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(Psalms 73–89)

Psalm 73

Plea for Relief from Oppressors

A Psalm of Asaph.


Truly God is good to the upright,

to those who are pure in heart.


But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;

my steps had nearly slipped.


For I was envious of the arrogant;

I saw the prosperity of the wicked.



For they have no pain;

their bodies are sound and sleek.


They are not in trouble as others are;

they are not plagued like other people.


Therefore pride is their necklace;

violence covers them like a garment.


Their eyes swell out with fatness;

their hearts overflow with follies.


They scoff and speak with malice;

loftily they threaten oppression.


They set their mouths against heaven,

and their tongues range over the earth.



Therefore the people turn and praise them,

and find no fault in them.


And they say, “How can God know?

Is there knowledge in the Most High?”


Such are the wicked;

always at ease, they increase in riches.


All in vain I have kept my heart clean

and washed my hands in innocence.


For all day long I have been plagued,

and am punished every morning.



If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”

I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.


But when I thought how to understand this,

it seemed to me a wearisome task,


until I went into the sanctuary of God;

then I perceived their end.


Truly you set them in slippery places;

you make them fall to ruin.


How they are destroyed in a moment,

swept away utterly by terrors!


They are like a dream when one awakes;

on awaking you despise their phantoms.



When my soul was embittered,

when I was pricked in heart,


I was stupid and ignorant;

I was like a brute beast toward you.


Nevertheless I am continually with you;

you hold my right hand.


You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will receive me with honor.


Whom have I in heaven but you?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.


My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.



Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;

you put an end to those who are false to you.


But for me it is good to be near God;

I have made the Lord G od my refuge,

to tell of all your works.

8. They become insolent, and wickedly talk of extortion. Some take the verb ימיקו, yamicu, in an active transitive sense, and explain it as meaning, that the wicked soften, that is to say, render others pusillanimous, or frighten and intimidate them. 170170     “Exposans que les meschans amolissent, c’est a dire, rendent lasches les autres, c’est a dire, les espouantent et intimident.” — Fr ימיקו, yamicu, is rendered by Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejer, and Michaelis, “They cause to consume or melt away.” “They melt or dissolve others,” says Dr Gill, “they consume them, and waste their estates by their oppression and violence; they make their hearts to melt with their threatening and terrifying words; or they make them dissolute in their lives by keeping them company.” Mudge reads, “They behave corruptly;” and Horsley, “They are in the last stage of degeneracy.” But as the idiom of the language admits also of its being understood in the neuter sense, I have adopted the interpretation which agreed best with the scope of the passage, namely, that the wicked, forgetting themselves to be men, and by their unbounded audacity trampling under foot all shame and honesty, dissemble not their wickedness, but, on the contrary, loudly boast of their extortion. And, indeed, we see that wicked men, after having for some time got every thing to prosper according to their desires, cast off all sham and are at no pains to conceal themselves when about to commit iniquity, but loudly proclaim their own turpitude. “What!” they will say, “is it not in my power to deprive you of all that you possess, and even to cut your throat?” Robbers, it is true, can do the same thing; but then they hide themselves for fear. These giants, or rather inhuman monsters, of whom David speaks, on the contrary not only imagine that they are exempted from subjection to any law, but, unmindful of their own weakness, foam furiously, as if there were no distinction between good and evil, between right and wrong. If, however, the other interpretation should be preferred, That the wicked intimidate the simple and peaceable by boasting of the great oppressions and outrages which they can perpetrate upon them, I do not object to it. When the poor and the afflicted find themselves at the mercy of these wicked men, they cannot but tremble, and, so to speak, melt and dissolve upon seeing them in possession of so much power. With respect to the expression, They speak from on high, 171171     The original word, ממרום, memmarom, for from on high, is translated by our English version loftily But Musculus, Junius, Tremellius, Piscator, Mudge, Horsley, and others read with Calvin, from on high They speak from on high, “as if they were in heaven and above all creatures, and even God himself; and as if what they said were oracles, and to be received as such without any scruple and hesitation. Thus Pharaoh, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar spake, Exodus 5:2; Isaiah 36:20; Daniel 3:15.” — Dr Gill implies, that they pour forth their insolent and abusive speech upon the heads of all others. As proud men, who disdain to look directly at any body, are said, in the Latin tongue, despicere, and in the Greek, Katablepein, that is, to look down; 172172     “Car comme les Latins et aussi les Grecs, quand ils descrivent la contenance des gens enyvrez d’orgueil, ont des verbes qui signifient Regarder en bas, d’autant que telles gens ne daignent pas regarder droit les personnes.” — Fr. “As the Romans, and also the Greeks, when they describe the countenance of persons intoxicated with pride, have words which mean to look down, because such persons deign not to look directly at other people.” so David introduces them as speaking from on high, because it seems to them that they have nothing in common with other men, but think themselves a distinct class of beings, and, as it were, little gods. 173173     “Pource qu’il ne leur semble point avis qu’ils ayent rien de commun avec les autres hommes, mais pensent estre quelque chose a part, et comme des petis dieux.” — Fr.

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