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Chapter 52

Translation and Transliteration of 

1For the leader. A maskil of David,

la-menat-TSE-akh mas-KIL le-da-VID

אלַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ מַשְׂכִּ֥יל לְדָוִֽד׃

2when Doeg Ha'adomi came and informed Shaul, telling him, “David came to Achimelech's house.”

b'-VO do-AYG ha-a-do-MEE va-ya-GAYD l'-sha-UL va-YO-mer LO BA da-VID el BAYT a-khee-ME-lekh

בבְּב֤וֹא ׀ דּוֹאֵ֣ג הָאֲדֹמִי֮ וַיַּגֵּ֢ד לְשָׁ֫א֥וּל וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֑וֹ בָּ֥א דָ֝וִ֗ד אֶל־בֵּ֥ית אֲחִימֶֽלֶךְ׃

52:2   Doeg Ha’adomi came and informed Shaul

What is the definition of derogatory speech, known in Hebrew as lashon hara (לשון הרע)? It is often assumed that this refers to a person who makes up terrible things about someone else. That, however, is a different transgression, called ‘slander.’ The term lashon hara refers to a situation where one person harms others, intentionally or unintentionally, through true statements. A case in point is the biblical story of Doeg the Edomite, chief herdsman of King Shaul (I Samuel 22). When asked by Shaul if he knew the whereabouts of David, he replied that David is in the city of Nov, together with the High Priest Achimelech. To Shaul, it sounded like David and Achimelech were conspiring to rebel, and thus Shaul gave a directive to destroy all the priests of the city of Nov. Doeg’s misspoken words caused great sorrow, as it says in verse 4, “Your tongue devises mischief, like a sharpened razor that works treacherously.” In this psalm, David addresses a great man who falls because he used the power of his tongue inappropriately.

3Why do you boast of your evil, brave fellow? Hashem's faithfulness never ceases.

mah-tit-ha-LEL b'-ra-AH ha-gi-BOR, khe-SED el kol ha-YOM

גמַה־תִּתְהַלֵּ֣ל בְּ֭רָעָה הַגִּבּ֑וֹר חֶ֥סֶד אֵ֝֗ל כׇּל־הַיּֽוֹם׃

4Your tongue devises mischief, like a sharpened razor that works treacherously.

ha-VOT tach-SHOV le-SHO-ne-KHA k'-ta-AR me-LU-tash o-SEH re-mi-YAH

דהַ֭וּוֹת תַּחְשֹׁ֣ב לְשׁוֹנֶ֑ךָ כְּתַ֥עַר מְ֝לֻטָּ֗שׁ עֹשֵׂ֥ה רְמִיָּֽה׃

5You prefer evil to good, the lie, to speaking truthfully. Selah.

a-HAV-ta RAH mi-TOV, SHE-ker mi-da-BER tze-DEK se-LAH

האָהַ֣בְתָּ רָּ֣ע מִטּ֑וֹב שֶׁ֓קֶר ׀ מִדַּבֵּ֖ר צֶ֣דֶק סֶֽלָה׃

6You love all pernicious words, treacherous speech.

a-HAV-ta kol di-v'-REI-va-LA l'-SHON mir-MAH

ואָהַ֥בְתָּ כׇֽל־דִּבְרֵי־בָ֗לַע לְשׁ֣וֹן מִרְמָֽה׃

7So Hashem will tear you down for good, will break you and pluck you from your tent, and root you out of the land of the living. Selah.

gam-EIL yit-TOTZ-kha la-NE-tsakh yakh-T'-kha v'-yi-sa-KHA-kha me-o-HAL v'-she-RE-sh'-kha me-E-retz kha-YIM se-LAH

זגַּם־אֵל֮ יִתׇּצְךָ֢ לָ֫נֶ֥צַח יַחְתְּךָ֣ וְיִסָּחֲךָ֣ מֵאֹ֑הֶל וְשֵׁרֶשְׁךָ֨ מֵאֶ֖רֶץ חַיִּ֣ים סֶֽלָה׃

8The righteous, seeing it, will be awestruck; they will jibe at him, saying,

v'-yir-U tza-DEE-keem v'-yi-RA-u v'-a-LAV yis-KHA-khu

חוְיִרְא֖וּ צַדִּיקִ֥ים וְיִירָ֗אוּ וְעָלָ֥יו יִשְׂחָֽקוּ׃

9“Here was a fellow who did not make Hashem his refuge, but trusted in his great wealth, relied upon his mischief.”

hi-NEH ha-GE-ver lo ya-SEEM e-lo-HEEM ma-U-zo va-yi-v'-TAKH b'-ROV o-sh'-RO ya-OZ b'-ha-va-TO

טהִנֵּ֤ה הַגֶּ֗בֶר לֹ֤א יָשִׂ֥ים אֱלֹהִ֗ים מָ֫עוּזּ֥וֹ וַ֭יִּבְטַח בְּרֹ֣ב עׇשְׁר֑וֹ יָ֝עֹ֗ז בְּהַוָּתֽוֹ׃

10But I am like a thriving olive tree in Hashem's house; I trust in the faithfulness of Hashem forever and ever.

va-a-NEE, k'-ZAYT ra-a-NAN b'-BAYT e-lo-HEEM, ba-TAKH-tee b'-khe-SED e-lo-HEEM, o-LAM va-ED

יוַאֲנִ֤י ׀ כְּזַ֣יִת רַ֭עֲנָן בְּבֵ֣ית אֱלֹהִ֑ים בָּטַ֥חְתִּי בְחֶסֶד־אֱ֝לֹהִ֗ים עוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃

11I praise You forever, for You have acted; I declare that Your name is good in the presence of Your faithful ones.

o-de-KHA l'-o-LAM kee a-see-TA va-a-ka-VEH shim-KHA kee-toV NE-ged kha-see-DE-kha. (Selah)

יאאוֹדְךָ֣ לְ֭עוֹלָם כִּ֣י עָשִׂ֑יתָ וַאֲקַוֶּ֥ה שִׁמְךָ֥ כִי־ט֝֗וֹב נֶ֣גֶד חֲסִידֶֽיךָ׃