Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 56

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-2

David began this prayer with a call for divine help and an explanation of why he needed it. His enemies were constantly attacking him. As the Lord’s anointed, David had a right to expect God’s assistance.

Verses 1-7

1. The opposition of ungodly enemies 56:1-7

Verses 1-13

Psalms 56

David wrote this psalm of individual lament when the Philistines seized him in Gath (1 Samuel 21:10; cf. Psalms 34). He composed it for singing to the tune of "A Dove on Distant Oaks." This melody was evidently common in David’s day.

The content of this psalm is similar to that of Psalms 54, 55, , 57. Again David determined to continue trusting in the Lord even though his enemies sought to destroy him.

Verses 3-4

Because he trusted in God, who was on his side, David knew he did not need to fear the opposition of mere mortals (Heb. basar, flesh; Psalms 56:4). Note the close connection David saw between the Lord and His Word (Psalms 56:4).

". . . trusting in the Lord requires a prior commitment to the revelation of God in his Word." [Note: VanGemeren, p. 399.]

Verses 5-6

David further described the wickedness of his oppressors. They continually twisted his words, dogged his steps, and plotted his downfall.

Verse 7

He asked God to bring them down and not let them escape. Because God hates wickedness, the psalmist trusted that He would punish the wicked.

Verses 8-9

David was confident that God knew about all his experiences intimately. He knew wherever David had gone, and He had made note of all his painful sufferings. The psalmist asked God to remember his sufferings in a graphic way. He wanted the Lord to store his tears in His bottle so their volume might move Him to act for David.

"Archaeologists have unearthed small ’tear bottles’ in which mourners collected their tears and then deposited the bottle at the gravesite." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p. 198.]

Verses 8-13

2. The confidence of the psalmist 56:8-13

Verses 10-11

These verses rephrase the refrain to this song that appears in Psalms 56:4. The refrain is a strong affirmation of David’s confidence in God.

Verses 12-13

As in other psalms, David spoke of his future deliverance confidently, as though God had already given it to him. The vows to which he referred were those David had made to God. He had promised to praise Him with thank offerings after God delivered him from his enemies.

The believer who is doing God’s will can confidently appeal for His aid when evil people oppose him. Remembering that our Helper is the Lord of all and that our opponents are only mere mortals will strengthen our faith.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 56". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-56.html. 2012.
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