Psalm 12

Note: The genre of this psalm is that of a community lament.

For the director of music. According to sheminith [probably a musical term]. A psalm of David.

A. Prayer for Deliverance
12:1 Help [the first word of this psalm is indicative of need], Lord, for no one is faithful [refers to those who are godly] anymore; those who are loyal have vanished [“come to an end;” “The death, departure, or decline of godly men should be a trumpet-call for more prayer.” (Spurgeon)] from the human race [hyperbolic language to make a point; cf. Elijah’s complaint in 1 Kings 19:10].

12:2 Everyone [the wicked] lies [to gain either power or some advantage; “…for a man had better be among lions than among liars.” (Spurgeon)] to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts [to speak with mixed motives]; had a hidden agenda.

12:3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips [“Someone has said that flattery is like perfume; OK if you sniff it, dangerous if you swallow it.” (LBC, Vol. 8, p. 29)] and every boastful tongue—

12:4 those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail [triumph]; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

B. The Lord’s Promise
12:5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan [God hears the groaning and cries of the needy and distressed; cf. Ex. 2:24; Ps. 79:11; Ps. 102:20], I will now arise [in order to act on their behalf],” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”

C. Reflection on the Lord’s Promises
12:6 And the words [promises] of the Lord are flawless [pure], like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times [contrast the purity of God’s words to the lies and perverse speech of the wicked].

D. Prayer for Deliverance
12:7 You, Lord, [note the assurance of God’s help…] will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked [from this evil generation],

12:8 who freely strut about [the arrogant strutting of the wicked does not intimidate God] when what is vile is honored by the human race [a reminder that the wicked are mere mortals and cannot triumph against heaven].

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