Introduction to Psalm 58
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David. According to the Syriac version, this psalm was written when Saul threatened the priests, because they did not show him where David was, when they knew it. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that the title "Altaschith" refers to David's not destroying Nabal, as he threatened; and that the venom of Nabal's tongue in reviling him, and the deafness of his ears in not attending to the messengers that told their errand wisely, are designed in this psalm; and in which the psalmist prophesies of his sudden death, before the pots for his feast could be warmed by the thorns under them, and while he was lively and jovial. Jarchi is of opinion that it was composed after David had been in the trench where Saul lay, and took away the spear and cruse, and went his way, and called to Abner, saying, "answerest thou not?" which is as if he should say, hast thou it not in thy power now to convince Saul, and show him that he pursues me without cause, since, if I would, I could have slain him? Kimchi says it was written on account of Abner, and the rest of Saul's princes, who judged David as a rebel against the government, and said it was for Saul to pursue after him to slay him; for if they had restrained him, Saul would not have pursued after him; and indeed they seem to be wicked judges who are addressed in this psalm; "do not destroy". Arama says, it declares the wickedness of Saul's judges.