PSALM 12  


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.
Psalm 12:1
"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 of God.
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) generation.
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 a heart."
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 removal.
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 affirm.
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.

Psalm 12:5
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
     the oppressors.
  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.
B. in 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
Romans 14:8
"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!"

verse 6
"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." Isaiah 26:3-4
"Trust in Yahweh with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5.

Verse 8
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.

Verse 9
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.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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