“Whoever winks his eye
Those how know him
Will keep their distance.
In your presence,
His mouth is all sweetness.
He admires your words.
He will twist his speech.
With your own words,
He will trip you up.
I have hated many things.
But I have hated him
Even the Lord hates him.”
Sirach warns us about hypocrites. You can tell a hypocrite because he is always winking his eye, as he is plotting some mischief. Once you know who they are, keep your distance. When they are with you, they have pleasant sweet words for you. They admire your speech. However, they will later twist your words and trip you up. Sirach hates many things, but he really hates these hypocrites even more than the ungodly. He then tries to speak for God, saying that even the Lord hates hyprocrites.
“Do not envy the wicked!
Do not desire to be with them!
Their minds devise violence.
Their lips talk of mischief.”
Do not be envious of the wicked ones. Do not want to be with them. Their minds are full of violence, while their lips talk about nothing except mischief.
“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.
To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, ‘David has come to the house of Ahimelech’
“Why do you boast?
O mighty man!
Why do you boast?
What is the mischief done against the godly?
All day long
You are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor.
You are a worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good.
You love lying more than speaking the truth.”
Psalm 52 is loosely based on 1 Samuel, chapter 22, where Doeg the Edomite told Saul where David was hiding. This choral Davidic psalm asked why he was boastful. This probably refers to Saul rather Doeg the Edomite. He was planning all day mischief against the good godly people. His tongue was like a sharp razor as he loved evil more than good. He was a worker of treachery. He loved lies more than truth. This first section ends with a meditative musical interlude pause, a Selah.
“Your hand will find out all your enemies.
Your right hand will find out those who hate you.
You will make them like a fiery furnace
When you appear.
Yahweh will swallow them up in his wrath.
Fire will consume them.
You will destroy their offspring from the earth.
You will destroy their children from among humankind.
If they plan evil against you,
If they devise mischief,
They will not succeed.
You will put them to flight.
You will aim at their faces,
With your bows.”
Yahweh will find his enemies and those who hate him. He will then defeat them as a fiery furnace or swallow them up. Fire will consume them, even their offspring. Their children will be destroyed. Anyone who tried to plan or devise evil or mischief against Yahweh will not succeed. They will be put to flight as arrows will hit them in the face.
“Their mouths are filled with cursing.
Their mouths are filled with deceit.
Their mouths are filled with oppression.
Under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
They sit in ambush in the villages.
In hiding places,
They murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless.
They lurk in secret,
Like a lion in its covert.
So that they may seize the poor.
They seize the poor.
They drag them off in their net.”
The wicked people curse. They are deceitful. They oppress the poor. There is mischief and iniquity in their mouth. They sit in ambush, in hiding places to murder the innocent. They carefully watch the helpless. They lurk in secret like a lion about to catch its prey. They seize the poor and drag them off in nets.
“If one does not repent,
God will sharpen his sword.
He has bent and strung his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons,
He makes his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil!
They are pregnant with mischief.
They bring forth lies.
They make a pit.
They dig it out.
They fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads.
On their own heads violence descends.”
If the wicked ones do not repent, God will sharpen his sword against them. The bows and arrows will be ready like deadly fiery arrows. Notice that the wicked ones are always conceiving evil. In a colorful phrase, they are pregnant with mischief. The result of their pregnancy is lies. They dig out pits to snare people, but they fall into their own traps. Thus their conceived mischief and violence returns and descends on their own heads. The tables are turned on the violent wicked ones.