Casting Lots (Prov 18:18-18:21)

“Casting the lot puts an end to disputes.

Casting lots decides between powerful contenders.

An ally offended is stronger than a city.

Such quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

From the fruit of the mouth,

One’s stomach is satisfied.

The yield of the lips

Brings satisfaction.

Death and life

Are in the power of the tongue.

Those who love it

Will eat its fruits.”

Casting lots was a way of finding out God’s will. This is how you put an end to disputes and arguments between powerful people. If you offend your ally he will become stronger than a city. This kind of quarreling is like the bars on a castle that cannot be torn down or bring about reconciliation. You satisfy your stomach through your mouth. So too the words of your lips will bring satisfaction. Life and death are in power of the tongue. When you love something, you will eat its fruits or enjoy the results.

Words of a fool (Prov 18:4-18: 8)

“The words of the mouth are deep waters.

The fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.

It is not right

To be partial to the guilty.

It is not right

To subvert the innocent in judgment.

A fool’s lips

Bring strife.

A fool’s mouth

Invites a flogging.

A fool’s mouth

Is their ruin.

A fool’s lips

Are snares to themselves.

The words of a whisperer

Are like delicious morsels.

They go down into the inner parts of the body.”

The words that come out of one’s mouth are like deep waters. Wisdom is like a gushing fountain. You should not favor the guilty or subvert the innocent with bad judgments. The lips of fools bring strife. Their mouths invite a whipping. Precisely the mouth of the fool is the cause of his ruin. Their lips snare themselves. They get caught in their own foolish words. However, the words of the deceptive ones who whisper in your ear are like delicious treats that go down into the inner parts of your body and ruin your body.

The pleasant words (Prov 16:22-16:26)

“Wisdom is a fountain of life

To whoever has it.

But folly is the punishment of fools.

The mind of the wise

Makes their speech judicious.

The mind of the wise

Adds persuasiveness to their lips.

Pleasant words are like

A honeycomb.

Pleasant words are like

Sweetness to the soul.

Pleasant words are like

Health to the body.

Sometimes there is a way

That seems to be right.

But in the end

It is the way to death.

The appetite of workers works for them.

Their hunger urges them on.”

The fountain of life is wisdom. On the other hand, the punishment for fools is their own folly. The wise person will have judicious speech and persuasive lips. Their words are pleasant like a honeycomb. Theses pleasant words add sweetness to the soul and health to the body. You have to watch out for the way that seems like it is right, but actually is the way to death. If workers are hungry they will work harder.

The wise ones (Prov 14:1-14:3)

“The wise woman builds her house.

But the foolish woman tears it down

With her own hands.

Those who walk uprightly

Fear Yahweh.

But one who is devious in conduct

Despises Yahweh.

The talk of fools

Is a rod for their backs.

But the lips of the wise

Preserve them.”

The wise woman builds her own house. The foolish woman, on the other hand, tears it down herself. If you walk upright, you fear Yahweh. If you are devious all over the place, then you despise Yahweh. The talk of fools brings the whipping rod to their backs, while the lips of the wise keep them save.

Use of words (Prov 10:19-10:21)

“When words are many,

Transgression is not lacking.

But the prudent are restrained in speech.

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.

The mind of the wicked is of little worth.

The lips of the righteous feed many.

But fools die for lack of sense.”     

If you talk too much, the chance of transgression increases. The prudent are more restrained in speech. The righteous have a silver tongue, while the wicked have very little worthwhile in their mind. The lips of the righteous can feed many people, but fools die for a lack of good sense.

The prayer against slanderers (Ps 140:9-140:11)

“Those who surround me lift up their heads.

Let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!

Let burning coals fall upon them!

Let them be flung into the pits!

Let them rise no more!

Let not the slanderer be established in the land!

Let evil speedily hunt down the violent!”

Now David outlines his requests against those attacking him. He wanted Yahweh to act against them. He wanted the mischief of their lips to overwhelm them. He wanted burning coals to fall on them. He wanted them flung into the deadly pits so that they could not rise again. He did not want any slanderers in the land at all. He wanted the violent hunted down quickly. David certainly did not like his enemies, these slanderers.

Deliver me from evil men (Ps 140:1-140:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David

“Deliver me!

Yahweh!

From evil men.

Protect me

From those who are violent.

Protect me

From those who plan evil things in their minds.

Protect me

From those who stir up wars continually.

They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s tongue.

Under their lips is the poison of vipers.”

Selah

Psalm 140 is another in this series of deliverance choral psalms of David. This is a lament against evil men. David wants to be protected from violent people, evil minds, and war mongers. These evil men have tongues like snakes.   Their lips were like the poison of vipers. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

Let me live (Ps 119:169-119:176)

Tav

“Let my cry come before you!

Yahweh!

Give me understanding

According to your word!

Let my supplication come before you!

Deliver me

According to your word!

My lips will pour forth praise.

Because you teach me your statutes.

My tongue will sing of your promise.

All your commandments are right.

Let your hand be ready to help me!

I have chosen your precepts.

I long for your salvation.

Yahweh!

Your law is my delight!

Let me live!

Thus I may praise you.

Let your ordinances help me!

I have gone astray

Like a lost sheep.

Seek out your servant!

I do not forget your commandments.”

This long psalm concludes with the last or twenty-second consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tav. This psalmist wanted to live and be saved. He, on his part, would not forget the commandments of Yahweh. He wanted his cry to come before Yahweh. He wanted to understand the word and law of Yahweh. He, on his part, would give praise to Yahweh with his lips and tongue. He will sing of his praises because Yahweh has taught him his statutes and commandments. All he wanted was help in salvation. He delighted in the law. Thus his ordinances would help him. However, the psalmist admitted that even though he had gone astray like a lost sheep, he still had not forgotten Yahweh’s commandments. Thus we have a fitting end to this long psalm about the importance and beauty of the law.

Praise God (Ps 71:22-71:24)

“I will also praise you with the harp,

For your faithfulness,

O my God!

I will sing praises to you with the lyre,

O Holy One of Israel!

My lips will shout for joy,

When I sing praises to you.

My soul also will shout for joy.

You have rescued my soul.

All day long,

My tongue will talk of your righteous help.

Those who tried to do me harm

Have been put to shame.

They have been disgraced.”

This long psalm ends with the usual cry of praising God. This psalmist, like the Davidic psalms, talks about playing the harp and the lyre.   He was going to sing praises about the faithfulness of God, the holy one of Israel. His lips would shout for joy because his soul had been rescued. All day long, he would talk about the righteous help of God. He had to add the zinger that those who tried to do him harm were put to shame and disgraced.

Temple offerings (Ps 66:13-66:15)

“I will come into your house

With burnt offerings.

I will pay you my vows

That my lips uttered.

My mouth promised

When I was in trouble.

I will offer to you

Burnt offerings of fatlings,

With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”

Selah

Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.