Psalms 58

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.

1 [a][b]Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; LORD, tear out the fangs of those lions!
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along, like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns— whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away.[c]
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

Psalms 58 Commentary

Chapter 58

Wicked judges described and reproved. (1-5) A prayer that they may be disabled, and their ruin predicted. (6-11)

Verses 1-5 When wrong is done under the form of law, it is worse than any other; especially it is grievous to behold those who profess to be children of God, joining together against any of his people. We should thank the Lord for merciful restraints; we should be more earnest in seeking renewing grace, more watchful over ourselves, and more patient under the effects of fallen nature in others. The corruption of their nature was the root of bitterness. We may see in children the wickedness of the world beginning. They go astray from God and their duty as soon as possibly they can. And how soon will little children tell lies! It is our duty to take pains to teach them, and above all, earnestly to pray for converting grace to make our children new creatures. Though the poison be within, much of it may be kept from breaking forth to injure others. When the Saviour's words are duly regarded, the serpent becomes harmless. But those who refuse to hear heavenly wisdom, must perish miserably, for ever.

Verses 6-11 David prayed that the enemies of God's church and people might be disabled to do further mischief. We may, in faith, pray against the designs of the enemies of the church. He foretells their ruin. And who knows the power of God's anger? The victories of the Just One, in his own person and that of his servants, over the enemies of man's salvation, produce a joy which springs not from revenge, but from a view of the Divine mercy, justice, and truth, shown in the redemption of the elect, the punishment of the ungodly, and the fulfilment of the promises. Whoever duly considers these things, will diligently seek the reward of righteousness, and adore the Providence which orders all thing aright in heaven and in earth.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Psalms 82:2
  • 2. Matthew 15:19
  • 3. Psalms 94:20; Isaiah 10:1; Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:15
  • 4. S Numbers 21:6; Psalms 140:3; Ecclesiastes 10:11
  • 5. Psalms 81:11
  • 6. Ecclesiastes 10:11; Jeremiah 8:17
  • 7. Psalms 3:7
  • 8. S Job 4:10
  • 9. S Leviticus 26:36; S Job 11:16; Joshua 7:5; Psalms 112:10
  • 10. Psalms 11:2; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 64:3
  • 11. Isaiah 13:7
  • 12. S Job 3:16
  • 13. Psalms 118:12; Ecclesiastes 7:6
  • 14. S Job 7:10; S Job 21:18; Proverbs 10:25
  • 15. S Job 22:19
  • 16. Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalms 7:9; Psalms 64:10; Psalms 91:8; Jeremiah 11:20; Romans 12:17-21
  • 17. Psalms 68:23
  • 18. S Genesis 15:1; S Psalms 128:2; Luke 6:23
  • 19. S Genesis 18:25; Psalms 9:8; Psalms 18:20

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 58:1-11 is numbered 58:2-12.
  • [b]. Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  • [c]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 58 Commentaries