Psalm 10: a desperate request for punishing the unjust
Psalm 10 is a desperate plea to God to listen to the poor who suffer and protect them, and to punish the wicked and unjust. The psalmist begs for divine justice, for he can no longer suffer.
Psalm 10: a desperate request for divine justice
Read the sacred words with great faith and attention:
“ 1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King forever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.”
Interpretation of psalm 10
Originally, Psalm 10 was part of Psalm 9, both were a letter only from the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Psalm 10 reiterates the desires of justice and asks God to punish the wicked enemies who harm the poor and faithful. This psalm has a more desperate, urgent and alarmed tone than the 9th.
In this first verse, the psalmist questions the inaction of the Lord, seeing that the wicked are harming good and honest men and has done nothing to punish them.
Verse 2 and 3
He shows God the action of the wicked, who persecute the poor with snares and then boast over their ability to catch them, like a raptor preying on a prey. And the worst: still curses the Lord. The psalmist is moved to think how God can see this and not have acted yet.
Verse 4 to 6
Here he speaks of the pride of the wicked. He says that they are so proud that they do not accept God, that they deny His existence. That they believe that they are above everything and everyone, treating their adversaries with contempt. The wicked consider themselves superior, saying that they will never be shaken and never went through difficulties.
With this verse he shows how the wicked use dirty words, oppress, deceive, speak phrases full of wickedness, malice and iniquity.
Verses 8 to 10
In this passage, he chronicles the strategy of the wicked against the poor like that of a savage beast, which hides itself, lurks, and picks up helpless innocents and kills them. He compares the wicked to a lion, who ambushes in a hidden place, which uses its claws to slaughter them.
Verses 11 to 14
In these verses the psalmist shows how the wicked believe that God does not see what they are doing, that He has covered his face. Therefore he asks God to stand up and judge them, to look upon the needy and do not let the blasphemies that are happening be prolonged. The psalmist also asked God to not forget the orphans who count on Him without ever doubting.
Verses 15 and 16
The psalmist’s request for justice intensifies, he asks that God be severe and punishes the wickedness that is being done by the ungodly.
Verses 17 and 18
In the last verses of Psalm 10 the psalmist calms down, relies on the Lord’s intervention again; he knows that He will come and comfort the hearts of the righteous who suffer. He awaits the righteousness of God longing for days without terror.
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