they flatter and deceive. 2
and the tongue that boasts! 4
we know how to flatter and boast. 7
Who is our master?” 8
but he harbors animosity in his heart. 10
His words seem softer than oil,
but they are really like sharp swords. 11
from those who lie with their lips 14
and those who deceive with their tongue. 15
[12:2] 2 tn Heb “[with] a lip of smoothness, with a heart and a heart they speak.” Speaking a “smooth” word refers to deceptive flattery (cf. Ps 5:9; 55:21; Prov 2:16; 5:3; 7:5, 21; 26:28; 28:23; Isa 30:10). “Heart” here refers to their mind, from which their motives and intentions originate. The repetition of the noun indicates diversity (see GKC 396 §123.f, IBHS 116 §7.2.3c, and Deut 25:13, where the phrase “weight and a weight” refers to two different measuring weights). These people have two different types of “hearts.” Their flattering words seem to express kind motives and intentions, but this outward display does not really reflect their true motives. Their real “heart” is filled with evil thoughts and destructive intentions. The “heart” that is seemingly displayed through their words is far different from the real “heart” they keep disguised. (For the idea see Ps 28:3.) In 1 Chr 12:33 the phrase “without a heart and a heart” means “undivided loyalty.”
[12:3] 3 tn The verb form is a jussive, indicating that the statement is imprecatory (“May the
[12:4] 6 tn Heb “to our tongue we make strong.” The Hiphil of גָבַר (gavar) occurs only here and in Dan 9:27, where it refers to making strong, or confirming, a covenant. Here in Ps 12 the evildoers “make their tongue strong” in the sense that they use their tongue to produce flattering and arrogant words to accomplish their purposes. The preposition -לְ (l) prefixed to “our tongue” may be dittographic.
[12:4] 7 tn Heb “our lips [are] with us.” This odd expression probably means, “our lips are in our power,” in the sense that they say what they want, whether it be flattery or boasting. For other cases where אֵת (’et, “with”) has the sense “in the power of,” see Ps 38:10 and other texts listed by BDB 86 s.v. 3.a.
[55:21] 9 tn Heb “the butter-like [words] of his mouth are smooth.” The noun מַחְמָאֹת (makhma’ot, “butter-like [words]”) occurs only here. Many prefer to emend the form to מֵחֶמְאָה (mekhem’ah, from [i.e., “than”] butter”), cf. NEB, NRSV “smoother than butter.” However, in this case “his mouth” does not agree in number with the plural verb חָלְקוּ (kholqu, “they are smooth”). Therefore some further propose an emendation of פִּיו (piv, “his mouth”) to פָּנָיו (panayv, “his face”). In any case, the point seems to that the psalmist’s former friend spoke kindly to him and gave the outward indications of friendship.