What does Psalm 12:2 mean?
ESV: Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
NIV: Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.
NASB: They speak lies to one another; They speak with flattering lips and a double heart.
CSB: They lie to one another; they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
NLT: Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.
KJV: They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
NKJV: They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
Verse Commentary:
Scripture does not specify exactly what situation David was facing when he wrote this song. His lament that the entire world seems to have turned to evil (Psalm 12:1) resembles other expressions of frustration found in the Old Testament (Habakkuk 1:2–4; Psalm 22:1). This psalm grieves over a culture replete with deceptive smooth talk, dishonesty, and fraud. This was so rampant that David indicts "everyone" as practicing it; he uses the same exaggeration for effect a modern speaker might employ by saying "no one cares about the poor, today."

Fraud and dishonest flattery were sins employed often by David's enemies. David's son Absalom used flattery to steal the hearts of the people. Second Samuel 15:5–6 says, "And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him [Absalom], he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel."

False teachers appeared in the first century church and used dishonest compliments to gain a following (Galatians 4:17). Paul, for his part, refused to fawn over other people to gain their approval. He tells the Thessalonian believers: "For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness" (1 Thessalonians 2:5).
Verse Context:
Psalm 12:1–4 is a prayer of deliverance from proud, evil people who spread lies. David sees a perilous decline of righteous individuals. From his perspective, it seems as if the entire world has turned to evil. The wicked employ lies, flattery, and hypocrisy. They assume their actions won't result in consequences. Therefore, David prays for the Lord to put an end to such wicked people.
Chapter Summary:
In this short song, David mourns for what he sees as an entirely corrupt, evil culture. The people around him seem entirely filled with lies, flattery, and deception. These arrogant smooth-talkers think the power of their words will achieve whatever they desire. In contrast to the evil words the wicked employ, are the Lord's words. They are as pure and precious as silver refined seven times over in a furnace. David is confident that the Lord will protect His people from the harm their wicked contemporaries are inflicting. David concludes the psalm with a description of the widespread evil committed by the wicked. It is everywhere, and it is highly praised throughout the land.
Chapter Context:
This psalm reveals a basic contrast between the words of deceitful, flattering evildoers and the pure, reliable words of God. David laments the speech and behavior of a proud, deceitful culture. This brings to mind similar complaints from the Old Testament (Habakkuk 1:2–4; Psalm 22). He also expresses assurance that the Lord will protect him and all the righteous from their wicked contemporaries (Psalm 3:3).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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