O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
Appoint an evil man (the evil one) to oppose him; let an accuser (the Accuser, Satan) stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted. He loved to pronounce a curse— may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing— may it be far from him. He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil. May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him. May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust. My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt. I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads. Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it. They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice. My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.
Wow! I don’t know who David was upset with but somebody must have really done him wrong. This is one of the strongest prayers of imprecation anywhere in Scripture. (For that reason, some translators prefer the alternates I put in parenthesis.) For the other guy’s sake, I hope the Lord took this with a grain of salt.
I’ve been this angry a time or two and I’m sure you have too. For me it’s usually when I’m being treated unfairly, like the time about 15 years ago when I got into trouble with the bank that had financed an office building I owned. I had bitten off a lot more than I could chew on that deal and was in way over my head, but they loaned me the money anyway. The mortgage was huge and it was all I could do to stay current. I’m not exaggerating when I say that sometimes my own paycheck went toward that payment.
After three years of struggling but always being on time, things were so tight that I let the taxes go in arrears to avoid being late on the mortgage. When the bank found out they immediately put me in default and called the loan due and payable in full. Then they wrote to my tenants demanding that they pay their rent directly to the bank. I couldn’t believe it, nor could I change their minds. All that sacrificing to fulfill my obligation to them and this is the thanks I got?
Of course they had the legal right to do it, I had violated one of the loan covenants. Adding insult to injury, they scheduled a hearing to put their own trustee in charge of the building knowing I was about to leave for Israel with a tour group I was leading. I’d be out of the country. It was just plain mean, and left me feeling really betrayed.
Later I found out that they were in trouble and had to clean up their act fast. My loan was risky and made them look bad to the auditors, so it had to be resolved. They had been looking for a chance to foreclose and sell the building to get my loan off their books, and as soon as I gave them that chance they jumped.
“It’s just business,” their lawyer said. “Nothing personal.” Well it sure felt personal. I wound up losing the building and a whole lot of hard earned money. It took me years to recover. For a while I prayed prayers just like David’s, but then the Lord told me that I had to forgive them if I ever wanted to get over my anger. It was a while before I could do that, but eventually I actually wound up praying that the Lord would save those bankers and their lawyer, asking Him to forgive not only their sins against me, but all of their sins.
When the Lord saw that I was sincere, He began blessing me, delivering me from my anger. He restored me financially and taught me valuable lessons about grace and forgiveness. And while I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience, I can honestly say that I profited from it.
The bank sold the building for a big loss, and the guy who bought it later abandoned it, having lost even more than I did on it. The bank itself was subsequently sold and its local office demolished to make way for a movie theater. Proof positive that the Lord answers prayers, even those like David’s, once you get right with Him.