Psalm 58: The Righteous Shall Rejoice

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” Psalm 58:10, 11

A Prayer for the Punishment of the Wicked

Psalm 58, an imprecatory psalm, might have been provoked by a very strong attack on David.  David rebukes judges who pervert justice and calls on God to judge them.  The righteous can take comfort in the certainty that ultimately God will reward them while punishing their oppressors.

58:1, 2 You silent ones is a derisive term for the wicked judges.  Although they were mere humans, they were behaving as though they had divine power.  Wickedness… violence:  Instead of establishing righteousness, the wicked judges were producing havoc.  They thought they had all power in the earth.  But they would soon learn that God “judges in the earth.”

Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men? 2  No, in heart you work wickedness; You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth

58:4, 5 The effects of the wicked in powerful places are as deadly as the effects of poisonous snakes that are out of control.  The word charmers refers to those who have the ability to “control” the behavior of snakes; but in this case, not even the equivalent of charmers could control the destruction and evil that resulted from wicked people in high places.

4  Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear5  Which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever so skillfully.

58:6, 7 In 57:4, the wicked are described as having powerful teeth, as though they were carnivores, eating the righteous alive.  Here David asks God to shatter their teeth, symbolizing the destruction of the power of the wicked over the poor and defenseless.

6  Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! 7  Let them flow away as waters which run continually; When he bends his bow, Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces.

58:9 In this verse, David speaks of the uncertainty of divine judgment.  Before your pots can feel:  It takes some time for a pot to boil.  But the judgment of God will come suddenly – even before a pot would feel the heat.  As with a whirlwind:  The image speaks of sudden destruction.  As in His living and burning wrath may also be translated “As He lives, so real is His anger.”

9  Before your pots can feel the burning thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning wrath.

58:10 The destruction of the wicked brings sadness at the thought of the waste of human dreams, lives and hopes.  But there is great joy for the righteous in the recognition that the Savior King has won the victory (Rev. 19:1-21).  There is also a joy in knowing that wickedness will no longer anger the Lord of the universe.  Justice will be established forever.

10  The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, 11  So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”

** The wicked judges of the world, those with power and authority, bend the rules of the land, to profit themselves.   The world is turning into a lawless mayhem.  But let’s not lose heart.  But, remember the promise.  They will be punished by the Judge of all the judges.  The righteous shall rejoice.  Let us wait together until the joyful moment arrives.  It is thundering now.  The rain will fall soon.


58 1  To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘Do Not Destroy.’ A Michtam of David. Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men? 2  No, in heart you work wickedness; You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth. 3  The wicked are estranged from the womb; 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 cobra that stops its ear, 5  Which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever so skillfully.

6  Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! 7  Let them flow away as waters which run continually; When he bends his bow, Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces. 8  Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun. 9  Before your pots can feel the burning thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning 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 men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.”

 


* michtam No one is precisely sure what a michtam(or miktam) was, and that’s why the Hebrew word remains as a transliteration in our English Bibles. Translators didn’t know how to translate michtam, so they spelled it phonetically and called it good enough.Psalm 16 is titled “A miktam of David.” The other psalms that are called “michtams” are Psalms 56–60. All six of these are psalms of David. In Isaiah 38:9, King Hezekiah’s song is introduced with these words: “A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery.” The Hebrew word for “writing” here is miktab, which many scholars believe is related to michtam. A possibly related word to michtam is the Hebrew katham, which means “an engraving.” If the underlying meaning of michtam is “engraving,” then the songs labeled as “michtams” could have been considered of enough value to be stamped or engraved upon tablets for long-term preservation. Some scholars see the word michtam as meaning “golden,” a definition that would similarly assign great value to a song so labeled. A michtam could be “a psalm as precious as stamped gold”; if so, today’s top-selling songs that are “certified gold” could be considered “michtams” of a sort.The link between a michtam and golden worth is speculative, however. Other scholars think the word michtam is simply a technical term to guide the singer or to denote the tune to be played. In the end, we don’t know. Like the words maskilselah, and shigionothmichtam remains somewhat of a mystery in the Hebrew song book.