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.