Psalm 59 — How are our enemies described? — Reading the Psalms

For the Chief Musician; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of David: Michtam: when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God:
Set me on high from them that rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from the bloodthirsty men.
3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul;
The mighty gather themselves together against me:
Not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.
4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault:
Awake thou to help me, and behold.
5 Even thou, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Arise to visit all the heathen:
Be not merciful to any wicked transgressors.     Selah
6 They return at evening, they make a noise like a dog,
And go round about the city.
7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth;
Swords are in their lips:
For who, say they, doth hear?
8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them;
Thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
9 O my strength, I will wait upon thee:
For God is my high tower.
10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me:
God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
11 Slay them not, lest my people forget:
Scatter them by thy power, and bring them down,
O Lord our shield.
12 For the sin of their mouth, and the words of their lips,
Let them even be taken in their pride,
And for cursing and lying which they speak.
13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they be no more:
And let them know that God ruleth in Jacob,
Unto the ends of the earth.     Selah
14 And at evening let them return, let them make a noise like a dog,
And go round about the city.
15 They shall wander up and down for meat
And tarry all night if they be not satisfied.
16 But I will sing of thy strength;
Yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning:
For thou hast been my high tower,
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing praises:
For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.

Here we have another psalm about the troubles of our enemies. With our previous psalm I spoke about the harsh language God prepared for us to speak in duress. This time I want to consider the way the wicked are described.

“For lo they lie in wait for my soul … not for my transgression, nor for my sin.” The wicked set themselves up to hurt what is good. David had his bad moments and mistakes with sin – some grievous; David does not deny this. Yet these are not the reasons he is attacked. It is because of David himself, his character and personality. The wicked fase personality they despise and use violence to change it. This is not power, but slavery; it’s slavery to one’s own discomfort. They cannot stand what they see and have not the power to let it be. They feel they can do this because no one watches them. They wander like ugly packs of dogs, finding strength in numbers. Indeed, this is their only strength, and dogs are easily scattered.

David, within himself and his own personality, finds strength in God, and God alone. His strength comes not from within, but without, not from around but above.  His innocence and blamelessness helps his connection with God. His cry to god nourishes this connection, too.

In the end, David seems to invite the dogs to come back, for he knows they’ll starve. Though they tarry for the night they will not be satisfied. Rather, blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

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