1 [To the Chief Musician. Al-taschith. Michtam of David.] Do you indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?
2 Indeed, in heart you work wickedness. You weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked are estranged from their birth. They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent. They are like the deaf adder that stops her ear,
5 Which will not listen to the voice of charmers, charming ever so wisely.
6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth. Break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually. When he bends his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as though they were cut off.
8 As a snail which melts, let every one of them pass away like the untimely birth of a woman so that they may not see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,
11 So that a man shall say, "Truly there is a reward for the righteous. Truly he is a God who judges in the earth."
John Calvin's Chapter Summary:
The following psalm consists of two parts. In the commencement, David vindicates his personal integrity from the calumnies cast upon him by his enemies. Having expressed his sense of the grievous injuries which they had inflicted, their cruelty and their treachery, he concludes by an appeal to the judgment of God, and by praying that they might be visited with deserved destruction.
[v.9a] - "feel the thorns" - From Matthew Poole's Commentary: "That is, the heat of the fire kindled by the thorns put under them for that purpose; before your pots can be thoroughly heated." In this verse, the thorns are being used as fuel for the fire which will be used for heating the pots. From Charles Spurgeon's Treasury of David: "So sudden is the overthrow of the wicked, so great a failure is their life, that they never see joy. Their pot is put upon the hook to prepare a feast of joy, and the fuel is placed beneath, but before the thorns are lit, before any heat can be brought to bear upon the pot, yea, even as soon as the fuel has touched the cooking vessel, a storm comes and sweeps all away; the pot is overturned, the fuel is scattered far and wide. Perhaps the figure may suppose the thorns, which are the fuel, to be kindled, and then the flame is so rapid that before any heat can be produced the fire is out, the meat remains raw, the man is disappointed, his work is altogether a failure."
[v.9b] - "both living, and in his wrath" - This has been rendered in several ways. ASV: "the green and the burning alike." Young's Literal Translation: "As well the raw as the heated." Septuagint: "as living, as in his wrath."