Recently as I read the psalms, I saw that some are classified as miktams. I tried to ascertain the meaning of the term miktam; unfortunately, this is one of the Hebrew words (other examples are selah, maskil, mizmor, etc.) whose meaning is uncertain. If I understood the text, would it make a difference in my comprehension of the content?
After some googling, I have come up with a reasonable answer that satisfies me. My discovery has become a personal spiritual motivator, so I will share it in hopes that it will also inspire another. **
A Hebrew word study by Skip Moen states that only six psalms are titled miktams (Psalms 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60). Their commonalities include:
– they are all attributed to David
– they are lament poems
– the term miktam is part of the text included by the writer, not a separate title
– they are personal psalms (as opposed to the usual community-minded writings)
– they refer to personal deliverance from trouble
In my observation, the six miktams follow a pattern. First, David unburdens his soul to his God, holding nothing back. No pretense, no religious murmurings, just a heart in pain and fear opened to God. He describes his situation. Then he moves to what he knows for sure:
– God is good
– God is just
– God is in control
– God knows my circumstances
– God does not change
– God loves and cares for me
Apparently, the modern Hebrew meaning of the word miktam is “an epigram, inscription or engraving.” It is a dark setting of dangerous experience that effectively highlights God’s inscription of faithfulness and deliverance.
Skip Moen says it well: “If a miktam is a poem about personal deliverance in the face of danger, then we all need a miktam.”
** This is a personal devotional discovery, not a scholarly treatise.