Psalm 140

The Word Made Fresh

(For the worship leader. A psalm of David.)

1Rescue me from the wicked, LORD.
Protect me from violent people
2who are always thinking of evil things to do
and are constantly stirring up violence.
3Their tongues are as sharp as serpents’ tongues
and their lips drip with venom.
4Protect me from their hands, LORD,
from the violent people who plan to do away with me.
5Arrogant people have a hidden trap for me.
They have prepared snares along the road for me.
6You are my God; hear me, LORD. Hear my pleas.
7LORD, protect me! You are my strong ruler
who has covered my head in the battle.
8Don’t give the wicked what they desire, LORD,
don’t let their plans succeed.
9I am surrounded by those who think too highly of themselves.
Let them be overwhelmed by their own troubles.
10Drop burning coals on them.
Let them be thrown into graves, no more to rise.
11Don’t allow those who slander to be looked up to in the land,
but let evil hunt down the violent quickly!
12I know that the LORD comes to the aid of those who are in need
and sees to it that the poor receive justice.
13Surely the righteous will praise your name
and those who are true will live in your presence.


Superscription: David’s 67th.

1-3: A familiar theme – an almost paranoid fear of harm from unnamed enemies who may be surreptitiously plotting violence against the author of the psalm.

4-5: He imagines all kinds of pitfalls and begs God’s guardianship.

6-8: He is confident in God’s help because God has helped in the past.

9-11: He imagines the kinds of punishment God might unleash on those who plan mischief against him.

12-13: A typical ending – an expression of confidence that God will uphold the rights of the righteous.


A lot of people will find it hard to imagine such a scenario as the one described here. But imagine for a moment that the “enemy” described in the psalm is the devil looking for ways to torment or lure you into behavior unbecoming of those who trust in God. All of us can probably point to a time when we were tempted to stray from the right path for some personal gratification or gain. Offering up in prayer every “opportunity” presented to us is the believer’s way to avoid being trapped in behavior unbecoming of the people of God.