Psalms 57

1 Be good to me, God - and now! I've run to you for dear life. I'm hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over.
2 I call out to High God, the God who holds me together.
3 He sends orders from heaven and saves me, he humiliates those who kick me around. God delivers generous love, he makes good on his word.
4 I find myself in a pride of lions who are wild for a taste of human flesh; Their teeth are lances and arrows, their tongues are sharp daggers.
5 Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory!
6 They booby trapped my path; I thought I was dead and done for. They dug a mantrap to catch me, and fell in headlong themselves.
7 I'm ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe, Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
8 "Wake up, soul! Wake up, harp! wake up, lute! Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!"
9 I'm thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country.
10 The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
11 Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with your glory!

Psalms 57 Commentary

Chapter 57

David begins with prayer and complaint. (1-6) He concludes with joy and praise. (7-11)

Verses 1-6 All David's dependence is upon God. The most eminent believers need often repeat the publican's prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner." But if our souls trust in the Lord, this may assure us, in our utmost dangers, that our calamities will at length be overpast, and in the mean time, by faith and prayer, we must make him our refuge. Though God be most high, yet he condescends so low, as to take care that all things are made to work for good to his people. This is a good reason why we should pray earnestly. Look which way we will on this earth, refuge fails, no help appears; but we may look for it from heaven. If we have fled from the wrath to come, unto Jesus Christ, he that performed all things needful to purchase the salvation of his people, will do for us and in us all things needful for our enjoyment of it. It made David droop to think there should be those that bore him so much ill-will. But the mischief they designed against him, returned on themselves. And when David was in the greatest distress and disgrace, he did not pray, Lord, exalt me, but, Lord, exalt thine own name. Our best encouragement in prayer, is taken from the glory of God, and to that, more than to our own comfort, we should have regard in all our petitions for mercy.

Verses 7-11 By lively faith, David's prayers and complaints are at once turned into praises. His heart is fixed; it is prepared for every event, being stayed upon God. If by the grace of God we are brought into this even, composed frame of mind, we have great reason to be thankful. Nothing is done to purpose, in religion, unless it is done with the heart. The heart must be fixed for the duty, put in frame for it; fixed in the duty by close attention. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when praising God; dull and sleepy devotions will never be acceptable to God. Let us awake early in the morning, to begin the day with God; early in the beginning of a mercy. When God comes toward us with his favours, let us go forth to meet him with our praises. David desired to bring others to join in praising God; and in his psalms, he is still praising God among the people, singing to Him among the nations. Let us seek to have our hearts fixed to praise his boundless mercy and unfailing faithfulness; and to glorify him with body, soul, and spirit, which are his. Let us earnestly pray that the blessings of the gospel may be sent through every land.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Some think the words "Altaschith" are the beginning of a song, to the tune of which this was set, as Aben Ezra; others, that they are taken from Deuteronomy 9:26; they signifying "destroy not" {g}; others, that they refer to what David said to Abishai, when he would have slain Saul, "destroy him not," 1 Samuel 26:9; but that was an affair that happened after this psalm was penned: they seem rather to be words which were frequently used by David in the time of his distress; who often said unto the Lord, either in an ejaculatory way, or vocally, or both, "do not destroy [me]," or "suffer [me] to be destroyed"; of which he was in great danger, as appears from Psalm 57:4; and therefore prefixed these words in the title of the psalm, in memorial of the inward anguish of his mind, and of what his mouth then uttered; and to this agrees the Chaldee paraphrase, "concerning the trouble at the time when David said, do not destroy."

Of the word "michtam," See Gill on "Ps 16:1," title. The occasion and time of writing this psalm were David's fleeing from Saul in the cave; or rather "into" {h} the cave, as it should be rendered; for it was after that Saul was gone that David and his men came out of the cave; but he fled hither for fear of Saul; and while he was here, Saul, with three thousand men, came to the mouth of the cave, and he himself went into it; which must have put David and his men into a very great panic, there being no retreat, nor any human possibility of an escape, but must expect to fall into the hands of the enemy, and be cut to pieces at once. This cave was in Engedi, 1 Samuel 24:1; of which Le Bruyn {i} says, it is on the top of a very high hill, and is extremely dark; which agrees with the account in the above place, since it was on the rocks of the wild goats Saul sought David, and coming to the sheepcotes there, went into the cave where David was.

{g} txvt-la "ne disperdas," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "ne perdas," Tigurine version, Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis {h} hremb "in speluncam," V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c. "in specum," Tigurine version. {i} Voyage to the Levant, ch. 51. p. 199.

Psalms 57 Commentaries

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.