Psalm 64 neatly falls into two parts: verses 1-6 and verses 7-10. In verses 1-6, the composer pleads with Yahweh to protect her or him from "the dread enemy," and these verses contain a description of that enemy. In verses 7-10, the author proclaims her or his stalwart confidence that Yahweh will intervene and overthrow this enemy. In verses 1-6, the psalmist prays:
"Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from the dread enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
from the scheming of evildoers,
who whet their tongues like swords,
who aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from ambush at the blameless;
they shoot suddenly and without fear.
They hold fast to their evil purpose;
they talk of laying snares secretly,
thinking, 'Who can see us?
Who can search out our crimes?
We have thought out a cunningly conceived plot.'
For the human heart and mind are deep."
1. The psalmist "complains" because his enemies are sinister and powerful (verse 1). They strike "fear" in the psalmist's heart, and seem to be "without fear" in their evil actions (verse 4b). The purpose of the composer's complaint is to persuade Yahweh to intervene and deliver him or her from these enemies.
2. The poet's enemies "plot" to destroy the psalmist in their "heart" and "mind" (verses 2, 6b-c). Their inner, hidden plots lead them to "speak" deceptive and malicious words against the psalmist (verse 3), and to act viciously against the psalmist by "laying snares" for him or her (verse 5b). The wicked use words as deadly weapons to destroy those they oppose (verse 3; see Psalms 55:21; 57:4; 140:3). Human beings have an uncanny ability to twist the truth and to make situations and people look quite different from what they really are, if their hearts are evil and their purpose is to hurt others in order to get what they want.
3. Wicked people deceive themselves into thinking that they are accountable to no one (verses 5-6; see Psalms 10:13; 73:11). The truth is that Yahweh knows all we do (see Proverbs 15:3), and in his own time and way will hold us accountable for all our thoughts, words, and deeds (Hebrews 4:12-13) within the context of his mercy and grace.
4. Evil persons try to "hide" their real intentions and their evil words and deeds. They attack those who serve Yahweh faithfully from ambush (verses 2, 4). In stark contrast, the psalmist beseeches Yahweh to "hide" him securely from the attacks of the wicked in his safe refuge and stronghold (verse 2; see Psalms 17:8; 27:5; 31:20; 32:7).
May God protect his people from the evil schemes, words, and deeds of those who seek to do them harm; and may he give his people deep trust in him when it seems the wicked are succeeding.