15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 58

Verses 1-11

Psalms 58:1-11

Psalms 58:1-11 is a prayer of David. I would not want to be one of David's enemies because of his prayers.

Do you indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do you judge uprightly, O you sons of men? Yes, in heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies ( Psalms 58:1-3 ).

Now David is talking about the nature, the sinful nature of man. Now, I don't think there were any of you that had to teach your children to tell a lie. You had to teach them to tell the truth. You don't say, "Well now, if you get in trouble just lie about it and get out of it." They seem to just do that naturally. So you have to teach them you've got to tell the truth at all times. David said, "They went forth from the womb, speaking lies. They were estranged from the womb. As soon as they are born, speaking lies."

Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming ever so wisely. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth ( Psalms 58:4-6 ):

David didn't mess around.

break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bends his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be cut in pieces. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away ( Psalms 58:6-8 ):

Have you ever poured salt on a snail and watch it melt?

like the untimely birth of a woman, that may not see the sun. Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as the whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath. The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judges in the eaRuth ( Psalms 58:8-11 ).

Now, coming as we do from our Christian ethic, from the New Testament, we have difficulty in David's prayers. Because Jesus told us that we are to love those who hate us; we are to do good to those who despitefully use us. Bless those that curse you. And the ethic that we have learned from Christ in the New Testament is much different.

Now, I find David's ethic pretty satisfying with me. I like vengeance. I like to see the bad guys get beat and the good guys win. And I like to see the wicked really taken care of for good. I must confess that I rejoice in such things. But I must also confess that such rejoicing is wrong according to the New Testament ethic, the Christian ethic. And yet, there is just something about my own nature that is similar to David's, in that when someone has really done something that is truly evil, I like to see vengeance come upon them.

Now, where I have to be careful is that I so often want to bring vengeance on them myself, and that is where I can really get in trouble. God said, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay, saith the Lord." Now notice, David isn't really seeking to bring vengeance himself; he is asking God to knock the teeth out of their mouths. Asking God to take vengeance on them. I don't know that it is much better, but we must be careful about trying to take personal vengeance upon people who we feel have wronged us, or who have wronged us. We must learn to commit ourselves and our ways unto the Lord, and let the Lord take care of them. It is not mine to become Captain Avenger and go out and right all of the evils of the world.

But David does pray in these psalms, but as I say, it is not in keeping with the New Testament ethic. And I have to pray, not as David prayed, but I have to pray, "Lord, keep my heart from devising vengeance, and keep me, Lord, from wanting to take vengeance. And oh God, help me to have a forgiving attitude and spirit towards those that I feel this, I would like to take vengeance on." "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 58". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.