Psalm 59:1
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him. Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
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(1) Defend me.—Literally, set me on high, i.e., place me on some lofty and secure height.

Psalm 59:1. Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God — Thou art God, and canst deliver me; my God, under whose protection I have put myself; and thou hast promised me to be a God all-sufficient, and therefore in honour and faithfulness thou wilt deliver me. He chiefly means Saul by his enemies; but speaks in the plural number, out of reverence to his king, and that he might, as far as he could with truth, lay the blame of these odious practices on those that were about him.

59:1-7 In these words we hear the voice of David when a prisoner in his own house; the voice of Christ when surrounded by his merciless enemies; the voice of the church when under bondage in the world; and the voice of the Christian when under temptation, affliction, and persecution. And thus earnestly should we pray daily, to be defended and delivered from our spiritual enemies, the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of our own hearts. We should fear suffering as evil-doers, but not be ashamed of the hatred of workers of iniquity. It is not strange, if those regard not what they themselves say, who have made themselves believe that God regards not what they say. And where there is no fear of God, there is nothing to secure proper regard to man.Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God - See the notes at Psalm 18:48. This prayer was offered when the spies sent by Saul surrounded the house of David. They had come to apprehend him, and it is to be presumed that they had come in sufficient numbers, and with sufficient power, to effect their object. Their purpose was not to break in upon him in the night, but to watch their opportunity, when he went forth in the morning, to slay him 1 Samuel 19:11, and there seemed no way for him to escape. Of their coming, and of their design, Michal, the daughter of Saul, and the wife of David, seems to have been apprised - perhaps by someone of her father's family. She informed David of the arrangement, and assured him that unless he should escape in the night, he would be put to death in the morning. She, therefore, let him down through a window, and he escaped, 1 Samuel 19:12. It was in this way that he was in fact delivered; in this way that his prayer was answered. A faithful wife saved him.

Defend me from them that rise up against me - Margin, as in Hebrew, "Set me on high." The idea is that of placing him, as it were, on a tower, or on an eminence which would be inaccessible. These were common places of refuge or defense. See the notes at Psalm 18:2.


Ps 59:1-17. See on [600]Ps 57:1, title, and for history, 1Sa 19:11, &c. The scope is very similar to that of the fifty-seventh: prayer in view of malicious and violent foes, and joy in prospect of relief.

1. defend me—(Compare Margin).

rise up … me—(Compare Ps 17:7).

1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God defend me from them that rise up against me.

2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.

Psalm 59:1

"Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God." They were all round the house with the warrant of authority, and a force equal to the carrying of it out. He was to be taken dead or alive, well or ill, and carried to the slaughter. No prowess could avail him to break the cordon of armed men, neither could any eloquence stay the hand of his bloody persecutor. He was taken like a bird in a net, and no friend was near to set him free. Unlike the famous starling, he did not cry, "I can't get out," but his faith uttered quite another note. Unbelief would have suggested that prayer was a waste of breath, but not so thought the good man, for he makes it his sole resort. He cries for deliverance and leaves ways and means with his God. "Defend me from them that rise up against me." Saul was a king, and therefore sat in high places, and used all his authority to crush David; the persecuted one therefore beseeches the Lord to set him on high also, only in another sense. He asks to be lifted up, as into a lofty tower, beyond the reach of his adversary. Note how he sets the title "My God," over against the word "mine enemies." This is the right method of effectually catching and quenching the fiery darts of the enemy upon the shield of faith. God is our God, and therefore deliverance and defence are ours.

Psalm 59:2

"Deliver me from the workers of iniquity." Saul was treating him very unjustly, and besides that was pursuing a tyrannical and unrighteous course towards others, therefore David the more vehemently appeals against him. Evil men were in the ascendant at court, and were the ready tools of the tyrant, against these also he prays. Bad men in a bad cause may be pleaded against without question. When a habitation is beset by thieves, the good man of the house rings the alarm-bell; and in these verses we may hear it ring out loudly, "deliver me," "defend me," "deliver me,... save me." Saul had more cause to fear than David had, for the invincible weapon of prayer was being used against him, and heaven was being aroused to give him battle. "And save me from bloody men." As David remembers how often Saul had sought to assassinate him, he knows what he has to expect from that quarter and from the king's creatures and minions who were watching for him. David represents his enemy in his true colours before God; the bloodthirstiness of the foe is a fit reason for the interposition of the righteous God, for the Lord abhors all those who delight in blood. THE ARGUMENT

The matter and design of this Psalm is the same in general and for substance with the former, to wit, a declaration of the cruelty and treachery of his enemies; and a prayer to God to deliver him out of their hands.

David, in danger, prayeth unto God for deliverance from his enemies, Psalm 59:1,2, relating his own innocency and their cruelty, Psalm 59:3. He trusteth in God, and prayeth against them, Psalm 59:4-15; promiseth thankfulness to God for being his defence and refuge, Psalm 59:16,17.

He chiefly understands Saul, but speaks in the plural number, out of, reverence to his king, and that he might, as far as he could in truth, derive the envy and hatred of these odious practices upon those that were about him; as he doth 1 Samuel 26:19, and elsewhere.

Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God,.... David had his enemies in his youth, notwithstanding the amiableness of his person, the endowments of his mind, his martial achievements, his wise behaviour and conduct, and the presence of God with him; yea, it were some of these things that made Saul his enemy, who, by his power and authority, made others; see 1 Samuel 18:5. Christ had his enemies, though he went about doing good, both to the bodies and souls of men, continually; the chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, were his implacable enemies, and even the people of the Jews in general: and the church of God, and members of it, whom David may represent, have their enemies, sin, Satan, and the world; and as David and Christ, so the church has a covenant God to go unto, from whom deliverance from enemies may be desired and expected;

defend me from them that rise up against me; or, "set me on high above them" (l); out of their reach, as David was protected from Saul and his men, who rose up in an hostile manner against him; and as Christ was, when raised from the dead, and exalted at his Father's right hand; and as the saints are in great safety, dwelling on high, where their place of defence is the munition of rocks; and therefore it matters not who rise up against them.

(l) "statue me in loco alto, i.e. tuto", Vatablus; and to the same sense Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis, Gejerus.

<{a} Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.>> {b} Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

(a) Or, a certain tune.

(b) Though his enemies were even at hand to destroy him, yet he assures himself that God had ways to deliver him.

1. Deliver me] Song of Solomon 7:1, and frequently.

defend me] Better, as R.V., set me on high (Psalm 20:1; Psalm 91:14). It is the verb from which is derived the epithet ‘high tower’ so often applied to God (Psalm 59:9; Psalm 59:16-17; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 46:7; Psalm 46:11).

1–5. The Psalmist prays for deliverance from the enemies who are bent on taking his life, pleading his innocence, and appealing to God to punish all injustice.

Verse 1. - Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God. This is David's almost constant cry (see Psalm 7:1; Psalm 17:13; Psalm 22:20; Psalm 25:20; Psalm 31:1, 2, 15; Psalm 35:17; Psalm 40:13; Psalm 43:1; Psalm 69:18; Psalm 70:1, 4; Psalm 109:21, etc.). He has enemies, both domestic and foreign. In his early youth Saul becomes his enemy out of jealousy; then most of Saul's courtiers espouse their master's quarrel, he has enemies at the court of Achish; enemies in his family, even among his sons, as Absalom enemies among his counsellors, as Ahithophel; foreign enemies on all sides of him - Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites, Syrians, Mesopotamians, etc. Against all of them he invokes God's aid, and by God's aid he triumphs over all. Defend me from them that rise up against me; or, set me on high above them (Kay, Revised Version). David's domestic foes "rose up against him," no less than his foreign foes; made war on him; sought to seize his person, and put him to death. Psalm 59:1First part. As far as Psalm 59:4 we recognise strains familiar in the Psalms. The enemies are called מתקוממי as in Job 27:7, cf. Psalm 17:7; עזּים as shameless, עזּי פנים or עזּי נפשׁ; as in Isaiah 56:11, on account of their bold shameless greediness, dogs. On לא in a subordinate clause, vid., Ewald, ֗286, g: without there being transgression or sin on my side, which might have caused it. The suffix (transgression on my part) is similar to Psalm 18:24. בּליּ־עון (cf. Job 34:6) is a similar adverbial collateral definition: without there existing any sin, which ought to be punished. The energetic future jeruzûn depicts those who servilely give effect to the king's evil caprice; they run hither and thither as if attacking and put themselves in position. הכונן equals התכונן, like the Hithpa. הכּסּה, Proverbs 26:26, the Hothpa. הכּבּס, Leviticus 13:55., and the Hithpa. נכּפּר, Deuteronomy 21:8. Surrounded by such a band of assassins, David is like one besieged, who sighs for succour; and he calls upon Jahve, who seems to be sleeping and inclined to abandon him, with that bold עוּרה לקראתי וּראה, to awake to meet him, i.e., to join him with His help like a relieving army, and to convince Himself from personal observation of the extreme danger in which His charge finds himself. The continuation was obliged to be expressed by ואתּה, because a special appeal to God interposes between עוּרה and הקיצה. In the emphatic "Thou," however, after it has been once expressed, is implied the conditional character of the deliverance by the absolute One. And each of the divine names made use of in this lengthy invocation, which corresponds to the deep anxiety of the poet, is a challenge, so to speak, to the ability and willingness, the power and promise of God. The juxtaposition Jahve Elohim Tsebaoth (occurring, besides this instance, in Psalm 80:5, 20; Psalm 84:9), which is peculiar to the Elohimic Psalms, is to be explained by the consideration that Elohim had become a proper name like Jahve, and that the designation Jahve Tsebaoth, by the insertion of Elohim in accordance with the style of the Elohimic Psalms, is made still more imposing and solemn; and now צבאות is a genitive dependent not merely upon יהוה but upon יהוה אלהים (similar to Psalm 56:1, Isaiah 28:1; Symbolae, p. 15). אלהי ישׂראל is in apposition to this threefold name of God. The poet evidently reckons himself as belonging to an Israel from which he excludes his enemies, viz., the true Israel which is in reality the people of God. Among the heathen, against whom the poet invokes God's interposition, are included the heathen-minded in Israel; this at least is the view which brings about this extension of the prayer. Also in connection with the words און כּל־בּגדי the poet, in fact, has chiefly before his mind those who are immediately round about him and thus disposed. It is those who act treacherously from extreme moral nothingness and worthlessness (און genit. epexeg.). The music, as Sela directs, here becomes more boisterous; it gives intensity to the strong cry for the judgment of God; and the first unfolding of thought of this Michtam is here brought to a close.

The second begins by again taking up the description of the movements of the enemy which was begun in Psalm 59:4, Psalm 59:5. We see at a glance how here Psalm 59:7 coincides with Psalm 59:5, and Psalm 59:8 with Psalm 59:4, and Psalm 59:9 with Psalm 59:6. Hence the imprecatory rendering of the futures of Psalm 59:7 is not for a moment to be entertained. By day the emissaries of Saul do not venture to carry out their plot, and David naturally does not run into their hands. They therefore come back in the evening, and that evening after evening (cf. Job 24:14); they snarl or howl like dogs (המה, used elsewhere of the growling of the bear and the cooing of the dove; it is distinct from נבח, Arab. nbb, nbḥ, to bark, and כלב, to yelp), because they do not want to betray themselves by loud barking, and still cannot altogether conceal their vexation and rage; and they go their rounds in the city (like סובב בּעיר, Sol 3:2, cf. supra Psalm 55:11), in order to cut off their victim from flight, and perhaps, what would be very welcome to them, to run against him in the darkness. The further description in Psalm 59:8 follows them on this patrol. What they belch out or foam out is to be inferred from the fact that swords are in their lips, which they, as it were, draw so soon as they merely move their lips. Their mouth overflows with murderous thoughts and with slanders concerning David, by which they justify their murderous greed to themselves as if there were no one, viz., no God, who heard it. But Jahve, from whom nothing, as with men, can be kept secret, laughs at them, just as He makes a mockery of all heathen, to whom this murderous band, which fears the light and in unworthy of the Israelitish name, is compared. This is the primary passage to Psalm 37:13; Psalm 2:4; for Psalm 59 is perhaps the oldest of the Davidic Psalms that have come down to us, and therefore also the earliest monument of Israelitish poetry in which the divine name Jahve Tsebaoth occurs; and the chronicler, knowing that it was the time of Samuel and David that brought it into use, uses this name only in the life of David. Just as this strophe opened in Psalm 59:7 with a distich that recurs in Psalm 59:15, so it also closes now in Psalm 59:10 with a distich that recurs below in v. 18, and that is to be amended according to the text of that passage. For all attempts to understand עזּי as being genuine prove its inaccuracy. With the old versions it has to be read עזּי; but as for the rest, אשׁמרה must be retained in accordance with the usual variation found in such refrains: my strength, Thee will I regard (1 Samuel 26:15; observe, 2 Samuel 11:16), or upon Thee will I wait (cf. ל, Psalm 130:6); i.e., in the consciousness of my own feebleness, tranquil and resigned, I will look for Thine interposition on my behalf.

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