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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 59

Verse 1

Psalms 59:0.

David prayeth to be delivered from his enemies: he complaineth of their cruelty: he trusteth in God: he prayeth [or prophesieth] against them: he praiseth God.

To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

Title. תשׁחת אל al tashcheth. This psalm is a noble vindication of David's innocence, in that he could, in the most private retirement, and upon the most serious and deliberate reflection, thus solemnly appeal to God, that he was not chargeable with the least perfidy, wickedness, or crime, which could excite the hatred of his enemies, and give occasion to Saul to pursue him with such eagerness and malice to his destruction, Psalms 59:3-4. For he represents them as falsely defaming him, running to prepare themselves and execute Saul's commands; as some of them besetting his house by night, and like snarling dogs ready to bite, threatening to lay hold of and murder him; whilst others went about the city to prevent any possible way of escaping; so that, according to the history, Michal was forced to let him down through the window to secure his retreat. He, therefore, earnestly prays for God's protection; declares that his dependance for safety was on his power; assures himself that God would defend him; and resolves to celebrate the praises of him who had been his refuge and security in the time of danger. Chandler.

Verse 3

Psalms 59:3. The mighty are gathered against me The mighty are turned aside to lay snares against me. See Psalms 56:6. Chandler.

Verse 4

Psalms 59:4. They run and prepare themselves i.e. Diligently and eagerly set about my destruction.

Verse 5

Psalms 59:5. Be not merciful to any wicked transgressors Literally, the prevaricators of wickedness; i.e. such as are guilty of great treachery and perfidiousness.

Verse 6

Psalms 59:6. They return at evening Saul sent once to destroy him, and the messengers went back to inform him that he was ill; but they returned in the evening, to bring him even in his bed. Mudge renders it, They come about every evening. The verb rendered, make a noise, in the next clause, is used to denote the confused hum and noise of an assembled croud. The Psalmist compares the muttered threats of his enemies to the growlings or snarlings of a dog, ready to bite and tear any person; and the comparison is just and natural.

Verse 7

Psalms 59:7. They belch out The original verb בעה bangah, properly signifies the bubbling noise of water rising out of a spring. Hence it is used in a good and bad sense of what is uttered by the mouth, according as that is good or evil. In the good sense we have it, Proverbs 1:23. In the place before us, it is taken in the bad sense, and denotes those numerous threatenings, calumnies, and imprecations, which David's pursuers poured out against him. Swords are in their lips, says he. Their threatenings were cruel and deadly: Psa 57:4 and the calumnies which they privately insinuated to Saul, such as made him determine his destruction, especially as David had not the liberty of vindicating himself. Therefore it is added, For who heareth? They vented their calumnies more freely and dangerously, because privately; so that none could refute them. Chandler.

Verse 9

Psalms 59:9. Because of his strength, &c.— Cocceius in his Lexicon gives the expression this turn; I, whose strength is in Thee, will observe, namely, how my God will act; or I will observe, and expect his aid; which agrees well with the following words, God is my defence. But I think the more easy and natural version is, As for his strength, I will observe, or look to Thee. "Saul's soldiers give me no concern; my eyes are towards Thee; for God is my refuge." Chandler. Many commentators approve the version of the liturgy; My strength will I ascribe unto thee, which is agreeable to a variety of the ancient versions. Bishop Hare thinks that the last verse of this psalm is only a more correct reading of this; and Mr. Pilkington is of the same opinion. See his Remarks, p. 36.

Verse 10

Psalms 59:10. God shall let me see, &c.— The word rendered enemies in this verse properly signifies insidious men, who craftily observed and lay in wait for him. David says, God will cause me to see amongst them, i.e. to discover their plots and contrivances to ruin me; that they may not prove fatal to me; or, to see them fall by the destruction which they intend me.

Verse 11

Psalms 59:11. Slay them not, &c.— Wilt thou not cut them off? Lest my people forget thee, cause them to shake by thy power, and bring them down to destruction, O Lord, our shield. Chandler.

Verse 12

Psalms 59:12. For the sin of their mouth, &c.— The sin of their mouth is the word of their lips; and they shall be taken in their pride, and for perjury and lying which they speak.

Verse 14

Psalms 59:14. And at evening let them return This is a repetition of the 6th verse, but is to be understood in a different sense: The 6th verse is a real complaint of their fury and diligence in pursuing him; here he speaks of them with a kind of indifference and contempt; and as free from any apprehension of danger from them. "Let them, if they please, return in the evening, growl at me like dogs, and watch all the avenues of the city to take me: Yet like greedy dogs they shall want their food and wander about, as though shivering for hunger; for they shall not be satisfied, but murmur on account of their disappointment." The 15th verse should be rendered, They shall wander about, shivering for hunger, and because not satisfied they shall murmur. See Chandler and Houbigant.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 59". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.