2 Rescue me, Hashem, from evil men; save me from the lawless,
kha-l’-TZAY-nee a-do-NAI may-a-DAM RA may-EESH kha-ma-SEEM tin-tz’-RAY-nee
ב חַלְּצֵנִי יְהֹוָה מֵאָדָם רָע מֵאִישׁ חֲמָסִים תִּנְצְרֵנִי׃
140:2 Rescue me, Hashem, from evil men
This psalm is about evil men and their wicked plans. There are many terms for evil, but here the psalmist chooses a specific word, chamas (חמס), referring to a specific type of wickedness described elsewhere in the Bible. When, in the incipient stages of civilization, the generation of Noach began to cheat, steal, deceive and act with total corruption, the Bible laments that God saw chamas in the land (Genesis 6:11). Later, in the days of Yona, the people of Nineveh are also described as engaging in chamas (Jonah 3:8). The specific crimes described as “chamas” are particularly insidious, as they undermine the very framework of society. Here, as David lashes out at the depraved ones who wish to destroy him, he speaks about men of chamas with evil in their hearts, who constantly stir up violence. They use traps and speak with forked tongues. David asks Hashem to save him and all the innocents from these devious minds, and curses the evil men to fall into their own vicious traps and be torn asunder. Ultimately, David concludes that the righteous ones will acknowledge God’s great name and merit the presence of the Almighty.