Hans Memling’s Last Judgement, c. late 1460s, National Museum, Gdańsk (from here)

There are various types of psalms. Types of Psalms: Classifying the Psalms by Genre (crivoice.org) provides a detailed classification of the psalms. Psalm 10 is a lament.

What is a lament? Different references say a lament includes certain elements. The Way of Lament (ligonier.org) provides one description of those elements.  It says a lament includes the following:

  1. Crying out to God.
  2. Asking for help.
  3. Responding in trust and praise.

Psalm 10 is an individual lament.

Individual laments address various isolated troubles—problems faced by one member of the people of God. (from here (gotquestions.org))

Psalm 10 laments an age-old problem. People do evil things, and wrongdoers seem to be getting away with their vile acts. That’s why I included the picture above. As Psalm 10 reminds us, we will all be judged.

Why do we lament evil? We are fallen creatures. None of us is good. Consider this string of passages, Psalm 10:1-11,Psalm 14:1-2,Romans 3:9-18. As Romans 3:9-18 points out, none of us seeks after God. Too many of us like to hurt other people, have no problem hurting others if that is what it takes to get what we want. Nevertheless, even though it involves some hypocrisy, we all yearn for justice against the people who have hurt us.

What is most redeeming about Psalm 10? The writer expresses concern for the innocent, the unfortunate, the afflicted, the orphan,… he prays for justice for people besides himself. Psalm 10, apparently written by King David, laments the oppression of helpless people by especially evil and powerful men. Does David remember when he was helpless, when he was not the king? Perhaps.

Psalm 10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked.

10 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord.
The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.
He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the hiding places he kills the innocent;
His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.
He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair;
He lurks to catch the afflicted;
He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.
10 He crouches, he bows down,
And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.
11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand.
Do not forget the afflicted.
13 Why has the wicked spurned God?
He has said to himself, “You will not require it.”
14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer,
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

16 The Lord is King forever and ever;
Nations have perished from His land.
17 Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

Consider what Martin Luther said about this psalm.

There is not, in my judgment, a Psalm which describes the mind, the manners, the works, the words, the feelings, and the fate of the ungodly with so much propriety, fulness, and light, as this Psalm. (Luther, cited in Spurgeon) (from here (christianity.com))

One day we each be judged. Because none of us seek God, I pray that I and those I love will know God, that we will repent of our sins, and that we will be covered in a righteousness we do not deserve, the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Additional References 


One thought on “A PRAYER ON PSALM 10

  1. Tom,,

    Appears to me that this Psalm can be applied to identify numerous individuals in our contemporary times as well as the same ‘someones’ in every generation in history.

    Nothing new under the sun with lamenting, or describing these types what we read and hear reported every day in the news.


    Regards and goodwill blogging.

Comments are closed.

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