Oct 3 16

Understanding Beyond the Immediate Text


Psalm 59

It is always interesting when reading the psalms of David to find the places in scripture that connect to the reasons for writing the psalm. The background story that connects to this psalm is found in 1 Samuel 19.  Beginning at verse 11, Saul had sent some of his henchmen to David’s house to watch for him and to kill him when he left his house in the morning. It is remarkable how Saul’s peculiar sense of honor kept him from entering David’s house at night to kill him while he slept in bed with his wife. Yet, it is also remarkable that false accusations and murder were no encumbrances to Saul’s same sense of honor.

The errand of Saul’s messengers was a trumped up charge of treason when David had never in any way disrespected Saul or sought him harm. By God’s providence, Saul’s hesitation allowed David to escape during the night which infuriated Saul all the more. The method of escape was clever as David evaded Saul by leaving through a window. Perhaps David’s house was on the city wall where he was let down by a rope in similar fashion to the escape of the spies at the hand of Rehab.

When David did not leave the house in the morning, Saul’s men went to fetch him but were told by David’s wife Michal that he was sick. When this was reported to Saul, he sent his men back to the house to carry him out sick bed and all. When the men reentered the house, they saw they had been fooled by a dummy with goat’s hair which had made it appear David was in the bed.

When I read through the first part of this psalm, there were two parallels to the treatment of Christ that struck me. The first is the actions of the chief priests and elders when they paid Judas to betray Jesus. When Judas later returned with remorse and offered to give back his thirty pieces of silver, the leaders refused to put the money into the treasury because it was not lawful to mix blood money with the Lord’s offerings. This was strangely curious because hiring a traitor, paying false witnesses to lie in court, and murdering an innocent man did not bother them at all. People can pat themselves on the back for their superior piety in one area while they have the most evil designs in another. Such is the false pride of the depraved mind!

The second parallel to Christ’s ill treatment is found in verse 3: “For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.” Saul’s men wanted to kill David not because he had done anything wrong, but simply because of Saul’s hatred. David was righteous in the kingdom having blessed Israel in defending the kingdom from the enemy. Likewise, Jesus was despised even though no just charge could be laid against Him. His whole ministry was one of compassion as He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. Why would you want to kill someone like that? It is at best irrational behavior, but again they are the actions of madmen with depraved hearts. Jesus said the hatred of Him and His people was the fulfillment of Old Testament scripture. In John 15:25, He said: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”

As you read the psalms, read with an open mind to let the Spirit speak to you. See where words and phrases lead your thoughts to other places of the inspired Word. The references often go beyond the obvious, but this is how the Holy Spirit blesses the minds of those who care to open His Word.

Pastor V. Mark Smith