Psalms For Life
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Yahveh Elohim hear our prayers

Psalm 7

God of justice, God of truth

As society’s ground of morality shifts to whatever feels good, relationships are increasingly blighted by false accusation and gaslighting. This psalm invites victims to take refuge in the God who judges justly.

A David psalm, which he sang to YHWH about Cush the Benjaminite.

1 YHWH my God
I’ve taken refuge in you.
Rescue me from this mob stalking me.
Save me 2 lest, like a lion
they maul me and tear me limb from limb
with no one to rescue or help me.
3 If their charges are true, YHWH my God
if I’ve stained my hands with extortion
4 repaid my ally evil for good
or attacked my enemy for no reason
5 then let them hunt me down
trample me to the ground
and stomp my honor into the dirt.

6 Do something, God!
Burst onto the scene, YHWH!
Meet my foes’ fury
with the inferno of your anger
as your just sentence is carried out.
7 Summon my accusers
and let all rise as you take your seat
high above all earthly courts—
8 for you judge everyone everywhere.
Then, YHWH
declare me honorable
and in the right.
9 Ring down the curtain on evil
and set those who please you on their feet.
Since you probe us, heart and mind
be the righteous that God you are.

10 God is my shield
saving the pure in heart
11 a just judge
whose anger against evil burns constant.
12 When a person refuses to repent
God sharpens his sword
pulls back his bow, takes aim
13 and shoots his flaming arrows
with deadly accuracy.

14 Look at the wicked:
they conceive evil plans
become pregnant with mischief
and give birth to falsehood.
15 The deeper they make their trap
the farther they fall
when they stumble into it.
16 All their mischief backfires
landing on their own skulls.

17 I will thank YHWH
for being just and true.
I will sing praise to him
for being God Most High.

Cush, a member of King Saul’s tribe, is in hot pursuit of David. Furious with David, he and his band have falsely accused him of injustice, mistreating friends, and picking fights with enemies. In a culture prizing loyalty and decency, he makes David out to be an absolute jerk.

David’s framework here is legal. Saul has denied him his day in court. So, he asks God to take his case and defend him since God is just, knows everything, and is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of those who keep his covenant. Having run to him for shelter, David declares that he’s willing to pay with his life if it turns out he’s the villain his enemies say he is. That’s how sure he is of his innocence. As his stalkers close in on him, he urges God to stop them in their tracks and entrusts himself to the one judge he can count on to judge him justly.

God’s character is implicitly in sharp contrast to that of the nations’ gods, whose own worshippers saw them as capricious narcissists. Recalling how perfect God’s justice is, how implacable his hatred of evil, David imagines God in position, ready to judge his foes. While they’ve devoted themselves to evil, their efforts are futile. For in setting a trap for the innocent, they only set themselves up. Though still not out of the woods, David promises to praise God for being the God he is, voicing his assurance that God will act on his behalf.

Jesus, you know all about blame shifting and false accusation. And you aren’t fooled by it: no thought or motive escapes you. You’re in complete control, ready to act when the time is right. Deliver me from evil. Trusting that you’ll enact perfect justice, I praise you for your goodness. Amen.

In your free moments today, meditate on these words:

I will thank YHWH for being just and true.
I’ll sing praise to him for being God Most High.


Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH or YHVH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and sometimes transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Likewise, all modern translations either translate or transliterate it. Some other options for translating it are “the Eternal,” “the Almighty,” or “the Sovereign Lord.”

While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it seems to me more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. This roots it more firmly in the biblical story as the name God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Meaning “the self-existent One who answers to no one,” the name YHWH set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. I’ve chosen to transliterate only YHWH’s consonants since the earliest Hebrew manuscripts contain only consonants, the vowels being added much later. My aim in doing so is to honor God’s name and set it apart, as unique.

One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it out of reverence. (They read Adonai instead whenever they come to YHWH in the text.) I take the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard, who advocated pronouncing it as Yahveh (Yah·vay). He favored that over the standard Yahweh since the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish. It also makes it sound more robust, period.

Finding strength in the ancient psalms

May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.