This Psalm is one of several that are classified as imprecatory psalms – a categorization to which this blogger objects because some define the word “imprecate” as “to invoke evil upon.” What David is praying for in these psalms is nothing other than the righteous judgment of the Lord on the wicked people who wish to harm and even to kill him. Some who object to, or make excuses for, these psalms remind us that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He did indeed, but he did not also tell us to pray that they will be successful in their endeavors to do us harm.
C. S. Lewis noted that “the ferocious parts of the Psalms serve as a reminder that there is in the world such a thing as wickedness and that it (if not its perpetrators) is hateful to God” (Lewis, C. S. 1958. Reflections on the Psalms. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, and Co.). Dr. George DeHoff wrote “…David is not here pleading for innocent people to be destroyed, but for wicked people to be punished for their evil deeds in order to bring them to repentance and ultimate salvation.”
It is supposed that this psalm was written at the time when King Saul and his men were pursuing David. In verses 11-14, he speaks plainly of the evil treatment he has received at the hands of people to whom he had been good and kind. DeHoff also declared that “these prayers may be prayed by any child of God today.”
“Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.”
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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