1 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from the dread enemy. 2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the scheming of evildoers, 3 who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, 4 shooting from ambush at the blameless; they shoot suddenly and without fear.
David is a king and I suppose kings were often paranoid. Why? Because they were often the target of plots to overthrow them or usurp their power. Not targets from outside, but from the inside – from among those who were supposed to be friends and allies.
One response to perceived threats was to simply execute anyone suspected of treason. Josef Stalin, the famously paranoid dictator of the communist Soviet Union during WW2, is a relatively recent example. In the 1930s he “purged” most of the senior commanders in the Soviet army by having them sent to the gulag or simply hanged or shot. This led to weak leadership in the first years of the war against Nazi Germany.
But David could not simply do away with those he suspected of plotting against him because he risked shedding innocent blood – which would have brought judgment on all Israel. And so in these verses David hands the burden of rooting out treachery to God.
Lord teach us to cast our burdens upon you. Amen.