320 – Psalm 17 – Yahweh’s Sword?

Psalm 17:13-15 (LEB)

     13 Rise up, O Yahweh, confront ⌊him⌋. 

     Make him bow down. 

     Rescue with your sword my life from the wicked, 

     14 from men by your hand, O Yahweh, from men of this world. 

     Their share is in ⌊this life⌋, and you fill their stomach with your treasure. 

     They are satisfied with children. 

     They bequeath their excess to their children. 

     15 By contrast, I in righteousness shall see your face. 

     Upon awakening I will be satisfied seeing your form. 

Psalm 17:13-14 demonstrates another one of those unfortunate verse divisions. Why do I say that? Well, because verse thirteen ends with a comma, not a period. Since the last part of verse thirteen is the first half of a sentence if seems like it belongs as the beginning of verse fourteen. I don’t want us to get hung up on the verse delinieations, but I do think it’s important to remind ourselves from time to time that chapter/verse numbers are not inspired and can mislead us in our study efforts if we’re not careful. If you practice mechanically writing passages you are studying, try excluding the verse numbers. We addressed the first part of verse thirteen last time, but it’s included today in our discussion in the interest of context.

With the verse division discussion as a backdrop, we need to consider the Hebrew parallelism of the bolded part of the passage above together as a unit. David petitions Yahweh to “stick up” for him. He does this in the form of synthetic parallelism in the first sentence. David says:

  1. Confront him [his enemy]
  2. Make Him bow down.

The next sentence (beginning with the word “rescue”) is maybe a little harder to determine. But I would say it is also synthetic parallelism. David calls for:

  1. Yahweh’s rescue by His sword
  2. From the wicked
  3. By Yahweh’s hand
  4. Which includes all the men of the world.

While reviewing this sentence a question popped into my mind. Do we think of Yahweh as having a sword in His hand? David called the sword, “Yahweh’s [Your] sword”. Do you shrink back from the idea of Yahweh God having, and even using a sword against people? Whether you or I do or not, I know the world does. They are constantly wanting to paint God, when they permit His existence, only as a loving God who would never judge anyone. The idea that Yahweh would ever use a sword against a human is quickly rejected by those who refuse to submit themselves to God.

And yet the scriptures are replete with examples of God exacting His judgment upon mankind. Remember the flood? Yahweh literally killed every man, woman, and child upon the face of the earth, except Noah and his family,  using water. How about Balaam? The Angel of Yahweh block the donkey rider and had every intention of killing him with the sword in his hand until the donkey changed course. Who killed the first born in all of Egypt and the Egyptian army during the Exodus? Yahweh did. And there are many more references we could consider.

Some may react by claiming, “Old Teastament, Old Testament”, fine. Let’s remind ourselves the tribulation period Yahweh uses to judge the Jewish nation is full of His wrath against mankind. What about when Jesus returns on a horse. What’s strapped to His side? Yep, a sword! During His second coming the Scriptures declare Jesus slays men with the two-edged sword proceeding from His mouth.

Listen friend. If all you know about Yahweh God is that He is a God of love, then you don’t really know Him! The Bible declares so much more about our creator and redeemer. You need to understand He is a righteous God. He will, and does exact judgement against those who are found to be His enemies. 

Consider these two verses in Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:30-31 (LEB)

30 For we know the one who said, 

     “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” 

and again, 

     “The Lord will judge his people.” 

31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 

Old Testament or New, Yahweh God is the same God. He should be feared, reverenced, loved, praised, worshipped, and obeyed.

He truly is worthy of all Praise, Worship, Adoration, and Service.


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