Psalm 57

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 57


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

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Everyone in the *synagogue was very angry when they heard Jesus say these things. They got up and took him out of the city. They took him to the top of the hill that they had built their city on. They were going to throw him down. But Jesus just walked away from them and went on his way. (Luke 4:28-30)

Psalm 57

  (This is) for the music leader.
(He must use the music called) "Do not destroy".
(This is) a *miktam of David, when he ran away from Saul into the *cave.

v1   Be *gracious to me, O God, be *gracious to me.
  I have looked for a place to hide in that is near to you.
  I will hide under the shadow of your *wings until the danger is past.

v2   I will pray to God, the *Most High God,
  to the God who will finish his plan for me.

v3   He will send (a word) from *heaven and he will save me.
  He will stop the people that are trying to catch me.   *SELAH
  God will send me his kind love and his *truth.

v4   There are *lions all round me!
  I must lie down near man-eating animals!
  They are men and their teeth are *like *spears and *arrows.
  Their *tongues are *like sharp *swords.

v5   God, lift yourself up above the skies.
  Lift your *glory above all the earth.

v6   (My enemies) put a *net for my feet.
  I was very sad because of my trouble.
  They dug a hole in front of me, but they fell into it!   *SELAH

v7   God, I have decided to be yours always!
  I will sing your *praises as well as I can!

v8   Wake up, *harp and *lyre.
  I will wake up the dawn!

v9   *LORD, I will thank you in front of all the people.
  I will sing your *praises everywhere.

v10   Your kind love is great. It is *higher than the clouds.
  Your *truth reaches to the skies.

v11   God, lift yourself up above the skies.
  Lift your *glory above all the earth.

 The Story of Psalm 57

Saul was king of Israel. David was one of his servants. Davidís job was to make music when Saul was sad. This happened often. People liked David very much. Saul did not like this. He tried to kill David. David ran away. He hid in a *cave. Saul did not find him. Bible students think that David wrote Psalm 57 at this time. They also think that he wrote it so that people could sing it to music that they called "Do not destroy". Psalm 57 is a *miktam. This means that it had a hidden meaning, or had special teaching in it. There are two stories in the Bible about David hiding in a *cave. One is in 1 Samuel 22, the other in 1 Samuel 24. We do not know which one this psalm is about.

What Psalm 57 means

The psalm is in two parts: verses 1-5 and verses 6-11. Both end with the words "God, lift yourself above the skies. Lift your *glory above all the earth" (verses 5 and 11). God is already above the skies, in his home in *heaven. These two verses mean "God, show everyone that you are *Lord of everything".

Verses 1 Ė 5: Here David is asking God for help. He asks God to be *gracious, or to "have *mercy". (Look at Psalm 56.) He wants God to be kind to him and save him from Saul. In verse 1 he says that he will hide under the shadow of Godís *wings. This is *like a mother bird hiding her babies under her *wings. She hides them from danger. This is a picture of God hiding David from danger. In verse 2 "his plan for me" means "all the things that God wants to happen to me". In verse 3 *heaven is where God lives. His word is what he wants to happen. His *truth is everything that he says. In verse 4 David sees Saul and all his other enemies as wild animals: they want to eat him *like a *lion eats smaller animals. "Their *tongues are *like *swords" probably means the *unkind things that they say. They hurt David.

Verses 6 Ė 11: Here David is thanking God because God saved him. Saul did not find David in the *cave! In verse 8 David tells his *harp and his *lyre to wake up. This means that he has not made music on them. They have been quiet, or "asleep"! Now he wants them to make music to *praise God. He will start so early in the morning that he will "wake up the dawn".

Something to do

Read Psalm 36. Is there anything in it that makes you think of Psalm 57?

Word list

arrow ~ stick with a sharp point at the end, shot by a bow.

cave ~ a big hole in the ground or in the side of a hill.

glory ~ (of men) what makes somebody important (of God) a very bright light that shines from inside him.

gracious ~ kind, not *punishing when you should.

harp ~ an instrument (thing) that makes music.

heaven ~ the home of God.

higher ~ more than high.

like ~ another word for "as".

lion ~ a wild animals, *like a very big cat.

LORD ~ a special name for God; only his people use it (look after Psalm 25).

lord ~ someone with authority (with a capital L a name for God, look after Psalm 25).

lyre ~ a *musical instrument, *like a *harp or guitar.

mercy ~ when you do not *punish (hurt) people that you should.

miktam ~ maybe it means one of: something made from gold, something hidden, something with special meaning.

Most High ~ a name for God which means that he is very important.

musical instruments ~ something that you make music with.

net ~ something that you use to catch an animal or a bird or a fish.

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

praise God ~ say how great that God is.

praises ~ saying good things about someone, and how great they are.

punish ~ hurt someone when they do something wrong(hit them with a stick or put them in prison).

SELAH ~ a word often used in the psalms; we do not know what it means, probably stop and think, or pray, or make music.

spear ~ a long stick with a very sharp end.

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

synagogue ~ a Jewish meeting (*like a church).

tongue ~ the bit in the mouth that speaks or tastes.

truth ~ words that are true.

unkind ~ not kind.

wings ~ what a bird uses to fly with.


© 2000-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

July 2001

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