“Scoffers set a city aflame.
But the wise turn away wrath.
If the wise go to law with fools,
There is ranting.
There is ridicule without relief.
The bloodthirsty hate the blameless.
They seek the life of the upright.
A fool gives full vent to his anger.
But the wise quietly hold it back.”
The scoffers or the cynics will set a city in flames with their comments. The wise, on the other hand, will turn away or stay away from anger. If there is a dispute about the law, the wise will win out because the fools will be ranting away and ridiculed non-stop. The bloodthirsty evil men hate the blameless since they seek the life of the upright ones. Fools give vent to their anger but the wise ones hold back quietly.
“O that you would kill the wicked!
Then the bloodthirsty
Would depart from me!
Those who speak of you maliciously
Would depart from me!
Those who lift themselves up against you for evil
Would depart from me!
Do I not hate those who hate you?
Do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with perfect hatred.
I count them my enemies.
Know my heart!
Know my thoughts!
See if there is any wicked way in me!
Lead me in the way everlasting!”
This psalm ends on a bitter note. David asked Yahweh to kill the wicked ones. They are the bloodthirsty, malicious, and evil ones who should depart from David. They were his enemies. He hated those who hated Yahweh. He loathed those who were against Yahweh. In fact, David had perfect hatred for his enemies. Finally, David recognized that he might have a fault. He wanted God to search and test him, know his heart and his thoughts. If there was anything wicked in him, he wanted to be led into the eternal everlasting way. So while he recognized the evil in others, he was also aware of his own shortcomings.
To the choirmaster leader, according to Do Not Destroy, a Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him
From my enemies!
O my God!
From those who rise up against me.
From those who work evil.
From bloodthirsty men.”
Psalm 59 is the 3rd psalm in a row that has the melody “Do Not Destroy.” Once again it is a choral Miktam psalm of David. This time the incident about David can be found in 1 Samuel, chapter 19, when King Saul sent people to his house to kill him. Then Michal, the daughter of King Saul and wife of David, saved him. David asked to be saved and protected from his enemies. There is never a specific mention of King Saul. Perhaps these psalms may date from the time of the captivity with a projection back to the time of David. David wanted protection from those who were opposing him. His opponents, of course, were the evil bloodthirsty men who were after him.
“Cast your burden on Yahweh!
He will sustain you.
He will never permit
The righteous to be moved.
Will cast them down into the lowest pit.
The bloodthirsty and treacherous
Shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.”
This psalm ends with the comparison between those who trust in God, David, and the bloodthirsty and treacherous enemies, the foes, and the traitors to David. Yahweh will sustain David. He will not be moved. However, he wanted God to send his enemies to the pit, the grave, death. He wanted them to live out only half their days. David trusted in Yahweh. He wanted his foes gone, dead.
“You are not a God who delights in wickedness.
Evil will not sojourn with you.
The boastful may not stand before your eyes.
You hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies.
Yahweh abhors the bloodthirsty and the deceitful.”
Yahweh does not like wickedness since evil has no place with him. We now get a glimpse of who these wicked people are. They are the boastful ones. They speak lies. They are bloodthirsty. They are deceitful. All of these kinds of people cannot stand before the eyes of Yahweh.
“For this reason, not only Jews, but many also of other nations, were grieved and displeased at the unjust murder of Onias. When the king returned from the region of Cilicia, the Jews in the city appealed to him with regard to the unreasonable murder of Onias. The Greeks shared their hatred of the crime. Therefore King Antiochus was grieved at heart and filled with pity. He wept because of the moderation and good conduct of the deceased. Inflamed with anger, he immediately stripped off the purple robe from Andronicus. He tore off his garments. He led him around the whole city to that very place where he had committed the outrage against Onias. There he dispatched the bloodthirsty fellow. The Lord thus repaid him with the punishment he deserved.”
The killing of the deposed high priest Onias was a semi-official act of the king. The Jews and many other nations were upset about this murder of Onias. After all, Andronicus had tricked Onias into coming out of a pagan sanctuary Temple. When King Antiochus IV returned from Cilicia, the southern coastal region of Asia Minor, he was upset and angry. He too wept for the good man. He immediately stripped Andronicus of his purple robes, the robes of authority. He tore his garments and brought him to the place where the outrage had taken place. Then he killed him so that he was given the punishment that the Lord said that he deserved. Here the king of Syria implements the will of God and brings justice to the death of the former Jerusalem high priest.