The superscription of Psalm 54 denotes a time when the Ziphites determined to betray David to Saul in order to gain his favor (1 Samuel 23:15-24). It is a song of prayer to God for deliverance and praise to Him for being that one on whom we can depend in times of need. David had just fled Keilah after he and his men had saved them from the Philistines. The Lord had confirmed to him that even after saving them, they would give him up to Saul (1 Samuel 23:1-14).
The superscription in Psalm 56 directs the chief musician that the song is performed according to one called “the Dove.” Adam Clarke translates the Teribinths as the “remote woods.” We do not know what a “Michtam” is, but many suppose that it means this is “a golden psalm of David,” – golden equating to “precious.”
It also refers to the Philistines seizing him in Gath. The scriptures do speak of David going to Gath. One of those times was in 1 Samuel 21, but there is no record of the Philistines seizing him. But that should not be considered cause to doubt the superscription’s accuracy. We can be certain that there are many events in David’s life that are not chronicled in the scriptures, just as in the lives of other Biblical patriarchs. The psalm itself is a song about trust in the Lord, even through times of great trouble and fear, and of maintaining one’s faith throughout it all.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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