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Psalm 54[a]

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments; a well-written song[b] by David. It was written when the Ziphites came and informed Saul: “David is hiding with us.”[c]

54 O God, deliver me by your name.[d]
Vindicate me[e] by your power.
O God, listen to my prayer.
Pay attention to what I say.[f]
For foreigners[g] attack me;[h]
ruthless men, who do not respect God, seek my life.[i] (Selah)
Look, God is my deliverer.[j]
The Lord is among those who support me.[k]
May those who wait to ambush me[l] be repaid for their evil.[m]
As a demonstration of your faithfulness,[n] destroy them.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice[o] to you.
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
Surely[p] he rescues me from all trouble,[q]
and I triumph over my enemies.[r]


  1. Psalm 54:1 sn Psalm 54. The psalmist asks God for protection against his enemies, confidently affirms that God will vindicate him, and promises to give thanks to God for his saving intervention.
  2. Psalm 54:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 52.
  3. Psalm 54:1 tn Heb “Is not David hiding with us?”sn According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm during the period when Saul was seeking his life. On one occasion the Ziphites informed Saul that David was hiding in their territory (see 1 Sam 23:19-20).
  4. Psalm 54:1 tn God’s “name” refers here to his reputation and revealed character, which would instill fear in the psalmist’s enemies (see C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, Psalms [ICC], 2:17).
  5. Psalm 54:1 tn The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.
  6. Psalm 54:2 tn Heb “to the words of my mouth.”
  7. Psalm 54:3 tc Many medieval Hebrew mss read זֵדִים (zedim, “proud ones”) rather than זָרִים (zarim, “foreigners”). This is a case of confusing ד (dalet) and ר (resh). The term זֵדִים (zedim) occurs in parallelism with עָרִיצִים (ʿaritsim, “violent ones”) in Ps 86:14 and Isa 13:11. However, זָרִים (zarim) is parallel to עָרִיצִים in Isa 25:5; 29:5; Ezek 28:7; 31:12.
  8. Psalm 54:3 tn Heb “rise against me.”
  9. Psalm 54:3 tn Heb “and ruthless ones seek my life, they do not set God in front of them.”
  10. Psalm 54:4 tn Or “my helper.”
  11. Psalm 54:4 tn Or “sustain my life.”
  12. Psalm 54:5 tn Heb “to those who watch me [with evil intent].” See also Pss 5:8; 27:11; 56:2.
  13. Psalm 54:5 tn The Kethib (consonantal text) reads a Qal imperfect, “the evil will return,” while the Qere (marginal reading) has a Hiphil imperfect, “he will repay.” The parallel line has an imperative (indicating a prayer/request), so it is best to read a jussive form יָשֹׁב (yashov, “let it [the evil] return”) here.
  14. Psalm 54:5 tn Heb “in [or “by”] your faithfulness.”
  15. Psalm 54:6 tn The cohortative verbal form expresses the psalmist’s resolve/vow to praise.
  16. Psalm 54:7 tn Or “for,” indicating a more specific reason why he will praise the Lord’s name (cf. v. 6).
  17. Psalm 54:7 tn The perfects in v. 7 are probably rhetorical, indicating the psalmist’s certitude and confidence that God will intervene. The psalmist is so confident of God’s positive response to his prayer, he can describe God’s deliverance and his own vindication as if they were occurring or had already occurred.
  18. Psalm 54:7 tn Heb “and on my enemies my eyes look.”