PSALM ONE HUNDRED FORTY
TITLE For the choir director
natsach, to excel; "choir director]).
The Conspirators (vv.1-5)
The Counter blast (vv.6-11)
The Certainty (vv.12-13)
A Psalm of David (rAmz>mi
[n.m.s., mizemor, psalm] `dwId'l.
The Conspirators (vv.1-5)
Petition for Preservation (v.1)
VERSE 1 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men (ynIceL.x;
[Piel.imper.w/1c.s.sf., chalats, remove, pull out, rescue] hw"hy>
[prep.w/n.m.s., adham, man] [r'
[adj.m.s., ra, evil]);
Preserve me from violent men (`ynIrec.n>T
[Qal.impf.2.m.s.w/1c.s.sf., natsar, guard, protect] vyaime
[prep.w/n.m.s., ish, man] ~ysim'x]
[n.m.p., chamas, violence]).
The Conspirators (v.2)
VERSE 2 Who devise evil things in their hearts (rv,a]
[Qal.pf.3.c.p., chashabh, think, plan] tA[r'
[n.f.p., ra-ah, evil] bleB.
[prep.w/n.m.s., lebh, heart]);
They continually stir up wars (~Ay-lK'
[n.m.s.cstr., all + n.m.s., yom, day] WrWgy"
[Qal.impf.3.m.p., gur, to be a stranger; stir up trouble] `tAmx'l.m
[n.f.p., milechamah, war]).
The War of Words (v.3)
VERSE 3 They sharpen their tongues as a serpent (Wnn]v'
[Qal.pf.3c.p., shanan, sharpen] ~n"Avl.
[n.f.p.w/3.m.p.sf., lashon, tongue] vx'n"-AmK.
[prep. + n.m.s., nachash, snake]);
Poison of a viper is under their lips
chemah, heat; venom] bWvk.[;
[n.m.s., akeshubh, viper] tx;T;
[prep., under] Amytep'f
[n.f.dual. w/3.m.p.sf., saphah, lip]. [Selah
a technical term probably indicating up tempo]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 1-3
Prayer for Protection (vv.4-5)
The close of the preceding psalm is the keynote of Davidís mood in the
presence of his enemies (cf. 139:23b).
Psalms 58 and 64 are very similar.
The close of all three psalms (Pss.58, 64 & 140) sounds very much alike.
Ps.64 was written against the background of ĎOperation Bathsheba.í
This psalm deals exclusively with the threat against his life from enemies,
making no mention of Davidís sin or resultant illness (this pattern varies
in the numerous psalms dealing with this episode).
This psalm is in keeping with what we know about that episode.
There was the conspiracy to overthrow David when he was ill and isolated
in his royal residence (Ps.31:9-13; 22; 38:11-12).
The situation became very grave towards the end and there are a number
of psalms in which he prays for deliverance (cp. Ps.22:11-13, 20; 25:19;
27:12; 40:14; 55; 62:3-4; 64:2-6; 69:4, 14, 18-19; 70; 71:10-11; 102:8;
All he could do was pray and wait upon the Lord to vindicate his positive
The opposition is described in general and specific terms in v.1.
"Evil men" refer to fellow countrymen who had no regard for the WOG or
the doctrine of Godís anointed.
"Violent men" refer to men who were willing to resort to murder to gain
David prays both to be rescued from them and to be preserved until God
is ready to intervene against the conspirators.
In his lament against them he describes them as conspirators (v.2a) and
as rabble-rousers (v.2b).
An organized conspiracy was set in motion against David as seen in other
They were thinking up ways to remove the house of David and to do so in
such a way as to avoid appearing as the bad guys.
They also fomented strife in society to break down law and order (v.2b).
They hoped to step in and appear to be the restores of normalcy.
An intense propaganda blitz was set in motion to inflame public opinion
against David (v.3).
The metaphor of v.3 suggests a carefully crafted and deadly propaganda
campaign aimed at turning the general population against their King.
To "sharpen their tongues" is to carefully select defamatory bullets that
would produce public outrage and distrust (cp. Ps.57:4; 64:3).
The reference to a serpent indicates their cunning.
Remember when all this came down David was at the pinnacle of his power
and enjoyed widespread public support.
He had conquered the nations that had for so long threatened Israelís national
His spiritual fall and subsequent illness spawned the latent dissatisfaction
among those who were jealous and negative.
In v.3b he deals with the effect that such slander had upon unwary listeners
Those who were bitten, so to speak, were poisoned against their leader
The viper is the Egyptian cobra whose venom was quite lethal.
Those who wanted to grab the reigns of power circulated half-truths and
David faced the test known as "the scourge of the tongue" (Job.5:21).
V.3 is quoted in Rom.3:13 which passage details the STA vices of the Gentiles.
VERSE 4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of
the wicked (ynIrem.v'
[Qal.imper.w/1c.s.sf., shamar, keep, guard] hw"hy>
[pr.n.] ydeymi [prep.w/n.f.dual.,
yadh, hand] [v'r'
[adj.m.s., rasha, wicked, criminal] vyaime
[prep.w/n.m.s., ish, man]);
Preserve me from violent men (ynIrec.n>T
[Qal.impf.2.m.s.w/1c.s.sf., natsar, guard, preserve] ~ysim'x]
[n.m.p., chamas, violence],
Who have purposed to trip up my feet
chashabh, to think, plan] tAxd>li
[prep.w/Qal.infin.cstr., dachah, to push] `ym'['P.
[n.f.p.w/1c.s.sf., pa-am, footstep]).
VERSE 5 The proud have hidden a
trap for me, and cords (~yaigE-Wnm.j'
[Qal.pf.3.c.p., taman, to hide, conceal + adj.m.p., ge-eh, proud] xP;
[n.m.s., pach, bird snare] yli
[conj.w/n.m.p., chebhel, cord]);
They have spread a net by the wayside
paras, spread] tv,r,
[n.f.s., resheth, net] lG"[.m;-dy:l
[prep.w/n.f.s.cstr., yadh, hand + n.m.s., ma-egal, track; "wayside"]);
They have set snares for me (yli-Wtv'
[Qal.pf.3c.p., shith, put, set + prep.w/1c.s.sf.] ~yviq.mo
[n.m.p., moqesh, bait, lure; "snares"]). Selah
ANALYSIS: VERSES 4-5
The Counterblast (vv.6-11)
Recall of Past Supplications (v.6)
David resumes his petition for deliverance in v.4.
Verse 4 follows the pattern of v.1.
He asks that he be guarded "from the hands of the wicked" whom he further
specifies as once again as being "violent men."
Again he mentions the fact that these men are involved in a criminal conspiracy
to overthrow the throne of Israel (v.4c).
The metaphor of v.5 is that of hunted animals.
David likens himself to a game bird who is the object of the fowlerís calculated
He is aware of the "snares" that are out there to do him in.
He feels vulnerable and laments the crisis via strong supplication.
Prayer is Davidís way, and only legitimate means, of fighting back.
In Ps.35:7 he employs the same metaphor (cp. 141:7).
They were hoping to take David unawares and try him and under the color
of law convict and condemn him.
This revolutionary cadre was known to him and had made their presence known
to the society at large.
The principal ringleaders were unprincipled men who would not stop at anything
to accomplish their bloody ends.
VERSE 6 I said to the LORD, "You are my
[Qal.pf.1c.s., amar, say] hw"hyl;
Give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications
azan, hear; give ear] hw"hy>
[pr.n.] lAq [n.m.s.,
qol, voice] `yn"Wnx]T
[n.m.p.w/1c.s.sf., tachanun, supplication, entreaty]).
Deliverance in Combat (v.7)
VERSE 7 "O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation
adhonai, lord master; "O God"] hAihy>
[pr.n.; this combination occurs
4X: Ps.109:21; 140:7; 141:8; Hab.3:19) z[o
[n.m.s., oz, strength] yti['Wvy>
[n.f.s.w/1c.s.sf., yeshu-ah, salvation, deliverance]),
You have covered my head in the day of battle
sakak, hedge, shut in; to cover, screen] yviarol.
[prep.w/n.m.s., rosh, head] ~AyB.
[prep.w/n.m.s., yom, day] `qv,n
[n.m.s., nesheq, weapons; "battle"]).
As Applied to the Current Crisis (v.8)
VERSE 8 "Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked
+ Qal.impf.2.m.s., nathan, give; "grant"] hw"hy>
[n.m.p., ma-awa, desire; !X] [v'r'
[adj.m.s., ra-sha, wicked]);
Do not promote his evil device, that
they not be exalted (qpeT'-la;
[neg. + Hiphil.impf.2.m.s., puq, reel; to cause to totter/move; to further;
[n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., zemam, scheme] WmWry
[Qal.impf.3.m.p., rum, be exalted] [Selah
[technical musical term; root means Ďto lift up suggesting a change in
ANALYSIS: VERSES 6-8
The Counter blast (vv.6-11)
Operation Boomerang (v.9)
He reminds the Lord that He was there for Him on past occasions when his
life was in jeopardy.
This is indicated by the words "I said to the LORD" (v.6a).
Then as now David was a fully qualified candidate for divine intervention.
This crisis was arguably the most hairy of his career as indicated by the
number of psalms devoted to it and by the fact Davidís sins opened the
door to this attack.
On those occasions he reminded the Lord that He was his God indicating
that he trusted no one else.
Based on the fact that men had waged virtual war against Him it was his
custom to turn to the ultimate warrior to turn the tide of the battle that
was against him.
Then as now he fought back with prayer.
The term "supplications" suggests the most intense prayer petitions imaginable.
His prayers were not quite whispers but constituted loud cries for help
as the crisis at hand threatened.
In v.7 he acknowledges that Yaweh Adonai (translated as "God the Lord")
is "the strength of my deliverance."
He looks to no other but the sovereign self-existence One as suggested
by this rare combination of Yahweh and Adonai.
This combination occurs only three other times in the OT (Pss.109:21; 141:8;
He reminds the Lord that He "has covered my head in the day of battle"
a reference to the exceeding dangerous niche of being in hand-to-hand combat.
Whatever head protection David may have worn into battle he recognized
that the most vulnerable part of his body was not protected by any head-gear
but by the invisible God who was by his side at all times.
Whatever legitimate precautions we may take to keep ourselves safe from
physical harm it is God who deserves the credit for keeping us safe.
Many times David entered the heat of battle and on each and every occasion
he came home untouched.
This fact is not lost on him.
Only the circumstances vary but God is sufficient for every danger.
What keeps us safe and able to carry on is the invisible but real presence
So in v.8 he prays that God will frustrate "the desires of the wicked"
just as He had done so often in mortal combat.
The desires of the wicked never changed with respect to David only the
In v.8 he states his supplication twice as seen in the verbs "Do not grant"
and "Do not promote" the thrust of the conspiracy to kill the king.
Their evil desires resulted in a "device"/"scheme" to topple the Davidic
He does not want them to succeed because if they did so then they would
triumph over the promises of God relative to the Davidic Covenant.
This could not have happened of course but all the ingredients were in
place and David felt the pressure of this test God put him under.
God will never allow anything to happen that would override even one of
Beyond a point God will not allow threats to His plan to prosper.
He allows such threats to progress to a point under his permissive will
but always intervenes based on his directive and overruling will.
We too can pray that God will frustrate the evil that seeks to keep us
from assembly in these last days.
Whatever schemes are afoot God knows all about them and has many ways of
keeping evil men from destroying our freedom to live a quiet and peaceful
life under BD.
VERSE 9 "As for the head of those who surround
[n.m.s., rosh, head] yB'sim.
[Hiphil.pt.m.p.w/1c.s.sf., sabhabh, circle, surround]),
May the mischief of their lips cover them
amal, labor; "mischief"] Amytep'f.
[n.f.dual.w/3.m.p.sf, saphah, edge, lip] `AmSek;y>.[Piel.impf.3.m.s.w/3.m.p.sf.,
Their End (v.10)
VERSE 10 "May burning coals fall upon them (~ylix'G<
[n.f.p., gechel, coal, coals of fire] Wjymiy"
[Niphal.impf.3.m.p., mot, totter, shake, slip; "fall"]
May they be cast into the fire (~lePiy:
[Hiphil.impf.3.m.s.w/3.m.p.sf., naphal, fall; to cause to fall; "cast"]
Into deep pits from which they cannot rise
mahamoreth, watery pit; 1X] `WmWqy"-lB;
[adv., not, hardly + Qal.impf.3.m.p., qum, rise]).
The Maxim (v.11)
VERSE 11 "May a slanderer not be established in the earth
(vyai [n.m.s., man]
!Avl' [n.f.s., lashon,
tongue; this expression for "a slanderer" occurs once] !AKyI-lB;
[neg. + Niphal.impf.3.m.s., kun, be established] #r,a'B'
[prep.w/n.f.s., erets, earth]);
May evil hunt the violent man speedily
ra, evil, calamity] WNd,Wcy.
[Qal.impf.2.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., tsudh, to hunt] sm'x'-vyai
[n.m.s., ish, man + n.m.s., chamas, violence; Ďman of violenceí] `tpoxed>m;l.
[prep.w/n.f.p., madhechephah, push, thrust; 1X; the prep.
expresses result as in "with a view to shoves"; "speedily"])."
ANALYSIS: VERSES 9-11
The Certainty (vv.12-13)
Having prayed that the malicious intent of his persecutors be frustrated
he now uses the motifs employed in the 1st two stanzas and applies
them to the imprecation against the enemy.
By contrast the psalmistís own head being covered (v.7), he asks that theirs
may be covered with the just deserts of their own "mischief" facilitated
by their "lips" (i.e., slander; v.9).
He prays for a dramatic judgment to be fall them as indicated by v.10.
Apparently, his political opponents were in an armed camp somewhere outside
A sudden supernatural destruction of his enemies is what stopped the coup
in its tracks.
This is further gleaned in psalms dealing with the same deliverance (Ps.6:8-10;
55:15; 64:7-8; 69:22-28).
Only in the Book of Psalms do we learn of this crisis and its resolution.
Their temporal demise was burning coals rained upon their encampment (v.10a).
This psalm and Ps.69:28 makes it apparent that the conspirators were unbelievers.
V.10bc refers to their eternal judgment.
The judgment of these men (unbelievers.) was very spectacular in all its
Fire out of heaven, the earth opening and descent into Sheol-Hades.
V.10c further confirms the fact that David is talking about a permanent
David suffered the heat (poison) of their slander and now they can feel
the heat of Godís wrath.
They tried to get him to fall into one of the traps set for him, so they
too should be plunged into pits of destruction.
These men got a massive dose of their own medicine.
David a prophet was inspired to pray in this way towards these enemies.
Evil is its own nemesis.
V.11 is added as a maxim directed towards this class of unbelieving humanity.
Those who malign the POG as unbelievers will not be established upon the
Even believers who slander the WOG and the righteous will see much misery.
Those who resort to violence will suffer violence (v.11b).
"Evil" in v.11b does not refer to moral evil but is as synonym for divine
wrath, which from their perspective is bad.
The predator becomes the prey in other words.
David who was hunted describes his enemies as the hunted.
Everything these men pursued David with came back on their own heads.
This coalition of unbelievers suffered defeat, ignominy, and violent overthrow.
V.11 could read: "May calamity hunt the violent man with violent thrusts."
God uproots all such men over time, but there will be a dramatic demonstration
of this maxim in the Tribulation.
Those who would like to see the righteous swept from the face of the earth
will suffer that fate.
VERSE 12 I know that the LORD will maintain
the cause of the afflicted (T'[.d;y
[Qal.pf.1c.s., yada, know] hw"hy>
[conj. + Qal.impf.3.m.s., asah, do; "maintain"] !yDI
[n.m.s., judgment, cause, justice] ynI['
[adj.m.s., ani, poor, humble],
And justice for the poor (jP;v.m
[judgment, justice] `~ynIyOb.a, I[n.m.p.,
VERSE 13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name
(%a; [adv., surely]
tsadiq, righteous] WdAy
[Hiphil.impf.3.m.p., yada, throw; give thanks] ^m,v.li
[prep.w/n.m.s., shem, name]);
The upright will dwell in Your presence
yashar, straight, upright] Wbv.yE
[Qal.impf.3.m.p., yashabh, dwell] `^yn<P'-ta,
[dir.obj. + n.m.p., panim, faces, presence]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 12-13
Notice the absence of the musical notation between at the end of stanza
four (cf. vv.3, 5, 8).
The tone changes in the last two verses.
The last two verses are very similar to the final verses of Pss.58 and
The psalm ends on a note of confident assertion with respect to "the righteous"/"upright"
who are "the afflicted" and "the needy" (translated "poor") in the Angelic
The word used for "cause" in v.12 is a legal term, and is reinforced by
"justice" in line 2.
The monarchís duty was to uphold justice over his people.
God as King will take this matter no less seriously.
All the unjust treatment perpetrated against the spiritually adjusted will
by adjudicated by the Supreme Court of Heaven.
David confidently asserts that "the LORD will maintain/uphold the cause
(vital interests) of the afflicted."
"The afflicted" refer to those who suffer in His name at the hands of unscrupulous
All forms of persecution and abuse will be rewarded with SG3.
In addition, there is Ph2 vindication in some, but not all instances.
That vindication takes the form of judgment upon enemies and temporal blessing.
David received temporal and awaits Ph3 vindication.
These verses find their complete fulfillment in Ph3.
At that time "the righteous will give thanks" and "the upright will dwell
in" Godís "presence."
God will let nothing done against His people get by Him.
Believers who mistreat believers will suffer the shame of loss of reward
while their counterparts inherit great SG3.
Those who endure undeserved suffering will reap eternal benefits beyond
The psalm ends on a note of contentment based on what David knows to be
true about Godís perfect justice.
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED
JACK M. BALLINGER
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.