Psalm 140 #140:0 The first line is verse 1 in the Hebrew Psalm 140. Our verse 1 is their verse 2, and so on. Hebrew is the language that David spoke. Bible students think that the first line means that David wrote the psalm. Then he gave it to the music leader. The music leader would get people to sing the psalm. We do not know when David wrote this psalm. People were saying bad things about David. What they said was not true. We call the people ‘slanderers’, (verse 11). Their words hurt David very much. It was as if a snake bit him, (verse 3)! Some snakes put poison into you when they bite you. One of the worst snakes is the viper.
This is for the music leader. It is a psalm of David.
1Save me, LORD, from evil people.
Do not let the men that attack people hurt me. #140:1 Verse 1: LORD is a special Bible word. It is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here God agrees to love and give help to his people. His people agree to love and obey him. ‘Evil’ means ‘very, very bad.’
2They have evil ideas and are always starting wars.
3Their tongues are as sharp as a snake's tongue.
The poison of vipers a kind of snake is on their lips.
SELAH #140:3 Verse 3: Our tongues are in our mouths. We use them to talk and taste. When a snake bites you, it puts poison into you. The viper is a snake with a very bad poison. ‘The poison of vipers is on their lips’ means that it is in their mouths. David is saying that these evil people are like snakes; they hurt you with their mouths. They do not bite you, but they say bad things about you.
4Keep me, Lord, away from the hands of evil people.
Do not let people that love to fight hurt me.
They want my feet to trip over! #140:4 Verse 4: ‘The hands of evil people’ means ‘the bad things that they can do to you.’ ‘Trip over’ means that your feet hit something and you fall over.
5 Proud people have hidden a trap for me.
They have put their nets where I cannot see them.
They have put snares along my path.
SELAH #140:5 Verse 5: Here are 3 words that mean the same: traps, nets and snares. They are what you catch animals and birds with. But these evil people wanted to catch David! So they hid their traps and nets and snares to catch David. The words ‘proud people’ mean ‘people who think that they are better than they are.’
6Lord, I say to you, ‘You are my God.’
Lord, hear my prayer for mercy! #140:6 Verse 6: ‘Mercy’ means that someone does not punish (hurt) us when they should hurt us.
7Lord, my Lord, you are my strong helper.
You cover my head when there is a fight. #140:7 Verse 7: Here are 2 words that sound the same: LORD and Lord. The first is the covenant name for God, ‘Yahweh’ in Hebrew. The second is a word that means ‘master.’ It is ‘adonai’ in Hebrew. A ‘helper’ is somebody who gives help. ‘Cover my head’ means ‘stop people hurting me.’ Soldiers used to cover their heads with shields. You could hide under a shield.
8Lord, do not let evil people do what they want to do.
They will become proud if their plans do well.
9Pour trouble on the heads of the people round me!
I mean the trouble that their lips caused. #140:9 Verse 9: David is praying. He wants the trouble that he has to go to his enemies. It is ‘the trouble that their lips caused.’ This means what happened because of the bad things that they said about David.
10Drop burning coals on them! Throw these people into the fire!
Put them in holes full of wet mud dirt and water so they cannot get out! #140:10 Verse 10: You can dig coal out of the ground. People use it to make fires. It burns very well. Mud is very wet earth. Verses 9-11 make this a ‘Psalm of Imprecation.’ This means a psalm that prays for bad things to happen to your enemies.
11Do not let these slanderers live in the land of Israel!
Make evil follow these people that love to attack other people. #140:11 Verse 11: A slanderer says things that are not true.
12I know that the Lord will be fair to poor people.
He will also fight to help people in need. #140:12 Verse 12: ‘In need’ is a way to say, ‘that have needs.’
13I am sure that righteous people will praise your name.
Good people will always live near you. #140:13 Verse 13: ‘Righteous’ means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really righteous, but he makes his people righteous too. This is part of the covenant. ‘Praise someone’ means ‘tell someone that they are great.’ ‘Your name’ means everything that God is: great, powerful, righteous and many other things also.