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Psalm 12:1

ESV To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
NIV For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David. Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
NASB Help, Lord, for the godly person has come to an end, For the faithful have disappeared from the sons of mankind.
CSB Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains; the loyal have disappeared from the human race.
NLT Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth!
KJV {To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.} Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

What does Psalm 12:1 mean?

David prays for deliverance from an evil culture. He laments the decline of faithful believers. As with many statements in Psalms and Proverbs, this presents a natural human perspective. From David's point of view, it seems there are no good people left.

Scripture presents several instances of God's followers suffering when they felt alone in a godless culture. Lot made a very bad choice: to move near, then into, Sodom (Genesis 13:10–13). There, his soul was grieved by the decadence of those who surrounded him. Peter states, "for as that righteous man lived among [the wicked people of Sodom] day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard" (2 Peter 2:8). Writing to the Philippian believers, Paul describes the culture of Philippi as "crooked and twisted," contrasting the wickedness of the culture with the righteous testimony of the believers (Philippians 2:15). He describes godly people as shining lights in the world (Matthew 5:16).

Many years after David, the prophet Elijah decried the faithlessness of the people of Israel. He also mourned as if he was the only God-honoring person left in the land (1 Kings 18:22; 19:10).

The term used in this Psalm's introduction, sheminith, is often left untranslated. It is apparently related to the Hebrew word for "eight" or "eighth." This instruction might refer to an eight-stringed instrument or some other musical requirement.
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