God helps the righteous (Ps 68:1-68:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song

“Let God rise up!

Let his enemies be scattered!

Let those who hate him

Flee before him!

As smoke is driven away,

So drive them away!

As wax melts before fire,

Let the wicked perish before God!

But let the righteous be joyful!

Let them exult before God!

Let them be jubilant with joy!”

Psalm 68 is a long liturgical choral psalm and song of David at the Temple. It portrays the various stages in the history of Israel where God has helped them, but it is a little disjointed in its long ramblings. This psalm begins by asking God to rise up and scatter his enemies, especially those who hate him. The wicked should flee, just like smoke that is blown away. They should be driven out like wax that melts in front of a fire. The wicked should die, but the righteous should be joyful before God.

Public worship (Ps 66:1-66:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a song, a psalm

”Make a joyful noise to God!

All the earth!

Sing the glory of his name!

Give glorious praise to him!

Say to God.

‘How awesome are your deeds!

Because of your great power

Your enemies cringe before you.

All the earth worships you.

They sing praises to you.

They sing praises to your name.’”

Selah

Psalm 66 is a public worship thanksgiving song and psalm with a choral leader. It has a strong communitarian rather than individualistic tone. In fact, it is almost cosmic with all the earth asked to chime in with a joyful noise to God. They were to sing glory to his name. God’s deeds were awesome. He had such great power that his enemies would cringe. The whole earth worshipped God. They sang praises to him and his name. This section concludes with a musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

Praise God in Zion (Ps 65:1-65:4)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, a song

“Praise is due to you!

O God in Zion!

To you

Shall vows be performed!

O you who answer prayers!

To you

All flesh shall come!

When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,

You forgive our transgressions!

Happy are those

Whom you choose!

Happy are those

Whom you bring near!

Happy are those

Who live in your courts!

We shall be satisfied

With the goodness of your house,

Your holy temple!”

Psalm 65 is a choral psalm of David that is a song of thanksgiving and praise for the abundant harvest. This psalm refers to the holy Temple at Zion, but that was not completed until after the death of King David. Praise and vows should be given to the God at Zion because he answers prayers. All people should come when evil deeds overwhelm them. God will forgive sins. Even happier are those who are chosen to live in the courts of the Temple, which would be the Levites. They will be satisfied with the goodness of the Holy Temple, the house of God.

Save David from his enemies (Ps 64:1-64:6)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David

“Hear my voice!

O God!

In my complaint!

Preserve my life

From the dreaded enemy.

Hide me

From the secret plots of the wicked.

Hide me

From the scheming of evildoers.

They whet their tongues like swords.

They aim bitter words like arrows.

They shoot from an ambush at the blameless.

They shoot suddenly.

They shoot without fear.

They hold fast to their evil purpose.

They talk of laying snares secretly.

They think.

‘Who can see us?

Who can search out our crimes?

We have thought out

A cunningly conceived plot.’

The human heart and mind are deep!”

Psalm 64 is a choral psalm of David. Once again David wanted to save his life from his enemies. He wanted to be hidden from the secret plots of the wicked and the schemes of the evildoers. Their tongues were like swords. Their words were like arrows from a bow and arrow. They shot suddenly and without fear from various ambushes. They laid secret snares for David with their evil purposes. They thought that no one saw them. No one was going after their crimes. They thought that they had a great cunning plan. Finally David notes that the human heart and mind are deep. This is a little bit like Psalm 58.

Hope in God alone (Ps 62:1-62:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of David

“For God alone

My soul waits in silence.

From God

Comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock.

He alone is my salvation.

He alone is my fortress.

I shall never be shaken.”

Psalm 62 is another choral psalm of David. However the melody is to Jeduthun, who was mentioned in Psalm 39 and 77. Jeduthun was the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. He was a trumpet player and his sons led the music in the Temple. David placed all his trust in God alone. He waited in silence. He knew that God was his salvation, his rock, and his fortress. He would not be shaken in his ways.

Cry for help (Ps 61:1-61:2)

To the choirmaster leader, with stringed instruments, a psalm of David

“Hear my cry!

O God!

Listen to my prayer!

From the end of the earth

I call to you,

When my heart is faint.”

Psalm 61 is a simple choral psalm of David that used stringed instruments. The psalmist or David wants God to hear his cry. He wanted God to listen to his prayer, like the usual plea. However, he speaks from the ends of the earth, as if he were in exile. He calls to God, not Yahweh, when his heart is faint.

The power of God (Ps 60:1-60:4)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Lily of the Covenant, a Miktam of David, for instruction, when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

“O God!

You have rejected us!

You have broken our defenses!

You have been angry!

Restore us!

You have caused the land to quake.

You have torn it open.

Repair the cracks in it!

It is tottering.

You have made your people

Suffer hard things.

You have given us wine to drink

That made us reel.

You have set up a banner

For those who fear you.

You want us to rally

To it from the bow.”

Selah

Psalm 60 has one of the longest titles of any of the psalms. As opposed to the earlier individual complaints of David, this is a group lament. Once again it is a choral song to the tune of “Lily of the Covenant,” which will be the tune of Psalm 80 also. According to 2 Samuel, chapter 8, it was David himself who killed the 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of the Salt. This was on an adventure into southern Syria. He actually had been successful but this psalm is more about failure. Somehow God has rejected them, a theme often heard in the later time of captivity. Their defense had been broken. God was angry with them so he wanted God to restore them. They have had a mini earthquake so that there were cracks in the ground. The people had been suffering. Unfortunately, they had been drinking the wrong kind of wine. They wanted to rally around God’s banner out of the distance of bows and arrows. This section ended with a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

Deliver David from his enemies (Ps 59:1-59:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Do Not Destroy, a Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him

“Deliver me

From my enemies!

O my God!

Protect me

From those who rise up against me.

Deliver me

From those who work evil.

Save me

From bloodthirsty men.”

Psalm 59 is the 3rd psalm in a row that has the melody “Do Not Destroy.” Once again it is a choral Miktam psalm of David. This time the incident about David can be found in 1 Samuel, chapter 19, when King Saul sent people to his house to kill him. Then Michal, the daughter of King Saul and wife of David, saved him. David asked to be saved and protected from his enemies. There is never a specific mention of King Saul. Perhaps these psalms may date from the time of the captivity with a projection back to the time of David. David wanted protection from those who were opposing him. His opponents, of course, were the evil bloodthirsty men who were after him.

A prayer for help (Ps 54:1-54:2)

To the choirmaster leader, with stringed instruments, a Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, ‘David is in hiding among us’

“Save me!

O God!

By your name,

Vindicate me by your might.

Hear my prayer!

O God!

Give ear to the words of my mouth!”

This short Psalm 54 refers to an incident in the life of David from 1 Samuel, chapter 23. This event also involved Saul, who is generally the heavy or bad person in these psalms. He is usually the opposite of the good David, but rarely mentioned. This time it is a group of Ziphites who went to King Saul to tell him where David was hiding. In this choral psalm with stringed instruments, David wanted to be saved. He called on God to help him by hearing his prayer. He was trying to get away from King Saul. His plea was directly to God. He wanted to be vindicated.

The boastful man (Ps 52:1-52:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, ‘David has come to the house of Ahimelech’

“Why do you boast?

O mighty man!

Why do you boast?

What is the mischief done against the godly?

All day long

You are plotting destruction.

Your tongue is like a sharp razor.

You are a worker of treachery.

You love evil more than good.

You love lying more than speaking the truth.”

Selah

Psalm 52 is loosely based on 1 Samuel, chapter 22, where Doeg the Edomite told Saul where David was hiding.  This choral Davidic psalm asked why he was boastful.  This probably refers to Saul rather Doeg the Edomite.  He was planning all day mischief against the good godly people.  His tongue was like a sharp razor as he loved evil more than good.  He was a worker of treachery.  He loved lies more than truth.  This first section ends with a meditative musical interlude pause, a Selah.