The Bible – Old Testament
1 Of David. 2 Oppose, LORD, those who oppose me; war upon those who make war upon me.
Take up the shield and buckler; rise up in my defense.
Brandish lance and battle-ax against my pursuers. Say to my heart, “I am your salvation.”
Let those who seek my life be put to shame and disgrace. Let those who plot evil against me be turned back and confounded.
Make them like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them on.
Make their way slippery and dark, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
Without cause they set their snare for me; without cause they dug a pit for me.
Let ruin overtake them unawares; let the snare they have set catch them; let them fall into the pit they have dug.
Then I will rejoice in the LORD, exult in God’s salvation.
My very bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, Who rescue the afflicted from the powerful, the afflicted and needy from the despoiler?”
Malicious witnesses come forward, accuse me of things I do not know.
They repay me evil for good and I am all alone.
3 Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth, afflicted myself with fasting, sobbed my prayers upon my bosom.
I went about in grief as for my brother, bent in mourning as for my mother.
Yet when I stumbled they gathered with glee, gathered against me like strangers. They slandered me without ceasing;
without respect they mocked me, gnashed their teeth against me.
Lord, how long will you look on? Save me from roaring beasts, my precious life from lions!
Then I will thank you in the great assembly; I will praise you before the mighty throng.
Do not let lying foes smirk at me, my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.
They speak no words of peace, but against the quiet in the land they fashion deceitful speech.
They open wide their mouths against me. They say, “Aha! Good! Our eyes relish the sight!”
You see this, LORD; do not be silent; Lord, do not withdraw from me.
Awake, be vigilant in my defense, in my cause, my God and my Lord.
Defend me because you are just, LORD; my God, do not let them gloat over me.
Do not let them say in their hearts, “Aha! Just what we wanted!” Do not let them say, “We have devoured that one!”
Put to shame and confound all who relish my misfortune. Clothe with shame and disgrace those who lord it over me.
But let those who favor my just cause shout for joy and be glad. May they ever say, “Exalted be the LORD who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”
Then my tongue shall recount your justice, declare your praise, all the day long.
1 [Psalm 35] A lament of a person betrayed by friends. The psalmist prays that the evildoers be publicly exposed as unjust (⇒ Psalm 35:1-8), and gives thanks in anticipation of vindication (⇒ Psalm 35:9-10). Old friends are the enemies (⇒ Psalm 35:11-16). May their punishment come quickly (⇒ Psalm 35:17-21)! The last part (⇒ Psalm 35:22-26) echoes the opening in praying for the destruction of the psalmist’s persecutors. The psalm may appear vindictive, but one must keep in mind that the psalmist is praying for public redress now of a public injustice. There is at this time no belief in an afterlife in which justice will be redressed.
2 [1-6] The mixture of judicial, martial, and hunting images shows that the language is figurative. The actual injustice is false accusation of serious crimes (⇒ Psalm 35:11, ⇒ 15, ⇒ 20-21). The psalmist seeks lost honor through a trial before God.
3 [13,15-17] The Hebrew is obscure.