgiving.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 56". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-56.html. 2013.