John T. Willis

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Prayer that Yahweh will deliver the Poor from Wicked Enemies--Psalms 9-10

A careful study of Psalms 9-10 shows that one must consider Psalms 9 and 10 as ONE PSALM. Psalm 9 has a superscription, but Psalm 10 has no superscription. Psalms 9 and 10 are an acrostic. An acrostic is a poem in which each succeeding line or series of lines begins with the next letter in the alphabet. One thinks of the jingle: A--You're Adorable; B--You're so Beautiful; C--You're a Cutie full of charm, etc. The Hebrew alphabet contains 22 letters. In Psalms 9-10, each letter appears in order except the omission of the letters daleth after gimel, mem, nun, and samekh, so that Psalms 9-10 skip from lamedh to `ayin, but also reverse `ayin with pe. The theme of Psalms 9-10 is a prayer of the psalmist beseeching Yahweh to defend the poor, the needy, the orphan, and the widow, and to overcome wicked enemies.

I. Aleph--The Psalmist praises Yahweh. Psalm 9:1-2.
   a. The psalmist begins by declaring that he will give thanks to Yahweh with his whole heart and tell everyone else of Yahweh's wonderful deeds. 9:1.
   b. The psalmist will exult in Yahweh and praise his name. Here Yahweh's name is a circumlocution for Yahweh himself. 0:2.

II. Beth--The Psalmist praises Yahweh for defeating his enemies. Psalm 9:3-4.
     a. The psalmist explains that his enemies turned back, stumbled and perished before him. 9:3.
     b. The reason for this is that Yahweh has maintained the psalmist's just cause; Yahweh as king of the universe, he SAT on his heavenly throne giving righteous judgment for him and against his enemies. 9:4.

III. Gimel--The Psalmist rejoices that his enemies have vanished. Psalm 9:5-6.
      a. Continuing verses 3-4, the psalmist praises Yahweh for having rebuked the nations and destroyed his enemies and blotted out their name forever. 9:5.
      b. The wicked enemies have vanished forever, their cities have been rooted out, and the very memory of them has vanished. 9:6.

IV. He--The Psalmist praises Yahweh as Righteous King. Psalm 9:7-8.
      a. In sharp contrast to the wicked nations, Yahweh sat enthroned as king forever, and established his throne for judgment. 9:7.
      b. Yahweh constantly judges the world and the peoples with righteousness and equity. 9:8.

V. Waw [Vav]--The Psalmist declares that Yahweh protects the Oppressed. Psalm 9:9-10.
     a. Yahweh is a stronghold of the oppressed in times of trouble. 9:9.
     b. Those who know Yahweh's name, that is, have an intimate, daily, personal relationship with Yahweh, put their trust in Yahweh and in no one else, because Yahweh has never forsaken those who seek him. 9:10.

VI. Zayin--The Psalmist summons his audience to praise Yahweh. Psalm 9:11-12.
      a. The psalmist now turns to his audience, his community of faith, exhorting them to praise Yahweh, who dwells in Zion his chosen city, and declare Yahweh's deeds among the nations of the world. 9:11.
      b. Yahweh does not forget the cry of the afflicted and avenges the blood of wicked people and nations who attack God's people. 9:12.

VII. Heth--The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to be gracious to him. Psalm 9:13-14.
        a. The psalmist now turn to address Yahweh directly, asking Yahweh to be gracious to him because he has suffered from those who hate the psalmist. Yahweh has lifted up the psalmist from the gates of death, that is, the threats and dangers of his enemies. 9:13.
        b. If Yahweh will only deliver him, the psalmist declares he will recount all of Yahweh's praises and rejoice in Yahweh's deliverance in his behalf in the gates of Zion where he lives. 9:14.
VIII. Teth--The Psalmist rejoices because his enemies have been defeated. Psalm 9:15-16.
         a. The wicked nations have plotted to overthrow the psalmist and his allies, but Yahweh has made them sunk in the pit and caught in the net. 9:15.
         b. In doing this, Yahweh has revealed himself by executing judgment so that the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. 9:16.

IX. Yodh--The Psalmist declares that the wicked nations that forget Yahwehwill depart to Sheol, that is, the grave. Psalm 9:17.

X. Kaph--The Psalmist declares that Yahweh will deliver the needy and poor. Psalm 9:18-20.
     a. The psalmist confidently declares that the needy will not be forgotten, and the hope of the poor will not perish forever. 9:18.
     b. The Psalmist cries out: "Rise up, O Lord!", a common cry in the Psalter meaning "Swing into action." He beseeches Yahweh not to let mere human beings prevail but be judged before him. 9:19.
     c. The Psalmist prays that Yahweh will put the wicked nations in fear and know they are ONLY HUMAN, not gods or divine. 9:20.

XI. Lamedh--The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to protect the Poor and defeat the wicked enemies. Psalm 10:1-6.
      a. Right now, it appears that the wicked prevail. So the Psalmist asks Yahweh, Why do you stand off and hide yourself in times of trouble? 10:1.
      b. The wicked are arrogant or haughty and thus persecute the POOR. So the psalmist beseeches Yahweh to make the wicked be caught in the schemes they have devised. 10:2.
      c. The wicked boast in their desires, greedy for gain they curse and renounce Yahweh. 10:3.
      d. In their price the wicked assume that there is no God, and thus God will not seek out the sins of the wicked. 10:4.
      e. Right now, the wicked prosper in all they are planning and scoff at their enemies while Yahweh is far off to do nothing. 10:5.
      f. The wicked assume they will never be moved or face adversity. 10:6.

XII. Pe--The Psalmist describes the wicked practices of the wicked. Psalm 10:7-8.
        a. The speech of the wicked is filled with cursing, deceit, oppression, mischief, and iniquity. 10:7.
        b. The wicked sit in ambush to murder the innocent and helpless. 10:8.

XIII. `Ayin--The Psalmist continues to describe the wicked practices of the wicked. Psalm 10:9-11.
         a. The wicked lurk in secret like a lion in its den to seize the POOR and drag them off in their net. 10:9.
         b. The wicked stoop and crouch and the HELPLESS fall by the might of the wicked. 10:10.
         c. The wicked assume that Yahweh has forgotten and hidden his face and will never see the wicked deeds of these people. 10:11.

XIV. Qoph--The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to Swing into Action and overthrow the wicked. Psalm 10:12-13.
         a. As in Psalm 9:19, the psalmist beseeches Yahweh to "Rise up, O Lord!", that is, Swing into action, and not forget the OPPRESSED. 10:12.
         b. The psalmist reminds Yahweh that the wicked assume Yahweh will not call them into account because of their wicked deeds. 10:13.

XV. Resh--The Psalmist emphatically declares that Yahweh does help the needy. Psalm 10:14.
        Yahweh indeed pays attention to trouble and grief and take it into his hands. The HELPLESS commit themselves to Yahweh, and Yahweh is the helper of the ORPHAN.

XVI. Shin--The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to defeat the Wicked. Psalm 10:15-16.
         a. The Psalmist beseeches Yahweh to break the arm of the wicked and seek out their wickedness completely. 10:15.
         b. The Psalmist is confident that since Yahweh is King forever, the nations will perish from Yahweh's land. 10:16.

XVII. Tau--The Psalmist confidently declares that Yahweh will do justice to the Meek, Orphan, and Oppressed. Psalm 10:17-18.
           a. The Psalmist confidently declares that Yahweh will hear the desire of the Meek, strengthen their heart, and answer their prayers. 10:17.
           b. He continues to declare that Yahweh will do justice for the Orphan and Oppressed so that the wicked will no more strike terror on the helpless. 10:18.

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John Willis