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 59

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


To the Chief Musician. Strange that the painful events in David’s life should end in enriching the repertoire of the national minstrelsy. Out of a sour, ungenerous soil spring up the honey-bearing flowers of psalmody. Had he never been cruelly hunted by Saul, Israel, and the church of God after ages would have missed this song? The music of the sanctuary is in no small degree indebted to the trials of the saints. Affliction is the tuner of the harps of sanctified songsters. Altaschith. Another “destroy not” Psalm. Whom God preserves Satan cannot destroy. The Lord can even preserve the lives of his prophets by the very ravens that would naturally pick out their eyes. David always found a friend to help him when his case was peculiarly dangerous, and that friend was in his enemy’s household; in this instance, it was Michal, Saul’s daughter, as on former occasions it had been Jonathan, Saul’s son. Michtam of David. This is the Fifth of the Golden Secrets of David: God’s chosen people have many such. When Saul sent, they watched the house to kill him. Great efforts were made to carry the Psalms away to other authors and seasons than those assigned in the headings, it being the fashion just now to prove one’s learning by disagreeing with all who have gone before. Perhaps in a few years, the old titles will be as much reverenced as they are now rejected. There are spasms in these matters, and in many other things among them would-be “intellectuals” of the schools. We are not anxious to show our readiness at conjecture, and therefore are content with reading this Psalm in the light of the circumstances here mentioned; it does not seem unsuitable to any verse, and in some, the words are very appropriate to the specified occasion.

DIVISION. In Ps 59:1-2 he prays, in Ps 59:3-4 he complains of his woes, and again in Ps 59:5, he prays. Here he inserts a Selah and ends one portion of his song. In Ps 59:6-7 he renews his complaint, in Ps 59:8-10 declares his confidence in God, and in Ps 59:11-13 lifts up his heart in prayer; closing another part of his Psalm with Selah. Then he prays again in Ps 59:14-15 and afterward betakes himself to singing.

Verse 5. Thou, thyself, work for me personally, for the case needs thine interposition. Therefore, because I am unjustly assailed, and cannot help myself. O Lord, ever-living, God of Hosts, able to rescue me; the God of Israel, pledged by covenant to redeem thine oppressed servant; awake to visit all the heathen, arouse thy holy mind, bestow thy sacred energies, punish the heathen among thine Israel, the false-hearted who say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. And when thou art about the business, let all the nations of thine enemies, and all the heathenish people at home and abroad know that thou art upon the circuit, judging and punishing. It is the mark of a thoughtful prayer that the titles which are in it applied to God are appropriate, and are, as it were, congruous to the matter, and fitted to add force to the argument. Shall Jehovah endure to see his people oppressed? Shall the God of hosts permit his enemies to exult over his servant? Shall the faithful God of a chosen people leave his chosen to perish? The name of God is, even in a literal sense, a fortress and high tower for all his people. What a forceful petition is contained in the words, “awake to visit”! Actively punish, in wisdom judge, with force chastise. Be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Be merciful to them as men, but not as transgressors; if they continue hardened in their sin, do not wink at their oppression. To wink at sin in transgressors will be to leave the righteous under their power, therefore do not pass by their offenses but deal out the due reward. The psalmist feels that the overthrow of oppression which was so needful for himself must be equally desirable for multitudes of the godly placed in like positions, and therefore he prays for the whole company of the faithful, and against the entire confraternity of traitors. Selah. With such a subject before us, we may well pause. Who would not sit still and consider, when vengeance is being meted out to all the enemies of God? How wrong is that state of mind which hates to hear of the punishment of the wicked!

Singing psalms 59

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