Saved from death (Sir 51:5-51:9)

“The Lord delivered me

From the deep belly of Hades.

He delivered me

From an unclean tongue.

He delivered me

From lying words.

He delivered me

From the slander

Of an unrighteous tongue                          

To the king.

My soul drew

Near to death.

My life was

On the brink of Hades below.

They surrounded me on every side.

There was no one to help me.

I looked for human assistance.

There was none.

Then I remembered your mercy.

O Lord!

I remembered from of old.

You rescue those

Who wait for you.

You save them

From the hand of their enemies.

I sent up my prayers from the earth.

I begged for rescue from death.”

This author shows how he was near death, when the Lord helped him. He was saved from the belly of hell or Hades, the shadowy underworld after death. He also was saved from the unclean and lying tongues of the unrighteous people who went to the king against him. His soul grew close to death as he was on the brink of hell or the underworld of Hades. He was surrounded on every side, when he realized that human help was not enough. Then he remembered the mercy of the Lord who had rescued and saved others from the hands of their enemies. Thus he sent up prayers from earth to heaven, begging to be rescued from death.

Watch your tongue (Prov 26:23-26:28)

“Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel

Are smooth lips with an evil heart.

An enemy dissembles in speaking,

While harboring deceit within.

When an enemy speaks graciously,

Do not believe it.

There are seven abominations concealed within.

Their hatred is covered with guile.

Their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Whoever digs a pit

Will fall into it.

A stone will come back

On the one who starts it rolling.

A lying tongue hates its victims.

A flattering mouth works ruin.”

Watch your lips and the smooth lips of your enemies. Watch what they say. Smooth lips with an evil heart are the glaze that makes a glossy vessel shiny. Watch out for the enemy who has deceit in his heart while speaking to you. When an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe them since they are concealing 7 abominations. They cover their hatred with guile, but it will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever starts to dig a pit, will fall into it. If you start to roll a stone, it will come back on you. Lying tongues hate their victims. Flattery will only bring you to ruin.

The current terrible situation (Ps 109:1-109:5)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David

“Do not be silent!

O God of my praise!

Wicked and deceitful mouths

Are opened against me.

They speak against me

With lying tongues.

They beset me

With words of hate.

They attack me without cause.

In return for my love

They accuse me.

Even while I make prayer for them,

They accuse me.

Thus they reward me

With evil for good.

They reward me

With hatred for my love.”

Psalm 109 is a Davidic personal prayer for deliverance within a choral setting. This is a lamentation of David against his enemies. As per usual, he began by asking God not to be silent. He explained that the wicked and deceitful people had opened their mouths against him with their lying tongues. Once again, they hated him without cause, another common lament. He tried to love them, but they accused him. When he prayed for them, they rewarded his good with evil. His love was returned as hatred. David was having a hard time getting along with his wicked foes.