Psalm 59

59:0David was a servant of King Saul. Many people liked David. Saul did not like this so he sent men to kill David. But David's wife Michal gave him help to get out through a window. David then ran away, and the men did not find him. In the psalm, David says that these men were like dogs looking for food. The story is in 1 Samuel 19:8-18.

Many Bible students think that David wrote this psalm after he became king. That is why he talks about ‘foreign people.’ God not only gave David help to beat his enemies at home, but also in foreign countries. David saw that what happened with Saul's hungry dogs was also what happened with foreign enemies. So, he put both ideas into the one psalm. We must read the psalm carefully, or this will confuse us. We must see that there are two different groups of enemies.

Hungry Dogs

This is for the music leader.

Use the music that we call Do Not Destroy.

It is a miktam of David, when Saul sent men

to watch his house and to kill him.

59:0We can study the psalm in two parts:

Verses 1-10 David is in danger and asks God for help

Verses 11-17 God sends help and makes David safe.

1 My God, save me from my enemies.

Make me strong against the people that are fighting me.

59:1Verses 1-10: The psalm starts with a bit of the story from 1 Samuel 19. It says that this is a ‘miktam’, which probably means ‘hidden meaning’ or ‘special teaching.’ In verses 1 and 2 David asks God to take him away from his enemies and make him safe. At first, his enemy was Saul and his hungry dogs, but later it would be foreign armies as well. In verses 3 and 4 David tells God that these hungry dogs (they are really Saul's secret police) are trying to kill him. But he also tells God that he, David, has done nothing wrong.

2 Take me away from men that are doing evil

and make me safe from men that kill other people.

3 Look! They are waiting to kill me!

Cruel men are planning together against me.

Lord, I have done nothing against them and nothing wrong.

4 I have done nothing wrong but they are getting ready to attack me.

Get up and see what they are doing! Bring me help!

5 For you are the Lord God Almighty,

the God that Israel serves.

Get up and punish the foreign nations.

Do not be gracious to all these evil and false people.


59:5In verse 5 you will find both groups of enemies. Because God is very powerful, David asks him to punish his enemies. This was after Saul was dead and David was king. Then he asks God not to be kind to evil and false people. These were Saul's hungry dogs. They looked for David in the city after David had run away. This was at night. In verse 6 we read that they often did it, hoping to find David. In verse 7 they were like dogs waiting for someone to feed them, their mouths dripping with saliva while they looked at their food. (Saliva looks like water.) But their words are like swords as they say what they will do to David. They hope that nobody hears them, because most people like David. David was also talking about foreign enemies that came to fight him in the city where David was hiding. In verse 8 David says that God will laugh at them; this is because God will win the fight! In verses 9 and 10 David says that he will watch for God, whose kind love will come to meet him. Some Bible students translate ‘come to meet me’ as ‘go before me.’ It was this ‘kind love’ that gave David help to beat his enemies. The end of verse 10 is when David knew that this had happened.

6 They come back to the city every evening.

They go from place to place and growl like dogs.

7 Look at their mouths – dribbling!

Swords come from their lips because they think that nobody will hear.

8 But you, Lord, you will laugh at them.

You will also laugh at foreign people.

9 I will wait for you to help me,

because you are the one who gives me strength.

Because you, God, are the strong place where I will be safe.

10 My God, your kind love will come to meet me.

God will show me when he wins the battle against my enemies.

11 Do not kill them yet, or my people will forget them.

Use your power to make them go from place to place.

Our Shield and our Lord,

you are stronger than they are so make them do it!

59:11Verses 11-17: In this part of the psalm, the fight is over. David has won. Before he was king, he had won against Saul and his secret police. After he was king he had won against foreign enemies. There are three important things in this part:

12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips,

catch them in their pride.

And catch them for the bad things that they say

and the lies that they tell.

13 Destroy them now because you are so angry with them.

Destroy them and finish their lives.

Then people will know to the ends of the earth that God rules Jacob.


59:13In verses 11-13 David asks God to destroy the enemies slowly. Then everyone will know that God has punished them for what they said. The word ‘destroy’ in verse 13 is ‘devour’ in Hebrew. This means ‘eat as if you were very hungry.’ What the hungry dogs wanted to do to David, God would do to them!

14 They come back to the city every evening.

They go from place to place and growl like dogs.

15 They will go from place to place looking for food,

and they will growl when they do not find any.

59:15In verses 14-15 we find the dogs again. But now there is nothing for them! They do not dribble at the mouth, and no swords (cruel words) come from their mouths.

16 But I will sing to praise you

because you are strong!

In the morning, I will praise you for your special love.

Because you are the strong place

where I can be safe when I am in trouble.

17 I will sing songs to you,

the one who gives me strength.

You, God, are my strong, safe place.

You are the God who loves me with a special love.

59:17In verses 16-17 David is so happy that he sings, shouts, and raises psalms to God. We could translate the Hebrew for ‘I will raise psalms to you’ as ‘I will psalm you.’ A psalm is a song, sometimes telling God that we are weak, sometimes what we want God to do to our enemies. Here it tells God how great God is! It is a song of praise.