Psalms 56
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1  For the leader; on yonath elem rechokim. Of David. A michtam; when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

lam-na-TZAY-akh al yo-NAT AY-lem r’-kho-KEEM l’-da-VID mikh-TAM be-e-KHOZ o-TO f’-lish-TEEM b’-GAT

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל־יוֹנַת אֵלֶם רְחֹקִים לְדָוִד מִכְתָּם בֶּאֱחֹז אֹתוֹ פְלִשְׁתִּים בְּגַת׃

56:1   When the Philistines seized him in Gath

Constantly on the run in a very small Israelite kingdom, David does the irrational; he escapes to the Philistine city of Gath (I Samuel 21:11-16). The Philistines were the main enemy of the Israelites at the time, and David himself had slain Goliath, who was from the same city. How does David survive when the advisors of King Achish reveal that this is the same David who was responsible for the defeat of the Philistines? David feigns insanity. He dances uncontrollably, foams at the mouth and sputters unintelligible words. His behavior leads the king of Gath to make his famous statement “Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to rave for me? Should this fellow enter my house?” (I Samuel 21:16). He lets David free, and David responds to this near-death experience in the best way he knows: With a psalm of gratitude to Hashem.2 comments

2  Have mercy on me, O Hashem, for men persecute me; all day long my adversary oppresses me.

ב  חָנֵּנִי אֱלֹהִים כִּי־שְׁאָפַנִי אֱנוֹשׁ כָּל־הַיּוֹם לֹחֵם יִלְחָצֵנִי׃

3  My watchful foes persecute me all day long; many are my adversaries, O Exalted One.

ג  שָׁאֲפוּ שׁוֹרְרַי כָּל־הַיּוֹם כִּי־רַבִּים לֹחֲמִים לִי מָרוֹם׃

4  When I am afraid, I trust in You,

ד  יוֹם אִירָא אֲנִי אֵלֶיךָ אֶבְטָח׃

5  in Hashem, whose word I praise, in Hashem I trust; I am not afraid; what can mortals do to me?

ה  בֵּאלֹהִים אֲהַלֵּל דְּבָרוֹ בֵּאלֹהִים בָּטַחְתִּי לֹא אִירָא מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה בָשָׂר לִי׃

6  All day long they cause me grief in my affairs, they plan only evil against me.

ו  כָּל־הַיּוֹם דְּבָרַי יְעַצֵּבוּ עָלַי כָּל־מַחְשְׁבֹתָם לָרָע׃

7  They plot, they lie in ambush; they watch my every move, hoping for my death.

ז  יָגוּרוּ יצפינו [יִצְפּוֹנוּ] הֵמָּה עֲקֵבַי יִשְׁמֹרוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר קִוּוּ נַפְשִׁי׃

8  Cast them out for their evil; subdue peoples in Your anger, O Hashem.

ח  עַל־אָוֶן פַּלֶּט־לָמוֹ בְּאַף עַמִּים הוֹרֵד אֱלֹהִים׃

9  You keep count of my wanderings; put my tears into Your flask, into Your record.

ט  נֹדִי סָפַרְתָּה אָתָּה שִׂימָה דִמְעָתִי בְנֹאדֶךָ הֲלֹא בְּסִפְרָתֶךָ׃

10  Then my enemies will retreat when I call on You; this I know, that Hashem is for me.

י  אָז יָשׁוּבוּ אוֹיְבַי אָחוֹר בְּיוֹם אֶקְרָא זֶה־יָדַעְתִּי כִּי־אֱלֹהִים לִי׃

11  In Hashem, whose word I praise, in Hashem, whose word I praise,

יא  בֵּאלֹהִים אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר בַּיהֹוָה אֲהַלֵּל דָּבָר׃

12  in Hashem I trust; I am not afraid; what can man do to me?

יב  בֵּאלֹהִים בָּטַחְתִּי לֹא אִירָא מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה אָדָם לִי׃

13  I must pay my vows to You, O Hashem; I will render thank offerings to You.

יג  עָלַי אֱלֹהִים נְדָרֶיךָ אֲשַׁלֵּם תּוֹדֹת לָךְ׃

14  For You have saved me from death, my foot from stumbling, that I may walk before Hashem in the light of life.

יד  כִּי הִצַּלְתָּ נַפְשִׁי מִמָּוֶת הֲלֹא רַגְלַי מִדֶּחִי לְהִתְהַלֵּךְ לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהִים בְּאוֹר הַחַיִּים׃

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Psalms 55
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Psalms 56

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