To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David.

This psalm was probably composed by David, when Saul carried on some kind of legal prosecution against him, which is not mentioned in the history of his reign. Here, (1.) He describes the corruption of these judges’ government, in neglecting to do justice, and in readiness to do injustice; and the corruption of their nature, with their malice, falsehood, and obstinate untractableness, ver. 1-5. (2.) He prays that God would disable them to perpetrate mischief; would defeat their projects, and weaken their influence, ver. 6-8. (3.) He predicts their ruin, as calculated to promote the comfort of the godly, and the conviction of sinners, ver. 9-11.

While I sing, let me search out my corruptions, and bewail my obstinate refusals of Jesus Christ, and the counsels of his word. Let me dread the speedy, but awful vengeance of God, if I regard iniquity in my heart, or indulge it in my life.

1 Do ye, O congregation,
indeed speak righteousness?
O ye that are the sons of men,
judge ye with uprightness?

2 Yea, ev’n within your very hearts
ye wickedness have done;
And ye the vi’lence of your hands
do weigh the earth upon.

3 The wicked men estranged are,
ev’n from the very womb;
They, speaking lies, do stray as soon
as to the world they come.

4 Unto a serpent’s poison like
their poison doth appear;
Yea, they are like the adder deaf,
that closely stops her ear;

5 That so she may not hear the voice
of one that charm her would,
No, not though he most cunning were,
and charm most wisely could.

6 Their teeth, O God, within their mouth
break thou in pieces small;
The great teeth break thou out, O Lord,
of these young lions all.

7 Let them like waters melt away,
which downward still do flow:
In pieces cut his arrows all,
when he shall bend his bow.

8 Like to a snail that melts away,
let each of them be gone;
Like woman’s birth untimely, that
they never see the sun.

9 He shall them take away before
your pots the thorns can find,
Both living, and in fury great,
as with a stormy wind.

10 The righteous, when he vengeance sees,
he shall be joyful then;
The righteous one shall wash his feet
in blood of wicked men.

11 So men shall say, The righteous man
reward shall never miss:
And verily upon the earth
a God to judge there is.