Psalm 35

35:0David may have written this:

– Either when Saul was trying to catch him

– Or when David's son Absalom was fighting him

Saul was king of Israel before David. Absalom was David's son, who wanted to be king in David's place. In the psalm, David asks God to fight for him. He asks God to take Saul (or Absalom) away from the earth. To us the language is not very nice, but they would not think this 3,000 years ago. It is the language of war.

War is when countries fight each other. David sees God as a soldier, fighting for him with shields and spears. This is what we call a ‘human picture’ of God. We believe that God sends people or angels to do his work for him. In the psalm the angel is probably one that the Jews called Michael.

The important thing to learn from this psalm is this: David does not try to kill his enemies himself. He wants God to do it in God's way. When we have enemies, we must ask God to do something. We must not try to hurt them ourselves. Look at Psalm 5.

God Help Me

This is for David.

1 Lord, argue with those people that are arguing with me.

Fight against those people that are fighting against me.

2 Pick up a small shield and a big one.

Get up and give me help.

3 Pull out a small spear and a long one.

Use them against the people that are running after me.

Say to me. ‘I will make you safe.’

4 Some people want to kill me.

I hope that they will become ashamed.

I hope that everyone else will think that they are very bad.

Some people are planning to destroy me.

Turn them back and confuse them.

5 Make them become like chaff in the wind.

Let the angel of the Lord send them away.

6 Make their way dark and dangerous.

Let the angel of the Lord be unkind to them.

7 Do this because they hid a trap for me.

There was no reason for it.

For no reason they dug a hole to catch me.

8 Surprise him and destroy him!

Catch him in the trap that he hid! Let him die in his own deep hole!

9 Then I will be pleased because of what the Lord has done.

I will be happy when the Lord has made me safe.

10 All my bones will shout, ‘Lord who is like you?

You take the poor man away from the man that is too strong for him.

You take the people that need help away from those that hurt them.’

35:10Verses 1-10

What did David do wrong? Nothing (verse 7)

What did David's enemies do? They wanted to kill him (verse 4)

What will David do when God sends help? He will be very happy (verses 9-10)

‘All my bones’ means ‘all of me’ (verse 10).

11 People say that they saw me do bad things.

They asked me about it, but I knew nothing.

12 They paid me evil for the good things that I did.

I felt as if my children had died.

13 When they were ill I wore clothes made from sackcloth.

I hurt myself by not eating food.

My prayer came back to my own breast.

35:13Verse 13: we are not sure what ‘my prayer comes back’ means; there are 2 ways to explain it: either God did, or did not, answer David.

14 I cried when I walked about. I became bent because I was so sad.

I lived as though my friend or my brother or even my mother was ill.

15 But when I fell down they laughed.

They all met together. They came together against me.

I did not know the people that were attacking me.

They would not stop hurting me.

16 They were like godless people and they mocked me more and more.

They showed their teeth like a wild animal.

17 Lord, how long will you watch this?

Take me away from the people that are destroying me.

Save the thing that I love most from the lions.

35:17Verse 17: ‘the thing that I love most’ is probably ‘my life.’

18 I will thank you in the great meeting.

I will praise you when all the people are together.

35:18Verses 11-18

What did David do wrong? Nothing (verses 12-14)

What did David's enemies do? They mocked him, and did evil things to him (verses 12, 15-16)

What will David do when God sends help? Thank and praise God (verse 18)

19 Do not let my enemies laugh at me.

They hate me, but have no reason for it.

Do not let them wink at me with their eye.

20 They do not talk about peace.

They say false things about people who want peace in the land.

21 They open wide their mouth against me.

They say, ‘Aha! Aha! Our eyes saw it!’

22 Lord, you have seen it too.

Lord do not remain silent. Do not stay far from me.

23 Wake up! Get up and give me justice!

Argue for me against them, my Lord and my God.

24 Lord, you are righteous.

Give me justice, my God. Do not let them laugh at me.

25 Do not let them think in their heart, ‘Aha this is what we wanted.’

Do not let them say, ‘We have eaten him up!’

26 Do this to them that laughed at me when I became hurt:

· make them ashamed and confused at the same time,

· make them sorry that they said that they were greater than me,

· make them feel that they are wearing disgrace like clothes.

27 Other people will be very happy when you say that I am righteous.

They will shout out in their pleasure.

They will always say, ‘The Lord is great!

He loves it when his servant has peace!’

28 My mouth will say that you are righteous.

I will praise you all day long.

35:28Verses 19-28

What did David do wrong? Nothing (verse 19)

What did David's enemies do? They say lies (verses 20-21)

What will David do when God sends help? Praise God all day (verse 28)

Some of the ideas are a bit strange to us, but they are how the Jews thought.