Psalm 12 is a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness to the trusting
believer; In this case, David and all who trust in the promises of Yahweh.
"Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases to be; for the faithful ones disappear
from among the sons of men."
The word, "godly" is chAsiyd and means those who are oriented to the grace
The word "the faithful" is a PLURAL qal passive participle from the verb
Aman, which means "to believe." In the passive form it means to be faithful,
and as a participle it means faithful one, but in the PLURAL it should be
rendered faithful ones.
In other words we are talking about believers in Yahweh who trust in Him for
their protection and security in the midst of a wicked and immoral (vile)
Both are under oppression from the wicked ones described in the next verse.
1. Cease: means that they have been ruined or even killed by the oppressors.
2. disappear: likewise indicates that the wicked are succeeding to diminish
the number of believers.
Verse 2 describes the oppression from "this generation."
1. They speak falsehood to one another:
The noun is shAwe which means emptiness. It describes the character of their
mutual viewpoint. Empty indicates that there is an absence of divine
viewpoint and standards in their attitudes, speech and actions. The
translation, vanity, still must be explained by what constitutes vanity or
WHY it is vanity, and that is why "falsehood" is a better choice.
The idea here is not that they are deceiving one another, but rather, they
are fellowshipping among themselves around their mutual world view and
arrogance toward God and God's people.
2. flattering lips: lit, lips of flatteries.
The word is chelqAh which means smoothness and comes from the verb that
means to be smooth or to be slippery. But the primary use of this word group
is the idea of using words to provide a false sense of friendship or
approval toward those they are trying to take advantage of in order to
fulfill some kind of selfish purpose. Thus, flattery.
3. they speak with a double heart: A very interesting Hebrew expression. It
reads literally, "with heart and a heart." The word, heart is lābh and
refers to the mentality of the soul. It reflects both character and
attitude. Thus the idea of duplicity and hypocrisy. With one "heart" they
show favor, but with the other "heart" they seek to do you harm. At 1
Chronicles 12:33, the warriors of Zebulon helped David with "NOT a heart and
They seek to ruin and destroy the believer with arrogant lies and deception.
And apparently they have succeeded in many cases.
Verse 3-4 relates David's plea or prayer for the LORD to CUT OFF the words
of these oppressors of God's people. This is called a prayer of imprecation.
1. May Yahweh cut off all lips of flatteries:
Cut off is the verb, kArath and very clearly speaks of neutralization and
2. The tongue that speaks great things:
The adjective is gAdōl. The word great in this context refers to the
expressions of great pride and arrogance.
3. who have said: the verb is Amar as a qal perfect and here means to
4. with our tongue we will prevail: The verb is gAbhar which means to be
strong. As a hiphil imperfect it means to CAUSE to be strong and thus, to be
stronger than or to overpower; prevail.
5. our lips belong to us: lit. "our lips with us."
In other words, WE are the ones who have control over what we say and do.
6. who is lord over us? A rhetorical question that expresses their pride and
arrogance. This is not necessarily directed toward God, but toward ANYONE
who thinks they can restrain us.
1. David now quotes the very words of God Himself.
A. For the oppression: the noun is shōd and means,
violence, devastation and ruin.
B. The preposition, min, indicates for, or on behalf of.
C. of the afflicted ones:
The word is Aniy in the plural. The source of the
affliction can be many different things, including
poverty, but poverty is not in view here. What is in
view is the AFFLICTION and oppression that comes from
the wicked of "this generation."
D. for the groaning: the noun is anAqAh and clearly
indicates the mental and physical pain experienced from
E. of the needy (ones): The word is the plural adjective
ebhyōn and refers to someone who has a need. In this
context, "needy" (as in poor) is not the issue. These
are IN NEED of help because they are being oppressed by
the wicked ones.
F. In both cases, the plural should be made clear to the
reader so that proper interpretation can be achieved.
2. "Now I will arise; says Yahweh."
A. now is attAh: It suggests that after some delay, God
will NOW take up the cause of these oppressed ones.
However, the promise stated next is a universal
principle based on the character and plan of God. He
always cares for and looks out for His people. But
sometimes it is within His timing and plan to allow the
wicked to seem to prosper.
B. But they will receive divine justice in His perfect
timing. Psalm 73:2-20; 92:5-9
C. All we can do
is trust in His perfect character and
plan and accept in faith whatever we encounter in our
life here on earth.
3. I will set in safety; him who longs for it.
A. I will set: The verb is shiyth as a qal imperfect.
safety: the noun is yāsha. It embraces all the words
that speak of deliverance; protection, safety,
salvation, rescue, welfare.
C. he who longs for it: the verb here is puach as a hiphil
imperfect plus the preposition, le, with the pronoun,
"it" attached to it (lō = for it).
D. As with Keil and Delitzsch and many others, the
construction "is therefore a relative clause occupying
the place of the object."
E. The one who longs
for Divine provision and trusts in the
character and plan of God will be vindicated by Him.
See the many promises referenced below.
This is a general promise that is directed to and for the afflicted ones and
the needy ones; the faithful believers in Yahweh.
How does this promise relate to the living believer when many of those
around them are perishing?
What it does is provide confidence in the character and plan of God that He
is in control and nothing will happen to them unless God allows it. And WE
can be confident that WHATEVER we encounter or whatever happens, we are
secure in the plan of God. Even death that is allowed by God is according to
His perfect timing and plan. Thus, we have nothing to fear, for even as the
apostle Paul stated, "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
And David at Psalm 23, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil."
The believer can know that God is in control of his life. "My times are in
your hands," Psalm 31:15
"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord,
or whether we die, we die unto the Lord;
whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's."
"Precious in the sight of Yahweh is the death of his saints," Psalm 116:15
Consider the attitude of the hall of fame believers in Hebrews 11:13, "These
all died in faith."
So in the face of any danger, whether it be from persecution or accident or
weather and geological disturbances, or war . . . or covid19 . . .
The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; the one who trusts in God can live in
confidence; peace and joy, KNOWING that He is in control and whatever
befalls us or our believing loved ones and friends, "to be absent from the
body is to be present with the Lord!"
"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of
earth, purified seven times."
Here David makes a statement of the reliability of God's words and promises.
Purity speaks of truth and faithfulness.
Thus, the believers of David's time can be at peace; confident that God's
promises are "pure words."
David responds to the wonderful promise of protection from God quoted in
verse 5. David reflects on the reliability of His promise and His words.
This is the basis for knowing we can trust in God and believe His promises
of protection so that we do not worry and fear.
"the steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace; because he trusts in
You. Trust in Yahweh forever, for in Yah Yahweh is an everlasting rock."
"Trust in Yahweh with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding." Proverbs 3:5.
1. "You will keep them O Yahweh,"
Based on the promise from God and the reliability of His word David can
proclaim with confidence that God will be faithful for as long as the
believer lives, which is the common idea of for ever (leōlam in the Hebrew).
The THEM goes back to the plural afflicted ones and needy ones. They are the
ones who need "keeping" - protection.
2. You will preserve him FROM THIS GENERATION for ever."
The use of the singular pronoun, him, is used to designate anyone who is of
the category in view; the afflicted and the needy. Notice it says, "from
this generation." It is NOT the word of God that needs protection from this
generation. It is not the word of God that is under attack. It is the
afflicted ones and the needy ones who need protection from this generation.
It is the godly one and faithful ones - the ones who are the real subject of
this psalm - from verse 1 - who need protection from this generation.
1. "The wicked walk on every side: Walk is the standard word for walking,
but the idea of "on every side" once again communicates the arrogance and
dominance of their attitude and actions.
2. while vileness: the noun, which occurs only here, is zūlūth from the verb
zAlal, which means to be worthless, insignificant in contrast to what is
worthy and noble within the human race.
Isaiah speaks of the rogue (the spiritual and moral rebel), "his weapons are
evil; he devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander, even
though the needy one speaks justice. But the noble man devises noble plans
and by noble plans he stands." Is. 32:7-8.
Keil and Delitzsch wrote, "a baseness which is utterly devoid, not only of
all nobler principles and motives, but of all nobler feelings and impulses."
3. is exalted among the sons of men. The verb is rum.
The moral depravity of these wicked people is condoned, promoted and
glorified; raised up as virtuous and honorable among all the people they are
able to influence.
David closes the Psalm with a final statement of how morally vile the wicked
are. But the singers and the audience still have strongly impressed upon
their mind, that Yahweh will be the vindicator and the protector of the
believers from all who seek to do them injustice.