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Psalm 60

A Michtam of David. For teaching. When he fought against Mesopotamia and Syria of Zobah, and Joab returned and killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

Here we have another Michtam psalm of David, as we did in Psalms 56, 57, 58, and 59. Again The Companion Bible in Appendix 65 XII suggests that this word has to do with writing, particularly engraving. The truths that are in these psalms are important enough to be engraved, as of a permanent record that should not be forgotten.

This psalm is for teaching and gives important truths to be learned. The occasion is an interesting one, and one about which we have little information in the historical books about David’s life. David was fighting against two Aramite nations. Mesopotamia is Aram Naharayim in Hebrew, meaning “Aram of the Two Rivers.” Few would disagree that it is Mesopotamia that is meant. Aram (we tend to use the word “Syria”) were the regions north of Israel, and while Mesopotamia is north and east, one first traveled north to get there from Israel, so it makes sense that in Israel the two would be connected. In Genesis 24:10, the place where Abraham came from (Ur) is said to be Aram Naharayim. Aram Zobah (or Syria of Zobah) means “Exalted Station,” and appears to have been in what we call Syria north and east of Damascus. Read the rest of this entry »

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Psalm 59

A Michtam of David when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.

Here we have another Michtam psalm of David, as we did in Psalms 56, 57, and 58. We have examined multiple times now the suggestion of The Companion Bible in Appendix 65 XII that this word has to do with writing, particularly engraving. Since most writing is not engraving, this indicates its importance. It is “set in stone,” as our figure of speech would have it. The truth of this Psalm is important enough that it deserves to be permanently engraved on our minds and hearts.

The occasion of the writing of this Psalm is now explained. David wrote it when Saul sent men, and they watched the house where he was in order to kill him. This incident is recorded for us in I Samuel 19:11-12, taking place right after Saul cast a spear at David in an attempt to kill him when David was playing his harp in an attempt to sooth Saul’s spirit as he was being troubled by a troublesome spirit from the LORD. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 58

A Michtam of David.

Here we have another Michtam psalm of David, like Psalms 56 and 57. As The Companion Bible suggests in Appendix 65 XII, this word has to do with writing, particularly engraving. Since most writing is not engraving, this indicates its importance. It is “set in stone,” as our figure of speech would have it. Rotherham makes it “A Tablet.” Yet we would prefer to refer this to a mark of importance. These psalms are important enough that their truths should be permanently engraved. Thus we should pay particular attention to them and let them have their effect on our minds and hearts.

There is no comment here on the circumstances which led David to write this psalm, but the situation becomes plain enough as we read the psalm. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 57

A Michtam of David when he fled from Saul into the cave.

Now we have another Michtam psalm of David, like Psalm 56. As The Companion Bible suggests, it has to do with writing, particularly engraving. Since most writing is not graven, this indicates its importance. It is “set in stone,” as our figure of speech would have it. Rotherham makes it “A Tablet.” Yet we would prefer to refer this to a mark of importance. These psalms are to be engraven; their lesson is to be remembered.

The occasion of this psalm is the time that David fled from Saul into the cave. Our best guess would be that this refers to the incident recorded in I Samuel 24. Let us consider from I Samuel 23:26. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 56

A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.

This psalm begins a series of Michtam psalms, running from Psalm 56 to Psalm 60, all of which are by David. The only other Michtam psalm is Psalm 16, also by David, which we have already studied. As explained in The Companion Bible Appendix 65, the word “Michtam” comes from the Hebrew word “Katam,” which means to cut in or engrave. In the Septuagint, the word used to translate Katam is connected with the words engraved on a sepulchral monument, and we can see in the Michtam psalms the idea of death and resurrection. The reference is to a graven and therefore permanent writing. Since most writing is not graven, this indicates its importance. It is “set in stone,” as our figure of speech would have it. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 55 Continued

12. For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;

David is even more vexed because of who it is who is the terrible enemy who is doing all this to him. It was not one he had thought of as an enemy at all who reproached him.

Then I could bear it.

David testifies that he could bear it if it was an enemy who had done all this to him.

Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;

Nor is it one who in the past has hated David who has exalted himself against him. Of course, we cannot say that he does not hate David now, for his actions show that he does. Yet what David means is in the past. This one had not been a hater of David at all before this current, sad situation arose.

Then I could hide from him.

If it was one who was a known hater and enemy of David, then David could hide from him. It would be much easier to deal with such an enemy, if he was one who had always been David’s enemy. People would have expected this one to be against David, and he would have been able to hide from him and keep him at a distance. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 55

A Contemplation of David.

This is another psalm of David, Israel’s great songwriter, shepherd, and king. This is not a “Contemplation,” but the Hebrew word Maschil refers to “Instruction.” The occasion of the Psalm seems to be the great treachery and rebellion of David’s respected counselor and friend Ahithophel and his own son Absalom. We can read of this sad event in II Samuel 15.

1. After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2. Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3. Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4. Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5. And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 54

A Contemplation of David when the Ziphites went and said to Saul, “Is David not hiding with us?”

As in Psalm 53, here we have another Psalm that is called “A Contemplation of David.” The word the New King James Version has translated “Contemplation” is the Hebrew maskiyl, which The Companion Bible suggests means “Instruction.” This psalm is for public instruction regarding the LORD’s faithfulness to rescue His people from the hand of their oppressors.

David wrote this Psalm after learning that the Ziphites had gone to tell Saul that David was hiding among them. I Samuel 23 tells us the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 53

A Contemplation of David.

The word the New King James Version has translated “Contemplation” is the Hebrew maskiyl, which The Companion Bible suggests means “Instruction.” This psalm is for public instruction regarding the wicked, for the people of Israel to learn of them and to learn to avoid their ways.

This psalm is very similar to Psalm 14. Why this near repetition, we might ask? First of all, note the superscription and the subscription. Psalm 14 has only a superscription, proclaiming it a “Psalm of David.” Psalm 53 is called “Instruction,” and is dedicated in the subscription “To the Chief Musician.” These two facts mark this psalm out for public performance and instruction. Psalm 14, however, appears to be David’s own private version of the psalm, intended more for David’s own private use rather than for public performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalm 52

A Contemplation of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, “David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”

This Psalm is called “A Contemplation” in the New King James Version. The old King James had a transliteration of the Hebrew as “Maschil,” although a better transliteration might be maskiyl. The Companion Bible suggests that this Hebrew word means “Instruction.” In this Psalm, we are going to be instructed about the destructive man and his end. Read the rest of this entry »