Psalms 12
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  For the leader; on the sheminith. A psalm of David.

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל־הַשְּׁמִינִית מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד׃

2  Help, Hashem! For the faithful are no more; the loyal have vanished from among men.

ב  הוֹשִׁיעָה יְהוָה כִּי־גָמַר חָסִיד כִּי־פַסּוּ אֱמוּנִים מִבְּנֵי אָדָם׃

3  Men speak lies to one another; their speech is smooth; they talk with duplicity.

ג  שָׁוְא יְדַבְּרוּ אִישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵהוּ שְׂפַת חֲלָקוֹת בְּלֵב וָלֵב יְדַבֵּרוּ׃

4  May Hashem cut off all flattering lips, every tongue that speaks arrogance.

ד  יַכְרֵת יְהוָה כָּל־שִׂפְתֵי חֲלָקוֹת לָשׁוֹן מְדַבֶּרֶת גְּדֹלוֹת׃

5  They say, “By our tongues we shall prevail; with lips such as ours, who can be our master?”

ה  אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ לִלְשֹׁנֵנוּ נַגְבִּיר שְׂפָתֵינוּ אִתָּנוּ מִי אָדוֹן לָנוּ׃

6  “Because of the groans of the plundered poor and needy, I will now act,” says Hashem. “I will give help,” He affirms to him.

ו  מִשֹּׁד עֲנִיִּים מֵאַנְקַת אֶבְיוֹנִים עַתָּה אָקוּם יֹאמַר יְהוָה אָשִׁית בְּיֵשַׁע יָפִיחַ לוֹ׃

7  The words of Hashem are pure words, silver purged in an earthen crucible, refined sevenfold.

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  אִמֲרוֹת יְהוָה אֲמָרוֹת טְהֹרוֹת כֶּסֶף צָרוּף בַּעֲלִיל לָאָרֶץ מְזֻקָּק שִׁבְעָתָיִם׃

12:7   Silver purged in an earthen crucible, refined sevenfold

This psalm contrasts the language of the wicked, who speak duplicitously with a forked tongue, with the pure unadulterated words of God. To express the level of purity of Hashem’s words, the verse uses the metaphor of metal mined from the earth, which goes through seven stages of refinement in order to arrive at a level of 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 southern Israel reveals evidence of copper mining going back thousands of years. In 1959, an archeo-metallurgical expedition under the leadership of Dr. Beno Othenberg began, and ultimately revealed over 10,000 copper mines in the southern Arava region of Israel. More contemporary discoveries date some of the mines to the eleventh to ninth centuries BCE, which coincides with the period of the Israelite kingdom.2 comments

8  You, Hashem, will keep them, guarding each from this age evermore.

ח  אַתָּה־יְהוָה תִּשְׁמְרֵם תִּצְּרֶנּוּ מִן־הַדּוֹר זוּ לְעוֹלָם׃

9  On every side the wicked roam when baseness is exalted among men.

 

ט  סָבִיב רְשָׁעִים יִתְהַלָּכוּן כְּרֻם זֻלּוּת לִבְנֵי אָדָם׃

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Psalms 11
Psalms 13

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Psalms 12

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