Psalms

PSALM 12*

Prayer Against Evil Tongues

1For the leader; “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

I

2Help, LORD, for no one loyal remains;

the faithful have vanished from the children of men.a

3They tell lies to one another,

speak with deceiving lips and a double heart.b

II

4May the LORD cut off all deceiving lips,

and every boastful tongue,

5Those who say, “By our tongues we prevail;

when our lips speak, who can lord it over us?”c

III

6“Because they rob the weak, and the needy groan,

I will now arise,” says the LORD;

“I will grant safety to whoever longs for it.”d

IV

7The promises of the LORD are sure,

silver refined in a crucible,*

silver purified seven times.e

8You, O LORD, protect us always;

preserve us from this generation.

9On every side the wicked roam;

the shameless are extolled by the children of men.

* [Psalm 12] A lament. The psalmist, thrown into a world where lying and violent people persecute the just (Ps 12:23), prays that the wicked be punished (Ps 12:45). The prayer is not simply for vengeance but arises from a desire to see God’s justice appear on earth. Ps 12:6 preserves the word of assurance spoken by the priest to the lamenter; it is not usually transmitted in such Psalms. In Ps 12:78 the psalmist affirms the intention to live by the word of assurance.

* [12:7] A crucible: lit., “in a crucible in the ground.” The crucible was placed in the ground for support.

a. [12:2] Ps 14:3; 116:11; Is 59:15; Mi 7:2.

b. [12:3] Ps 28:3; 55:22; Is 59:34; Jer 9:7.

c. [12:5] Sir 5:3.

d. [12:6] Is 33:10.

e. [12:7] Ps 18:31; 19:8; Prv 30:5.

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