Psalm 59

The Word Made Fresh

(To the worship leader: “Do not Destroy.” A song of David when Saul gave orders for his house to be watched in order to have him killed.)

1Rescue me from my enemies, God!
Be my guardian against those who attack me!
2Deliver me from the evildoers
and save me from the bloodthirsty.
3They are waiting for the opportunity to kill me.
Important people are spreading lies about me
even though I have done nothing wrong.
4They are running about and talking against me though I am innocent.
Come to my aid and see for yourself!
5LORD, God of multitudes, you are the God of Israel.
Come and punish all the nations
that are planning evil against us.
6They return every evening, growling like dogs
and prowling around the city.
7Look at them! They cover their mouths to disguise their speech,
thinking no one will hear them.
8But you, LORD, can laugh at them,
because you know they are beyond contempt.
9You are my strength, and I will wait for you.
You, O God, are my protector.
10My God, who loves me, will come to my aid.
My God will let me look with scorn at my enemies.
11But don’t kill them, or my people will forget.
Use your power to weaken them
and remove them as a threat, O LORD our protector.
12By the lies that come from their mouths
let them be caught in their pride.
Because of their curses, and the lies they utter,
13envelop them in your wrath.
Surround them in your anger until they go away.
Then the whole world will know that GOD watches over Jacob.
14They return every evening,
prowling around the city like hungry dogs.
15They sneak around looking for something to consume,
and snarl if they don’t get what they want.
16But I will sing of your mighty power.
I will sing loudly of your constant love every morning.
You have been my fortress and my refuge in times of distress.
17You are my Strength, and I will sing your praises.
You are my fortress, O God, on whose steadfast love I rely.


Superscription: the 46th psalm ascribed to David, the 5th “Miktam,” and the 3rd “Do not destroy” instruction. The mention of Saul having David’s house watched is a reference to the story found in 1 Samuel 19:11-17. It is imagined that this psalm expresses David’s feelings on that occasion.

1-4a: As with so many others, this psalm begins with a description of enemies and a declaration of innocence.

4b-5: God is summoned to deal with the threat. The reference to “all the nations” would seem to indicate that the enemy is a foreign one.

6-7: Indeed, the image aroused by these verses is of a siege with the enemy arrayed around the city.

8-10: In spite of the threat, God’s help is never doubted.

11-13: Curiously the psalm now asks God not to kill the enemy but rather to make them weak. In this way they will be a constant reminder to the people of God’s might. Otherwise, if the enemy is simply killed, the people will soon forget.

14-15: Again, we picture the city surrounded as in a siege. Verse 14 repeats verse 6.

16-17: The psalm ends with another expression of faith in God’s help.


The simple lesson here is, “have faith in God.” When you are faced with insurmountable difficulties, or surrounded by people who want to do you harm – take your job, have you fired or demoted, spread damaging rumors about you – what can you possibly do without faith? Fight back? Spread lies and rumors about them? Without faith you’d be playing a game you can’t possibly win, not in the long haul. Trust in God. Let rumors and lies fall to the ground. Sooner or later, you will be vindicated.