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scripture

 

PSALM 59*

Complaint Against Bloodthirsty Enemies

1For the director. Do not destroy.* A miktam of David, when Saul sent people to watch his house and kill him.a

I

2Rescue me from my enemies, my God;

lift me out of reach of my foes.

3Deliver me from evildoers;

from the bloodthirsty save me.

4They have set an ambush for my life;

the powerful conspire against me.

For no offense or misdeed of mine, LORD,

5for no fault they hurry to take up arms.

Come near and see my plight!

6You, LORD God of hosts, are the God of Israel!

Awake! Punish all the nations.

Have no mercy on these worthless traitors.

Selah

7Each evening they return,

growling like dogs, prowling the city.b

8Their mouths pour out insult;

sharp words are on their lips.

They say: “Who is there to hear?”*

9But you, LORD, laugh at them;

you deride all the nations.c

10My strength, for you I watch;

you, God, are my fortress,

11my loving God.

II

May God go before me,

and show me my fallen foes.

12Slay them, God,

lest they deceive my people.

Shake them by your power;

Lord, our shield, bring them down.

13For the sinful words of their mouths and lips

let them be caught in their pride.

For the lies they have told under oathd

14destroy them in anger,

destroy till they are no more.

Then people will know God rules over Jacob,

yes, even to the ends of the earth.e

Selah

15Each evening they return,

growling like dogs, prowling the city.

16They roam about as scavengers;

if they are not filled, they howl.

III

17But I shall sing of your strength,

extol your mercy at dawn,

For you are my fortress,

my refuge in time of trouble.

18My strength, your praise I will sing;

you, God, are my fortress, my loving God.

* [Psalm 59] A lament in two parts (Ps 59:29, 11b17), each ending in a refrain (Ps 59:10, 18). Both parts alternate prayer for vindication (Ps 59:23, 4b5, 11b14) with vivid depictions of the psalmist’s enemies (Ps 59:45a, 78, 1516). The near curse in Ps 59:1213 is not a crude desire for revenge but a wish that God’s just rule over human affairs be recognized now.

* [59:1] Do not destroy: probably the title of the melody to which the Psalm was to be sung.

* [59:8] Who is there to hear?: a sample of the enemies’ godless reflection. The answer is that God hears their blasphemies.

a. [59:1] 1 Sm 19:11.

b. [59:7] Ps 55:11.

c. [59:9] Ps 2:4; 37:13; Wis 4:18.

d. [59:13] Prv 12:13; 18:7.

e. [59:14] Ps 83:1819; Ez 5:13.




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