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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 57

Verses 1-11

This was anciently called the golden psalm, for it is the touchstone of illustration with regard to the cares of providence. While David was in the cave of Adullam, in the wilderness of Engedi, hiding from Saul, behold, Saul, leaving his adjacent army, entered the cave to cover his feet, and perceived not that David and his men were in the interior. See 1 Samuel 24:0.

The title, Al-taschith, “destroy not,” refers to the charge of David to his men not to kill Saul, which they were eager to do; but others turn it to a prayer, Oh Lord, do not suffer Saul to kill me. Michtam signifies a golden ornament, from which we gather that this and other psalms, where the word occurs, were called golden psalms. The like appellation is given to the golden verses of Pythagoras.


David, being suddenly hurled from his elevation as a prince in Israel, and a general in the army, carried his anguish to the bosom of a heavenly parent. He repeats his cry for the divine mercy, because from men he expected none. Here is the deepest anguish, and the most elevated confidence united, for he trusted his safety to the shadow of his wings who dwells on the mercyseat.

He was sensible of his situation, that he was among lions, wild beasts that would swallow him up; that their teeth were spears and arrows, and their tongues a sharp sword. But as danger rose, confidence encreased. He saw a God above the heavens, and his glory above the earth; a God of counsel and of power, that could frustrate and defeat all the cruel and bloody complots of his foes.

David regarded his enemies as falling victims to their own schemes; as falling into pits dug in narrow places for taking lions and beasts of prey, and as into nets spread for birds and smaller beasts. So the Lord would lead them into the snares which they had set for their neighbour’s life. This confidence was realized on a broad scale when David’s foes fell successively in future wars. David, after prayer, feeling and knowing that his prayer was heard, began to praise God, as though all the work were accomplished. Awake up my glory, awake psaltery and harp, I myself will awake right early. Those words are equivalent to a declaration that David had evening and morning worship in his camp, and that he took the lead in those services. In all these effusions of his soul, he is a just and chaste model for christians to follow.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 57". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.