Howling Like Dogs


Reading the Word

Psalm 59:1–7 (ESV)

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; 2 deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. 3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, 4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see! 5 You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah6 Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 7 There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In Psalm 59 David again calls out to God to save him from his enemies. This has been a recurring theme in the Book of Psalms. In these verses, David compares his enemies with a pack of dogs (v. 7). He says they come each evening “howling” (or perhaps “snarling”) and prowling about the city. In David’s day, dogs were not kept as pets, but were thought of as dangerous scavengers that could be vicious.

In fact, David’s enemies are vicious. He further describes them as “bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips”. Their threat begins with their words. Perhaps their words are cruel. Perhaps their words are untrue. Whatever their words, they are hurtful and wrong. They believe they can get away with them because no one will hear them. They do not believe they will have to give an account for the words they speak.

We live in an age today with social media where people often say things that they would not say face-to-face. We tend to think that the things we say online are things we will not be held accountable for. However, Scripture tells us that everything we say is known by God and that we will give an account for “every careless word” (Matthew 12:36). Let us guard our words and let us take comfort in knowing that God knows the words and actions of our enemies and will hold all to account.

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