Psalm 59

 
Psalm 59
Deliverance from Enemy Nations Surrounding the City
 
Psalm 59. This is a Psalm of David, and like the previous two Psalms, it is titled “destroy not”, and styled as a Michtam Psalm. This Psalm describes the preciousness of the Lord’s people as they pass through trial. Here it is the trial of external enemies surrounding the faithful, seeking to destroy them. The historical context of the Psalm is given in the inscription: “when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him”. We can read of that in 1 Samuel 19; “And Saul sent messengers to David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning; and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou wilt be put to death” (1 Sam. 19:11). Prophetically, David is in the place of the faithful remnant who are surrounded by enemies; which perhaps includes the confederacy of the king of the north. But God will keep the remnant safe in their hiding place. Only the apostate Jews will be killed in the consumption. This Psalm does not end with the destruction of enemies, but of the judgment of enemies ongoing, and not yet finished. 
 
PSALM 59
To the chief Musician. ‘Destroy not.’ Of David. Michtam; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.
1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God; secure me on high from them that rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from men of blood.
3 For behold, they lie in wait for my soul; strong ones are gathered against me: not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Jehovah.
4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to meet me, and behold.
5 Yea, do thou, Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, arise to visit all the nations: be not gracious to any plotters of iniquity. Selah.
 
vv.1-5 A Cry For Deliverance. In vv.1-2 we have a cry for deliverance. In v.1 the cry is for deliverance from enemies, and this is what the majority of the Psalm focuses on; “strong ones”, “dogs”, “the nations”. In v.2, we have more the personal character of the enemies; “the workers of iniquity”, and “men of blood”. Certainly, we can see the historical application to David; “behold, they lie in wait for my soul… they run and prepare themselves without my fault”. But this is also prophetic of the remnant, who will see the approaching armies and sense that they are surrounded. And as v.5 shows, this Psalm cannot be limited merely to David; the scope is far greater! The remnant acknowledge that this attack is “not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Jehovah.” The first attack of the Assyrian is Jehovah’s wrath against the apostate nation; “and because of the protection of abominations there shall be a desolator, even until that the consumption” (Dan. 9:27). The remnant invite “Jehovah” (covenant relationship), the “God of hosts” (His power implied), the “God of Israel” (defender of His people) to come and “visit the nations” in judgment, and not to spare those who plot wickedly.
 
6 They return in the evening; they howl like a dog, and go round about the city:
7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth; swords are in their lips: for who say they doth hear?
8 But thou, Jehovah, wilt laugh at them; thou wilt have all the nations in derision.
 
vv.6-8 The City Surrounded. The enemy has gathered around the city like a pack of dogs to howl and terrorize the inhabitants. Much of the remnant will have fled to the mountains, etc. but some will still be in the city. The enemy is pictured as audaciously mocking God; “for who say they doth hear?” The answer is in v.8; “But thou, Jehovah, wilt laugh at them; thou wilt have all the nations in derision”.
 
9 Their strength! … I will take heed to thee; for God is my high fortress.
10 God, whose loving-kindness will come to meet me, — God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
 
vv.9-10 God’s Strength vs. the Enemies. The remnant muse on the the relative strength of God compared to the enemy. They are not trusting in the walls of Jerusalem to protect them, but God is their high fortress! They have come to learn the character of God; “his loving-kindness”. This gives them confidence that God will grant a victory over their enemies.
 
11 Slay them not, lest my people forget; by thy power make them wander, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.
12 Because of the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride; and because of cursing and lying which they speak.
13 Make an end in wrath, make an end, that they may be no more; that they may know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the earth. Selah.
 
vv.11-13 The Manner of their Judgment. The expression “slay them not, lest my people forget” means that the remnant do not want a quiet, private destruction of the enemy, but rather a public defeat. There is a desire for the enemies to be destroyed in a way that glorifies God in judgment. These enemies, which I take to be the confederacy under the king of the north, listed in Psalm 83, have been speaking terrible things against God, and the remnant are looking for God’s vindication in this; “Because of the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips, let them even be taken in their pride; and because of cursing and lying which they speak.” They desire the end to be made “in wrath”, and publicly so there is no doubt who is the Victor; “that they may know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the earth. Selah.” This prayer will be answered. The king of the north will not be destroyed at the beginning of his campaign, when he sweeps down through Israel and the surrounding countries. It is not until the end of his campaign, on his return home, that the Lord will meet the king of the north, and very publicly will destroy him. See Daniel 11:44-45; Isa. 10:17-18; 14:24-25; 30:33; Joel 2:20. Read more…
 
14 And in the evening they shall return, they shall howl like a dog, and go round about the city.
15 They shall wander about for meat, and stay all night if they be not satisfied.
16 But as for me, I will sing of thy strength; yea, I will sing aloud of thy loving-kindness in the morning; for thou hast been to me a high fortress, and a refuge in the day of my trouble.
17 Unto thee, my strength, will I sing psalms; for God is my high fortress, the God of my mercy. 
 
vv.14-17 Protection Through the Night. The attack of the enemies seems to be somewhat prolonged, at a couple of days, because the dogs are seen “returning at evening” (v.6) and again in v.14, lingering until they find meat and are satisfied. It will be a terrifying thing for those who have not faith, but the remnant can say, “But as for me, I will sing of thy strength; yea, I will sing aloud of thy loving-kindness in the morning”. They are preserved through the night by the loving-kindness of God, who – true to their earlier confession – has been to them “a high fortress, and a refuge in the day of my trouble”. The result of this protection is praise (v.17)! But the enemies are not yet destroyed. The work of judgment is still ongoing, and not yet finished.