Psalm 31:13

ESV For I hear the whispering of many — terror on every side! — as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
NIV For I hear many whispering, "Terror on every side!" They conspire against me and plot to take my life.
NASB For I have heard the slander of many, Terror is on every side; While they took counsel together against me, They schemed to take away my life.
CSB I have heard the gossip of many; terror is on every side. When they conspired against me, they plotted to take my life.
NLT I have heard the many rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror. My enemies conspire against me, plotting to take my life.
KJV For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
NKJV For I hear the slander of many; Fear is on every side; While they take counsel together against me, They scheme to take away my life.

What does Psalm 31:13 mean?

Persecution can come in a variety of forms, including physical torment and lies or slander, both of which David seems to have experienced. His enemies certainly tried to kill him (1 Samuel 19:2; 22:17; Psalm 54:3). In this passage, it appears they also lied to convince friends and neighbors to turn their backs on him (Psalm 38:12; 59:12). The evil "whispering" David mentions here might include smears on his reputation as well as plans for his death.

Centuries later, the prophet Jeremiah would experience the same struggles described by David in this passage. Jeremiah was extremely unpopular because he predicted disaster for Judah. He writes in Jeremiah 20:10: "I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! 'Denounce him! Let us denounce him!' say all my close friends, watching for my fall. 'Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.'"

David and Jeremiah were not the only ones to receive such vile treatment. Jesus, too, was the object of similar abuse. Mark 3:6 states: "The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him." The apostle Paul was another object of sinister plotting. The Jews in Damascus plotted to kill him. Acts 9:24 reports "they were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him." The Sanhedrin also plotted to assassinate him, twice (Acts 23:12–15; 25:3).
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