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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 57

A.M. 2946. B.C. 1058.

This Psalm is similar to the preceding, and was composed on a like occasion, namely, when David was in great danger from his enemies. And he observes the same method in the composition of it as in the former. He begins with prayer and complaint, though not without hope, Psalms 57:1-6 . He concludes with joy and praise, Psalms 57:7-11 .

Title. Al-taschith Destroy not. This Psalm is supposed to be thus entitled, because some of David’s men, observing the advantage which he had over Saul in the cave of Engedi, would fain have despatched him, if David had not forbidden the person who was ready to strike the blow, saying, Destroy not. The same title is prefixed to the two following, and to the seventy-sixth Psalm, most probably to show that they were to be sung to the same tune. The reader will find the history here referred to 1 Samuel 24:1.

Verse 1

Psalms 57:1. Be merciful unto me, O God Thus the psalmist prays, and looks to God for help, when surrounded with enemies: and he repeats his petition because of the greatness of his danger, and through the fervency of his spirit in his request, withal implying that his whole hope and trust was in God’s mercy. Yea, in the shadow of thy wings In thy almighty protection; will I make my refuge Will I still depend, as I have hitherto done, for defence and preservation; until these calamities be overpast Or the time of these calamities, which I know will soon have an end: or till this danger be past, which is now impending over me, and threatens to destroy me.

Verse 2

Psalms 57:2. I will cry unto God For succour and relief; most high To whom there is none superior or equal; and unto whom, therefore, I will continually commend myself; unto God that performeth all things for me Hebrew, גמר עלי , gomer gnali, that perfecteth, or finisheth, as this word properly signifies; that is, will certainly perform or finish, for, or, toward, or, concerning me. He does not express what God performed or perfected, (the words all things not being in the Hebrew,) but leaves it to be understood by the reader. He performeth, or perfecteth, all that he hath promised; he engages himself to finish what he hath begun, or what is yet to be completed. His words imply, that God is not like men, who make large promises, but, either through inability, or carelessness, or unfaithfulness, do not perform them; but that he will certainly be as good as his word.

Verse 3

Psalms 57:3. He shall send from heaven Either his angels, as Daniel 3:28, or his power and help in some less extraordinary way. As if he had said, There are greater armies in heaven than those that here surround me; and rather than I should perish, he will send them for my deliverance; and save me from the reproach of him, &c. From that shameful destruction which Saul designs to bring upon me. The Hebrew, however, חר Š שׁאפי , cheereeph shoapi, may be properly rendered, as in the margin, he reproacheth, or hath reproached, that is, he will certainly put to shame, or reproach him that would swallow me up, by disappointing his expectation, and delivering me from his rage. God shall send forth his mercy and truth Shall discover them by their proper fruits, namely, by affording his gracious help in pursuance of his promises. “The reader will observe, that mercy and truth are here poetically represented as ministers of God, standing in his presence, ready to execute his pleasure, and employed by him in the salvation of his people.” Dodd.

Verse 4

Psalms 57:4. My soul is among lions I live in the midst of a generation of fierce and bloody men; I lie That is, I have my abode; among them that are set on fire Namely, of, or from hell, James 3:6, who are mere firebrands and incendiaries, that are continually breathing out their wrath and threatenings. Even the sons of men Whereby he explains what he meant by lions, and tells us that they were beasts in the shape of men; whose teeth With which they gnash upon me, and with which they would, as it were, tear me to pieces, or eat me up; are spears and arrows Fitted for mischiefs and murders; and their tongue With which they wound my reputation, and load me with their curses, is a sharp sword To cut and give deadly wounds.

Verse 5

Psalms 57:5. Be thou exalted above the heavens That is, higher than the heavens, or to the highest degree possible. Glorify thy power and goodness, thy justice and faithfulness, by my deliverance; all which attributes are exposed to censure and reproach while thou sufferest the ungodly to oppress and triumph over the righteous, who put their trust in thee. Let thy glory be above all the earth Above all men upon earth, some of whom do now audaciously lift up themselves against thee, and act as if they thought themselves above thee, and able to counteract thy designs. Or, through all the earth, as the Hebrew may be rendered. Spread the fame of thy glorious perfections through all nations. Display thy glory, not only among thy own people, but in such a manner that even the heathen may be forced to acknowledge and admire it.

Verse 6

Psalms 57:6. They have prepared a net for my steps In which to take me, that I might not again escape out of their hands. My soul is bowed down Hebrew, כפ Š נפשׁי , he hath bowed down my soul; referring to Saul at the head of his troops, pursuing David to his ruin. They have digged a pit before me Hebrew, before my face: not in my sight, for that would have been in vain, Proverbs 1:17, but in my way, where they thought I would go; into the midst whereof they are fallen This was fulfilled in Saul, who, by pursuing David, fell into his hands, 1 Samuel 24:3.

Verses 7-11

Psalms 57:7-11. My heart is fixed Hebrew, נכון , nachon, prepared, or, established; namely, in a full assurance of obtaining thy merciful help. It was ready to sink with fear, but now I have, through thy grace, conquered my fears, and am fixed in a steadfast belief of, and confidence in thy promises. Or, my heart is prepared to sing and give praise, as it follows. Awake up, my glory, &c. My tongue, wherewith I ought to glorify thee, shall be no longer silent; nor shall any instrument of music be wanting to accompany my hymns. I myself will awake right early I will rouse up, and employ all the powers of my soul and body to set forth thy praises. And I will do it so early, that I will prevent the rising sun. I will praise thee among the people In the great congregations, among the Israelites of all tribes, who are called by thy name, (Deuteronomy 33:19,) and among the heathen, as I shall have occasion. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens Is most evident, and greatly exalted.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 57". Benson's Commentary. 1857.