Study 88 From the Book of Psalms is: Psalm 109
This psalm falls into three parts. Verses 1-5 are a prayer to God for deliverance from persecuting opponents. Retribution is then invoked by the psalmist (verses 6-20) upon the leader of his enemies and all that belongs to him. In the third section (verses 21-31) there is a return to prayer, culmination in thanksgiving and faith.
- Verses 1-5. How does the writer show that he has a good conscience, and is not being opposed because of his own offensiveness or evil deeds? Compare Jesus’s attitude in parallel circumstance. (Lk. 22:32-43; cf. also 1 Pet. 4:12-19).
- Verses 21-31. Instead of himself taking revenge, the psalmist takes refuge in prayer. Study the attitude of prayer in these circumstances.
Note. Verses 6-20. The retribution invoked includes the man himself, his person and office, his wife and children his property and also his prosperity. The place and significance of the imprecatory psalm (of which this is one), as part of the fullness of revealed truth, belong to the general subject of the progress of revelation. It is to be remembered that in pre-Christian days New Testament standards were not yet, reveled. Old testament believers lived in a dispensation in which retribution was a fundamental principle. Their very faith in a God of righteousness, who would reward the righteous and condemn the wicked, encouraged them to pray for His blessing upon themselves and for His vengeance upon their persecutors; and in this they had scriptural support (e.g., Lv. 24:19; Pr. 17:13). Retribution was therefore prayed for as part of the practical vindication of God’s actual and righteous sovereignty. Note here that the psalmist does not take vengeance himself, but leaves it to God. The New Testament teaches us also to love and pray for them that despitefully use us (Mt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:19-21).