Monday, July 17, 2017

Psalm 12 jottings

I expect these will be my penultimate sabbatical Psalm of the week jottings:

Psalm 12 notes


A cry to the LORD for help when evil and lies abound; God’s flawless promise of safety and protection despite the wicked strutting about


When feeling isolated / lack of Christian fellowship / the ungodly seem to prevail and are confident of victory

When slander / lies abound

Key verses / possible memory verses: v6, v7


LORD, help, deliver and save me and all your people.

Keep me faithful when many are faithless, when it seems as if everyone is overtaken by a tide of evil.

Protect me from lies and smooth, flattering speech.

May I not be taken in by boasts or bravado.

May I not simply believe what I like to hear.

Make me discerning in the words I listen to.

And also in how I speak.

May I speak wisely, truthfully, honestly.

Keep me from seeking to use and manipulate others.

May I not put an undue confidence in my supposed eloquence or powers of persuasion.

Make me always conscious that you are my Lord, my creator, my owner;

that I owe everything to you;

That I constantly depend on you;

That I have no self-sufficiency;

That all I have is a gift.

Thank you, LORD, that you hear the prayers of your people;

That you regard the oppressed, the weak and the needy;

That you are attentive to their groaning.

Thank you that you have promised to act and bring justice.

LORD, vindicate those who are slandered.

I praise you LORD, that you are exalted above the muck and mess of this world;

That you are unsullied by it;

And yet that you care for it;

That you perfectly govern it with your infallible wisdom;

That you mean to put it to rights.

Thank you for your precious and pure words – words which are tested and proved and trustworthy.

May I prize all that you have said and be quick to resort to your word.  

Whatever the state of the world, however things appear, may I be conscious of my safety and security in you.

Grant me an everlasting confidence in you.

Outlines / structure:

Expositor’s Bible:

Lying tongues and the truthfulness of God’s Word

Prayer for deliverance (vv1-4)

Promise of the Lord (v5)

Reflection on God’s promises (v6)

Prayer for deliverance (vv7-8)

Goldingay, Baker Commentary

Vv1-2 – direct plea and lament at the life of the community

Vv3-4 – wish (jussive declarations) and lament at the life of the community

Vv5-6 – Yahweh’s word in light of the life of the community and response to that word

Vv7-8 – confidence in Yahweh, but a further reference to the depraved life of the community

Wilcock, BST:

Words of guile

Words of truth

Kidner, Tyndale:

“The easy speeches that comfort cruel men”, G. K. Chesterton, ‘O God of earth and altar’

Vv1-4: The power of propaganda

Vv5, 6: The counter-thrust of truth

Vv7-8: The war continues

Wilson, NIV application commentary

Grounds of complaint (vv1-2)

Plea for deliverance (vv3-4)

Divine response and promise (v5)

Confident expectation (vv6-7)

Reprise of complaint (v8)

Dale Ralph Davis, The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life

Spin Doctors

Where we are: A lying society (vv1-4)

What we hear: A pure word (vv5-6)

How we get on: A present paradox (vv7-8)

Motyer, Psalms by the Day devotional

The tongue of falsehood and the Word of truth

A1. Appeal to Yahweh in a collapsing society (vv1-2)

B1. The words of man, false and forceful (vv3-4)

C. Yahweh’s commitment (v5)

B2. Yahweh’s words, pure and purified (v6)

A2. Confidence in Yahweh in a mixed society (vv7-8)

Eric Lane, Focus on the Bible Series

David under pressure

Vv1-4: David brings his situation to God

V5: God answers him

Vv6-8: David responds to God’s answer



To the choirmaster

According to sheminith – an octave / 8th – Leupold translates it “by the bases”

A Psalm Of David

Theme: various types of speech / lips / what people are saying / words – the use and abuse of words

What the Psalmist says

What the world is saying

What the LORD says

Structure of the Psalm: problem - prayer – promise – prayer - problem

Similarly Micah 7:2; Is 57:1; Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10, 14

David when persecuted by Saul (1 Sam 18; 19:9-10; 22; 26:19 – sly foes; 23 – two faced dealing with David ?) or in Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam 15-18)?

Similar context to Ps 11? Perhaps David’s friends have now fled and he is alone (v1) – social foundations destroyed, could be considered an expansion of 11:3 – the same confidence in Yahweh as in Ps 11

Vv1-4: The many who cannot be trusted

Vv5-8: The one who can be trusted

Vv1, 8 – an inclusio of ungodliness – not an instant removal of sin

V1 – cf. Ps 69 - help, deliver, lit. save or send a saviour – a rather blunt / bold / impolite beginning – heartfelt urgency

Vv1-2 – The Psalmist feels as if he is the only godly person left

David is isolated (v1) and facing false accusations (v2)

V1: a peculiar absence – who / what isn’t there: covenant (Hasid / hesed / faithful) man is no more – cf. Mt 5:13

V2: a social trend – what is there: empty, smooth, deceptive talk

V2 – lies = empty, cheap talk, vanity, no truth behind them, no substance / foundation, false, insincere, irresponsible – corrodes discourse if people’s word cannot be trusted – cf. his word is his bond

Flattering lips – lit. “a lip of smoothnesses” – a plural of amplitude, every sort of flattery (Motyer), smooth lips, plausible talk – nice – their words glide easily – can be addictive to the one who enjoys receiving it – dangerous – cf. Is 30:10; Jn 5:44

Deception – double talk – a double heart, lit. a heart and a heart / a mind and a mind, double minded, two-faced – cf.1 Chron 12:33; Jer 32:39 – the double talk comes from the double mind - they are not people of integrity – the speaker is afflicted too by his denial of truth, disintegrates

Cf. advertising, politics, spin

David’s prayer – vv3-4

V3 – cut off – cut off from the covenant – Gen 17:14

V3 – a boastful tongue – the tongue that speaks big things, big talk – James 3 esp. v5 which may have v3b in mind

Eugene Peterson, God’s words never bloated by boasting or distorted by flattery

Cf. Dan 7:20, 25, “mouth spoke great things”

2 Pt 2; Rev 13; 20:10

V4 – an arrogant philosophy

V4 – lips we own, our lips are with us – part of our equipment, on our side – irresponsible talk for which they do not expect to be held to account – they think they can talk their way to success

Maybe ‘et – our lips will be our blade (Goldingay) – if this is right, their words seem smooth but they are actually sharp!

Cf. Ps 36:1-4

Fake news?

From a truth-twisting society to a truth-speaking God (Davis)

Last half of v5 “those who malign them” tricky to translate – something to do with blowing / panting / longing – NRSV: I will place them in the safety for which they long – or perhaps breathe out a curse – cf. Ezek 21:31

Goldingay, v5, he witnesses to him from puah

V5 – the first time the LORD speaks in the David Collection!

The wicked say, “we will triumph” (v4), but God says, “I will arise” / shine forth (v5)

V5 – “protect” is from the same root as help / save / deliver (v1), could be put in safety

Cf. Ps 3 – taking a stand / arise / deliver language similar

Similarly God’s promises in Ps 34:22; 46:10; 94:14

V6 is an assurance about the assurance given in v5 (Davis) – Yahweh’s words can be trusted


V6 – furnace of clay – on the earth? To the earth? Of the earth? A change of letter would make it gold, “a furnace, gold purified”

Contrast vv6 and 2 – God’s sayings solid wealth against empty tokens / fake coinage

V6 – 7 representing perfection / completeness – rigorous quality control. Human words are tested and fail in this Psalm. Yahweh’s words are tested and pass – no dross, impurity, corruption in them.

The statement in v6 is of course a general truth always applicable to all of God’s words, but what difference does it make to apply them particularly to God’s words in v5? God’s justice and timing perfect and so on.

V7 – lit. the generation this, from this generation for ever?

The clear confidence of v7 seems to contrast with the present reality of v8

V8 – vile – Kidner: cheapness, worthless (Jer 15:19), shameful excess, gluttonous, Pr 23:20; Dt 21:20

V8 – zullut – worthless / trivial – they treat the valuable as worthless and the worthless as valuable and they can walk about freely, heads held high, because society shares their estimate of things

V8 – lit. when triviality is exalted for the sons of man, that is, in the estimation of people

V8 – the wicked still walking about openly, swaggering about, strutting their stuff, flaunt themselves – back to the situation of vv1-4! – outwardly nothing has changed – living by faith not by sight, with confidence that God will act decisively if not now then at the judgement day

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