The Dethroning of Unjust Rulers
1For the leader. Do not destroy.#Do not destroy: probably the title of the melody to which the Psalm was to be sung. A miktam of David.
2Do you indeed pronounce justice, O gods;#Gods: the Bible sometimes understands pagan gods to be lesser divine beings who are assigned by Israel’s God to rule the foreign nations. Here they are accused of injustice, permitting the human judges under their patronage to abuse the righteous, cf. Ps 82.
do you judge fairly you children of Adam?#Ps 82:2; Dt 16:19.
3No, you freely engage in crime;
your hands dispense violence to the earth.
4The wicked have been corrupt since birth;
liars from the womb, they have gone astray.
5#The image is that of a poisonous snake that is controlled by the voice or piping of its trainer.Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a serpent stopping its ears,#Ps 64:4; 140:3; Rom 3:13.
6So as not to hear the voice of the charmer
or the enchanter with cunning spells.
7O God, smash the teeth in their mouths;
break the fangs of these lions, Lord!#Ps 3:7.
8Make them vanish like water flowing away;#Wis 16:29.
trodden down, let them wither like grass.#Ps 37:2.
9Let them dissolve like a snail that oozes away,#A snail that oozes away: empty shells suggested to ancients that snails melted away as they left a slimy trail.
like an untimely birth that never sees the sun.#Jb 3:16.
10Suddenly, like brambles or thistles,
have the whirlwind snatch them away.#Jb 21:18; Hos 13:3; Na 1:10.
11Then the just shall rejoice to see the vengeance
and bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.#Ps 68:24; Is 63:1–6.
12Then people will say:
“Truly there is a reward for the just;
there is a God who is judge on earth!”