- For the music leader. A psalm of David,1 presented as a reminder to remember.2
- 1 Please, God, save me.
Hurry, LORD, I need your help.3
- 2 Shame on people who want me dead.
Humiliate them all.
Disgrace those who want to hurt me.
Send them running in retreat.
Give me the last laugh
- 3 May those laughing at me
With a “Hah, hah, hah!”
Choke on shame
And appall themselves for what they did.
- 4 May everyone who searches for you
Be glad they found you.
May those who love that you saved them
Never stop saying, “Wow, what a wonderful God!”
- 5 As for me, I’m poor and needing help.
Hurry, God. Come and help me.
You’re the one who helps me
You’re the one who saves.
Do it now, my God. Help me now.
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.
It’s unclear who is supposed to be remembering what. Some speculate it refers to the “memorial portion” of a sacrifice—the part burned on the altar (Leviticus 2:2). Musicians may have sang or chanted Psalm 70 during the offering. The rest of the offering was eaten by priests and worshipers. Another educated guess is that it’s a reminder to God to help the person who’s praying for help and in trouble.
Psalm 70 is almost a cut and paste job from Psalm 40:13-17, although scribes couldn’t cut and paste with sheepskin scrolls. The lyrics are almost identical.