Psalms 12
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1  For the Leader; on the Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל הַשְּׁמִינִית מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד.

2  Help, Hashem; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

ב  הוֹשִׁיעָה יְהוָה כִּי גָמַר חָסִיד כִּי פַסּוּ אֱמוּנִים מִבְּנֵי אָדָם.

3  They speak falsehood every one with his neighbour; with flattering lip, and with a double heart, do they speak.

ג  שָׁוְא יְדַבְּרוּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ שְׂפַת חֲלָקוֹת בְּלֵב וָלֵב יְדַבֵּרוּ.

4  May Hashem cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaketh proud things!

ד  יַכְרֵת יְהוָה כָּל שִׂפְתֵי חֲלָקוֹת לָשׁוֹן מְדַבֶּרֶת גְּדֹלוֹת.

5  Who have said: ‘Our tongue will we make mighty; our lips are with us: who is lord over us?’

ה  אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ לִלְשֹׁנֵנוּ נַגְבִּיר שְׂפָתֵינוּ אִתָּנוּ מִי אָדוֹן לָנוּ.

6  ‘For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise’, saith Hashem; ‘I will set him in safety at whom they puff.’

ו  מִשֹּׁד עֲנִיִּים מֵאֶנְקַת אֶבְיוֹנִים עַתָּה אָקוּם יֹאמַר יְהוָה אָשִׁית בְּיֵשַׁע יָפִיחַ לוֹ.

7  The words of Hashem are pure words, as silver tried in a crucible on the earth, refined seven times.

im-ROT a-do-NAI a-ma-ROT t’-ho-ROT KE-sef tza-RUF ba-a-LEEL la-A-retz m’-zu-KAK shiv-a-TA-yim

ז  אִמְרוֹת יְהוָה אֲמָרוֹת טְהֹרוֹת כֶּסֶף צָרוּף בַּעֲלִיל לָאָרֶץ מְזֻקָּק שִׁבְעָתָיִם.

12:7   As silver… refined seven times

The psalm contrasts the language of the wicked, who speak duplicitously with a forked tongue, with the pure unadulterated words of God. In order to express the level of purity of the Lord’s words, the verse uses the metaphor of metal mined from the earth which goes through seven levels of refinement in order to arrive at a purity worthy of a precious metal. It is not surprising that the psalmist would be aware of the process of metallurgy. Archaeology at Timna Park in the south of Israel reveals evidence of copper mining which goes back thousands of years. In 1959, an archeo-metallurgical expedition under the leadership of Dr. Beno Othenberg began, which ultimately revealed over 10,000 copper mines in the southern Arava region of Israel. More modern expeditions date some of the mines to the 11th-9th centuries BCE, which coincides with the period of the Israelite kingdom.

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8  Thou wilt keep them, O Hashem; Thou wilt preserve us from this generation for ever.

ח  אַתָּה יְהוָה תִּשְׁמְרֵם תִּצְּרֶנּוּ מִן הַדּוֹר זוּ לְעוֹלָם.

9  The wicked walk on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

ט  סָבִיב רְשָׁעִים יִתְהַלָּכוּן כְּרֻם זֻלּוּת לִבְנֵי אָדָם.

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Psalms 11
Psalms 13

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Psalms 12