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Psalm 7

God of justice, God of truth

As society’s ground of morality shifts to whatever feels good, relationships are increasingly blighted by false accusation and gaslighting. This psalm encourages victims to take refuge in the God who judges justly.

A David psalm, which he sang to Yahveh about Cush the Benjaminite.

1 Yahveh, my God
I’ve taken refuge in you.
Rescue me from this mob stalking me.
Save me 2 lest, like a lion, they maul me
and tear me apart
with no one to rescue or help.
3 If their charges are true, Yahveh my God—
if I’ve stained my hands with extortion
4 repaid my ally evil for good
or attacked my enemy for no reason—
5 then let them hunt me down
trample me to the ground
and stomp my honor into the dirt.

6 Wake up, God!
Burst onto the scene, Yahveh!
Meet my foes’ fury
with the inferno of your anger
as your just sentence is carried out.
7-9 Summon my accusers
and let all rise as you take your seat
high above all earthly courts—
for you judge everyone everywhere.
Then, Yahveh
declare me honorable, in the right
for you probe us, heart and mind.
Be the God of justice you are—
ring down the curtain on evil
and set those who please you on their feet.

10 God is my shield
saving the pure in heart
11 a just judge
whose anger against evil burns constant.[1]
12 When a person refuses to repent
God sharpens his sword.
He pulls back his bow, takes aim
13 and shoots his flaming arrows
with deadly accuracy.

14 Look at the wicked:
they conceive evil plans
are pregnant with mischief
and give birth to falsehood!
15 The deeper they dig their trap
the farther they fall
when they stumble into it.
16 All their mischief backfires
landing on their own skulls.

17 I will thank Yahveh
for being just and true.
I’ll sing praise to him
for being God Most High.

Cush, a member of King Saul’s tribe, is in hot pursuit of David.[2] Furious with David, he and his band have falsely accused him of injustice, mistreating friends and picking fights with enemies. In a culture prizing loyalty and decency, he makes David out to be a real jerk.

David’s whole framework here is legal. He asks God to defend him since God is just, knows everything and has committed himself to the safety and well-being of those who keep his covenant. Having run to him for shelter, David declares he’s willing to pay with his life if it turns out he’s the villain his enemies say he is. With his stalkers closing in, he urges God to stop them in their tracks and entrusts himself to the one judge he can count on to judge justly.

Recalling how perfect God’s justice is, how implacable his hatred of evil, David sees God in position, ready to judge his foes. While they’ve devoted themselves to evil, their efforts are futile. For in setting a trap for the innocent, they only set themselves up. Though still not out of the woods, David promises to praise God for being the God that he is, implicitly voicing his assurance that God will act on his behalf.

Lord, in a world increasingly marked by blame shifting, you aren’t fooled by false accusations. No thought or motive escapes you. You’re in complete control, ready to act when the time is right. Deliver me from evil. Trusting that you will, I praise you for your perfect justice. Amen.

In your free moments today, savor these words:

I will thank Yahveh for being just and true.
I’ll sing praise to him for being God Most High.


[1] All this is in sharp contrast to the gods of the nations, whose own worshippers saw them as capricious narcissists.

[2] This is the only place we encounter anyone named Cush in the Hebrew Bible. He may have been named or nicknamed after the country by that name, south of Egypt.

Why Yahveh?

Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and occasionally transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Modern translations, likewise, either translate or transliterate it. While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it is more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. I’ve chosen to transliterate it to root it more firmly in the biblical story as the name—meaning the “self-existent One”—that God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. This name set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it in order better to hallow it. In transliterating it, I follow the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard. He advocated transliterating it as Yahveh—pronounced yah·vay—arguing that following the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish than Yahweh.
May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Robert Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.