For the music director; a psalm of David.
Protect me from violent men, 3
All day long they stir up conflict. 5
Protect me from violent men,
who plan to knock me over. 10
140:5 Proud men hide a snare for me;
evil men 11 spread a net by the path;
they set traps for me. (Selah)
140:6 I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
O Lord, pay attention to my plea for mercy!
you shield 13 my head in the day of battle.
140:9 As for the heads of those who surround me –
may the harm done by 17 their lips overwhelm them!
May he throw them into the fire!
From bottomless pits they will not escape. 19
calamity will hunt down a violent man and strike him down. 22
and vindicates the poor. 24
140:13 Certainly the godly will give thanks to your name;
the morally upright will live in your presence.
[140:2] 5 tc Heb “they attack [for] war.” Some revocalize the verb (which is a Qal imperfect from גּוּר, gur, “to attack”) as יְגָרוּ (yÿgaru), a Piel imperfect from גָרָה (garah, “stir up strife”). This is followed in the present translation.
[140:3] 6 tn Heb “they sharpen their tongue like a serpent.” Ps 64:3 reads, “they sharpen their tongues like sword.” Perhaps Ps 140:3 uses a mixed metaphor, the point being that “they sharpen their tongues [like a sword],” as it were, so that when they speak, their words wound like a serpent’s bite. Another option is that the language refers to the pointed or forked nature of a serpent’s tongue, which is viewed metaphorically as “sharpened.”
[140:8] 16 tn Heb “his plot do not promote, they rise up.” The translation understands the final verb as being an unmarked temporal clause. Another option is to revocalize the verb as a Hiphil and take the verb with the next verse, “those who surround me lift up [their] head,” which could refer to their proud attitude as they anticipate victory (see Ps 27:6).
[140:10] 18 tn The verb form in the Kethib (consonantal Hebrew text) appears to be a Hiphil imperfect from the root מוּט (mut, “to sway”), but the Hiphil occurs only here and in Ps 55:3, where it is preferable to read יַמְטִירוּ (yamtiru, “they rain down”). In Ps 140:10 the form יַמְטֵר (yamter, “let him rain down”) should probably be read.
[140:10] 19 tn Heb “into bottomless pits, they will not arise.” The translation assumes that the preposition -בְּ (bet) has the nuance “from” here. Another option is to connect the line with what precedes, take the final clause as an asyndetic relative clause, and translate, “into bottomless pits [from which] they cannot arise.” The Hebrew noun מַהֲמֹרָה (mahamorah, “bottomless pit”) occurs only here in the OT.