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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 58

Verses 1-11

Psalms 58:0

Psalms 58:1 (To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David.) Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

Psalms 58:1 Word Study on “Altaschith” Strong says the Hebrew word “Altaschith” ( אַלתַּשְׁחֵת ) (H516) literally means, “Thou must not destroy,” and is derived from ( אַל ) (H408), meaning, “not,” and ( שָׁחַת ) (H7843), meaning, “to decay, ruin.” Strong suggests it is “the opening words to a popular song.”

Psalms 58:1 “Michtam of David” Word Study on “Michtam” - Strong says the Hebrew word “michtam” ( מִכְתָּם ) (H4387) literally means, “an engraving,” and as a technical term, “a poem.” He says this word comes from a Hebrew root word ( כָּתַם ) (H3799), which means “to carve, or engrave.” Therefore, some translations prefer to use a poetic term ( NLT, Rotherham), while others prefer a more literal translation ( DRC, LXX, VgClem).

NLT, “A psalm of David”

Rotherham, “A Precious Psalm of David”

DRC, “The inscription of a title to David himself”

LXX, “ Στηλογραφία τῷ Δαυιδ

VgClem, “Tituli inscriptio, ipsi David”

Comments - A similar Hebrew word ( כֶּתֶם ) (3800) means, “something carved out, i.e. ore; hence, gold.” Peter Craigie tells us that some scholars translate the title “A Golden Psalm” from “early rabbinical interpretations.” [81] Therefore, we get a variety of translations that carry the idea of treasure or gold.

[81] Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 19, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 154.

LITV, YLT, “A Secret Treasure of David”

Luther, “Ein gülden Kleinod David”

There are six so called “Michtam Psalms” (16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60), which open with the phrase “Michtam of David.” A similar title “the writing of Hezekiah” is used as the title for the psalm of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:9-20, which uses a similar Hebrew word ( מִכְתָּב ) (H4385), means “a writing, the characters of something written, or a document such as a letter, a copy, an edict, or a poem.”

Psalms 58:2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.

Psalms 58:2 Word Study on “weigh” Gesenius says the Hebrew word ( פָּלַס ) (H6424) means, “to make level, even, i.e. to prepare a way; metaphorically, it means, “You weigh out…by holding the balance level.” Strong says it means, “to roll flat, i.e., prepare (a road); also to revolve, i.e., weigh (mentally).” Holladay says it means, “to make a path.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 58". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-58.html. 2013.