5 “Let the godly strike me!
It will be a kindness!
If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.
Don’t let me refuse it.
But I pray constantly
against the wicked and their deeds.
6 When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,
the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.
7 Like rocks brought up by a plow,
the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.[a]
- Psalm 141:7 Hebrew scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
These are great verses for the humble, and challenging ones for the interpretive acumen of the translator. Verses 6-7 typically leave them scratching their collective heads. And I admit that I like it that way. I do not need complete answers anymore.
The style of these verses is what we call, “imprecatory.” That word is defined at dictionary.com as follows,
Synonyms: anathematize, be foul-mouthed, bedamn,blaspheme, cuss, damn*, execrate, flame*, takename in vain, talk dirty, use bad language, utter profanity
Scan through this and see exactly how intense this word really is defined. There are several psalms that are written in this manner. On a personal note, I’ve learned to apply them not to physical enemies, but the spiritual ones. The New Testament does both actually. But more I suppose, it concerns us in our war with Satan and evil. (But I’m sure you can sort this out.)
V. 5, I have been rebuked by the best of them! And I admit that I have almost always had to make a very quick ”adjustment.” It’s like I had to “flip a switch” in my heart to listen to correction and receive the words. Every believer has a need to be corrected reasonably often.
“If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace;
if you accept correction, you will be honored.” Proverbs 13:19
David has a therapeutic sense about this in v. 5. He makes his own adjustment to rebuke knowing it will heal his soul. If you think you can avoid this you will walk in a crunchy and complete error. I was once rebuked by an 80 year old saintly woman, and she didn’t say a thing. Her actions alone pointed me to Jesus.
“Don’t let me refuse it.” David knows that he doesn’t need to receive it, but he wants God to act to make him willing. When we can’t will, we can ask to be made willing. There is a common proverb– “Let who rebukes me have rings on her fingers.”
V.5, continues, “But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds.” I really thing their is a proactive (almost aggressive) attitude toward all who do evil and do dark things. (I wonder if praying like this does something inside of us?) You might say that David separates himself, putting a distance from himself and wickedness.
Vv. 6-7, O.K. These are the “toughies.” The picture is the enemies of God, men who led all the others to be thrown off a high wall. In 2 Kings 9:33 we read of Queen Jezebel being hurled off a wall to her death. Same word, exactly. I believe that this was the standard way of killing the leaders off. Their crimes were brutal, because of their influence over others. Sin was distinguished, and death had to be public and “meaningful.”
- More Milk and the Meat is Still Tender- A Little About Hell (revdavidsbiblestudybiblebootcamp.wordpress.com)
- Fully Known: Psalm 139:1-6, NLT (psalmslife.com)
- Pray Those Imprecatory Psalms! (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)