PSALM 58.

A Cry for Vengeance upon the Subverters of Right.

To the chief musician, Al-taschith, to be sung to the same melody as the preceding psalm, Michtam, a poem in epigrammatic form, of David. V. 1. Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? He seems to be addressing a council, representatives of the government, princes, asking them whether they are dumb, whether they are unable to speak the truth, whether it is impossible for them to give a right decision. Do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? Standing under God and pledged to uphold justice, were they forgetting its obligations? V. 2. Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth, giving decisions which are, in effect. measures of violence, without a show of right. The passage is highly sarcastic, implying that they indeed hold the balances of justice, their duty being to weigh out just awards, but that they abuse their right and substitute violence. V. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb, full of wickedness against God from the very moment of their birth; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies, their character from the first being truly devilish and selfish, apparently incapable of any higher motives. V. 4. Their poison, that of their words and actions, is like the poison of a serpent, malignant, deadly; they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear, one of the most dangerous reptiles of the Orient, intentionally dumb, v. 5. which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely, no matter if the formulas are worded and the charm applied in the most careful manner. The wicked, in other words, are naturally, easily, malignantly, and stubbornly opposed to all that is good. V. 6. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth, those which they use as instruments of violence. Ps. 57, 4; break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord, of the enemies who desired to take his life, so that they would be rendered harmless. The figure is now again changed. V. 7. Let them melt away as waters which run continually, of which not even a trace remains; when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, the enemy being thought of as stepping on the bow to bend it and to fix his arrows for shooting, let them, all the enemies as represented by this one, be as cut in pieces, their arrows having no effect, as though they had their points cut off. V. 8. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away, the figure used from the apparent melting away of a snail in slime; like the untimely birth of a woman, a miscarriage, that they may not see the sun. V. 9. Before your pots can feel the thorns, namely, the heat of the burning thorns used as fuel by caravans, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, with a sudden and unexpected destruction, both living and in his wrath, literally, whether fresh or burning, that is, whether the meat in the pot at that time be raw or already in a state of roasting, whether their evil plans had but recently been made, or whether they were being carried out, there being a possible reference here to the rebellion of Absalom. V. 10. The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance, over the fact that God uses the destruction of the wicked for his own deliverance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, the Lordís slaughter of them being so great that their blood runs in streams, v. 11. so that a man shall say, with this bit of evidence before his eyes, Verily, there is a reward for the righteous, the Lord granting them this reward in mercy; verily, He is a God that judgeth in the earth, there is still a divinity judging on the earth, one higher than all the so-called gods of the heathen. The full revelation of this fact will be brought home to the believers on the Last Day, when the Lordís judgment will be pronounced on all men.