Psalms 59 Commentary

Psalm 59 Wild dogs

At the time of writing this psalm, David had not yet fled to Gath and Adullam. He was still at Saul’s court, but his repeated military successes stirred up Saul’s jealousy, resulting in another attempt by Saul to spear him (1 Sam 19:1-10). David escaped to the safety of his own house. Saul then laid a plot to murder him at his home, and David escaped only narrowly (1 Sam 19:11-17). This psalm concerns the attempt on David’s life at his house.

The psalm opens with a plea for protection against those whose intention is to murder David (1-2). Bloodthirsty people hide in the dark, awaiting the opportunity to kill an innocent man (3-5). David likens them to a pack of wild dogs that prowl the streets at night, seeking some helpless victim that they can attack and tear to pieces (6-7). But they are powerless against God, and therefore they are powerless against those whom he defends (8-10).

David knows that God will destroy these violent people, but he does not want them killed in a way that would appear to be the result of natural causes. He wants their death to occur in such a way that people will see clearly that it is a direct judgment from the righteous God (11-13).

Meanwhile the hungry dogs still prowl. Each night they return, eagerly looking for their victim (14- 15). God, however, still guards David, and each morning David praises him afresh for his faithful protection (16-17).

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