For the worship leader. A song of David to the tune “Death of a Son.”[b]
In the Hebrew manuscripts, Psalms 9 and 10 work as a unit because together they form an acrostic poem, meaning each stanza begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary device has several functions. First, it provides a mnemonic device for easier memorization. Second, it is inherently beautiful; the rigid structure is a showcase for the author’s literary talents. Finally, it conveys the idea of completion by describing the reasons God is to be praised “from A to Z.” Psalm 9 offers David’s thanks and praise to God for defeating his enemies. Psalm 10, on the other hand, is a lament complaining that God is far off while the poor and helpless suffer.
1 All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One.
I will tell others about Your amazing works.
2 I will be glad and celebrate You!
I will praise You, O Most High!
3 When my adversaries turned and fled,
they fell and died right in front of You,
4 For You supported my just cause.
From Your throne, You have judged wisely.
5 You confronted the nations; You have destroyed the wicked.
You have erased their names from history.
6 The enemy is finished, their time is up;
their cities will lie in ruin forever;
all memory of them is gone.
7 Still the Eternal remains and will reign forever;
He has taken His place on His throne for judgment.
8 So He will judge the world rightly.
He shall execute that judgment equally on all people.
9 For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery,
a refuge during troubling times.
10 Those who know Your name will rely on You,
for You, O Eternal One, have not abandoned those who search for You.
11 Praise Him who lives on Zion’s holy hill.
Tell the story of His great acts among the people!
12 For He remembers the victims of violence and avenges their blood;
He does not turn a deaf ear to the cry of the needy.
13 Be gracious to me, O Eternal One.
Notice the harm I have suffered because of my enemies,
You who carry me safely away from death’s door,
14 So that I may rehearse Your deeds, declare Your praise,
and rejoice in Your rescue
when I take my stand in the gates of Zion.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others,
their own feet caught, snared by the net they hid.
16 The Eternal is well known, for He has taken action and secured justice;
He has trapped the wicked through the work of their own hands.
[pause with music][c]
17 The wicked are headed for death and the grave;
all the nations who forget the True God will share a similar fate.
18 For those in need shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor will never die.
19 Eternal One, arise! Do not allow mere mortals to win the day.
Judge the nations Yourself.
20 Put the fear of God in them, Eternal One!
Remind the nations they are mere men, not gods.
1 Why, O Eternal One, are You so far away?
Why can’t You be found during troubling times?
2 Mean and haughty people hunt down the poor.
May they get caught up in their own wicked schemes.
3 For the wicked celebrates the evil cravings of his heart
as the greedy curses and rejects the Eternal.
4 The arrogance of the wicked one keeps him from seeking the True God.
He truly thinks, “There is no God.”
5 His ways seem always to be successful;
Your judgments, too, seem far beyond him, out of his reach.
He looks down on all his enemies.
6 In his heart he has decided, “Nothing will faze me.
From generation to generation I will not face trouble.”
7 His mouth is full of curses, lies, and oppression.[f]
Beneath his tongue lie trouble and wickedness.
8 He hides in the shadows of the villages,
waiting to ambush and kill the innocent in dark corners.
He eyes the weak and the poor.
9 Ominously, like a lion in its lair,
he lurks in secret to waylay those who are downtrodden.
When he catches them, he draws them in and drags them off with his net.
10 Quietly crouching, lying low,
ready to overwhelm the next by his strength,
11 The wicked thinks in his heart, “God has forgotten us!
He has covered His face and will never notice!”
12 Arise, O Eternal, my True God. Lift up Your hand.
Do not forget the downtrodden.
13 Why does the wicked revile the True God?
He has decided, “He will not hold me responsible.”
14 But wait! You have seen,
and You will consider the trouble and grief he caused.
You will impose consequences for his actions.
The helpless, the orphans, commit themselves to You,
and You have been their Helper.
15 Break the arm of the one guilty of doing evil;
investigate all his wicked acts;
hold him responsible for every last one of them.
16 The Eternal will reign as King forever.
The other nations will be swept off His land.
17 O Eternal One, You have heard the longings of the poor and lowly.
You will strengthen them; You who are of heaven will hear them,
18 Vindicating the orphan and the oppressed
so that men who are of the earth will terrify them no more.
- Psalm 9 Psalms 9–10 were originally a single acrostic poem.
- 9:title Hebrew, muth-labben, perhaps the melody to which the song is sung
- 9:16 Hebrew, higgaion selah, meaning is uncertain, possibly a musical direction
- 9:20 Literally, selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”
- Psalm 10 Psalms 9–10 were originally a single acrostic poem.
- 10:7 Romans 3:14