Psalm 54#sn Psalm 54. The psalmist asks God for protection against his enemies, confidently affirms that God will vindicate him, and promises to give thanks to God for his saving intervention.
For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song#tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52. by David. It was written when the Ziphites came and informed Saul: “David is hiding with us.”#tn Heb “Is not David hiding with us?”sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm during the period when Saul was seeking his life. On one occasion the Ziphites informed Saul that David was hiding in their territory (see 1 Sam 23:19-20).
1 O God, deliver me by your name!#tn God’s “name” refers here to his reputation and revealed character, which would instill fear in the psalmist’s enemies (see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, Psalms [ICC], 2:17).
Vindicate me#tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request. by your power!
2 O God, listen to my prayer!
Pay attention to what I say!#tn Heb “to the words of my mouth.”
3 For foreigners#tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read זֵדִים (zedim, “proud ones”) rather than זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”). (No matter which reading one chooses as original, dalet-resh confusion accounts for the existence of the variant.) The term זֵדִים (“proud ones”) occurs in parallelism with עָרִיצִים (’aritsim, “violent ones”) in Ps 86:14 and Isa 13:11. However, זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”) is parallel to עָרִיצִים (’aritsim, “violent ones”) in Isa 25:5; 29:5; Ezek 28:7; 31:12. attack me;#tn Heb “rise against me.”
ruthless men, who do not respect God, seek my life.#tn Heb “and ruthless ones seek my life, they do not set God in front of them.” (Selah)
4 Look, God is my deliverer!#tn Or “my helper.”
The Lord is among those who support me.#tn Or “sustain my life.”
5 May those who wait to ambush me#tn Heb “to those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 56:2. be repaid for their evil!#tn The Kethib (consonantal text) reads a Qal imperfect, “the evil will return,” while the Qere (marginal reading) has a Hiphil imperfect, “he will repay.” The parallel line has an imperative (indicating a prayer/request), so it is best to read a jussive form יָשֹׁב (yashov, “let it [the evil] return”) here.
As a demonstration of your faithfulness,#tn Heb “in [or “by”] your faithfulness.” destroy them!
6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice#tn The cohortative verbal form expresses the psalmist’s resolve/vow to praise. to you!
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good!
7 Surely#tn Or “for,” indicating a more specific reason why he will praise the Lord’s name (cf. v. 6). he rescues me from all trouble,#tn The perfects in v. 7 are probably rhetorical, indicating the psalmist’s certitude and confidence that God will intervene. The psalmist is so confident of God’s positive response to his prayer, he can describe God’s deliverance and his own vindication as if they were occurring or had already occurred.
and I triumph over my enemies.#tn Heb “and on my enemies my eyes look.”