God, stand by your good name
They’re coming to get me
Note to music leader: accompanied on strings. A psalm of David. An enlightening psalm. It’s about when the people of Zif told King Saul that the fugitive David was hiding among them.1Please God, stand by your good name and save me.
Use your power to show everyone I’m innocent.
2Please God, listen to my prayer.
Listen to what I’m telling you.
3People I never met are coming after me.
They’re angry and they want to kill me.
They don’t give a fig what God wants.
God’s got me covered4Listen, God has got my back.
The Lord himself is here helping me.
5He’ll give my enemies what they deserve
For the terrible things they’ve done.
Be faithful to who you are, God,
And get rid of them.
6Then I’ll bring you a gift,
A special sacrifice of thanks.
I’ll sing your praises, LORD,
Because you’re as good as your name.
7You rescued me.
My troubles are gone.
You let me see it with my own eyes:
My enemies defeated.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
An enlightening psalm” is a guess. The original Hebrew word is maskil (mass-KEEL). Scholars say they aren’t sure what it means. They say they don’t even know if the word refers to the lyrics or the music. Maskil sounds a bit like another Hebrew word, askilkha, which means “let me enlighten you.” Some scholars associate maskil with a root word, sakal, which generates a lot of words with various meanings such as: thoughtful, instructive, wise, and proper. One theory is that the word relates to both lyrics and music. It could, for example, describe the lyrics as “thoughtful” and the music as a harmony fit for that theme.
1 Samuel 23:19. Zif was a town in the Judean Hills about a day’s walk south of Jerusalem, roughly 20 miles (35 km).
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.