For the worship leader. A song of David to the tune “Death of a Son.”[b]
In the Hebrew manuscripts, Psalms 9 and 10 work as a unit because together they form an acrostic poem, meaning each stanza begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary device has several functions. First, it provides a mnemonic device for easier memorization. Second, it is inherently beautiful; the rigid structure is a showcase for the author’s literary talents. Finally, it conveys the idea of completion by describing the reasons God is to be praised “from A to Z.” Psalm 9 offers David’s thanks and praise to God for defeating his enemies. Psalm 10, on the other hand, is a lament complaining that God is far off while the poor and helpless suffer.
1 All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One.
I will tell others about Your amazing works.
2 I will be glad and celebrate You!
I will praise You, O Most High!
3 When my adversaries turned and fled,
they fell and died right in front of You,
4 For You supported my just cause.
From Your throne, You have judged wisely.
5 You confronted the nations; You have destroyed the wicked.
You have erased their names from history.
6 The enemy is finished, their time is up;
their cities will lie in ruin forever;
all memory of them is gone.
7 Still the Eternal remains and will reign forever;
He has taken His place on His throne for judgment.
8 So He will judge the world rightly.
He shall execute that judgment equally on all people.
9 For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery,
a refuge during troubling times.
10 Those who know Your name will rely on You,
for You, O Eternal One, have not abandoned those who search for You.
11 Praise Him who lives on Zion’s holy hill.
Tell the story of His great acts among the people!
12 For He remembers the victims of violence and avenges their blood;
He does not turn a deaf ear to the cry of the needy.
13 Be gracious to me, O Eternal One.
Notice the harm I have suffered because of my enemies,
You who carry me safely away from death’s door,
14 So that I may rehearse Your deeds, declare Your praise,
and rejoice in Your rescue
when I take my stand in the gates of Zion.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others,
their own feet caught, snared by the net they hid.
16 The Eternal is well known, for He has taken action and secured justice;
He has trapped the wicked through the work of their own hands.
[pause with music][c]
17 The wicked are headed for death and the grave;
all the nations who forget the True God will share a similar fate.
18 For those in need shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor will never die.
19 Eternal One, arise! Do not allow mere mortals to win the day.
Judge the nations Yourself.
20 Put the fear of God in them, Eternal One!
Remind the nations they are mere men, not gods.
- Psalm 9 Psalms 9–10 were originally a single acrostic poem.
- 9:title Hebrew, muth-labben, perhaps the melody to which the song is sung
- 9:16 Hebrew, higgaion selah, meaning is uncertain, possibly a musical direction
- 9:20 Literally, selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”