Psalm 12

Psalm 12

This psalm laments the conditions that prevail in the world.  Things are so bad that we hear the words  “the faithful have vanished from the human race.”  We may be tempted to make a similar complaint when we hear the latest news.  Apparently lying is the usual mode of (non)communication.  The psalmist would like God to destroy such people.  It is his way of asking God to make justice prevail.

It may be that the psalmist is uttering this prayer in the temple and in the hearing of the priest.  That would explain v. 6, coming from the mouth of the priest:  “”Because they rob the weak, and the needy groan,/ I will now arise,” says the LORD;/ “I will grant safety to whoever longs for it.”  The priest’s (and God’s) purpose would be to give hope to the complainer, who then expresses his confidence that God will protect his people from their persecutors.

We might wonder whether the final words of the psalm describe a segment of our present generation:  “On every side the wicked strut;/ the shameless are extolled by all.”

As Christians, we may use this prayer to express our feelings about the world around us.  However, we would also ask God to convert those who do evil rather than destroy them from the earth.

Jesus would have had occasion to use this psalm when his enemies refused to listen to his words and began plotting against him.  However, he would have added a prayer for those who resisted and even hated him.

Photo: graur razvan ionut


About the Author

Hilarion Kistner, O.F.M., after ordination in 1955, did further studies in Scripture. He taught Scripture to seminarians for 15 years. He has been editor of Sunday Homily Helps for more than 25 years.