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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 57

Verse 1

Psalms 57:1 « To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. » Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.

Al-taschith ] i.e. Destroy not; μη διαφθειρης (Sept.). David being in imminent danger of destruction in the cave, might send up this short request as it were in a fright, before he uttered this ensuing prayer. Al-taschith in such an exigent might well be an effectual prayer; as was the woman of Canaan’s Lord, help me, and the sick man’s Abba, Father; or these might now be his words (to Abishai, or some other of his servants, whose fingers even itched to be doing with Saul), as afterwards they were upon a like occasion, 1 Samuel 26:9 . Destroy not Saul. See thou do it not.

Michtam of David ] See Psalms 16:1 , title.

When he fled from Saul in the cave ] 1 Samuel 24:1 , or, into the cave for shelter; and where, when he might have cut Saul’s throat, he cut his coat only, and was inwardly checked for it; nevertheless the Spirit came upon him, which was no small comfort, as Aben Ezra here observeth, and he said,

Ver. 1. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful ] q.d. Now or never help at a dead lift. Bis, pro more rogantium, ad corroborandum, saith Kimchi. Other Jewish doctors give this reason of the repetition of his petition: "Be merciful," &c., lest either I fall into Saul’s hands, or Saul into mine; lest desire for revenge prick me on to kill him. Or, have mercy on me, that I sin not; or if I do sin, that I may repent (Midr. Tillin.)

For my soul trusteth in thee ] An excellent argument, so it comes from the soul, so it be heart-sprung.

Yea, in the shadow of thy wings, &c. ] As the little chicken in danger of the kite hovereth, and covereth under the hen.

Until these calamities be over past ] For long they will not continue. Nubecula est, cito transibit, said Athanasius of the Arian persecutions, which for present were very sharp. So Master Jewel, about the beginning of Queen Mary’s reign, persuading many to patience, said often, Haec non durabunt setatem, This sharp shower will soon be over.

Verse 2

Psa 57:2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth [all things] for me.

Ver. 2. I will cry unto God most high ] Who can easily overtop Saul, as high as he is, and all his complices; against whom I have this comfort, that in the thing wherein they deal proudly God is above them, Exodus 18:11 .

Unto God that performeth all things for me ] And in me, Isaiah 26:12 ; doth not his work to the halves, but is both author and finisher of my faith, and other affairs, Hebrews 12:2 Php 1:6 Psalms 138:8 . Here are the two props of David’s prayer: First, God’s sufficiency, he is the most high. Secondly, His efficiency, he perfectly accomplisheth all things for me.

Verse 3

Psa 57:3 He shall send from heaven, and save me [from] the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

Ver. 3. He shall send from heaven and save me ] Rather than fail, I shall have an angel to rescue me; for although the Lord usually worketh by means, yet he can work by miracles, and will do it if there be a just occasion; howsoever, his mercy and his truth he will be sure to send, and that is enough, He will be seen in the mount, he will repent for his servants when he seeth their power is gone, Deuteronomy 32:36 , when there is dignus vindice nodus, an extremity fit for Divine power to interpose.

Verse 4

Psa 57:4 My soul [is] among lions: [and] I lie [even among] them that are set on fire, [even] the sons of men, whose teeth [are] spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

Ver. 4. My soul is among lions ] And so is a lively picture of the Church in all ages. Would any man take the Church’s picture, saith Luther? then let him paint a silly poor maid sitting in a wood or wilderness, compassed about with hungry lions, wolves, boars, and bears, &c. Talis est ecclesia in hac vita, sicut et in historia Danielis pingitur.

And I lie even among them that are set on fire ] sc. With rage and hellish hatred. Others expound it actively, of those Ardeliones aulici, those court incendiaries, who enraged Saul and the nobles against David, as a traitor and pest. See 1 Samuel 24:10 .

Even the sons of men ] i.e. Carnal men, that, being in their pure naturals, have no goodness at all in them.

Whose teeth are spears and arrows ] Such was Doeg, that dead dog, and others void of the Spirit, which is neque mendax, neque mordax.

Verse 5

Psa 57:5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; [let] thy glory [be] above all the earth.

Ver. 5. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens ] That is, saith the Chaldee, above the angels.

And let thy glory be above all the earth ] That is, above the inhabitants of the earth. There are, saith Kimchi, that think thou either wilt not, or else canst not, save; oh, let thy power appear for the conviction of all such who now lift up themselves, and seem at least to touch the heaven with one finger.

Verse 6

Psa 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen [themselves]. Selah.

Ver. 6. They have prepared a net for my steps ] So that I can hardly keep foot out of snare. I dare not lift up one foot till I find sure footing for the other; and that is hard to do. See Saul’s charge to the Ziphites, 1 Samuel 23:22 .

My soul is bowed down ] I am glad to shrink in myself (as fearful people use to do), that I may shun those gins and snares that they have set to maim and mischief me.

They have digged a pit, &c. ] They have forced me into this subterranean cave; and, behold, Saul himself is cast into mine hands, in this mine hiding hole.

αυτω κακα τευχει ανηρ, αλλω κακα τευχων .

Verse 7

Psa 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

Ver. 7. My heart is fixed, O God ] I am both ready and resolute; I doubt not about deliverance, and am well prepared to praise God. It is fit he should have the fruit of his own planting, and that of the best too; otherwise it is no better than the refreshing of him that standeth by a good fire, and saith, Aha, I am warm.

Verse 8

Psa 57:8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I [myself] will awake early.

Ver. 8. Awake up, my glory ] He rouseth himself out of his natural drowsiness, as Samson once went forth and shook himself.

I myself will awake early ] Or, I will awaken the morning, as the cock, by his early crowing, is said to do.

Non vigil ales ibi cristati cantibus oris

Evocat auroram - (Ovid. Metam. lib. 11).

Verse 9

Psa 57:9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

Ver. 9. I will praise thee, O Lord … among the nations] This was done by Christ calling the Gentiles, Psa 18:49 Romans 15:9 .

Verse 10

Psa 57:10 For thy mercy [is] great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Ver. 10. For thy mercy is great, &c. ] God’s mercy is ordinarily in the psalms bounded by his truth; that none may either presume him more merciful than he hath declared himself in his word; or else despair of finding mercy gratis, according to his promise.

Verse 11

Psa 57:11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: [let] thy glory [be] above all the earth.

Ver. 11. Be thou exalted, &c. ] Versus amoibaeus: see Psalms 57:5 , only that is in way of prayer; this, of praise.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 57". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.