Year of the Bible – Psalm 35

Epiphany - Psalm 35




They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. – Psalm 35:12

Psalm 35 (35:1-9)

David, the King of Israel, often found himself the victim of intrigue. Corrupt men were constantly plotting his ruin. Their hatred could not be traced to a justifiable cause. They distorted facts, twisting them into accusations. In exchange for the trust and good will that the king had shown them, they blind-sided him and attacked him. They were gleeful when he made mistakes and talked maliciously about him behind his back. They did everything within their power to destroy the peace of the sheep that lived under the rule of the king, resenting, jealously, the shepherd of Israel as he led his sheep to safe pasture. These enemies gloated when things got tough, and used his misfortune to exalt themselves—they, of course, knew better and would have done a better job had they been king! What was David to do? The king turned to the God of Israel with petition and prayer. He asked God to fight for him as he himself fought, protecting him like a shield before a warrior. Should God act for him, David knew that the plots and intrigues of evil men would blow away before him like chaff in the wind. He petitions God to execute poetic justice—using the nets made by men to catch David as the means by which they themselves would be caught. David lays his case before God like a defendant before a judge: (1) He points to the end-benefit of his vindication—his soul would rejoice in God and magnify God’s grace; (2) He describes the crime of his enemies, and his own innocence and good will as evidence of the purity of his own motives; (3) He humbly suggests that God has been slow in responding and needs to act with haste to vindicate him—to the end that God would be praised and exalted by the righteous.

Questions – Psalm 35

  1. List five signs or behaviors that emerge in men when they are corrupt, as these men demonstrated in their behavior towards David?
  2. If we are to win against evil, who must fight for us?    
  3. What did David do to accomplish this?
  4. What is meant by poetic justice?
  5. Prayer in time of need, when we are hard-pressed by the diabolical plots of men, must be shaped like a defendant before a judge. How does David make his case?
  6. Explain why his enemies could not make their case in the same way.
Year of the Bible – Epiphany Week Two | Monday | Psalm 35 – © John W. Fiene