I'm trying to find the source of the common tradition that David wrote at least part of Tehillim while on the run from Shaul, but I can't find any sources. Does anyone here know of a source for this idea?

2 Answers 2


Tehillim 54

לַמְנַצֵּ֥חַ בִּנְגִינֹ֗ת מַשְׂכִּ֥יל לְדָוִֽד׃

For the leader; with instrumental music. A maskil of David,

בְּב֣וֹא הַ֭זִּיפִים וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ לְשָׁא֑וּל הֲלֹ֥א דָ֝וִ֗ד מִסְתַּתֵּ֥ר עִמָּֽנוּ׃

when the Ziphites came and told Saul, “Know, David is in hiding among us.”

Tehillim 57 (Thanks, Dr. Shmuel)

לַמְנַצֵּ֣חַ אַל־תַּ֭שְׁחֵת לְדָוִ֣ד מִכְתָּ֑ם בְּבָרְח֥וֹ מִפְּנֵי־שָׁ֝א֗וּל בַּמְּעָרָֽה׃

For the leader; al tashḥeth. Of David. A michtam; when he fled from Saul into a cave.

Tehillim 142

מַשְׂכִּ֥יל לְדָוִ֑ד בִּהְיוֹת֖וֹ בַמְּעָרָ֣ה תְפִלָּֽה׃

A maskil of David, while he was in the cave. A prayer.

  • לַמְנַצֵּ֤חַ ׀ לְעֶ֥בֶד יְהוָ֗ה לְדָ֫וִ֥ד אֲשֶׁ֤ר דִּבֶּ֨ר ׀ לַיהוָ֗ה אֶת־דִּ֭בְרֵי הַשִּׁירָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את בְּי֤וֹם הִֽצִּיל־יְהוָ֘ה אוֹת֥וֹ מִכַּ֥ף כָּל־אֹ֝יְבָ֗יו וּמִיַּ֥ד שָׁאֽוּל׃ For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD after the LORD had saved him from the hands of all his enemies and from the clutches of Saul. tehillim 18:1 Apr 27, 2020 at 21:05
  • @NegelVasser that passuk connects the tehillim to his experience with Shaul, but it was written afterwards, and not while he was running away.
    – simyou
    Apr 28, 2020 at 3:52

This is certainly apparent from the contents of Psalm 57.


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