Why do the evildoers succeed? (Ps 73:10-73:14)

“Therefore the people turn and praise them.

They find no fault in them.                                

They say.

‘How can God know?

Is there knowledge in the Most High?’

Such are the wicked.

They are always at ease.

They increase in riches.

All in vain have I kept my heart clean.

I have washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been plagued.

I am punished every morning.”

Asaph, the psalmist warned that people were praising these wicked people. No one seemed to find fault in what they were doing. The people were saying how can God not know about this since he is the most high one. The wicked ones seem to be at ease as they increase their wealth. Asaph maintained that he had kept his heart clean in vain. He had washed his hands in innocence. However, all day long he suffered from illness. He was punished every morning as he woke up.

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The innocent (Ps 26:6-26:7)

“I wash my hands in innocence.

I go around your altar.

Yahweh!

I sing aloud a song of thanksgiving.

I tell all your wondrous deeds.”

David once again maintained his innocence. He washed his hands in innocence in some sort of liturgical worship action in the Temple. He walked around the altar of Yahweh. Theoretically only a Levite could do this. He sang a song of thanksgiving that told all about the wondrous deeds of Yahweh.

The prayer of the innocent (Ps 17:3-17:5)

“If you try my heart,

If you visit me by night,

If you test me,

You will find no wickedness in me.

My mouth does not transgress.

As for what others do,

By the word of your lips,

I have avoided the ways of the violent.

My steps have held fast to your paths.

My feet have not slipped.”

David, or the psalmist, proclaims his innocence. His heart is true. Even if you were to visit him at night or test him, no one would find wickedness in him. His mouth does not transgress, even when others do. He has avoided violent ways and held to the path of Yahweh. His feet have not slipped.

Job maintains that he is innocent (Job 9:13-9:24)

“God will not turn back his anger.

The helpers of Rahab bowed beneath him.

How then can I answer him?

How can I choose my words with him?

Though I am innocent,

I cannot answer him.

I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.

If I summoned him,

And he answered me,

I do not believe that he would listen to my voice.

He crushes me with a tempest.

He multiplies my wounds without cause.

He will not let me get my breath.

But He fills me with bitterness.

If it is a contest of strength,

He is the strong one.

If it is a matter of justice,

Who can summon him?

Though I am innocent,

My own mouth would condemn me.

Though I am blameless,

He would prove me perverse.

I am blameless.

I do not know myself.

I loathe my life.

It is all one.

Therefore I say,

He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.

When disaster brings sudden death,

He mocks at the calamity of the innocent.

The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.

He covers the eyes of its judges.

If it is not he,

Who then is it?”

Job wanted to defend himself. The sea monster or chaos of Rehab had to bow to God. This was also the name of the prostitute in Joshua, chapter 2, who helped the Israelite spies. He wanted to know how he could prove his innocence. He would have to appeal to mercy. God would not listen to him. He has crushed Job because God destroys both the wicked and the blameless. Job loathed his life since he did not know himself. The judge’s eyes were closed so that now the wicked have control of things.