A prayer for deliverance from enemies (Ps 56:1-56:4)

To the choirmaster leader, according to The Dove on Far off Terebinths, a Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath

“Be gracious to me!

O God!

People trample on me.

All day long foes oppress me.

My enemies trample on me all day long.

Many fight against me.

O Most High!

When I am afraid,

I put my trust in you.

In God,

Whose word I praise,

In God I trust.

I am not afraid.

What can flesh do to me?”

Psalm 56, has a reference to 1 Samuel, chapter 2l, when David was escaping from King Saul.  He went to visit the Philistine king at Gath where he pretended to be crazy.  This was the same theme in the acrostic Psalm 34.  This Psalm 56 was to be sung to the melody of “The Dove on Far-off Terebinths,” but we are not sure what it is about.  A Miktam is found here and in the next few psalms.  It may refer to some kind of percussion instrument.  David wanted God to be gracious to him.  All day long his many foes were oppressing him and trampling him.  However, David put his trust in God.  He was not afraid to praise God.  After all, what could mortal flesh do to him?  He was in fact trying to elude King Saul.

Blessed be Yahweh (Ps 34:1-34:3)

A psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away

Aleph 

“I will bless Yahweh at all times!

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Bet      

My soul makes its boast in Yahweh.

Let the humble hear and be glad.

Gimel 

O magnify Yahweh with me!

Let us exalt his name together!”

Psalm 34 is a long sapiential psalm about what happened to David in 1 Samuel, chapter 21. It is also an acrostic or alphabet psalm as each verse starts with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet like Psalms 9, 10, and 25. In the 1 Samuel story, David pretended to be deranged when he appeared before the Philistine King Achish at city of Gath. David had spit all over his beard and started to scratch at everything around him. However, the king’s name was not Abimelech, who was another Philistine King of Gerar around the time of Abraham and Isaac. However, this psalmist did not use this name within the psalm, so that it might have been a title misidentification. However, the story in 1 Samuel did have David pretend that he was mad so that he was dismissed by the Philistine king of Gath as a crazy person and not David. This psalm actually makes very little reference to that story. David or the psalmist began by blessing and praising Yahweh as he boasted in Yahweh. He wanted his name to be magnified. He wanted the humble ones to hear and be exalted.