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Psalm chapter 10

New International Version

1 Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. 4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, 'Nothing will ever shake me.' He swears, 'No one will ever do me harm.' 7 His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9 like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, 'God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.' 12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, 'He won't call me to account'? 14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
English Standard Version

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

1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? 2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. 3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. 4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. 5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. 6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity. 7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. 8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. 9 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. 10 He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones. 11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble. 13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. 14 Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none. 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. 17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: 18 To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
New American Standard Bible

1 Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? 2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. 3 For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD. 4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, 'There is no God.' 5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. 6 He says to himself, 'I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.' 7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. 8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. 9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. 10 He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. 11 He says to himself, 'God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.' 12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. 13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, 'You will not require it.' 14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. 16 The LORD is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 17 O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.
New Living Translation

1 O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble? 2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. 3 For they brag about their evil desires; they praise the greedy and curse the LORD.
4 The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. 5 Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They sneer at all their enemies. 6 They think, 'Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever!'
7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. 8 They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. 9 Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. 10 Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. 11 The wicked think, 'God isn't watching us! He has closed his eyes and won't even see what we do!'
12 Arise, O LORD! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! 13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? They think, 'God will never call us to account.' 14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans.
15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed. 16 The LORD is king forever and ever! The godless nations will vanish from the land. 17 LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.
Christian Standard Bible

1 LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked relentlessly pursue their victims; let them be caught in the schemes they have devised. 3 For the wicked one boasts about his own cravings; the one who is greedy curses and despises the LORD. 4 In all his scheming, the wicked person arrogantly thinks, "There's no accountability, since there's no God." 5 His ways are always secure; your lofty judgments have no effect on him; he scoffs at all his adversaries. 6 He says to himself, "I will never be moved--from generation to generation without calamity." 7 Cursing, deceit, and violence fill his mouth; trouble and malice are under his tongue. 8 He waits in ambush near settlements; he kills the innocent in secret places. His eyes are on the lookout for the helpless; 9 he lurks in secret like a lion in a thicket. He lurks in order to seize a victim; he seizes a victim and drags him in his net. 10 So he is oppressed and beaten down; helpless people fall because of the wicked one's strength.
11 He says to himself, "God has forgotten; he hides his face and will never see." 12 Rise up, LORD God! Lift up your hand. Do not forget the oppressed. 13 Why has the wicked person despised God? He says to himself, "You will not demand an account." 14 But you yourself have seen trouble and grief, observing it in order to take the matter into your hands. The helpless one entrusts himself to you; you are a helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked, evil person, until you look for his wickedness, but it can't be found. 16 The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 LORD, you have heard the desire of the humble; you will strengthen their hearts. You will listen carefully, 18 doing justice for the fatherless and the oppressed so that mere humans from the earth may terrify them no more.

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).