Psalms 140:0 ¶ To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

Another prayerful psalm of David asking for God’s deliverance from his enemies.  This is a prayer that he shares with the musicians at the temple as a testimony to his dependency upon the LORD and his confidence that God always provides for the righteous.

Spurgeon: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord;’ and David when most wounded by undeserved persecution and wicked falsehood was glad to leave his matters at the foot of the throne, where they would be safe with the King of kings.”

Psalms 140:1 ¶ Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;

Psalms 140:2 Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.

Psalms 140:3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.

David opens right up crying out to the LORD in prayer for deliverance from those who are oppressing him unjustly.  They are constantly making plans for war against him.  They are spreading slander about him.

Can’t help but think of the verses in James regarding the power of the tongue.

James 3:5–8 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Spurgeon: “The persecuted man turns to God in prayer; he could not do a wiser thing. Who can meet the evil man and defeat him save Jehovah himself, whose infinite goodness is more than a match for all the evil in the universe? We cannot of ourselves baffle the craft of the enemy, but the Lord knoweth how to deliver his saints. He can keep us out of the enemy's reach, he can sustain us when under his power, he can rescue us when our doom seems fixed, he can give us the victory when defeat seems certain; and in any and every case, if he do not save us from the man he can keep us from the evil.”

Selah = a pause in the music; an opportunity for reflection

Guzik: “Selah is repeated three times in Psalm 140, and here indicates that the deep sinfulness of man is worthy of our careful consideration. We often think too little of God’s greatness and too little of man’s sinfulness.”

Psalms 140:4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.

Psalms 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

These verses basically repeat and emphasize David’s prayer for deliverance from his enemies.  He adds that they are laying traps for him in various places.  

I think these traps are in connection with the slander they are spreading out David.  They are probably hoping to catch him acting in disobedience against God and exposing him as a hypocrite.

Psalms 140:6 I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.

Psalms 140:7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

David relates that he called out to the LORD as “my God”; he has yielded himself to the authority of God as His servant.  On that basis, he pleads with the LORD to hear his pleas for help; he is asking the LORD to act in accordance with his plea.   He is again expecting God’s deliverance based on past experience.

Psalms 140:8 ¶ Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

David prays that the LORD will not let his enemies succeed in their plans.  If they do succeed, he is sure they will exalt themselves—and demean the LORD in the process seems to be the inference, since David had so publicly declared himself as God’s servant.

Selah = a pause in the music; an opportunity for reflection

Psalms 140:9 As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.

Psalms 140:10 Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.

Psalms 140:11 Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

As was often the case, David begins to pray a curse over his enemies.  I have to remind myself that David was a warrior living under the law, the old covenant; he hadn’t been exposed to the grace that Jesus taught as the foundation of the new covenant that He introduced.  The psalmist calls for the LORD to let his enemies suffer in the way that they had planned to cause him to suffer.  He wants them to be destroyed, never to rise up against him again.  He wants those who spread lies and slander to be rejected by the people.

Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

Psalms 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

David closes his song with a declaration of confidence that the LORD will take care of those that are needy and destitute.  He is sure that those that are righteous will give thanks to the LORD for the privilege of living as His servant.  He is confident that the LORD will answer his prayer.