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Psalm chapter 10

English Standard Version

1Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. 3For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. 4In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. 6He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” 7His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 11He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” 12Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 16The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1Why do You stand far away, Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? 2In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the needy; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. 3For the wicked boasts of his soul’s desire, And the greedy person curses and shows disrespect to the Lord. 4The wicked, in his haughtiness, does not seek Him. There is no God in all his schemes. 5His ways succeed at all times; Yet Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he snorts at them. 6He says to himself, 'I will not be moved; Throughout the generations I will not be in adversity.' 7His mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; Under his tongue is harm and injustice. 8He sits in the lurking places of the villages; He kills the innocent in the secret places; His eyes surreptitiously watch for the unfortunate. 9He lurks in secret like a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the needy; He catches the needy when he pulls him into his net. 10Then he crushes the needy one, who cowers; And unfortunate people fall by his mighty power. 11He says to himself, 'God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.' 12Arise, Lord; God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the humble. 13Why has the wicked treated God disrespectfully? He has said to himself, 'You will not require an account.' 14You have seen it, for You have looked at harm and provocation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. 15Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. 16The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 17Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will make Your ear attentive 18To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that mankind, which is of the earth, will no longer cause terror.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Psalm chapter 10 mean?

It's possible Psalm 10 was composed simultaneously with Psalm 9. It continues the acrostic pattern, starting each stanza with a successive Hebrew letter. It uses phrases and themes seen in Psalm 9. However, Psalm 10 does not have the same musical notations as Psalm 9. Whether they were meant to be sung together, or are entirely separate, the two passages approach those themes differently.

The opening line of Psalm 10 reflects the natural frustration we feel in the face of evil. In our limited understanding, we cannot grasp why God is not intervening right here, right now, and in exactly the way we'd prefer. As with other Old Testament passages, the psalmist later returns to the idea of God's established faithfulness, but the initial cry of his heart is one of a disturbed spirit (Psalm 10:1).

Evil people seem to experience success, at least from a worldly perspective. They actively seek out those who are poor, helpless, or weak to take advantage of them. Rather than being ashamed of such actions, the wicked brag about them. Not only do such people ignore God's will, but they also try to brush Him aside as if He simply does not exist. Because of material success, these evil people assume there will never be any consequences for their actions, at all (Psalm 10:2–7).

David's depiction of the wicked here is one of predators. These evil people go to great lengths to target unsuspecting and vulnerable people. The same person who might claim God does not exist is also prone to sneer at the idea that God will know or care about their sin (Psalm 10:8–11).

Finished with his complaint about the presence of evil people, David prays for God to intervene. He is astonished that some people turn from God and assume He will not judge them for their sins. In contrast, the Lord is aware of the needs of weak and helpless people. For that reason, David calls on God to disrupt the power of these wicked people, scouring and judging their lives until every bit of sin has been found out (Psalm 10:12–15).

The song ends with praise for the Lord and reassurance of His ultimate victory. Though the passage began with a sense of frustration and anguish, it ends with a hopeful, faithful tone. What God has accomplished for His people produces confidence: a trust that He will hear and act according to His perfect goodness (Psalm 10:16–18).
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