Verses of Psalms 58

Psalms 58 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

This Psalm begins with an indignant remonstrance with those in authority, who not only fail to administer justice equitably, but are themselves among the worst of offenders (Psa 58:1-2). A description of the incurably wicked, among whom, it is implied, such men must be classed, follows (Psa 58:3-5), and leads up to a prayer (or perhaps an expression of confident assurance) that God will render them powerless to hurt, or utterly destroy them (Psa 58:6-9). The Psalm concludes with a description of the double result of the judgement: the righteous who are freed from their oppressors rejoice; and men in general acknowledge God’s moral government of the world (Psa 58:10-11).

The Psalm is remarkable for the vigour of its language and the boldness of its figures. It has a ring of prophetic authority, in its denunciation of wicked men in high place, and its prediction of the certainty of their downfall.

Adhering to the title, which assigns it to David, Delitzsch supposes that it refers to Absalom’s rebellion. In Psa 58:1-2 we might find an allusion to Absalom’s pretended zeal for justice (2Sa 15:2 ff.), while in reality he was meditating the most monstrous crimes: the language of Psa 58:3 ff. is not too severe for the graceless treachery of the son who shrank from no extremes, and coldly contemplated parricide (2 Samuel 16, 2Sa 17:1-4): Psa 58:6-9 might well refer to the sudden and complete collapse of the rebellion, and Psa 58:10-11 to the rejoicing of David’s sympathisers at the victory (2Sa 18:19 ff.; note the phrase, “the Lord hath judged and delivered him out of the hand of his enemies”; Psa 19:2).

But it is inconceivable that at any point of time, before or after the outbreak of the insurrection, David could have used the language of the Psalm with reference to Absalom. Beforehand indeed (though we may draw a wrong inference from the brevity of the narrative in 2 Sam.) he seems to have been blind to what was going on: and when he knew the worst, his feelings of anxiety for the personal safety of Absalom and finally of grief at his death (2Sa 18:5; 2Sa 18:33; 2Sa 19:4), are as unlike the severe indignation of this Psalm as anything could well be. If it refers to Absalom’s rebellion, it can never have been written by David.

More probably however it belongs to some later period in the history of Israel. There is no sufficient ground for supposing that the unjust judges are foreigners, whether Babylonians, Persians, or Syrians, and that the Psalm is post-exilic. The evils complained of are precisely those against which the prophets of the regal period are constantly inveighing.

Compare generally Psalms 12, 14, and especially 82; and with the concluding verses cp. the conclusions of 64 and 140.

For the title see Psalms 57.

Verses of Psalms 58

Consult other comments:

Psalms 58:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 58:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 58:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 58:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 58:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 58:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 58:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 58:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 58:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges