Psalm 59 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Psalm 59 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.

"Deliver me from my enemies my God"
(Unknown, 12th Century)

2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.

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.

4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.

5 Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.

The psalmist asks God to kill all "the heathen" and show them no mercy.

6 They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.

(59:6-7, 14) "Behold, they [the heathen] make a noise like a dog .... They belch out with their mouth."
(These are good reasons for God to kill them.)
This is a poetic description describing the workers of iniquity (verse 2), who did not tire lying in wait (verse 3), under the image of wild and ferocious dogs.

7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?

8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.

"But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them."
God will laugh at the heathen as he kills them.
Those who laugh an deride God, will not always laugh. It is God who will laugh at them in the end.

9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.

10 The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.

"The God of mercy" will let the psalmist see his enemies tormented.
The author of the SAB makes it appear as if God's mercy and his justice are two opposing attributes. They are not. God is both merciful and a avenger of sin. And I do not really believe the author of the SAB is of the opinion that punishment is torture.

11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.

12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.

13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.

"Consume them in thy wrath, consume them .... Let them know that God ruleth."
(Who else could behave so badly?)
More sweet prayers to a savage god.
There have been, and there still are, many who cruelly prosecute Christians. They heap up wrath upon themselves. We do not live in a world where evil is not punished. Evil will be punished.

14 And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.

15 Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

17 Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.