The English Bible is a secondary source for Bible study. Originally, the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The overall purpose of these posts is to encourage the study of the Bible in the biblical languages. Copyright, Dennis O. Wretlind, 2013.
NASB (The Hebrew Bible includes a one verse
superscription that is not part of the Psalm proper. Therefore, the numbering
in the Hebrew Bible is one verse ahead of the English Bibles.For convenience, the following discussion
will follow the English verse numbers.)
1Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
Preserve my life from dread of the
2 Hide me from the secret counsel of
From the tumult of those who do
3 Who have sharpened their tongue like a
They aimed bitter speech as their
4 To shoot from concealment at the
Suddenly they shoot at him, and do not
5 They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose;
They talk of laying snares secretly;
“Who can see them?”
6 They devise injustices, saying,
“We are ready with a well-conceived
For the inward thought and the heart
of a man are deep.
7 But God will shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they will be wounded.
8 So they will make him stumble;
Their own tongue is against them;
All who see them will shake the head.
9 Then all men will fear,
And they will declare the work of God,
And will consider what He has done.
The righteous man will be glad in the
LORD and will
take refuge in Him;
And all the upright in heart will
of the Metric Center on the Psalm’s Development
Psalm 64, a Lament of the Individual
(Westermann, The Psalms, 55), typically includes the following
Lament (“I,” “they,” “You” elements)
Expression of Confidence
As with all Psalms, however, the typical
pattern gives priority to the situation in life. Psalm 64 develops in
Lament (“they” only), 3-6
Expressions of Confidence, 7-9
Psalmist begins with the petitions concerned with his own safety. The reason
for his fears lies in the rather extensive descriptions of the adversaries
including their arrogant sense of security (v.5, “Who can see them?”),
their consummate planning (v.6a), and the depth of their wicked soul (v.6b).
His confidence, however, arises as he expresses assurances that God will act on
his behalf (v.7), that the wicked will reap the effects of their sins upon
themselves (v.8), and that God’s actions willbecome evident to all (v. 9). The psalm concludes with a declaration of
praise for Yahweh’s deliverance (v.10).
metric center of the psalm (5b) records the hubris of the opponents—they can do
what they want because no one sees them ("them" refers to the speakers, the snares, or both), an
attitude that stems from deep within their evil heart. Tate argues that verse 6b
equals the pivotal expression in the psalm, “The inward nature and the human
heart—how deep they are!” (Tate, Psalms,
132). One can
agree with Tate that this equates to the theological
center of the psalm but the
metric center is the outward, arrogant expression
of that inward state.
The connections between the verses preceding
the center and those following are numerous and tie the psalm into a coherent
2, 9—The works (פּעלי) of the wicked and the work (פּעל) of God
3, 7—The arrow of the wicked (חץ) and the arrow
(חץ) of God
3, 8—The tongue (לשֹׁון) of the wicked
5, 7—The sudden (פּתאם) shooting (ירה) of an arrow by the wicked and by God
The overall message of the psalm highlights the
psalmist’s anxieties over the cutting, secretive speech and hidden plots of the
wicked (verses 1-6), the activity of God in response to the arrogant (verses
7-9), and praise of Yahweh by the “upright in heart” (verse 10).