1 For the leader. Of David. A psalm. O God of my praise, do not keep aloof,
א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר אֱלֹהֵי תְהִלָּתִי אַל־תֶּחֱרַשׁ׃
2 for the wicked and the deceitful open their mouth against me; they speak to me with lying tongue.
ב כִּי פִי רָשָׁע וּפִי־מִרְמָה עָלַי פָּתָחוּ דִּבְּרוּ אִתִּי לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר׃
3 They encircle me with words of hate; they attack me without cause.
ג וְדִבְרֵי שִׂנְאָה סְבָבוּנִי וַיִּלָּחֲמוּנִי חִנָּם׃
4 They 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
ד תַּחַת־אַהֲבָתִי יִשְׂטְנוּנִי וַאֲנִי תְפִלָּה׃
109:4 I am all prayer
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.1 comment
5 They repay me with evil for good, with hatred for my love.
ה וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלַי רָעָה תַּחַת טוֹבָה וְשִׂנְאָה תַּחַת אַהֲבָתִי׃
6 Appoint a wicked man over him; may an accuser stand at his right side;
ו הַפְקֵד עָלָיו רָשָׁע וְשָׂטָן יַעֲמֹד עַל־יְמִינוֹ׃
7 may he be tried and convicted; may he be judged and found guilty.
ז בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ יֵצֵא רָשָׁע וּתְפִלָּתוֹ תִּהְיֶה לַחֲטָאָה׃
8 May his days be few; may another take over his position.
ח יִהְיוּ־יָמָיו מְעַטִּים פְּקֻדָּתוֹ יִקַּח אַחֵר׃
9 May his children be orphans, his wife a widow.
ט יִהְיוּ־בָנָיו יְתוֹמִים וְאִשְׁתּוֹ אַלְמָנָה׃
10 May his children wander from their hovels, begging in search of [bread].
י וְנוֹעַ יָנוּעוּ בָנָיו וְשִׁאֵלוּ וְדָרְשׁוּ מֵחָרְבוֹתֵיהֶם׃
11 May his creditor seize all his possessions; may strangers plunder his wealth.
יא יְנַקֵּשׁ נוֹשֶׁה לְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ וְיָבֹזּוּ זָרִים יְגִיעוֹ׃
12 May no one show him mercy; may none pity his orphans;
יב אַל־יְהִי־לוֹ מֹשֵׁךְ חָסֶד וְאַל־יְהִי חוֹנֵן לִיתוֹמָיו׃
13 may his posterity be cut off; may their names be blotted out in the next generation.
יג יְהִי־אַחֲרִיתוֹ לְהַכְרִית בְּדוֹר אַחֵר יִמַּח שְׁמָם׃
14 May Hashem be ever mindful of his father’s iniquity, and may the sin of his mother not be blotted out.
יד יִזָּכֵר עֲוׂן אֲבֹתָיו אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְחַטַּאת אִמּוֹ אַל־תִּמָּח׃
15 May Hashem be aware of them always and cause their names to be cut off from the earth,
טו יִהְיוּ נֶגֶד־יְהֹוָה תָּמִיד וְיַכְרֵת מֵאֶרֶץ זִכְרָם׃
16 because he was not minded to act kindly, and hounded to death the poor and needy man, one crushed in spirit.
טז יַעַן אֲשֶׁר לֹא זָכַר עֲשׂוֹת חָסֶד וַיִּרְדֹּף אִישׁ־עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן וְנִכְאֵה לֵבָב לְמוֹתֵת׃
17 He loved to curse—may a curse come upon him! He would not bless—may blessing be far from him!
יז וַיֶּאֱהַב קְלָלָה וַתְּבוֹאֵהוּ וְלֹא־חָפֵץ בִּבְרָכָה וַתִּרְחַק מִמֶּנּוּ׃
18 May he be clothed in a curse like a garment, may it enter his body like water, his bones like oil.
יח וַיִּלְבַּשׁ קְלָלָה כְּמַדּוֹ וַתָּבֹא כַמַּיִם בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְכַשֶּׁמֶן בְּעַצְמוֹתָיו׃
19 Let it be like the cloak he wraps around him, like the belt he always wears.
יט תְּהִי־לוֹ כְּבֶגֶד יַעְטֶה וּלְמֵזַח תָּמִיד יַחְגְּרֶהָ׃
20 May Hashem thus repay my accusers, all those who speak evil against me.
כ זֹאת פְּעֻלַּת שֹׂטְנַי מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה וְהַדֹּבְרִים רָע עַל־נַפְשִׁי׃
21 Now You, O Hashem, my Lord, act on my behalf as befits Your name. Good and faithful as You are, save me.
כא וְאַתָּה יְהוִה אֲדֹנָי עֲשֵׂה־אִתִּי לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ כִּי־טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ הַצִּילֵנִי׃
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is pierced within me.
כב כִּי־עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן אָנֹכִי וְלִבִּי חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי׃
23 I fade away like a lengthening shadow; I am shaken off like locusts.
כג כְּצֵל־כִּנְטוֹתוֹ נֶהֱלָכְתִּי נִנְעַרְתִּי כָּאַרְבֶּה׃
24 My knees give way from fasting; my flesh is lean, has lost its fat.
כד בִּרְכַּי כָּשְׁלוּ מִצּוֹם וּבְשָׂרִי כָּחַשׁ מִשָּׁמֶן׃
25 I am the object of their scorn; when they see me, they shake their head.
כה וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי חֶרְפָּה לָהֶם יִרְאוּנִי יְנִיעוּן רֹאשָׁם׃
26 Help me, Hashem, my God; save me in accord with Your faithfulness,
כו עָזְרֵנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי כְחַסְדֶּךָ׃
27 that men may know that it is Your hand, that You, Hashem, have done it.
כז וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי־יָדְךָ זֹּאת אַתָּה יְהֹוָה עֲשִׂיתָהּ׃
28 Let them curse, but You bless; let them rise up, but come to grief, while Your servant rejoices.
כח יְקַלְלוּ־הֵמָּה וְאַתָּה תְבָרֵךְ קָמוּ וַיֵּבֹשׁוּ וְעַבְדְּךָ יִשְׂמָח׃
29 My accusers shall be clothed in shame, wrapped in their disgrace as in a robe.
כט יִלְבְּשׁוּ שׂוֹטְנַי כְּלִמָּה וְיַעֲטוּ כַמְעִיל בָּשְׁתָּם׃
30 My mouth shall sing much praise to Hashem; I will acclaim Him in the midst of a throng,
ל אוֹדֶה יְהֹוָה מְאֹד בְּפִי וּבְתוֹךְ רַבִּים אֲהַלְלֶנּוּ׃
31 because He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who would condemn him.
לא כִּי־יַעֲמֹד לִימִין אֶבְיוֹן לְהוֹשִׁיעַ מִשֹּׁפְטֵי נַפְשׁוֹ׃