Psalm 59:1-17 A Lament Psalm by David
Psalm 59:1-17 Dirty Dogs
Psalm 59 is another imprecatory psalm, like Psalm 58, pronouncing curses on bad people. Yesterday the curses were on government officials, today David is cursing dirty dogs, people who were looking to off him. You may have seen movies where the main character was being chased just short of their lives. But have you had anyone trying to actually kill you? Of course, Jesus said that to wish someone dead was the same as trying to kill them (cf. Matt. 5:21-22). You may have someone who wishes you were dead. Or you may have cancer or a sickness that would like to remove you from the earth. If so, this is a good psalm for you.
When you are doing God’s will, people will try to derail you. They may be jealous, they may be threatened. I don’t know what happens to them. But often they will try to eat you for lunch. Even your best friends may try to kill you, figuratively or literally (Ps. 55:12-13). That was David’s problem, again. Those close to him were trying to eviscerate him.
Jesus warned His disciples that if evil people wanted to kill Him, they will want to kill them, too (cf. Matt. 10:24-25).
David implores God to release him from the threat of his enemies (vv. 1-3). He hadn’t done anything to provoke them but they were still after him (v. 4). As King of all armies, “Lord of hosts,” David asks God to punish all who should be punished (v. 5). I think David paticulary wanted God to target his enemies.
He says his enemies were like burping dogs that prowl around the city (vv. 7, 6). They are kind of strange dogs that have swords coming out of their mouths (v. 7). They don’t think anyone can hear their braying but the Lord does. He laughs at them (v. 8, cf. Psalm 2:4).
David goes into “trust” mode (vv. 9-10). We should learn from him. What do we do when things go wrong? Do we call someone? Do we vent on Facebook? Those things are OK but when it comes down to it, we should get alone with God.
David wants God to torture his pursuers a little bit before they die (v. 11a). He wants his enemies to have to scatter as a witness to God’s power (v. 11b-c, 13). He’d like to see them snagged by their own sin (v. 12). After that, David would be content if they were slain (v. 13).
Verse 14 is the refrain. His enemies are like junkyard dogs. A dog was about the lowest form of creature in Jewish culture. I used to read A.W. Pink, a Christian writer of the last century. He hated dogs and would cite all kinds of references to prove that God didn’t like them either. Jews did consider them one of the lower life forms. I guess, like Pink, we all have our own idiosyncrasies.
I don’t know if he liked cats. I do. But if you have a dog, it’s OK. It’s just not OK to act like one.
These dirty dogs wander about the city looking for food and growl if they are not satisfied (v. 15). It means they are looking for some person to harass and devour. Their father has the same tendencies. Satan wanders about like a lion looking for someone to eat for lunch (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8; Job 1:7).
In the midst of this turmoil, David says he will sing about Yahweh, His strength and his love (v. 16 a-b, 17a). David confesses that God had been his security when he feared his own demise (v. 16 c-d, 17b).
“Lovingkindness” in verses 16 and 18 is the Hebrew hesed which means covenantal, binding love. God has bound Himself to you and He is love (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16).
When the smokes clears, God Himself is our refuge (cf. Ps. 62:8) and the only safe place for us to be protected by the dirty dogs.
Proverbs 11:14 Guidance Counselors
If a nations’ leaders do not respect God, they won’t have true guidance (v. 14a). If they don’t follow His law, the nation is in trouble. If we, as a nation, continue to murder little defenseless babies, I don’t know what hope there is for us. Perhaps, that is why there has been a dearth of leadership lately. How can God bless us when we commit such a vile sin as a nation?
If a leader has a coterie of good godly counselors, however, there is hope (v. 14b).