TEHILIM # 07, the boomerang effect

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יגמר נא רע רשעים
מזמור ז’, פסוק י

This Mizmor describes the Tefila that David compose, before he became a King, asking for HaShem’s assistance and help, when he was escaping from his enemies.

Although opinions abound regarding the identity of the enemies that this Mizmor refers to, it seems that David felt threatened by domestic enemies, not by the gentiles who sought the destruction of Israel, such as the Pelishtim. Here, David is chased by internal enemies, other Yehudim who wanted to end the life of the future King of Israel. Most Rabbis said those enemies are King Saul’s men, who felt threatened because of the great popularity of David, and sought to get rid of him. According to this opinion Kush ben Yemini (Pasuq 1) is Shaul Hamelekh.

We also know that these enemies of David were previously his allies, his former partners who are now seeking to betray David. And to justify their betrayal, they falsely accuse David of treason, of planning to betray his covenant with King Saul (7: 4). David claims to HaShem that he is innocent. What is more and uncommon, is that David asks HaShem to be the Judge and he says: (7: 5): “HaShem, if I were guilty of what they are accusing me, if I have betrayed my allies, (7: 6) then, let all the bad things they wish to do to me, to happen to me.”  David ends this appeal to HaShem saying (7: 9)”HaShem judge me (or defend me), since You know my innocence. You know that I have acted with integrity. You are “Eloqim shofet tsadiq” (7:12) The Almighty Judge who always acts righteously.

The most important point of this Mizmor is an idea that David HaMelekh formulates in this Psalm more than once, regarding the consequences of wrongdoings. He says: “igmor na ra reshaim”. (7:10) “May evil destroy the evildoer”. Many times we can witness a boomerang effect in good and in bad things we do. When someone plans to do evil to someone else, that evil deed backfires against the one who conceived it. Imagine that Mr. A wants to harm Mr. B. To do that Mr. A speaks ill of Mr. B to his friends. At the end, the friends discover that A lied about B, and now the words that Mr. A used to harm B, will harm Mr. A. Mr. A has become the victim of his own evil. This is probably the allusion of pasuq 7:14, “a man sharpens his arrows (arrows many times refer to “damaging, lethal words”), which will come back against those who used them.”

This idea was reiterated in other words by the son of David HaMelekh, King Solomon in Mishle (1: 18-19). When he says that those who tended traps to deceive and rob others, will end up falling into the ambush they prepared … this is the fate of those who pursue evil, evil takes the life of those who planned it.”

Towards the end of our Mizmor this idea reformulated with a different literary motif. Deliberate deception is compared with the process of giving birth. The evildoers (7:15) “Plant the seeds of evil, conceive betrayal and give birth to deceit”. What they do not know is that they are (7:16) “Digging a deep hole, into which they will end up falling”. And so the pit dug by the wicked to bring down the innocent, becomes his own grave. ”

David HaMelekh understood that when evil turns against those who planned it, Divine Justice is being served.  Confident that Divine justice will prevail,  David ends this Mizmor (7:18) praising HaShem for His infinite righteousness.