Psalms 58
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  For the leader; al tashcheth. Of David. A michtam.

א  לַמְנַצֵּחַ אַל־תַּשְׁחֵת לְדָוִד מִכְתָּם׃

2  O mighty ones, do you really decree what is just? Do you judge mankind with equity?

ב  הַאֻמְנָם אֵלֶם צֶדֶק תְּדַבֵּרוּן מֵישָׁרִים תִּשְׁפְּטוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם׃

3  In your minds you devise wrongdoing in the land; with your hands you deal out lawlessness.

ג  אַף־בְּלֵב עוֹלֹת תִּפְעָלוּן בָּאָרֶץ חֲמַס יְדֵיכֶם תְּפַלֵּסוּן׃

4  The wicked are defiant from birth; the liars go astray from the womb.

ד  זֹרוּ רְשָׁעִים מֵרָחֶם תָּעוּ מִבֶּטֶן דֹּבְרֵי כָזָב׃

5  Their venom is like that of a snake, a deaf viper that stops its ears

ה  חֲמַת־לָמוֹ כִּדְמוּת חֲמַת־נָחָשׁ כְּמוֹ־פֶתֶן חֵרֵשׁ יַאְטֵם אָזְנוֹ׃

6  so as not to hear the voice of charmers or the expert mutterer of spells.

ו  אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִשְׁמַע לְקוֹל מְלַחֲשִׁים חוֹבֵר חֲבָרִים מְחֻכָּם׃

7  O Hashem, smash their teeth in their mouth; shatter the fangs of lions, Hashem;

ז  אֱ‍לֹהִים הֲרָס־שִׁנֵּימוֹ בְּפִימוֹ מַלְתְּעוֹת כְּפִירִים נְתֹץ יְהוָה׃

8  let them melt, let them vanish like water; let Him aim His arrows that they be cut down;

ח  יִמָּאֲסוּ כְמוֹ־מַיִם יִתְהַלְּכוּ־לָמוֹ יִדְרֹךְ חצו [חִצָּיו] כְּמוֹ יִתְמֹלָלוּ׃

9  like a snail that melts away as it moves; like a woman’s stillbirth, may they never see the sun!

ט  כְּמוֹ שַׁבְּלוּל תֶּמֶס יַהֲלֹךְ נֵפֶל אֵשֶׁת בַּל־חָזוּ שָׁמֶשׁ׃

10  Before the thorns grow into a bramble, may He whirl them away alive in fury.

b’-TE-rem ya-VEE-nu see-ro-tay-KHEM a-TAD k’-mo KHAI k’-MO kha-RON yis-a-RE-nu

י  בְּטֶרֶם יָבִינוּ סִּירֹתֵיכֶם אָטָד כְּמוֹ־חַי כְּמוֹ־חָרוֹן יִשְׂעָרֶנּוּ׃

58:10   Before the thorns grow into a bramble

Throughout his psalms, David struggles with the reality that righteous people sometimes suffer while the wicked thrive. Psalm 58 is directed at the wicked, chastising them for their corruption and deceit. He warns that Hashem will bring retribution upon them for their sins, and he invokes several metaphors from nature to express his sentiment. The atad (אטד), ‘boxthorn tree,’ grows in the desert and is quite thorny. It seems to defy nature, as it is strong and durable despite growing in unfavorable conditions. The wicked might prick like the boxthorn and seem invincible, but David tells them that before they mature into a large, strong bramble, God will hurl them away and destroy them.1 comment

11  The righteous man will rejoice when he sees revenge; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

יא  יִשְׂמַח צַדִּיק כִּי־חָזָה נָקָם פְּעָמָיו יִרְחַץ בְּדַם הָרָשָׁע׃

12  Men will say, “There is, then, a reward for the righteous; there is, indeed, divine justice on earth.”

 

יב  וְיֹאמַר אָדָם אַךְ־פְּרִי לַצַּדִּיק אַךְ יֵשׁ־אֱלֹהִים שֹׁפְטִים בָּאָרֶץ׃

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Psalms 57
Psalms 59

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Psalms 58

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