Words *Like *Arrows

Psalm 64

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 64


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Simeon said to Mary, "Look, this child (Jesus) is here so that many in Israel will fall down and then rise up again. And many people will say bad things about him. Yes, and a *sword will cut into your *soul also". (Luke 2:34, 35)

(Our *soul is the part of us that will live on when our body dies. It feels sad or happy when things are bad or good.)

Psalm 64

  (This is) for the music leader.
(It is) a psalm of David.

v1, v2   God, hear my voice as I tell you my troubles. (Then):
  ·   you will make me safe from the enemy that I am afraid of
  ·   you will hide me from the secret ideas of bad people
  ·   you will keep me from *noisy crowds of *evil people.

v3 - v6   (These *evil people):
  ·   make their *tongues sharp *like *swords
  ·   shoot words that hurt *like *arrows

(v4)  ·   shoot from secret places at good people
  ·   shoot when people do not think it will happen

(v5)  ·   are not afraid (when they have done it)
  ·   will not change their *evil ideas
  ·   talk about hiding *traps and say, "Who will see them?"

(v6)  ·   say "Who will find out the *crimes that we have done?"
  ·   say "We have made a plan that nobody will discover!"
  What men think in their *hearts is very deep.

v7   But God will shoot an *arrow at them when they do not think it will happen.
  It will hurt them a lot.

v8   Really, they will destroy themselves with their *tongues!
  All the people that see it will *shake their heads.

v9   Everyone will be afraid and talk about what God has done.
  They will understand what has happened.

v10   Good people will be very happy with the *LORD.
  They will *trust in him.
  Everybody with an honest *heart will *praise (God)!

 The Story of Psalm 64

People were saying bad things about King David. The things that they said hurt David inside as *arrows and *swords would hurt his body. *Arrows and *swords were what people used then to kill their enemies. Their words were *like *arrows and *swords. They hurt his *soul or spirit. We use ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ for words to describe the part of us that lives when our bodies die. So David told God about his troubles. He said what these bad people were doing. At the end of the psalm he said what God would do. This would make good people be very happy, and *trust God and *praise him. "Trust" means "believe that God would do good things for them".

What Psalm 64 means

Verses 1 and 2: David tells God to "hear my voice". In Hebrew, the word "hear" also means "listen and do something". Because David thought this, he then said what God would do. He would make David safe from the bad people. David was afraid of these people until he prayed to God. After that, he waited for God to shoot back! (See verse 7.)

Some translations leave out the "you will" in verses 1b and 2 but we translate what the Hebrew Bible says.

Verses 3 – 6: David gives us a picture of the bad men. They hide so nobody can see them. They shoot *arrows at people to hurt them. They think that nobody will ever find out what they have done. They did not shoot real *arrows.

"Very deep" at the end of verse 6 probably means "hard to understand". Bible students are not sure if *evil people or David said it. The bad words that they said about David and his friends were *like *arrows that hurt him. But they made sure that nobody knew who said these hurting things! Some translations have "Who will see us" in verse 5. The Hebrew has "Who will see them", meaning the *traps they had hidden to catch good men in.

Verses 7 – 10: Again, shooting with a bow and *arrow is only a picture. We must not think of God shooting these *evil men with his bow and *arrow! Just as their *arrows are words, so God’s *arrows are words. But because God is so powerful, what God says will happen. He does not need *arrows. As Luke said about Jesus, "His word was with power" (Luke 4:32). The Hebrew word in verse 10 is not "good people" but "*righteous people". They are the people that love, serve and obey God. You can read about what "righteous" means after Psalm 5.

Something to do

Think about the Simeon's words at the top of the psalm. Because people wanted to hurt Jesus, they would hurt Mary his mother too. And because people could not hurt God, they hurt his servant David instead!

Word list

arrow ~ stick with a sharp point at the end, shot by a bow.

crime ~ breaking the rules of a country.

evil ~ very very bad people (or the things that they do).

heart ~ part of our body; the Jews thought that you used your *heart to think; so to know it "in your heart" or "by heart" means that you remember it.

like ~ another word for "as".

LORD ~ a special name for God; only his people use it (look after Psalm 25).

noisy ~ making a lot of noise, not very quiet.

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

righteous ~ very very good; only God is very righteous (or has righteousness); doing what is right.

righteousness ~ being very good.

shake ~ move something one way then another quickly.

soul/spirit ~ the part of us that lives on after our bodies die.

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

tongue ~ the bit in the mouth that speaks or tastes.

trap ~ something that you use to catch an animal or bird.

trust ~ (noun, or being something) believing that someone will help.

trust ~ (verb, or doing something) believe that someone will help.


© 2000-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

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

July 2001

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