The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 57

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
Other Works

TITLE.To the Chief Musician. So glad a song as this becomes ere it closes, should be in the keeping of the most skilled of all the temple minstrels. Altaschith, i.e., DESTROY NOT. This petition is a very sententious prayer, as full as it is brief and well worthy to be the motto for a sacred song. David had said, “destroy not, “in reference to Saul, when he had him in his power, and now he takes pleasure in employing the same words in supplication to God. We may infer from the spirit of the Lord’s prayer, that the Lord will spare us as we spare our foes. There are four of these “Destroy not” Psalms, namely, the 57th, 58th, 59th, and 75th. In all of them, there is a distinct declaration of the destruction of the wicked and the preservation of the righteous, and they all have probably a reference to the overthrow of the Jews, on account of their persecution of the great Son of David: they will endure heavy chastisement, but concerning them, it is written in the divine decree, “Destroy them not.” Michtam of David. For quality, this Psalm is called golden, or a secret, and it well deserves the name. We may read the words and yet not know the secret joy of David, which he has locked up in his golden casket. When he fled from Saul in the cave. This is a song from the bowels of the earth, and, like Jonah’s prayer from the bottom of the sea, it has a taste of the place. The poet is in the shadow of the cave at first, but he comes to the cavern’s mouth at last, and sings in the sweet fresh air, with his eye on the heavens, watching joyously the clouds floating therein.

DIVISION. We have here prayer, Ps 57:1-6, and praise, Ps 57:7-11. The hunted one takes a long breath of prayer, and when he is fully inspired, he breathes out his soul in a jubilant song.

Verse 4. My soul is among lions. He was a very Daniel. Howled at, hunted, wounded, but not slain. His place was in itself one of extreme peril, and yet faith made him feel secure so that he could lie down. The cave may have reminded him of a lion’s den, and Saul and his band shouting and yelling in their disappointment at missing him, were the lions; yet beneath the divine shelter he finds himself safe. And I lie even among them that are set on fire. Perhaps Saul and his band kindled a fire in the cavern while they halted in it, and David was thus reminded of the fiercer fire of their hate which burned within their hearts. Like the bush in Horeb, the believer is often in the midst of flames but never consumed. It is a mighty triumph of faith when we can lie down even among firebrands and find rest because God is our defense. Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Malicious men carry a whole armory in their mouths; they have not harmless mouths, whose teeth grind their own food as in a mill, but their jaws are as mischievous as if every tooth were a javelin or an arrow. They have no molars, all their teeth are canines, and their nature is canine, leonine, wolfish, and devilish. As for that busy member the tongue, in the case of the malicious, it is a two-edged, keen, cutting, killing sword. The tongue, which is here compared to a sword, has the adjective sharp added to it, which is not used in reference to the teeth, which are compared to spears, as if to show that if men were actually to tear us with their teeth, like wild beasts, they could not thereby wound us so severely as they can do with their tongues. No weapon is so terrible as a tongue sharpened on the devil’s grindstone; yet even this we need not fear, for “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.”

Singing psalms 57


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