Chapter 109

1For the leader. Of David. A psalm. O God of my praise, do not keep aloof,

אלַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר אֱלֹהֵי תְהִלָּתִי אַל־תֶּחֱרַשׁ׃

2for the wicked and the deceitful open their mouth against me; they speak to me with lying tongue.

בכִּי פִי רָשָׁע וּפִי־מִרְמָה עָלַי פָּתָחוּ דִּבְּרוּ אִתִּי לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר׃

3They encircle me with words of hate; they attack me without cause.

גוְדִבְרֵי שִׂנְאָה סְבָבוּנִי וַיִּלָּחֲמוּנִי חִנָּם׃

4They answer my love with accusation but I am all prayer

TA-khat a-ha-va-TEE yis-t'-NU-nee va-a-NEE t'-fi-LAH

דתַּחַת־אַהֲבָתִי יִשְׂטְנוּנִי וַאֲנִי תְפִלָּה׃

 109:4   I am all prayer

Rabbi Samson R. Hirsch (1808-1888)

According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, this psalm is about evil people trying to eradicate David’s very essence. Despite the love he has shown them and the good he has done for them, they pour curses and ridicule created from lies and hatred upon him. This psalm most likely refers to the events recorded in Shmuel II 16, when David flees his kingdom to escape his son Avshalom who wants to kill him. On his way out of the city, Shim’i the son of Gera from the house of Shaul spews vile curses at him, which the king accepts with resignation. This psalm, however, begins with David turning to Hashem with a plea not to stay silent. Only God’s justice can eliminate the lies directed against David. Instead of hatred and vitriol, David says “I am all prayer.” Only through God’s inter­vention will his name be cleared.

5They repay me with evil for good, with hatred for my love.

הוַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלַי רָעָה תַּחַת טוֹבָה וְשִׂנְאָה תַּחַת אַהֲבָתִי׃

6Appoint a wicked man over him; may an accuser stand at his right side;

והַפְקֵד עָלָיו רָשָׁע וְשָׂטָן יַעֲמֹד עַל־יְמִינוֹ׃

7may he be tried and convicted; may he be judged and found guilty.

זבְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ יֵצֵא רָשָׁע וּתְפִלָּתוֹ תִּהְיֶה לַחֲטָאָה׃

8May his days be few; may another take over his position.

חיִהְיוּ־יָמָיו מְעַטִּים פְּקֻדָּתוֹ יִקַּח אַחֵר׃

9May his children be orphans, his wife a widow.

טיִהְיוּ־בָנָיו יְתוֹמִים וְאִשְׁתּוֹ אַלְמָנָה׃

10May his children wander from their hovels, begging in search of [bread].

יוְנוֹעַ יָנוּעוּ בָנָיו וְשִׁאֵלוּ וְדָרְשׁוּ מֵחָרְבוֹתֵיהֶם׃

11May his creditor seize all his possessions; may strangers plunder his wealth.

יאיְנַקֵּשׁ נוֹשֶׁה לְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ וְיָבֹזּוּ זָרִים יְגִיעוֹ׃

12May no one show him mercy; may none pity his orphans;

יבאַל־יְהִי־לוֹ מֹשֵׁךְ חָסֶד וְאַל־יְהִי חוֹנֵן לִיתוֹמָיו׃

13may his posterity be cut off; may their names be blotted out in the next generation.

יגיְהִי־אַחֲרִיתוֹ לְהַכְרִית בְּדוֹר אַחֵר יִמַּח שְׁמָם׃

14May Hashem be ever mindful of his father's iniquity, and may the sin of his mother not be blotted out.

ידיִזָּכֵר עֲוׂן אֲבֹתָיו אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְחַטַּאת אִמּוֹ אַל־תִּמָּח׃

15May Hashem be aware of them always and cause their names to be cut off from the earth,

טויִהְיוּ נֶגֶד־יְהֹוָה תָּמִיד וְיַכְרֵת מֵאֶרֶץ זִכְרָם׃

16because he was not minded to act kindly, and hounded to death the poor and needy man, one crushed in spirit.

טזיַעַן אֲשֶׁר לֹא זָכַר עֲשׂוֹת חָסֶד וַיִּרְדֹּף אִישׁ־עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן וְנִכְאֵה לֵבָב לְמוֹתֵת׃

17He loved to curse—may a curse come upon him! He would not bless—may blessing be far from him!

יזוַיֶּאֱהַב קְלָלָה וַתְּבוֹאֵהוּ וְלֹא־חָפֵץ בִּבְרָכָה וַתִּרְחַק מִמֶּנּוּ׃

18May he be clothed in a curse like a garment, may it enter his body like water, his bones like oil.

יחוַיִּלְבַּשׁ קְלָלָה כְּמַדּוֹ וַתָּבֹא כַמַּיִם בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְכַשֶּׁמֶן בְּעַצְמוֹתָיו׃

19Let it be like the cloak he wraps around him, like the belt he always wears.

יטתְּהִי־לוֹ כְּבֶגֶד יַעְטֶה וּלְמֵזַח תָּמִיד יַחְגְּרֶהָ׃

20May Hashem thus repay my accusers, all those who speak evil against me.

כזֹאת פְּעֻלַּת שֹׂטְנַי מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה וְהַדֹּבְרִים רָע עַל־נַפְשִׁי׃

21Now You, O Hashem, my Lord, act on my behalf as befits Your name. Good and faithful as You are, save me.

כאוְאַתָּה יְהוִה אֲדֹנָי עֲ‍שֵׂה־אִתִּי לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ כִּי־טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ הַצִּילֵנִי׃

22For I am poor and needy, and my heart is pierced within me.

כבכִּי־עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן אָנֹכִי וְלִבִּי חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי׃

23I fade away like a lengthening shadow; I am shaken off like locusts.

כגכְּצֵל־כִּנְטוֹתוֹ נֶהֱלָכְתִּי נִנְעַרְתִּי כָּאַרְבֶּה׃

24My knees give way from fasting; my flesh is lean, has lost its fat.

כדבִּרְכַּי כָּשְׁלוּ מִצּוֹם וּבְשָׂרִי כָּחַשׁ מִשָּׁמֶן׃

25I am the object of their scorn; when they see me, they shake their head.

כהוַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי חֶרְפָּה לָהֶם יִרְאוּנִי יְנִיעוּן רֹאשָׁם׃

26Help me, Hashem, my God; save me in accord with Your faithfulness,

כועָזְרֵנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי כְחַסְדֶּךָ׃

27that men may know that it is Your hand, that You, Hashem, have done it.

כזוְיֵדְעוּ כִּי־יָדְךָ זֹּאת אַתָּה יְהֹוָה עֲשִׂיתָהּ׃

28Let them curse, but You bless; let them rise up, but come to grief, while Your servant rejoices.

כחיְקַלְלוּ־הֵמָּה וְאַתָּה תְבָרֵךְ קָמוּ וַיֵּבֹשׁוּ וְעַבְדְּךָ יִשְׂמָח׃

29My accusers shall be clothed in shame, wrapped in their disgrace as in a robe.

כטיִלְבְּשׁוּ שׂוֹטְנַי כְּלִמָּה וְיַעֲטוּ כַמְעִיל בָּשְׁתָּם׃

30My mouth shall sing much praise to Hashem; I will acclaim Him in the midst of a throng,

לאוֹדֶה יְהֹוָה מְאֹד בְּפִי וּבְתוֹךְ רַבִּים אֲהַלְלֶנּוּ׃

31because He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who would condemn him.

לאכִּי־יַעֲמֹד לִימִין אֶבְיוֹן לְהוֹשִׁיעַ מִשֹּׁפְטֵי נַפְשׁוֹ׃