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Psalm 59:14

ESV Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city.
NIV They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
NASB They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And prowl around the city.
CSB And they return at evening, snarling like dogs and prowling around the city.
NLT My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets.
KJV And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.

What does Psalm 59:14 mean?

This duplicates the words used earlier in the psalm (Psalm 59:6). In the ancient world, dogs were considered unclean and disgusting animals. They were virtually never kept as pets, so the dogs of David's era were feral pack animals. Even in a city—and even in modern cities—roaming bands of dogs can be dangerous. They were mostly scavengers but also prone to attack the weak or isolated. The men conspiring to assassinate David (Psalm 59:1–3; 1 Samuel 19:11–16) take on this characteristic of a starving pack waiting in the alley for blood (Psalm 59:15). Their "howling" is not merely noise and threats, but also their lies and plotting (Psalm 59:12).

Despite this threat, David is confident and focuses his thoughts on God (Psalm 59:8–10). He praises the Lord as his source of courage and safety. David passionately believes he is the object of the Lord's unfailing love, and that God will ultimately make him victorious. David knew from personal experience that the Lord can silence loud-talking foes. First Samuel 17 records the battle between the giant Goliath and the youth David. Goliath loudly dared any Israelite soldier to fight him. When David drew close to Goliath to battle him, Goliath hurled arrogant insults at David, but David replied, "This day the Lᴏʀᴅ will deliver you into my hand" (1 Samuel 17:46), and he said, "The battle is the Lᴏʀᴅ" (1 Samuel 17:47). Within moments, a defeated, dead Goliath lay on the ground (1 Samuel 17:48–49).
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