Old Testament

Psalm 56
Psalm 56
When I Am Afraid
For the choir director. “A Dove on Distant Oaks.”[]
By David. A miktam.[]
When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.[]
The Enemies
1Be merciful to me, O God, for a man pants as he pursues me.[]
All day long an attacker presses against me.
2Those who spy on me pant as they pursue me all day long.
Yes, many are attacking me boldly.
David's Trust
3On the day when I am afraid, I will trust in you.
4In God I praise his word.
In God I trust. I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
The Enemies
5All day long they hurt my cause.[]
All their thoughts against me are evil.
6They gather together. They hide.
They try to trip me by grabbing my heels
while they wait to take my life.
David's Trust
7Because of their wickedness do not let them escape.[]
In your anger bring down the peoples, O God.
8You keep a record of my tossing and turning.[]
Keep my tears in your bottle.
Aren't they all listed in your book?
9Then my enemies will turn back on the day when I call.
This is how I will know that God is for me.
10In God I praise a word.[]
In the Lord I praise a word.
11In God I trust. I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
David's Promise
12My vows to you are binding, O God.
I will complete my thank offerings to you,
13because you have delivered my life from death.
Have you not delivered my feet from stumbling
so I can walk before God in the light of life?


  • 56:0 This may be the name of the tune. The translation reads the Hebrew word alm as a word which means oaks or terebinths. The standard Hebrew text reads it as a word for silent. This would result in the translation silent dove, distant ones.
  • 56:0 A miktam is a type of song. The meaning is uncertain. It may mean a golden psalm or a choice piece or a psalm inscribed on a tablet. Miktams include Psalms 57–60.
  • 56:0 See 1 Samuel 21.
  • 56:1 Or hotly pursues me. Or the verb may be a homonym that means tramples me.
  • 56:5 Or they twist my words
  • 56:7 The Hebrew reads because of wickedness, deliverance to them. This does not make sense in the context. The translation assumes there was an accidental omission of a negative. Another way to handle the problem is to make the phrase a question: because of their wickedness, will they escape?
  • 56:8 Or wandering
  • 56:10 This cryptic expression is a literal translation.