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Psalms 12:1-2

Context
Psalm 12 1 

For the music director; according to the sheminith style; 2  a psalm of David.

12:1 Deliver, Lord!

For the godly 3  have disappeared; 4 

people of integrity 5  have vanished. 6 

12:2 People lie to one another; 7 

they flatter and deceive. 8 

1 sn Psalm 12. The psalmist asks the Lord to intervene, for society is overrun by deceitful, arrogant oppressors and godly individuals are a dying breed. When the Lord announces his intention to defend the oppressed, the psalmist affirms his confidence in the divine promise.

2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term שְׁמִינִית (shÿminit) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music. See 1 Chr 15:21.

3 tn The singular form is collective or representative. Note the plural form “faithful [ones]” in the following line. A “godly [one]” (חָסִיד, khasid) is one who does what is right in God’s eyes and remains faithful to God (see Pss 4:3; 18:25; 31:23; 37:28; 86:2; 97:10).

4 tn Or “have come to an end.”

5 tn Heb “the faithful [ones] from the sons of man.”

6 tn The Hebrew verb פָּסַס (pasas) occurs only here. An Akkadian cognate means “efface, blot out.”

7 tn Heb “falsehood they speak, a man with his neighbor.” The imperfect verb forms in v. 2 describe what is typical in the psalmist’s experience.

8 tn Heb “[with] a lip of smoothness, with a heart and a heart they speak.” Speaking a “smooth” word refers to deceptive flattery (cf. Ps 5:9; 55:21; Prov 2:16; 5:3; 7:5, 21; 26:28; 28:23; Isa 30:10). “Heart” here refers to their mind, from which their motives and intentions originate. The repetition of the noun indicates diversity (see GKC 396 §123.f, IBHS 116 §7.2.3c, and Deut 25:13, where the phrase “weight and a weight” refers to two different measuring weights). These people have two different types of “hearts.” Their flattering words seem to express kind motives and intentions, but this outward display does not really reflect their true motives. Their real “heart” is filled with evil thoughts and destructive intentions. The “heart” that is seemingly displayed through their words is far different from the real “heart” they keep disguised. (For the idea see Ps 28:3.) In 1 Chr 12:33 the phrase “without a heart and a heart” means “undivided loyalty.”



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