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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 56: Prayer in the company of the enemy


For the director of music. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.” Of David. A miktam. When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.


[Preliminary Comments: Another of the historical context psalms, this time when he is in Gath with the Philistines [1 Sam 21:10,15 27:1-28:2] on the run from Saul. It is difficult to know whether the enemies he refers to are Saul or some of the Philistines who did not trust him. It is an unusual psalm in that it is a backwards and forwards mix of pleas to God [v.1,2, 7-9] and statements of faith [v.3,4,10-13] plus explanations of his concern [v.5,6].



v.1,2 A plea to God for Him to help


v.1  Be merciful to me, my God,
     for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
     all day long they press their attack.
v.2  My adversaries pursue me all day long;
     in their pride many are attacking me.


v.3,4 David reaffirms his trust in God


v.3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
v.4  In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
     What can mere mortals do to me?


v.5,6 His enemies speak and conspire against him to kill him


v.5  All day long they twist my words;
     all their schemes are for my ruin.
v.6   They conspire, they lurk,
     they watch my steps,
     hoping to take my life.

v.7-9 He pleads with the Lord to deal with them


v.7  Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
     in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

v.8  Record my misery;
     list my tears on your scroll—
     are they not in your record?
v.9  Then my enemies will turn back
     when I call for help.
     By this I will know that God is for me.


v.10,11 He declares he will (trust), praise the Lord and not be afraid


v.10  In God, whose word I praise,
     in the Lord , whose word I praise—
v.11  in God I trust and am not afraid.
     What can man do to me?


v.12,13 He will remain true and worship the Lord because He delivers him


v.12  I am under vows to you, my God;
     I will present my thank offerings to you.
v.13  For you have delivered me from death
     and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
     in the light of life.



[Additional Thoughts: A reminder that when we are under pressure from people our prayers need to be a mix of petitions and declarations of faith. For this in the New Testament see Acts 4:24-30]



Continue to Psa 57