57. Be Merciful to Me, O God

Text Information
First Line: Be merciful to me, O God
Title: Be Merciful to Me, O God
Versifier: Marie J. Post (1982)
Meter: CMD
Scripture: Psalm 57
Topic: Deliverance; Enemies & Persecution; Praise & Adoration
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Name: MASSACHUSETTS
Composer: Katherine K. Davis (1962)
Meter: CMD
Key: e minor
Copyright: Tune © 1964, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.


Text Information:

A prayer asking for God‘s deliverance from fierce and ruthless foes.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-5
st. 3 = vv. 6-8
st. 4 = vv. 9-11

Hounded by fierce foes (v. 4), the psalmist takes refuge in the protective "shadow of [God's] wings" (v. 1). The first half of the psalm is an appeal to God for mercy and refuge (st. 1) and a description of the ferocity of the psalmist's enemies (st. 2). The second half expresses both the psalmist's confidence that these enemies will fall into the trap they have set (st. 3) and praise for God's saving help (st. 4). Both halves end with a refrain exalting God as the LORD over all creation (vv. 5, 11; st. 2, 4). Though originally a lament on being threatened by enemies, Psalm 57 expresses great confidence in God's help; the refrain in stanzas 2 and 4 highlights the tone of praise that often concludes such laments. Marie J. Post (PHH 5) versified this psalm in 1982 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
The combined themes of distress, confidence in God, and praise to God suggest a number of uses in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Katherine Kennicott Davis (b. St. Joseph, MA, 1892; d. Concord, MA, 1980) composed MASSACHUSETTS in 1962 for The Methodist Hymnal (1964), in which it was set to Charles Kingsley's "From Thee All Skill and Science Flow." Davis named the tune after her home state. MASSACHUSSETTS exhibits the classic structure of a rounded bar form (AABA). The second half of stanzas 2 and 3 and all of stanza 4 bear an energetic and even jubilant performance; sing the entire psalm with two beats per measure.

Davis studied at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she was also a teaching assistant in music. From 1921 to 1929 she taught singing and piano in private schools in Concord, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 1929 she devoted herself largely to music composition. She wrote some eight hundred pieces, most of which were choral (often writing under several pseudonyms). One of her most popular songs is "The Little Drummer Boy," originally called "Carol of the Drum" (1941). Her other publications include the folk operetta Cinderella (1933) and Songs of Freedom (1948).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Media
MIDI file: MIDI Preview(Faith Alive Christian Resources)