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Psalms 9–10, which we are examining together, weave in and out of personal request and reflection on God’s faithful, if at God’s own timing, ways in this world. 
Seemingly out of the blue the psalmist, in 9:13 to a request: David has committed himself to praising God; he has pondered the faithful ways of God; he nows calls God to act faithfully again, this time for him, and again he will be telling of God’s faithfulness when God does so (this evokes vv. 1-4). But then he again turns to reflect on God’s ways. So, vv. 13-18:


9:13 ….

“Have mercy on me, Lord!

See how I am oppressed by those who hate me,

O one who can snatch me away from the gates of death!

9:14 Then I will tell about all your praiseworthy acts;

in the gates of Daughter Zion I will rejoice because of your deliverance.”

9:15 The nations fell into the pit they had made;

their feet were caught in the net they had hidden.

9:16 The Lord revealed himself;

he accomplished justice;

the wicked were ensnared by their own actions. (Higgaion. Selah)

9:17 The wicked are turned back and sent to Sheol;

this is the destiny of all the nations that ignore God,

9:18 for the needy are not permanently ignored,

the hopes of the oppressed are not forever dashed.

Again, observe how the psalmist goes in and out: he asks for himself, ponders how God has acted, and then makes a powerful theological claim: “YHWH revealed himself [in his actions]; he accomplished justice; the wicked were ensnared by their own actions.” 

Our companion is John Goldingay’s commentary (Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) and Robert Alter, The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary
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Psalm 9

For the music director; according to the alumoth-labben style; a psalm of David.

9:1 I will thank the Lord with all my heart!

I will tell about all your amazing deeds!

9:2 I will be happy and rejoice in you!

I will sing praises to you, O sovereign One!

9:3 When my enemies turn back,

they trip and are defeated before you.

9:4 For you defended my just cause;

from your throne you pronounced a just decision.

9:5 You terrified the nations with your battle cry;

you destroyed the wicked;

you permanently wiped out all memory of them.

9:6 The enemy’s cities have been reduced to permanent ruins;

you destroyed their cities;

all memory of the enemies has perished.

9:7 But the Lord rules forever;

he reigns in a just manner.

9:8 He judges the world fairly;

he makes just legal decisions for the nations.

9:9 Consequently the Lord provides safety for the oppressed;

he provides safety in times of trouble.

9:10 Your loyal followers trust in you,

for you, Lord, do not abandon those who seek your help.

9:11 Sing praises to the Lord, who rules in Zion!

Tell the nations what he has done!

9:12 For the one who takes revenge against murderers took notice of the oppressed;

he did not overlook their cry for help

9:13 when they prayed:

“Have mercy on me, Lord!

See how I am oppressed by those who hate me,

O one who can snatch me away from the gates of death!

9:14 Then I will tell about all your praiseworthy acts;

in the gates of Daughter Zion I will rejoice because of your deliverance.”

9:15 The nations fell into the pit they had made;

their feet were caught in the net they had hidden.

9:16 The Lord revealed himself;

he accomplished justice;

the wicked were ensnared by their own actions. (Higgaion. Selah)

9:17 The wicked are turned back and sent to Sheol;

this is the destiny of all the nations that ignore God,

9:18 for the needy are not permanently ignored,

the hopes of the oppressed are not forever dashed.

9:19 Rise up, Lord!

Don’t let men be defiant!

May the nations be judged in your presence!

9:20 Terrify them, Lord!

Let the nations know they are mere mortals! (Selah)


10:1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?

Why do you pay no attention during times of trouble?

10:2 The wicked arrogantly chase the oppressed;

the oppressed are trapped by the schemes the wicked have dreamed up.

10:3 Yes, the wicked man boasts because he gets what he wants;

the one who robs others curses and rejects the Lord.

10:4 The wicked man is so arrogant he always thinks,

“God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care.”

10:5 He is secure at all times.

He has no regard for your commands;

he disdains all his enemies.

10:6 He says to himself,

“I will never be upended,

because I experience no calamity.”

10:7 His mouth is full of curses and deceptive, harmful words;

his tongue injures and destroys.

10:8 He waits in ambush near the villages;

in hidden places he kills the innocent.

His eyes look for some unfortunate victim.

10:9 He lies in ambush in a hidden place, like a lion in a thicket;

he lies in ambush, waiting to catch the oppressed;

he catches the oppressed by pulling in his net.

10:10 His victims are crushed and beaten down;

they are trapped in his sturdy nets.

10:11 He says to himself,

“God overlooks it;

he does not pay attention;

he never notices.”

10:12 Rise up, Lord!

O God, strike him down!

Do not forget the oppressed!

10:13 Why does the wicked man reject God?

He says to himself, “You will not hold me accountable.”

10:14 You have taken notice,

for you always see one who inflicts pain and suffering.

The unfortunate victim entrusts his cause to you;

you deliver the fatherless.

10:15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man!

Hold him accountable for his wicked deeds,

which he thought you would not discover.

10:16 The Lord rules forever!

The nations are driven out of his land.

10:17 Lord, you have heard the request of the oppressed;

you make them feel secure because you listen to their prayer.

10:18 You defend the fatherless and oppressed,

so that mere mortals may no longer terrorize them.

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