Psalm 12

Psalm 12[a]

Prayer against the Arrogance of Sinners

1 For the director.[b] “Upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

2 Help, O Lord, for there are no godly left;
the faithful have vanished from the human race.
3 Neighbors utter lies to each other;
they speak with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.[c]
4 May the Lord destroy all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue,
5 those who say, “We will prevail by our tongues;
with our lips as our ally,
who can lord it over us?”
6 “The poor have been oppressed,
and those who are needy groan.
Therefore, I will rise up now,” says the Lord;
“I will grant them the safety
for which they long.”
7 And the promises of the Lord are certain;
they are like silver refined in a furnace
and purified seven times.[d]
8 [e]You, O Lord, will watch over us
and preserve us from this generation forever.
9 For the wicked prowl on every side,
and what is vile is exalted by mankind.


  1. Psalm 12:1 The psalmist, surrounded by the treachery and arrogance of sinners (see Mic 7:1-7), calls for help and is certain that God will judge them as their iniquity reaches its zenith. The words of the Lord can be fully relied on, whereas the boastful words of the adversaries are completely futile.
    We Christians can make this supplication our own, for we feel deeply every disorder in the social realm. Eager for justice, we are outraged by every injustice, every disloyalty and fraud in social relations.
  2. Psalm 12:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. Upon the eighth: see note on Ps 6:1.
  3. Psalm 12:3 Hearts: see note on Ps 4:8.
  4. Psalm 12:7 Purified seven times: the number seven signified fullness or completeness; hence the phrase means “refined through and through.” The words of the Lord are absolutely pure and true (see Pss 18:31; 19:8; Prov 30:5).
  5. Psalm 12:8 The psalmist voices his confidence that, although the wicked are at present lording it over the righteous, God will take care of the latter.

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