Psalm 35:20

ESV For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit.
NIV They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land.
NASB For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land.
CSB For they do not speak in friendly ways, but contrive fraudulent schemes against those who live peacefully in the land.
NLT They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
KJV For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

What does Psalm 35:20 mean?

Earlier verses noted the idea of enemies using lies and invented accusations (Psalm 35:11). That was in the context of attacks on David, himself (Psalm 35:12–16). Here, David describes the same foes as raising false charges against peaceful people. Though many enemies persecuted David, others in Israel supported him. Here, these are portrayed as quiet people, who honored the Lord and led righteous lives.

In times where many ignored God's will and followed evil leaders (2 Samuel 15:13–14), those who lived in peace and followed God (Lamentations 3:26; Romans 12:18) were a righteous remnant of what Israel was meant to be. Throughout Israel's long history the Lord always preserved at least a handful of those who truly honored Him. Elijah thought he was the only one left, telling God, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away" (1 Kings 19:10). However, the Lord responded: "Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel [a remnant], all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18).
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