The Meaning of Psalms 56:1 Explained

Psalms 56:1

KJV: {To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.} Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.

YLT: To the Overseer. -- 'On the Dumb Dove far off.' -- A secret treasure of David, in the Philistines' taking hold of him in Gath. Favour me, O God, for man swallowed me up, All the day fighting he oppresseth me,

Darby: {To the chief Musician. On Jonathelem-rechokim. Of David. Michtam; when the Philistines took him in Gath.} Be gracious unto me, O God; for man would swallow me up: all the day long fighting he oppresseth me.

ASV: Be merciful unto me, O God; for man would swallow me up: All the day long he fighting oppresseth me.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

{{To the chief Musician  upon Jonathelemrechokim,  Michtam  of David,  when the Philistines  took  him in Gath.  }} Be merciful  unto me, O God:  for man  would swallow me up;  he fighting  daily  oppresseth  me. 

What does Psalms 56:1 Mean?

Study Notes

Jonath-elem-rechokim Meaning, "the cry of the dove of distant terebinth trees."
Michtam Michtam, a prayer.

Context Summary

Psalms 56:1-13 - "what Can Man Do Unto Me?"
This psalm was composed under the same circumstances as Psalms 34:1-22. See 1 Samuel 21:1-15. What a strange medley is here shown-David feigning madness and composing psalms! Commenting on Psalms 56:3, one says that Isaiah's resolve is still better: "I will trust and not be afraid," Isaiah 12:2. Note, the magnificent refrain at the close of each of the first two strophes, Psalms 56:4; Psalms 56:10. The psalmist asks: "What can flesh do?" "Nothing," is the Apostle Paul's emphatic answer. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers can hurt a man who makes God his stronghold, Romans 8:31.
Let us use the last verse for our life-prayer. Live as one on whom God's vows rest. Thank Him that by His Cross and Passion He has delivered thy soul from death. Could He have done so much at such cost, and then fail? Surely He must deliver our feet from falling, Psalms 116:8, or all the past will have been in vain. Whenever the shadows gather, and past sins threaten, and the enemies of your soul seek to overthrow, plead this prayer: Thou hast"¦ wilt not Thou? [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalms 56

1  David, praying to God in confidence of his word, complains of his enemies,
9  He professes his confidence in God's word, and promises to praise him

What do the individual words in Psalms 56:1 mean?

To the Chief Musician Set to the Dove Silent in Distant Lands of David a Michtam when captured him the Philistines in Gath Be merciful to me God for would swallow me up man all all day Fighting he oppresses me
לַמְנַצֵּ֤חַ ׀ עַל־ י֬וֹנַת אֵ֣לֶם רְ֭חֹקִים לְדָוִ֣ד מִכְתָּ֑ם בֶּֽאֱחֹ֨ז אֹת֖וֹ פְלִשְׁתִּ֣ים בְּגַֽת חָנֵּ֣נִי אֱ֭לֹהִים כִּֽי־ שְׁאָפַ֣נִי אֱנ֑וֹשׁ כָּל־ הַ֝יּ֗וֹם לֹחֵ֥ם יִלְחָצֵֽנִי

לַמְנַצֵּ֤חַ ׀  To  the  Chief  Musician 
Parse: Preposition-l, Article, Verb, Piel, Participle, masculine singular
Root: נָצַח  
Sense: to excel, be bright, be preeminent, be perpetual, be overseer, be enduring.
עַל־  Set  to 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
י֬וֹנַת  the  Dove 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: יׄונָה  
Sense: dove, pigeon.
אֵ֣לֶם  Silent 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: אֵלֶם  
Sense: in silence, silent.
רְ֭חֹקִים  in  Distant  Lands 
Parse: Adjective, masculine plural
Root: רָחֹוק  
Sense: remote, far, distant, distant lands, distant ones.
לְדָוִ֣ד  of  David 
Parse: Preposition-l, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: דָּוִד  
Sense: youngest son of Jesse and second king of Israel.
מִכְתָּ֑ם  a  Michtam 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מִכְתָּם  
Sense: michtam.
בֶּֽאֱחֹ֨ז  when  captured 
Parse: Preposition-b, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: אָחוּז 
Sense: grasp, take hold, seize, take possession.
פְלִשְׁתִּ֣ים  the  Philistines 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine plural
Root: פְּלִשְׁתִּי  
Sense: an inhabitant of Philistia; descendants of Mizraim who immigrated from Caphtor (Crete?) to the western seacoast of Canaan.
בְּגַֽת  in  Gath 
Parse: Preposition-b, Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: גַּת  
Sense: one of the five royal or chief cities of the Philistines and the native city of Goliath.
חָנֵּ֣נִי  Be  merciful  to  me 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular, first person common singular
Root: חָנַן 
Sense: to be gracious, show favour, pity.
אֱ֭לֹהִים  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
שְׁאָפַ֣נִי  would  swallow  me  up 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular, first person common singular
Root: שָׁאַף 
Sense: to gasp, pant, pant after, long for, breathe heavily.
אֱנ֑וֹשׁ  man 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: אֱנׄושׁ 
Sense: man, mortal man, person, mankind.
הַ֝יּ֗וֹם  all  day 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: יׄום 
Sense: day, time, year.
לֹחֵ֥ם  Fighting 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: לָחַם 
Sense: to fight, do battle, make war.
יִלְחָצֵֽנִי  he  oppresses  me 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular, first person common singular
Root: לָחַץ  
Sense: to squeeze, press, oppress.