Trust in God amid Suffering
1 For the director.[b] According to “Do not destroy.” A miktam of David. When he fled from Saul into the cave.
2 Have mercy on me, O God,
have mercy on me,
for in you my soul[c] takes refuge.
I will seek shelter in the shadow of your wings
until the time of danger has passed.
3 I call out to God Most High,
to God who takes care of me.[d]
4 May he send his help from heaven to deliver me
and put to shame those who trample upon me; Selah
may God send his kindness[e] and his faithfulness.
5 I lie prostrate in the midst of lions
who are hungrily seeking human prey.
Their teeth are spears and arrows,
and their tongues are razor-sharp swords.
6 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory shine over all the earth.[f]
7 They set a trap for my feet,
and I was overcome with distress.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they themselves fell into it. Selah
8 [g]My heart[h] is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and chant your praise;
9 awake, my soul!
Awake, lyre and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.[i]
10 [j]I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O Lord;
I will sing your praises among the nations.
11 For your kindness extends to the heavens;
your faithfulness, to the skies.
12 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory radiate over all the earth.
- Psalm 57:1 The psalmist pictures evildoers like lions tearing away at him and ravaging his reputation. It is altogether natural for him, then, to call upon God to come in power to chastise the enemy and establish his kingdom on earth. A second tableau ends the psalm: the believer sings of God’s deliverance, which comes like a dawn in the midst of the night of danger. Part of this psalm is duplicated in Ps 108 (57:8-12 is the same as 108:2-6).
This supplication may be justly applied to Christ during his whole public life and Passion. Surrounded and attacked by his enemies, he seeks refuge in his Father, who cannot abandon him. It can also fittingly be applied to us who are constantly threatened by our spiritual enemies.
- Psalm 57:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. According to “Do not destroy”: probably a note by an early scribe intended to prevent his manuscript from being discarded. Miktam: see note on Ps 16:1. For the event, see 1 Sam 24:1-3.
- Psalm 57:2 My soul: see note on Ps 6:4. Shadow of your wings: conventional Hebrew metaphor for protection; it may have been inspired by the wings of the cherubim spread over the Ark in the inner chamber of the temple (see 1 Ki 6:23-28).
- Psalm 57:3 Who takes care of me: an allusion to God’s providence; other translations given are: “who puts an end to my troubles” and “who perfects his work in me.”
- Psalm 57:4 Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
- Psalm 57:6 The psalmist asks that the kingdom of God may be manifested (see Ps 72:19; Num 14:21; 1 Chr 29:11; Isa 6:3; 33:10; Hab 2:14) by the deliverance of the faithful and the ruin of the wicked (see Pss 79:9; 102:16f; 138:5).
- Psalm 57:8 These verses (with slight variations) are the same as verses 2-6 of Ps 108.
- Psalm 57:8 The psalmist is at peace because of his trust in the Lord. Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
- Psalm 57:9 Dawn: personified as in Ps 139:9; Job 3:9; 38:12. The “night” (v. 5: “lie prostrate”) symbolizes trials; deliverance comes with the “dawn” (see Ps 17:15).
- Psalm 57:10 A vow to offer ritual praise to the Lord for his goodness (see note on Ps 7:18). Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.