Good Words and Bad Words

Psalm 12

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 12

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said "What I tell you is true". (John 8:45)

Psalm 12

  (This is) a song of David.
  (Tell the) music leader to use male singers.

v1   LORD, give help!
  There are no more kind people.
  Nobody is faithful anywhere.

v2   Everybody tells lies to his neighbour.
  Their words sound good, but they are not.

v3   LORD, cut off every tongue that tells lies.
  Shut every mouth that boasts.

v4   Do this to everyone that says:
   what we say will make us powerful
   we will say what we like
   who will stop us?

v5   The LORD says, "Now I will do something.
  This is because bad people attack the poor.
  They make the poor cry.
  So, I will make the poor safe.
  They will be safe from all that scorn them"

v6   The words of the LORD are beautiful words.
  They are like silver.
  People refine silver 7 times in a very hot fire.

v7   LORD, you will keep the poor safe.
  You will never let bad people hurt them.

v8   The godless are winners
  when people say that "Wrong is right".

Word list

faithful ~ someone that keeps their promises to people

silver ~ a metal that is of great value

refine ~ make very clean

The Story of Psalm 12

People said bad things about David. David thought that everyone was saying bad things. We do not know when that was. Perhaps it was:

    when David lived with Saul. After David killed Goliath he went to live with Saul. When Saul was sad, David made music. This made Saul happy again. But some people did not like it. They were not happy that Saul liked David. They said bad things about David.

    when David ran away from Saul. He went to live in the woods and fields and mountains. Again, people said bad things about David.

David prayed to God. He told God what people were saying. David heard the answer from the LORD. We do not know how he heard it. But David did write it down. This made David a prophet. This was because David told people what God said. That is what a prophet does.

Verse 1: "kind people" here means people who:

    love God, and

    do good things

Verse 2: David says, "People do not mean what they say". They tell King Saul one thing, but mean something else.

Verse 4: "who will stop us" is "who is lord over us" in Hebrew. A lord is a very powerful person. The bad people think that nobody is more powerful than them. But they are wrong. God is more powerful.

Verse 5: "safe" here and "help" in Psalm 12:1 are the same word in Hebrew. It is the Hebrew word that we get our word Jesus from.

Verse 6: Men find silver in the ground. It is dirty. People make it clean with fire. It is then very beautiful and of great value. David is saying that God's words are also like this.

What is a prophet?

A prophet does two things:

    he tells people what God is saying about something

    he tells people what God is going to do in the future

There are many prophets in the Bible. The Bible has two parts. The first part is the Old Testament. It tells us what happened before Jesus came to earth. The second part is the New Testament. It tells us what happened after Jesus came to earth. There are prophets in both parts.

In the Old Testament there are 16 books by prophets. Some are long, like Isaiah. Others are short, like Haggai. Some of the other books also tell us what prophets said. A good example is Psalms. The New Testament tells us that David was a great prophet. Moses was also a prophet.

In Psalm 12:5 David speaks as a prophet. He tells people what God will do. David does not say when God will do it. This happens with all the prophets. We are not sure when their prophecies will happen! (A prophecy is what prophets say.)

There are prophets in the New Testament. John the Baptist was a prophet. He told people about Jesus. Agabus was a prophet. He said what would happen to Paul. The Holy Spirit made many Christians prophets. The Holy Spirit is another name for God.

There are prophets in the Church today. They tell us what God is saying about our world. These prophets are God's gift to the Church.

Something to do

    talk about this with your friends: bad people win when good people do nothing. Is it true?

    look for prophets in your own Church. Ask God about what they are saying. Is it true?


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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