Psalm 10 – “Acrostic Petition Part II – May God Punish the Wicked”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The psalmist describes the wicked people and asks God to punish them.

II. Photo
Psalm 10 completes the alphabetic acrostic begun in Psalm 9.

III. Select Verses    
3-11: The wicked crows about his unbridled lusts; the grasping man reviles and scorns the LORD. The wicked, arrogant as he is, in all his scheming [thinks], “He does not call to account; God does not care.” His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are far beyond him; he snorts at all his foes. He thinks, “I shall not be shaken, through all time never be in trouble.” His mouth is full of oaths, deceit, and fraud; mischief and evil are under his tongue. He lurks in outlying places; from a covert he slays the innocent; his eyes spy out the hapless. He waits in a covert like a lion in his lair; waits to seize the lowly; he seizes the lowly as he pulls his net shut; he stoops, he crouches, and the hapless fall prey to his might. He thinks, “God is not mindful, He hides His face, He never looks.”
15: O break the power of the wicked and evil man, so that when You look for his wickedness You will find it no more.
16: The LORD is king for ever and ever; the nations will perish from His land.

IV. Outline
1. Invocation, petition
2. Imprecation
3-11. Description of the wicked
12-15. Petition/imprecation/trust
16-18. Praise of God’s social justice

V. Comment
Gerstenberger writes: “The most disturbing aspects of Psalm 9/10 to modern form critics are its alphabetic order, which seems to prohibit its liturgical origin and use, and its overall collective dimension, which supposedly bars any individualistic understanding of the text. Neither supposition is valid. Acrostic poems certainly can be used in rituals, especially if they are the handiwork of skilled, leterary singers or clergyman. And the collective outlook, both in regard to the supplicant’s congregation and to the opponents who were cited, reflects only the community structure of that time…. The poem, then, can be seen i n a synagogal setting.” (75)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
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