Psalms 140:3

3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.[a]

Psalms 140:3 in Other Translations

KJV
3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah.
ESV
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's, and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
NLT
3 Their tongues sting like a snake; the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude
MSG
3 They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill.
CSB
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a snake's bite; viper's venom is under their lips. Selah

Psalms 140:3 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 140:3

They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent
Which Kimchi says it does before it bites. Aristotle F9 observes, that the tip or extreme point of a serpent's tongue is as small as a hair, and so exceeding sharp and piercing. Arama interprets this of the sharpness and cunning of the serpent; and particularly the serpent that deceived Eve, and spake cunningly to her. "For God knoweth" and may design the calumnies and detractions, which were sharp as a razor; as swords, and spears, and arrows, and as the tongue of a serpent, ( Psalms 57:4 ) ( 64:3 ) ; and the subtlety of false teachers, and deceitful workers; and the sharp and cutting words of wicked men against Christ and his people, ( Jude 1:15 ) ; adder's poison is under their lips;
which may signify the malignity of sin in wicked men, which comes from the old serpent the devil; is latent in men; very infectious, like poison, and deadly and incurable, but by the grace of God, and blood of Christ: and may describe particularly the mischief of the tongue, which is a little member, as the asp is a little creature; but very mischievous, full of deadly poison, which lurks in it, lies under it, and which spitting out, it stupifies and kills insensibly; as do the calumnies of wicked men, and the doctrines of false teachers; see ( Romans 3:13 ) . The Targum is,

``the poison of the spider;''
though it is said F11 the spider is not venomous. Selah; on this word, (See Gill on Psalms 3:2).
FOOTNOTES:

F9 Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 17.
F11 Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 800. & vol. 5. par. 1. p. 24.

Psalms 140:3 In-Context

1 Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.
4 Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Psalms 57:4
  • 2. Psalms 58:4; Romans 3:13*; James 3:8

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 5 and 8.