Prayer for rotten leaders
Mighty leaders, dirty hands
Note to music leader: To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” An enlightening psalm of David.1Well hello, mighty leaders.
You talk a good talk about justice.
But do you live it, or just talk it?
2Nothing good goes on inside your head.
Your dirty hands do nothing but break the law.
Born rotten3People that evil were born rotten.
Those liars went bad the day they took a breath.
4They are as toxic as a venomous snake.
They’re a cobra, not interested in listening.
5Not open to the voice of the snake charmers,
Or the sounds of someone spinning a spell.
Knock their teeth out, God6God, smash the teeth
Right outta their mouths.
LORD, Snap the fangs
Off those beastly lions.
7Drain them out of here
Like runoff water.
When they let their arrows fly,
Let them fly without their tips.
8Let these people die slowly
Like snails dissolving into slime.
Or take them quickly, like a child born dead.
Don’t even let them see the sunrise.
9Faster than a pot
Feels the heat of a thornbush fire,
May God sweep them out
In a whirlwind.
Sweet justice10Good people will celebrate
When they see the justice of vengeance.
God will wash his feet
In the blood of the wicked.
11Then the world will say,
“There is a reward for good people.
There is a God who judges,
And who brings justice to the earth.”
It’s unclear what the Hebrew phrase means. It could also mean “don’t let it destroy.” Some speculate that the phrase “do not destroy” was a popular saying that grew out of other Old Testament texts: David said it in 1 Samuel 26:9; Moses in Deuteronomy 9:26. It could also refer to mutilation or defacing or to violating a person.
“An enlightening psalm” is a guess. The original Hebrew word is maskil (mass-KEEL). Scholars say they aren’t sure what it means. They say they don’t even know if the word refers to the lyrics or the music. Maskil sounds a bit like another Hebrew word, askilkha, which means “let me enlighten you.” Some scholars associate maskil with a root word, sakal, which generates a lot of words with various meanings such as: thoughtful, instructive, wise, and proper. One theory is that the word relates to both lyrics and music. It could, for example, describe the lyrics as “thoughtful” and the music as a harmony fit for that theme.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.