Psalm 12

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director; according to the sheminith style; a psalm of David.

1 Deliver, Lord! For the godly have disappeared; people of integrity have vanished.

2 People lie to one another; they flatter and deceive.

Lies, here, are more accurately ’emptiness’, a term which embraces falsehood but also its fringe of the insincere and irresponsible, which cheapen and corrode all human intercourse.1

3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that boasts!

4 They say, “We speak persuasively; we know how to flatter and boast. Who is our master?”

The imagined words of the wicked (v 5[4]) indicate the power within their grasp through the mastery of speech (cf. Jas 3:6–12), but their ultimate crime was that of hubris: Who will be our master?—and they believed the answer to be “No one”! The pride within them came forth in arrogant speech; refusing to acknowledge the mastery of God, they oppressed with their tongues the servants of God. So the psalmist prays that such speech be terminated (v 4[3]).2

5 “Because of the violence done to the oppressed, because of the painful cries of the needy, I will spring into action,” says the Lord. “I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”

6 The Lord’s words are absolutely reliable. They are as untainted as silver purified in a furnace on the ground, where it is thoroughly refined.

The Lord’s words are contrasted with the words of humans from vv. 1-4.

7 You, Lord, will protect them; you will continually shelter each one from these evil people,

The psalmist’s confidence is due to the reliability of God’s words, not because of a change in his circumstances.

8 for the wicked seem to be everywhere, when people promote evil.


Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.

  1. Kidner 2008, p. 92 
  2. Craigie 2004, p. 138 

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