Chapter 140

1For the leader. A psalm of David.

אלַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד׃

2Rescue me, Hashem, from evil men; save me from the lawless,

kha-l'-TZAY-nee a-do-NAI may-a-DAM RA may-EESH kha-ma-SEEM tin-tz'-RAY-nee

בחַלְּצֵנִי יְהֹוָה מֵאָדָם רָע מֵאִישׁ חֲמָסִים תִּנְצְרֵנִי׃

 140:2   Rescue me, Hashem, from evil men

This psalm is about evil men and their wicked plans. There are many terms for evil, but here the psalmist chooses a specific word, chamas (חמס), referring to a specific type of wickedness described elsewhere in the Bible. When, in the incipient stages of civilization, the generation of Noach began to cheat, steal, deceive and act with total corruption, the Bible laments that God saw chamas in the land (Genesis 6:11). Later, in the days of Yona, the people of Nineveh are also described as engaging in chamas (Jonah 3:8). The specific crimes described as “chamas” are particularly insidious, as they undermine the very framework of society. Here, as David lashes out at the depraved ones who wish to destroy him, he speaks about men of chamas with evil in their hearts, who constantly stir up violence. They use traps and speak with forked tongues. David asks Hashem to save him and all the innocents from these devious minds, and curses the evil men to fall into their own vicious traps and be torn asunder. Ultimately, David concludes that the righteous ones will acknowledge God’s great name and merit the presence of the Almighty.

3whose minds are full of evil schemes, who plot war every day.

גאֲשֶׁר חָשְׁבוּ רָעוֹת בְּלֵב כָּל־יוֹם יָגוּרוּ מִלְחָמוֹת׃

4They sharpen their tongues like serpents; spiders' poison is on their lips. Selah.

דשָׁנֲנוּ לְשׁוֹנָם כְּמוֹ־נָחָשׁ חֲמַת עַכְשׁוּב תַּחַת שְׂפָתֵימוֹ סֶלָה׃

5Hashem, keep me out of the clutches of the wicked; save me from lawless men who scheme to make me fall.

השָׁמְרֵנִי יְהֹוָה מִידֵי רָשָׁע מֵאִישׁ חֲמָסִים תִּנְצְרֵנִי אֲשֶׁר חָשְׁבוּ לִדְחוֹת פְּעָמָי׃

6Arrogant men laid traps with ropes for me; they spread out a net along the way; they set snares for me. Selah.

וטָמְנוּ־גֵאִים פַּח לִי וַחֲבָלִים פָּרְשׂוּ רֶשֶׁת לְיַד־מַעְגָּל מֹקְשִׁים שָׁתוּ־לִי סֶלָה׃

7I said to Hashem: You are my God; give ear, Hashem, to my pleas for mercy.

זאָמַרְתִּי לַיהֹוָה אֵלִי אָתָּה הַאֲזִינָה יְהֹוָה קוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי׃

8O Hashem, my Lord, the strength of my deliverance, You protected my head on the day of battle.

חיְהֹוִה אֲדֹנָי עֹז יְשׁוּעָתִי סַכֹּתָה לְרֹאשִׁי בְּיוֹם נָשֶׁק׃

9Hashem, do not grant the desires of the wicked; do not let their plan succeed, else they be exalted. Selah.

טאַל־תִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה מַאֲוַיֵּי רָשָׁע זְמָמוֹ אַל־תָּפֵק יָרוּמוּ סֶלָה׃

10May the heads of those who beset me be covered with the mischief of their lips.

ירֹאשׁ מְסִבָּי עֲמַל שְׂפָתֵימוֹ יכסומו [יְכַסֵּמוֹ׃]

11may coals of fire drop down upon them, and they be cast into pits, never to rise again.

יאימיטו [יִמּוֹטוּ] עֲלֵיהֶם גֶּחָלִים בָּאֵשׁ יַפִּלֵם בְּמַהֲמֹרוֹת בַּל־יָקוּמוּ׃

12Let slanderers have no place in the land; let the evil of the lawless man drive him into corrals.

יבאִישׁ לָשׁוֹן בַּל־יִכּוֹן בָּאָרֶץ אִישׁ־חָמָס רָע יְצוּדֶנּוּ לְמַדְחֵפֹת׃

13I know that Hashem will Champion the cause of the poor, the right of the needy.

יגידעת [יָדַעְתִּי] כִּי־יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה דִּין עָנִי מִשְׁפַּט אֶבְיֹנִים׃

14Righteous men shall surely praise Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.

ידאַךְ צַדִּיקִים יוֹדוּ לִשְׁמֶךָ יֵשְׁבוּ יְשָׁרִים אֶת־פָּנֶיךָ׃