Cursing’s Worn Like a Coat: Psalm 109

Some of David’s songs contain lyrics many would hesitate to sing. David, a man after Yahweh’s heart, wrote Psalm 109. I warn you; if you have not read this Psalm, you’ll never forget it. Psalms or Tehillim means praise in Hebrew. While reading Psalm 109, I had a picture of a lion roaring. First, let’s look at Psalm 55:

In Psalm 55, David voices his condition:

Listen to my prayer, O God, and do not ignore my plea. Attend to me and answer me. I am restless in my complaint and distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the pressure of the wicked. For they release disaster upon me and revile me in their anger. My heart murmurs within me, and the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling grip me, and horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest. How far away I would flee! In the wilderness, I would remain.

Psalm 55:1-7, BSB.

David longs for the wings of a dove. The Holy Spirit (Dove) led Yeshua into the wilderness to be tempted. He came out of the wilderness with great power!

In verse 16 of Psalm 55, David wants his enemies to die:

Let death seize them by surprise; let them go down to Sheol alive, for evil is with them in their homes.” 

Do you know who else went quickly down to the pit? ALIVE? Korah and his followers. Yes, they went to the compartment of death alive.

Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things, for it was not my own doing:  If these men die a natural death, or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me.  But if the LORD brings about something unprecedented, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that belongs to them so that they go down alive into Sheol, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.”

As soon as Moses had finished saying all this, the ground beneath them split open, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households—all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into Sheol with all they owned. The earth closed over them, and they vanished from the assembly.

Numbers 16:28-33

Yeshua, at the cross, had a different message for his enemies, but the Messiah came first as a Lamb. A sacrifice. Yeshua said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In Psalm 55, David does not say this.

The Messiah came first as Joseph, but He is coming back as the lion of David. Lions roar and men stop in their tracks. Did you know that the roar of a lion can be heard over 5 miles away? Seolo Africa website has an interesting blog concerning the roar of a lion, The Might of a Lions Roar:

The lions usually start off with a series of deep grunts, slowly increasing in volume and frequency before building up to a crescendo and then tapering off again with another series of grunts. The power of a full roar usually astonishes bystanders with its sheer volume, and often people who have had the privilege of hearing a roar at close range say they have felt the call causing vibrations in their sternums!

Some scientists have estimated the roar can reach 114 decibels, as loud as a noisy rock concert.[1]

Photo by Elie Khoury on Unsplash

Psalm 55 is tame compared to Psalm 109. Not many people can think of an enemy, even their greatest enemy, that they would proclaim such words as David does. But a small portion of it is spoken by Peter in Acts 1:20 concerning Judas and replacing his position as an apostle.

“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and” ‘May another take his place of leadership.'” (Acts 1:20).

Peter, who denied Yeshua three times, boldly quotes a portion of this passage.

Psalm 109 is a Psalm many scholars and rabbis have tried to explain or even flip the message David spoke and suggest David is only repeating the curses hurled at him from his enemies, but I think David was being David.

Most of David’s words throughout the Book of Psalms evoke emotions and are breathtakingly beautiful praises to Adonai. When David was hidden in the clefts of the Rock, his songs were vividly expressive concerning the wonder of creation and the Father of lights. At other times, David watched the wolves circling, salivating, teeth glistening, ready to pounce upon him. Men who murdered priests dressed in robes of glory sought him for bloodshed. Those who offered sacrifices and pressed fresh oil for the menorah lay bloody due to King Saul’s murderous spirit.

Photo by Hassan Rafhaan on Unsplash

And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house!” Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me.” But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord.  And the king said to Doeg, “You turn and kill the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod. Also Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep—with the edge of the sword.

I Samuel 22:16-19, NKJ

But it wasn’t just a father-in-law that David had to deal with. His son would later try to usurp him and take over the throne.

As you read the words below from Psalm 109, imagine singing the lyrics to Yahweh.

O God of my praise, be not silent. For wicked and deceitful mouths open against me; they speak against me with lying tongues. They surround me with hateful words and attack me without cause. In return for my love, they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Set over him a wicked man; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayer be regarded as sin. May his days be few; may another take his position. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children wander as beggars, seeking sustenance far from their ruined homes. May the creditor seize all he owns, and strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May there be no one to extend kindness to him, and no one to favor his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off; may their names be blotted out from the next generation. May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the LORD, that He may cut off their memory from the earth. For he never thought to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and brokenhearted, even to their death.

The cursing that he loved, may it fall on him; the blessing in which he refused to delight, may it be far from him. The cursing that he wore like a coat, may it soak into his body like water, and into his bones like oil. May it be like a robe wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him. May this be the LORD’s reward to my accusers, to those who speak evil against me.

Photo by Erico Marcelino on Unsplash

Can you picture curses soaked into your body down to the bone? These words seem far removed from the Messiah’s pleas to love our enemies and do good to those who treat us wrongly. Still, I believe that King David, a prophet, priest, and king, was a prototype of Messiah Yeshua. Could Psalm 109 be a warning concerning the judgment of the righteous and the unrighteous? The Messiah came as a lamb but will return as a lion. David was a bloody man of war. So bloody indeed that his son Solomon had to build the temple. David was also a humble man who stood for righteousness and wrote poignant, profound, and endearing words that not even Shakespeare could top.

David explains the dilemma. He shows them love and kindness and receives evil and hatred in return. They lie concerning his character. They twist his words.  The leadership in the Messiahs day looked for a way to twist his words and catch him with fault concerning the Torah. In Salm 109, David said they attack him for no reason. (Now imagine these words directed at The Word made Flesh today) Some leaders in the “church” lie concerning Yeshua’s character and throw out the Torah/ Commandments. They twist Yeshua’s Words to fit their doctrines of men. They attack Him for no reason while He offers them Life/blessings.

David sings, “May their children be fatherless.” He must think that if men could act in such a vial manner towards him and the father’s holy priests, how much more evil would their children behave in society? And if that be the case, why would Adonai want them to repopulate the earth and birth their despicable behavior and thirst for blood? And we know that the Lord said He would be a Father to the Fatherless, but the Lord also told King Saul to destroy whole peoples. “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (I Samuel 15:3). Psalm 109 seems to convey a similar message for David’s enemies.

And yet, David had opportunities to kill Saul but showed mercy unto him. How could this Psalm be about Saul when David cared for those left in Saul’s house? While meditating on all the words David had sung, I was overcome by emotion. How many of us, like David, have been cursed, had our words twisted, and been attacked without cause? Probably everyone reading this. How many times have we said words or prayed similarly as David did? Be honest. Just a portion?

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

“But You, Adonai, my Lord, deal with me for Your Name’s sake. Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me. For I am afflicted and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow, shaken off like a locust. My knees totter from fasting, and my flesh is lean, with no fat. And I have become a taunt to them. When they see me, they wag their head. Help me, Adonai, my God, Save me through Your lovingkindness. Let them know that it is Your hand–that You, Adonai, have done it.” Psalm 109:21-

(The Messiah in the wilderness, fasting 40 days, was lean with no fat. I am sure the Messiah knew what it was like to feel afflicted and needy. And to know the emotions of men wagging their heads and taunting while he hung on a cross suffering, “He saved others, why doesn’t he save himself?” Oh, King of the Jews.

The Father lets everyone know it was His Hand. He rips the veil in half.

Let’s revisit a small portion of the curses above:

“The cursing that he loved, may it fall on him; the blessing in which he refused to delight, may it be far from him. The cursing that he wore like a coat, may it soak into his body like water, and into his bones like oil. May it be like a robe wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.”

The person or persons had an opportunity to eat from the tree of life, but instead wore cursing like a garment. He loved cursing. He had an opportunity to receive blessings but chose not to eat from that tree. He decided not to repent. He traded salvation and life for hatred and death. In Revelations, during the wrath of Yahweh, we read of men who curse God and still won’t repent:

“You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be, Because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.” And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

Fourth Bowl: Men Are Scorched

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire.  And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.

Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16)

After the 6th bowl is poured out, we read: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Nakedness is without clothing. One man wore cursing as a garment, but the righteous wear clean robes (Torah/commandments). Lawlessness is Torahlessness, or, without the Commandments, we are said to be naked, trying to hide behind fig leaves. Unable to stand before the Father. I notice some today who have never been raised in church, never been taught the Bible, and still they keep the commandments. I am always filled with joy when I notice this. Torah goes forth. And our light goes forth by what we do, our actions. We have opportunities every day to be kind, loving, full of the fruit of the spirit to those we encounter.

David, in Psalm 109, ends with a blessing as the prophets often do.

Help me, O Lord my God!
Oh, save me according to Your mercy,
That they may know that this is Your hand—
That You, Lord, have done it!
Let them curse, but You bless;
When they arise, let them be ashamed,
But let Your servant rejoice.
 Let my accusers be clothed with shame,
And let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle.

(Oh, the disgrace of not having wedding garments and being thrown out of a wedding banquet.) “But when the king came in to look over the [f]dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13Then the king said to the servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place.’ 14For many are [g]called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:11).

The end of David’s Psalm, 109 says,

I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth;
Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.
For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor,
To save him from those who condemn him.”

I see a Lion in this Psalms–a Lion who came as a Lamb but will come riding a white horse.

I was reminded of the prophet Isaiah and his words concerning a lion.

For thus says Adonai to me:
“As a lion or a young lion
growls over its prey,
though a company of shepherds
is called out against him
—their voice does not disturb him,
nor does their noise upset him—
so Adonai-Tzva’ot will come down
to fight on Mount Zion, on its hill.

Isaiah 31:4, TLV

Can you picture the scene? A lion with his prey in his mouth. How many shepherds would try and take its meal away?  Can you imagine David exhausted, wrung out, tired of showing love and giving blessings, and receiving hatred, and hatred so vile that David could feel it in his bones–soaking into his spirit because it was so full of poison? Oh, Father, help us become people who walk like those in the Book of Acts. They were full of power, and yet a husband and wife dropped dead in one day for lying to the Holy Spirit/Ruach. Men in Acts were blinded for three days. Men were delivered and set free; one woman with a python spirit was set free. The dead were raised. The sick healed. The Apostle Paul flung poisonous snakes into the fire and was unharmed. May the power of Acts begin to fall upon us and the Holy Fear of You, Adonai. For the fear of You is the beginning of Wisdom.

Here are some questions I am pondering.

  1. At David’s death he instructs Solomon to obey the Torah and keep Adonia’s commandments and then he gives him instructions on how to go about taking out his enemies. What are your thoughts on this?

    David’s Last Instructions to Solomon

    When David was about to die, he called his son Solomon and gave him his last instructions: “My time to die has come. Be confident and determined, and do what the Lord your God orders you to do. Obey all his laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that wherever you go you may prosper in everything you do. If you obey him, the Lord will keep the promise he made when he told me that my descendants would rule Israel as long as they were careful to obey his commands faithfully with all their heart and soul.

     “There is something else. You remember what Joab did to me by killing the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. You remember how he murdered them in time of peace as revenge for deaths they had caused in time of war. He killed innocent men,[a] and now I bear the responsibility for what he did, and I suffer the consequences.  You know what to do; you must not let him die a natural death.

     “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai from Gilead and take care of them, because they were kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom.

    “There is also Shimei son of Gera, from the town of Bahurim in Benjamin. He cursed me bitterly the day I went to Mahanaim, but when he met me at the Jordan River, I gave him my solemn promise in the name of the Lord that I would not have him killed. But you must not let him go unpunished. You know what to do, and you must see to it that he is put to death.” (I kings 2)

  2. Is this the first time you’ve studied Psalm 109? If so, how did it make you feel when you read it?
  3. Did you see Yeshua Messiah in the Psalms? If so, in which portions?

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

  1. Sources:

[1] The might of a lion’s roar – Seolo Africa

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.