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FRAMEWORKS: Psalm 35: A Cry for God to Contend on his behalf


Of David.


[Preliminary Comments: A straight forward psalm of David when he is very clearly feeling down and under the pressure of enemies. He cries to the Lord to fight on his behalf [v.1-3], so that his enemies may be overturned [v.4-8] and he can rejoice [v.9,10]. He tells how they come against him [v.11,12], people he has actually helped in the past [v.13,14] and yet who are now actively against him [v.15,16]. So he cries out for the Lord to help [v.17,18] and deal with their nastiness [v.19-21]. He gives a list of things he wants the Lord to do [v.22-25] bringing change to both those who are against him and those who are for him [v.26,27] so he can testify to all of the goodness of the Lord and praise Him every day [v.28]. A psalm of contention, for God to bring change.]



v.1-3 David cries to the Lord to fight against those who fight against him


v.1  Contend, Lord , with those who contend with me;
     fight against those who fight against me.
v.2  Take up shield and armor;
     arise and come to my aid.
v.3  Brandish spear and javelin
     against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
     “I am your salvation.”


v.4-8 He is clear what he wants to happen to them


v.4   May those who seek my life
     be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
     be turned back in dismay.
v.5   May they be like chaff before the wind,
     with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
v.6   may their path be dark and slippery,
     with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

v.7  Since they hid their net for me without cause
     and without cause dug a pit for me,
v.8   may ruin overtake them by surprise—
     may the net they hid entangle them,
     may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.

v.9,10 When that happens he will rejoice in the Lord


v.9  Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
     and delight in his salvation.
v.10  My whole being will exclaim,
     “Who is like you, Lord ?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
     the poor and needy from those who rob them.”


v.11,12 He tells how there are those against him


v.11  Ruthless witnesses come forward;
     they question me on things I know nothing about.
v.12  They repay me evil for good
     and leave me like one bereaved.


v.13,14 What is awful is that these are people he had helped previously


v.13  Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
     and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
v.14  I went about mourning
     as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
     as though weeping for my mother.


v.15,16 But now when he's down they gather against him

v.15  But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
     assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
     They slandered me without ceasing.
v.16  Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
     they gnashed their teeth at me.


v.17,18 He cries to the Lord for help


v.17  How long, Lord, will you look on?
     Rescue me from their ravages,
     my precious life from these lions.
v.18  I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
     among the throngs I will praise you.

v.19-21 He asks the Lord to stop their unpleasantness


v.19  Do not let those gloat over me
     who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
     maliciously wink the eye.
v.20  They do not speak peaceably,
     but devise false accusations
     against those who live quietly in the land.
v.21  They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
     With our own eyes we have seen it.”


v.22-25 A series of petitions for the Lord to act and bring change


v.22   Lord , you have seen this; do not be silent.
     Do not be far from me, Lord.
v.23   Awake, and rise to my defense!
     Contend for me, my God and Lord.
v.24  Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
     do not let them gloat over me.
v.25   Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
     or say, “We have swallowed him up.”


v.26,27 He wants change for the unrighteous [v.26] AND the righteous [v.27]


v.26  May all who gloat over my distress
     be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
     be clothed with shame and disgrace.
v.27   May those who delight in my vindication
     shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
     who delights in the well-being of his servant.”


v.28 The Outcome: he will testify to the Lord's right dealings and praise Him every day


v.28  My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
     your praises all day long.



[Additional Thoughts: A psalm that reveals or reminds us of how unpleasant people can be, people who are unrighteous and take whatever opportunity arises to demean the righteous. David is clear in his need, the wrong actions of those against him, and what he wants the Lord to do about it.]



Continue to Psa 36