The title tells us upon what occasion it was penned
- when the inhabitants of Ziph, men of Judah (types of Judas the traitor), betrayed David to Saul, by informing him where he was and putting him in a way how to seize him. This they did twice (1 Sa. 23:19;
26:1), and it is upon record to their everlasting infamy. The psalm is sweet; the former part of it, perhaps, was meditated when he was in his distress and put into writing when the danger was over, with the addition of the last two verses, which express his thankfulness for the deliverance, which yet might be written in faith, even when he was in the midst of his fright. Here,
I. He complains to God of the malice of his enemies, and prays for help against them (v. 1-3).
II. He comforts himself with an assurance of the divine favour and protection, and that, in due time, his enemies should be confounded and be delivered (v. 4-7).3
Ziph was a village in the southern part of Palestine. David having taken refuge in the mountains of that country, the Ziphites went to Saul, and informed him of the fact.
Saul, with his army, immediately went thither, and was on one side of a mountain while David was on the other.
Just when he was about to fall into the hands of his merciless pursuer, an express came to Saul that the Philistines had invaded Israel, on which he gave up the pursuit, and returned to save his country, and David escaped to En-gedi. See the account in
1 Sam. xxiii. 19-29.
It is supposed to have been after this deliverance that he composed this Psalm.2
On Neginoth (Ps.
76). Probably meaning, "with stringed instruments" (RSV). The word is used in the singular in the superscription of
Ps. 61. Neginoth is rendered "stringed instruments" in
Isa. 38:20 and
The Hebrews had three kinds of stringed instruments, the harp, the lyre and the zither.