I had a High School class ring that was made from gold and engraved with symbols representing the school and my personal interests. It was unique to me, and had a secret: engraved on the inside of the band was my signature. My ring was a Miktam, a golden, precious, inscription that commemorated an important period of my life.
At the beginning of Psalm 57 we are told that David was hiding in the caves from Saul when this was written, and it is a “Miktam” of David. Reading it and looking for an overall theme, I got a little more curious about what a Miktam was. So I did what most of us do these days, and asked the Google Machine. Can I just say that I love Google because of the doors it opened and insight gained from asking a simple question: Definition of Miktam. I think I could write a whole essay on this, exceeding the scope of our focus here, so I’ll give you some highlights and ask you to dig deeper and read more today as we study the word the word together. I hope some of you will share your own insights with us later in the comments. So, here goes:
Bible scholars and translators don’t necessarily agree on the meaning of the word Miktam, but the most common interpretations are that it is a musical or technical term (makes sense); there are 5 other Psalms labeled “Miktams” (16, 56, 58,59,60); and the ancient meaning of the word was something like golden, precious, or an inscription. Some have even suggested that the Miktams contain a precious secret. In the Bible commentary, Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon refers to this collection as “The Psalm of the precious secret.”
Psalm 57 and the others in this collection start with lamenting danger and persecution and pleading to God for help, then change course in the middle and end with great praises and exaltation of the God who saves and is personally present. According to Skip Moen in his blog “Hebrew Word Study,” this is unusual because to the ancient Jewish reader, the scripture and words from God were tied to community and God saving and protecting Isreal, making a personal plea unique for the time. So, “If a miktam is a poem about personal deliverance in the face of danger, then we all need a miktam…YHWH is MY God and he cares for ME! (Moen)” http://skipmoen.com/2009/04/what-is-it/
I’ve included the link to Skip Moen’s blog and hope you will read it and further follow the link to see Spurgeon’s entire comment on this Psalm ( http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps016.php ). Then, like my class ring that was engraved with a cross, musical symbols, and the Armor of God, create your own Miktam today. A prayer, a poem, a picture, a reminder of any sort that we have a personal God who listens to each of us individually while caring for all peoples.