Psalm 140

snakeO Lord, deliver me from men with evil hearts
Whose poisoned words and wicked plots
Like snakes, poise for attack.

O Lord, protect my life from all their traps and snares
They plan to cause my feet to trip
And spread a net for me.

O Lord, You are my God, now hear my desp’rate plea
My Strength, Protector of my head
Don’t let their scheme succeed.

May all who plot my doom be thrown into the fire
Or into pits never to rise
O’ercome by their own sin.

O Lord, maintain the cause of all who are oppressed
Surely the righteous will give thanks
And live with You for e’er.

© J Dan Small

Psalm 119 – כ Kaph

desperate-prayerCraving salvation my soul nearly faints
I’ll hope in Your word without any constraints.

Comfort?  Where is it?  Your promise to me?
my eyes fail from searching so diligently.

Kə·nōḏ, like a wineskin in smoke dry and cracked
yet Your laws and Your statutes I will not neglect.

Count the days of Your servant, how long must I wait
‘Till Your judgment my foes will receive as their fate?

Calamity, that’s what the proud plan for me
but none of their thoughts with Your law would agree.

Constant and true Your commands we can trust
protect me from foes whose attacks are unjust.

Close to death they have brought me right up to the brink
yet from Your good precepts I refuse to shrink.

Covenant love must revive and preserve
so the words from Your mouth I can closely observe.

© J Dan Small

Psalm 109

VengeanceDo not be silent, O God of my praise
As deceitful tongues against me are raised
Words filled with hate, tho I’ve done them no wrong
They repay with evil my good all day long.

Display righteous judgment and vengeance on him
Appoint wicked judges to deal with his sin
Let the Adversary stand up and accuse
Bring a guilty verdict, give him his just dues.

So cut his days short, bring an end to his life
His children be orphans, a widow his wife
Give to another his leadership role
His children be beggars with none to console.

Homeless and wandering, with poverty faced
May all his descendants inherit disgrace
The sins of their fathers and mothers remain
Until, once for all, the Lord blots out their name.

With no hint of kindness he hounded the poor
Oppressed the downtrodden their death to ensure
The whole thought of blessing to him was absurd
But cursing came nat’ral, was always preferred.

So now, Adonai, let those curses turn ‘round
Engulf him, consume him, a belt to surround
In this way, O Lord, my accusers repay
Reward those who slander and do not delay.

But deal with me kindly for Your name’s sake, Lord
Because of Your love with deliv’rance reward
Afflicted and needy and wounded within
My strength quickly fading, I’m just bones and skin.

My accusers attack with their scorn and disdain
They taunt, shake their heads, their disgust making plain
So help, Lord my God, in Your love rescue me
And let them all know that it was done by Thee.

While they may be cursing I know You will bless
Reduce those attacking to utter distress
Wrap them in shame, clothe them all with disgrace
And I will rejoice in Your love and Your grace.

Overflowing with thanks I will gladly confess
In the midst of the throng the Lord’s name I will bless
Who stands to defend the unjustly accused
And delivers the poor, helpless, weak, and abused.

© 2014  J Dan Small

Psalm 93 – A Plea for Justice

justiceGod of vengeance, Adonai
Judge of all, please hear our cry
Give the wicked their just due
Quickly punish the proud, too.

How long will their boasting last
And their murderous deeds amass
Widows, orphans, strangers, slay?
‘Gainst Your people, Lord, they prey.

In their insolence they say
Yah can’t see us, won’t repay!”
What? The One who made the ear
You don’t think that He will hear?

Senseless people think they’re wise
Their Creator would despise
God who formed the eye does see
And He soon will instruct thee.

He’ll expose your futile plot
For He knows your every thought.
Nations feel His judgment rod
Now prepare to meet your God.

Blest are those whom You correct
You Your people won’t neglect
From their troubles give relief
Bringing judgment on the thief.

Who’ll protect and defend me?
None, O Lord, there is but Thee
Soon Your justice will prevail
O’er all those who would assail

Had You not come to my aid
I’d be silent in the grave
“I am slipping!” was my plea
Loving Lord, You rescued me.

When my doubts and fears increase
Your sweet presence gives me peace
You bring comfort to my soul
And my anxious thoughts console.

Evil men make unjust laws
Crush the righteous without cause
Innocent blood they would condemn
You, O God, are not with them.

Adonai is by my side
Rock of refuge where I hide
All their guilt He will repay
Cut them off on Judgment Day.

© 2014 J Dan Small

Psalm 82

CourtroomAll rise, Elohim the great Judge,
Has arrived to hold court with mankind
He calls to the stand elohim*
To declare what has been on His mind.

“Your judgments unjust I deplore
You are partial to wicked and vile
How long must injustice prevail
And a mockery make of each trial?

“Give justice to orphans and weak
While the rights of oppressed you defend
They in ignorance wander about
When the moorings of truth break and bend.

“Hear My verdict now, you elohim*
Though I made you all sons of Most High
Like the princes of earth you will fall
And as mortals are condemned to die.”

Rise up, Elohim, take Your bench
In righteousness judge the whole world
For to You all the nations belong
Let the banner of truth be unfurled.

© 2014 J Dan Small

*In Scripture the Hebrew word elohim when accompanied by singular verbs refers to God. In plural context it can mean gods (pagan deities), magistrates (judges), or powers (authorities). The Psalmist here makes full use of the term to distinguish earthly rulers from the Ruler of the earth while, at the same time, suggesting a unique god-likeness infused into humanity.