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 11. Slay them not, lest my people forget. It argues great faith on David’s part, that even while his house was surrounded by his enemies he is yet so fully sure of their overthrow, and so completely realizes it in his own mind, that he puts in a detailed petition that they may not be too soon or too fully exterminated. God’s victory over the craft and cruelty of the wicked is so easy and so glorious that it seems a pity to end the conflict too soon. To sweep away the plotters all at once was to end the great drama of retribution too abruptly. Nay, let the righteous be buffeted a little longer, and let the boasting oppressor puff and brag through his little hour, it will help to keep Israel in mind of the Lord’s justice, and make the brave party who side with God’s champion accustomed to divine interpositions. It was a pity for good men to be without detractors, seeing that virtue shines the brighter for the foil of slander. Enemies help to keep the Lord’s servants awake. A lively, vexatious devil is less to be dreaded than a sleepy, forgetful spirit that is given to slumber. Scatter them by thy power. Blow them to and fro, like chaff in the wind. Let the enemy live as a vagabond race. Make Cains of them. Let them be living monuments of divine power, advertisements of heaven’s truth. To the fullest extent let divine justice be illustrated in them. And bring them down. Like rotten fruit from a tree. From the seats of power which they disgrace, and the positions of influence which they pollute, let them be hurled into humiliation. This was a righteous wish, and if it is untempered by the gentleness of Jesus, we must remember that it is a soldier’s prayer and the wish of one who was smarting under injustice and malice of no ordinary kind. O Lord, our shield. David felt himself to be the representative of the religious party in Israel, and therefore he says, our shield, speaking in the name of all those who make Jehovah their defense. We are in good company when we hide beneath the buckler of the Eternal; meanwhile, he who is the shield of his people is the scatterer of their enemies.

Singing psalms 59

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