1 For the Leader. A Psalm of David. O God of my praise, keep not silence;
א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר אֱלֹהֵי תְהִלָּתִי אַל תֶּחֱרַשׁ.
2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of deceit have they opened against me; they have spoken unto me with a lying tongue.
ב כִּי פִי רָשָׁע וּפִי מִרְמָה עָלַי פָּתָחוּ דִּבְּרוּ אִתִּי לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.
ג וְדִבְרֵי שִׂנְאָה סְבָבוּנִי וַיִּלָּחֲמוּנִי חִנָּם.
4 In return for my love they are my adversaries; 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 spill curses and ridicule on his head created from lies and hatred. This psalm most likely refers to the events of II Samuel 16. David flees his kingdom from his son Absalom who wants him dead. On his way out of the city, Shimei the son of Gera from the house of Saul spews vile curses at David, which the king accepts with resign. Our psalm, however, begins with David turning to the Lord in a plea not to stay silent. Only God’s justice can eliminate the lies directed against David. Instead of the hatred and vitriol, David says “I am all prayer.” Only through God’s intervention will his name be cleared.
5 And they have laid upon me evil for good, and hatred for my love:
ה וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלַי רָעָה תַּחַת טוֹבָה וְשִׂנְאָה תַּחַת אַהֲבָתִי.
6 ‘Set Thou a wicked man over him; and let an adversary stand at his right hand.
ו הַפְקֵד עָלָיו רָשָׁע וְשָׂטָן יַעֲמֹד עַל יְמִינוֹ.
7 When he is judged, let him go forth condemned; and let his prayer be turned into sin.
ז בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ יֵצֵא רָשָׁע וּתְפִלָּתוֹ תִּהְיֶה לַחֲטָאָה.
8 Let his days be few; let another take his charge.
ח יִהְיוּ יָמָיו מְעַטִּים פְּקֻדָּתוֹ יִקַּח אַחֵר.
9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
ט יִהְיוּ בָנָיו יְתוֹמִים וְאִשְׁתּוֹ אַלְמָנָה.
10 Let his children be vagabonds, and beg; and let them seek their bread out of their desolate places.
י וְנוֹעַ יָנוּעוּ בָנָיו וְשִׁאֵלוּ וְדָרְשׁוּ מֵחָרְבוֹתֵיהֶם.
11 Let the creditor distrain all that he hath; and let strangers make spoil of his labour.
יא יְנַקֵּשׁ נוֹשֶׁה לְכָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ וְיָבֹזּוּ זָרִים יְגִיעוֹ.
12 Let there be none to extend kindness unto him; neither let there be any to be gracious unto his fatherless children.
יב אַל יְהִי לוֹ מֹשֵׁךְ חָסֶד וְאַל יְהִי חוֹנֵן לִיתוֹמָיו.
13 Let his posterity be cut off; in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
יג יְהִי אַחֲרִיתוֹ לְהַכְרִית בְּדוֹר אַחֵר יִמַּח שְׁמָם.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be brought to remembrance unto Hashem; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
יד יִזָּכֵר עֲוֹן אֲבֹתָיו אֶל יְהוָה וְחַטַּאת אִמּוֹ אַל תִּמָּח.
15 Let them be before Hashem continually, that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
טו יִהְיוּ נֶגֶד יְהוָה תָּמִיד וְיַכְרֵת מֵאֶרֶץ זִכְרָם.
16 Because that he remembered not to do kindness, but persecuted the poor and needy man, and the broken in heart he was ready to slay.
טז יַעַן אֲשֶׁר לֹא זָכַר עֲשׂוֹת חָסֶד וַיִּרְדֹּף אִישׁ עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן וְנִכְאֵה לֵבָב לְמוֹתֵת.
17 Yea, he loved cursing, and it came unto him; and he delighted not in blessing, and it is far from him.
יז וַיֶּאֱהַב קְלָלָה וַתְּבוֹאֵהוּ וְלֹא חָפֵץ בִּבְרָכָה וַתִּרְחַק מִמֶּנּוּ.
18 He clothed himself also with cursing as with his raiment, and it is come into his inward parts like water, and like oil into his bones.
יח וַיִּלְבַּשׁ קְלָלָה כְּמַדּוֹ וַתָּבֹא כַמַּיִם בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְכַשֶּׁמֶן בְּעַצְמוֹתָיו.
19 Let it be unto him as the garment which he putteth on, and for the girdle wherewith he is girded continually.’
יט תְּהִי לוֹ כְּבֶגֶד יַעְטֶה וּלְמֵזַח תָּמִיד יַחְגְּרֶהָ.
20 This would mine adversaries effect from Hashem, and they that speak evil against my soul.
כ זֹאת פְּעֻלַּת שֹׂטְנַי מֵאֵת יְהוָה וְהַדֹּבְרִים רָע עַל נַפְשִׁי.
21 But Thou, O GOD the Lord, deal with me for Thy name’s sake; because Thy mercy is good, deliver Thou me.
כא וְאַתָּה יְהוִה אֲדֹנָי עֲשֵׂה אִתִּי לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ כִּי טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ הַצִּילֵנִי.
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
כב כִּי עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן אָנֹכִי וְלִבִּי חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי.
23 I am gone like the shadow when it lengtheneth; I am shaken off as the locust.
כג כְּצֵל כִּנְטוֹתוֹ נֶהֱלָכְתִּי נִנְעַרְתִּי כָּאַרְבֶּה.
24 My knees totter through fasting; and my flesh is lean, and hath no fatness.
כד בִּרְכַּי כָּשְׁלוּ מִצּוֹם וּבְשָׂרִי כָּחַשׁ מִשָּׁמֶן.
25 I am become also a taunt unto them; when they see me, they shake their head.
כה וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי חֶרְפָּה לָהֶם יִרְאוּנִי יְנִיעוּן רֹאשָׁם.
26 Help me, O Hashem my God; O save me according to Thy mercy;
כו עָזְרֵנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי כְחַסְדֶּךָ.
27 That they may know that this is Thy hand; that Thou, Hashem, hast done it.
כז וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי יָדְךָ זֹּאת אַתָּה יְהוָה עֲשִׂיתָהּ.
28 Let them curse, but bless Thou; when they arise, they shall be put to shame, but Thy servant shall rejoice.
כח יְקַלְלוּ הֵמָּה וְאַתָּה תְבָרֵךְ קָמוּ וַיֵּבֹשׁוּ וְעַבְדְּךָ יִשְׂמָח.
29 Mine adversaries shall be clothed with confusion, and shall put on their own shame as a robe.
כט יִלְבְּשׁוּ שׂוֹטְנַי כְּלִמָּה וְיַעֲטוּ כַמְעִיל בָּשְׁתָּם.
30 I will give great thanks unto Hashem with my mouth; yea, I will praise Him among the multitude;
ל אוֹדֶה יְהוָה מְאֹד בְּפִי וּבְתוֹךְ רַבִּים אֲהַלְלֶנּוּ.
31 Because He standeth at the right hand of the needy, to save him from them that judge his soul.
לא כִּי יַעֲמֹד לִימִין אֶבְיוֹן לְהוֹשִׁיעַ מִשֹּׁפְטֵי נַפְשׁוֹ.