Psalm 69


In this psalm David pours his heart out to God because of the suffering he was enduring due to his enemies. He asks God to curse his enemies and puts his hope in God to save him.


‘For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of David’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding about the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us that this is a psalm for the director of music. Some commentators believe that ‘director or music’ is God Himself and others believe that it is a song leader who led choirs or musicians, 1 Chronicles 6:33 / 1 Chronicles 16:17 / 1 Chronicles 25:6.

It was a song to be sung to the ‘tune of Lilies’, 1 Kings 7:22 / 1 Kings 7:26 / 2 Chronicles 4:5 / Hosea 14:5. A lily was probably some kind of musical instrument which looked like or was shaped like a lily. Or it may refer to general beauty of the composition.

‘Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.’ Psalm 69:1-4

David begins by asking God to save him, Psalm 32:6 / Psalm 42:7. He feels he’s about to drown in the waters of suffering, Psalm 40:2 / Jeremiah 38:6. Years later, Peter in similar fashion cried out to Jesus to save him, Matthew 14:30.

He feels that he is sinking in the miry depths, where there is nowhere solid to place his feet. Jesus must have felt that way just before went to the cross of Calvary, Matthew 26:37.

David is at the end of his tether calling out to God for help, because he’s spent so much time crying, Psalm 6:6. The feeling of being drained was all too familiar to Jesus too, Matthew 26:41.

His throat is parched, probably because of the amount of pleading he’s been doing for God to save him. His eyes are failing, probably because of all the tears he’s shed looking for God, Psalm 6:7 / Psalm 31:9 / Psalm 38:10 / Psalm 62:5 / Job 17:7.

It’s clear that David is feeling overwhelmed because of the circumstances he finds himself in, even his enemies hate him for no reason and his enemies have no reason to go against him. His enemies had only one thing on their minds and that was to destroy David. Jesus experienced these same circumstances, John 15:25.

He even had to restore something which he didn’t steal, this gives us a feel of the kind of injustice David faced, it gives us the idea that David has been set up.

‘You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.’ Psalm 69:5-12

David acknowledges that God knows him well enough to know what David was like. His enemies may be accusing him of all kinds of things, and although he didn’t do the things they were accusing him of, he asks God to examine his ways, Psalm 38:2-4 / Psalm 40:12.

In all this despair, he confessed his sins, thinking that such might have brought on the opposition he was facing. Some may have taken advantage of his confession, assuming that such was a sign of weakness. However, he knew that God knew he was not guilty of those things of which he was accused.

David asks God that those who put their hope in Him not be disgraced because of him, he’s clearly concerned for those who might suffer because of the situation he is in. David didn’t want those who seek God to feel embarrassed because of him, Psalm 25:3 / Psalm 25:5 / Psalm 37:9 / Isaiah 40:31.

He didn’t want his relationship with those close to him to be broken or dammed in anyway, he didn’t want to feel ashamed, Psalm 44:15-16. When his enemies had persecuted him, even those who were closest to him shunned him.

His nearest relatives treated him as if he were a stranger and a foreigner, Psalm 50:20 / Job 19:13-19. David feels that when God is insulted, he is insulted. The apostle Paul writes that Jesus felt the same, Romans 15:3.

Because of his zeal for God and His house, others turned away from him. Its appears that his commitment intimidated others, and as a result, brought persecution upon him. We see the same thing happening to Jesus when he drove out the moneychangers from the God’s house, John 2:17.

David’s Zeal was seen in that he was the one who suggested to build the temple, 2 Samuel 7:1-3, but despite his zeal, his son Solomon was the one who actually built it, 1 Chronicles 22:1-5.

Notice David wept, fasted, endured scorn and put on sackcloth, these were all signs of repentance from his sins, Psalm 30:11 / Psalm 35:13 / Isaiah 22:12 / Daniel 9:3. However, even after repenting, people still made sport of him, that is, they didn’t approve of what he was doing.

The KJV uses the words, ‘I have become a proverb to them’, which means his life of commitment to the Lord became contemptible to those who were religious, but they behaved contrary to the will of God, 1 Kings 9:7.

David’s problems didn’t end there, those who sit at the gate, Ruth 4:1 / Job 29:7-8, that is, the elders mocked him. Even the drunkards mock him with songs about him, he was treated with contempt by the lowest of society, Psalm 9:14 / Job 29:7 / Isaiah 14:31 / Isaiah 28:6.

‘But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favour; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; deliver me because of my foes.’ Psalm 69:13-18

Because of everything that David is experiencing, it’s understandable that he now turns his attention to God. He prays to God and asks Him to show him favour and love in God’s time, not his own, Isaiah 61:2 / 2 Corinthians 6:2.

He still feels like he’s sinking, and so, he asks God to answer his prayer and save him from the mire, and to save him from the deep waters of those who hate him, Psalm 69:2-3.

David felt he was drowning in the floodwaters, he felt the depths would swallow him up, and he felt the pit would close its mouth over him and he would be left in darkness. David is asking God to save him from all these overwhelming calamities.

He appeals to God’s goodness and mercy, Psalm 63:3 / Psalm 51:1, and he pleads, as God’s servant, that God won’t hide His face from him, that is, he doesn’t feel God’s presence and so, he’s pleading for God to be compassionate with him, Psalm 27:9.

David is in serious trouble and asks God to come near to him and rescue him, Isaiah 43:3 / Isaiah 44:22. He wants God to deliver him because of his foes, that is, because he had so many foes, they were overwhelming him and wanted to destroy him, Psalm 13:4.

David knows that he only had one option and that was to turn to God in prayer. As he was sinking deeper into the social rejection of the people, he reached up to the only one who could help.

It was a time when David had to depend on the mercy of God for deliverance. Since there was no one who would take pity on him, he trusted that God would have mercy.

‘You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.’ Psalm 69:19-28

David continues to appeal to God, because of those who scorned, disgraced and shamed him because of his commitment to God. The effects of his enemies attitude toward him have left him broken hearted and helpless.

He looked for sympathy from them but received none, he looked for comfort and received none, Job 2:11 / Job 42:11 / Isaiah 51:19 / Jeremiah 16:5.

Instead of helping David, they gave him gall for food, which is a bitter herb, Hosea 10:4. They also gave him vinegar to drink, that is, sour vinegar, the same vinegar Jesus was offered, Matthew 27:34 / John 19:28-29. John tells us this was offered to Jesus in order to fulfil this Scripture, Matthew 27:34 / Matthew 27:48 / Mark 15:23 / John 19:29.

David goes on to ask God to bring judgment upon his enemies, they come in the form of seven curses.

1. Their food.

While David was hurting, his enemies were relaxing eating their food and so, David prays that their relaxing time would became a trap for them, Psalm 33:5 / Job 36:16. These words are quoted by the apostle Paul, Romans 11:9-10.

2. Their eyes.

While David’s eyes were failing from crying, he prays that God would make his enemies become blind, Romans 11:10.

3. Their bodies.

While David was feeling the physical effects of his enemies actions, he prays that God would bend their backs permanently.

4. The coming wrath of God.

While David was feeling angry at what his enemies were doing to him, he prays that God would unleash His fierce anger upon them.

5. Their houses.

While David lived alone because of what his enemies were doing and saying against him, he prays that God would permanently remove them from their homes.

Jesus quotes these words in sadness over Jerusalem, Matthew 23:38, and Peter quotes these words as descriptive of the desolation of Judas, Acts 1:20.

6. That their guilt increase.

While David felt the guilt of his own sin, and knew it was God who was hurting him, Psalm 41:5-8, he prays that God would charge them of sin to the point where they couldn’t receive salvation, Romans 1:28.

7. That their names be blotted out of the book of life.

While David’s enemies wanted him dead, he prays that God removes them from Israel and in doing so, they would lose all privileges which came from being a part of God’s people, Exodus 32:32 / Numbers 25:4 / Numbers 32:14 / 1 Samuel 28:18 / Philemon 4:3 / Revelation 3:5.

Some commentators believe the blotting out of the book of life refers to their lives be seriously shortened, Job 5:26 / Psalm 55:23 / Proverbs 3:2 / Proverbs 9:11 / Proverbs 10:27.

‘But as for me, afflicted and in pain—may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad—you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there.’ Psalm 69:29-36

David begun this plasm by speaking about how gloomy his life was and then he called upon God to judge his enemies. In these final verses David turns his attention to God once again, in hope that God would come to help him.

Despite being afflicted, despite being in pain, he turns to God for salvation and protection. He intends to praise God’s Name in song and glorify God with thanksgiving.

The praise from David’s lips will certainly please God, more than any animal sacrifice, it will please God more than the sacrifice of an ox or a fully grown bull, Psalm 40:6-8 / Psalm 51:16-17 / 1 Samuel 15:22.

David knows that what he is going through wasn’t going to go to waste, he knows that he himself would become a life object lessons for others who seek God, in order that they may know how their hearts can live.

God hears the prayers of the poor, and He doesn’t despise those who are in prison for His sake, Psalm 34:6 / Job 5:15 / Psalm 10:14 / Psalm 12:5 / Psalm 35:10 / Psalm 68:10. David is saying that when God delivers him and those who remained committed to God, then this would be proof that God was working in their lives.

David knows that heaven and earth aren’t big enough for all the praise which God deserves, even the seas and everything which lives in them will praise God for what He has done, Psalm 8:8 / Psalm 148:1-14 / Isaiah 55:12.

David prays that God will save Zion, that is, Jerusalem, Psalm 51:18, and Judah, in order that people can settle there and possess it, 2 Samuel 2:1-11.

David is confident that he and all those who have committed themselves to God, all those who love God’s Name will inherit the land and dwell it in it.


In a time of great despair, David wisely turned to God, in a time when he was at his lowest, lonely and without any hope, he turned to God for hope.

As Christians, we too turn to God for hope in times of despair, however, we turn to a living hope and just like David prayed for we will have an inheritance, 1 Peter 1:3-4.

Peter tells us that God has given us new birth through the resurrection of Christ, which means we are a new person. But God’s mercy we’ve been born into two things, a living hope and into an inheritance.

It’s important to note that hope isn’t a dead hope but a living one, our hope isn’t based upon riches, governments or science or other futile things, our hope is built upon the resurrection of Jesus.

Part of this living hope is the inheritance that’s promised for us, but what makes our inheritance special is that it won’t spoil or fade like all other material things do in this world. Our inheritance is eternal, and is kept in heaven, which means it’s permanent.

The devil can’t steal our salvation, although we can give that up, but he can certainly steal our joy in Christ Jesus if we allow him to. The devil can try and steal our joy, if we allow him to, but he can’t steal our hope in Christ Jesus.

When we like David go through painful trials, we must always turn to our living hope to help us through those times of despair, 1 Peter 1:6-9.

Go To Psalm 70


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11