Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
What should I learn from this chapter?
- The meaning of a vow/oath/covenant.
- The expressions of King David when he was deep in fear.
- King David feared Saul who wanted his life and he feared Achish, the king of Gath with whom he had to reside.
- The history behind the Psalm
- 1 Samuel 21:10 David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
- 1 Samuel 21:12 David laid up these words in his heart, and was very afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
- 1 Samuel 27:2-4 David arose, and passed over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. It was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.
- David became afraid when the Philistines recognized him. Would they imprison him? Kill him? So David pretended to be insane: “pounding his head on the city gate and foaming at the mouth, spit dripping from his beard.” (The Message, I Samuel 21:13) The Philistines wanted nothing to do with him.
Prayer for Relief from Tormentors
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Silent Dove in Distant Lands.” (Heb. Jonath Elem Rechokim)
A Michtam of David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.
See: Hebrew Meaning of Gath
Psalm 56:1 Be merciful to me, O God (‘ĕlōhîm), for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
Psalm 56:2 My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High (mārôm).
Psalm 56:3 Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
- John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Psalm 56:4 In God (‘ĕlōhîm) (I will praise His word), In God (‘ĕlōhîm) I have put my trust;
I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
- Luke 12:4 Jesus Teaches the Fear of God – “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Psalm 56:5 All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil (raʿ).
Psalm 56:6 They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
As David … Also Jesus:
Psalm 71:10 For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together,
11 Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.”
Psalm 71:20 You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again,
And bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
Psalm 56:7 Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God (‘ĕlōhîm)!
Psalm 56:8 You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?
- Which book is David referring to? Scripture mentions the book of life, the book of remembrance and the book of works.
Psalm 56:9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God (‘ĕlōhîm) is for me.
Psalm 56:10 In God (‘ĕlōhîm) (I will praise His word), In the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) (I will praise His word),
Psalm 56:11 In God (‘ĕlōhîm) I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Psalm 56:12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God (‘ĕlōhîm);
I will render praises to You,
A vow is an oath/covenant which is a covenant of death if one were to break it. Their descendant (son) Kinsman redeemer would come for your life. In this case it would be the Son of the Godhead, Jesus, who would be obligated to take vengeance on David.