Chapter 7

1A shiggayon of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush the Benjamite.   אשִׁגָּי֗וֹן לְ֖דָ֫וִ֥ד אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֥ר לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה עַל־דִּבְרֵי־כ֜וּ֗שׁ בֶּן־יְמִינִֽי:
A shiggayon of David: Menachem says (p. 170) that this, too, is one of the names of a melody named for the instrument, and so he explained “on shigyonoth,” [in Habakkuk 3:1]. But our Sages (Mid. Ps. 7:18) explained it as an expression of error, that he confessed and prayed about the error that he had [committed by] reciting a song upon Saul’s downfall, as it is stated (in II Sam. 22:1): “And David spoke to the Lord, etc.” The contents of the psalm, however, do not indicate this, because it speaks of the nations (in verse 9): “May the Lord judge the peoples.” I, therefore, say that he recited it concerning Ishbi in Nob (II Sam. 21:16), who came upon him as a punishment for Saul; as our Rabbis explained, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “Through you, Doeg the Edomite was banished; through you, Saul and his sons were slain, etc.” as is stated in “Chelek” (Sanh. 95a). The errors that David asked of the Holy One, blessed be He, [were] that he [himself] be delivered into the hands of his enemies and that his descendants should not be destroyed. (The last sentence does not appear in all editions.) [Therefore, because his life was endangered,] David reversed his prayer and prayed that he should not fall into the hands of his enemies. Now this is its meaning: An error that David sang to the Lord because he had erred in saying to the Holy One, blessed be He, to deliver him into the hands of his enemies on account of Saul, who was slain because of him. Another explanation: Concerning the error of the skirt of Saul’s coat, which he had severed.  
Cush: Just as a Cushite has unusual skin, so did Saul have unusual deeds.  
2O Lord, my God, I have taken refuge in You; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me.   ביְהֹוָ֣ה אֱ֖לֹהַי בְּךָ֣ חָסִ֑יתִי הֽוֹשִׁיעֵ֥נִי מִכָּל־רֹ֜דְפַ֗י וְהַצִּילֵֽנִי:
3Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it to pieces with no one to save [me].   גפֶּן־יִטְרֹ֣ף כְּאַרְיֵ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י פֹּ֜רֵ֗ק וְאֵ֣ין מַצִּֽיל:
rending it to pieces: Heb. פרק, an expression of (Exod. 32:2): “Break off (פרקו) the golden rings.”  
4O Lord, my God, if I have done this, if there is any injustice in my hands;   דיְהֹוָ֣ה אֱ֖לֹהַי אִם־עָשִׂ֣יתִי זֹ֑את אִם־יֶשׁ־עָ֥וֶל בְּכַפָּֽי:
if I have done this: What is delineated after it.  
5if I repaid the one who did evil to me, and I stripped my adversary into emptiness,   האִם־גָּ֖מַֽלְתִּי שֽׁוֹלְמִ֣י רָ֑ע וָֽאֲחַלְּצָ֖ה צֽוֹרְרִ֣י רֵיקָֽם:
if I repaid the one who did evil to me: If I repaid him according to his deeds.  
and I stripped my adversary into emptiness: I destroyed his garment when I severed the skirt of his coat. Did I do it to destroy and to strip him and cause him to stand empty, and [was it done] with hatred? Only to let him know that he was delivered into my hand to kill him, and I did not kill him. [The word] חלצה is an expression of stripping off clothing.  
6may the enemy pursue my soul and overtake [me] and trample my life to the ground, and cause my soul to rest in the dust forever.   ויִֽרַדֹּ֥ף אוֹיֵ֨ב | נַפְשִׁ֡י וְיַשֵּׂ֗ג וְיִרְמֹ֣ס לָאָ֣רֶץ חַיָּ֑י וּכְבוֹדִ֓י | לֶֽעָפָ֖ר יַשְׁכֵּ֣ן סֶֽלָה:
7Arise, O Lord, with Your wrath; exalt Yourself with anger upon my adversaries, and awaken for me the judgment that You commanded.   זק֘וּמָ֚ה יְהֹוָ֨ה | בְּאַפֶּ֗ךָ הִ֖נָּשֵׂא בְּעַבְר֣וֹת צֽוֹרְרָ֑י וְע֥וּרָה אֵ֜לַ֗י מִשְׁפָּ֥ט צִוִּֽיתָ:
Arise, O Lord, with Your wrath: against my enemies, such as Ishbi and his brothers and the Philistines, that I should not be delivered into their hands.  
exalt Yourself: boast, to show me the revenge of Your anger when You become angry with them.  
and awaken for me: that I should be able to execute upon them the judgment of revenge that You commanded. Now where did You command [it]? “You shall break them with an iron rod” (above 2: 9).“Then I will be an enemy to your enemies” (Exod. 23:22). I found this in the Midrash (Mid. Ps. 7:6; Tan. Ki Thissa 20, Buber 13 with variations).  
8And [if] a congregation of kingdoms surrounds You, return on high over them.   חוַֽעֲדַ֣ת לְ֖אֻמִּים תְּסֽוֹבְבֶ֑ךָּ וְ֜עָלֶיהָ לַמָּר֥וֹם שֽׁוּבָה:
And [if] a congregation of kingdoms surrounds You: If troops of nations follow You to save them, do not hearken to their voice. Distance Yourself from them and go back to sit in Your place on high; repoxa in Old French, repose. Another interpretation: Return on high to show them that You have the upper hand.  
9May the Lord judge the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to my innocence, which is upon me.   טיְהֹוָה֘ יָדִ֪ין עַ֫מִּ֥ים שָׁפְטֵ֥נִי יְהֹוָ֑ה כְּצִדְקִ֖י וּכְתֻמִּ֣י עָלָֽי:
May the Lord judge the peoples: Reverse the sentence from upon us and place it upon the nations.  
judge: An expression of chastisements.  
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness: But judge Israel according to the good deeds they have done and not according to the sins.  
10May evil destroy the wicked, and may You establish the righteous, for the righteous God tests the hearts and the reins.   ייִגְמָר־נָ֬א רַ֨ע | רְשָׁעִים֘ וּתְכוֹנֵ֪ן צַ֫דִּ֥יק וּבֹחֵ֣ן לִ֖בּוֹת וּכְלָי֗וֹת אֱלֹהִ֥ים צַדִּֽיק:
destroy: Heb. יגמר, lit. finish. An expression of destruction, and so did Menachem (p. 57) interpret: (77:9), “destroyed (גמר) His word” ; (12:2), “a pious man has perished (גמר),” and so all of them. (This does not appear in certain editions.)  
and may You establish the righteous… tests the hearts: You know who is the righteous man that You may establish him.  
the righteous God: That is Your name.  
11My shield is upon God, Who saves the upright in heart.   יאמָֽגִנִּ֥י עַל־אֱלֹהִ֑ים מ֜וֹשִׁ֗יעַ יִשְׁרֵי־לֵֽב:
12God is a righteous judge, and God is incensed every day.   יבאֱלֹהִיםשׁוֹפֵ֣ט צַדִּ֑יק וְ֜אֵ֗ל זֹעֵ֥ם בְּכָל־יֽוֹם:
a righteous judge: are You to judge with righteousness.  
is incensed every day: when He sees the deed of the wicked.  
13If he does not repent, He will whet His sword; He has trodden His bow and made it ready.   יגאִם־לֹ֣א יָ֖שׁוּב חַרְבּ֣וֹ יִלְט֑וֹשׁ קַשְׁתּ֥וֹ דָ֜רַ֗ךְ וַֽיְכֽוֹנְנֶֽהָ:
If he does not repent: [i.e., if] the wicked [does not repent] of his wickedness.  
He will whet His sword: The Holy One, blessed be He, [will whet His sword] for him. ילטוש means forbira in Old French, to polish, furbish; and He will tread His bow.  
14And He has prepared deadly weapons for him; He will make arrows for pursuers.   ידוְלוֹ הֵכִ֣ין כְּלֵי־מָ֑וֶת חִ֜צָּ֗יו לְדֹֽלְקִ֥ים יִפְעָֽל:
And… for him: And for the wicked man, the Holy One, blessed be He, has prepared deadly weapons.  
for pursuers: Heb. לדלקים, for pursuers, as (in Gen. 31:36): “that you pursued (דלקת) me.” And this is its meaning: His arrows to slay the wicked who pursue the righteous, the Holy One, blessed be He, will make and prepare them to slay them. Every [instance of] דליקה is an expression of pursuit.  
15Behold, he travails with iniquity; he conceives mischief, and gives birth to lies.   טוהִנֵּ֥ה יְחַבֶּל־אָ֑וֶן וְהָרָ֥ה עָ֜מָ֗ל וְיָ֣לַד שָֽׁקֶר:
Behold, he travails: Heb. יחבל an expression of conception and birth, as (in Song 8:5): “there your mother was in travail with you (חבלתך).”  
he conceives mischief, and gives birth to lies: Whatever he begets and toils, everything betrays him. The adage says: Whatever lies beget, diminution takes.  
16He dug a pit and deepened it, and he fell into the pit that he made.   טזבּ֣וֹר כָּ֖רָה וַֽיַּחְפְּרֵ֑הוּ וַ֜יִּפֹּ֗ל בְּשַׁ֣חַת יִפְעָֽל:
17His mischief will return upon his head, and his violence will descend upon his crown.   יזיָשׁ֣וּב עֲמָל֣וֹ בְרֹאשׁ֑וֹ וְעַל־קָ֜דְקֳד֗וֹ חֲמָס֥וֹ יֵרֵֽד:
18I will thank the Lord according to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.   יחאוֹדֶ֣ה יְהֹוָ֣ה כְּצִדְק֑וֹ וַֽ֜אֲזַמְּרָ֗ה שֵֽׁם־יְהֹוָ֥ה עֶלְיֽוֹן:
I will thank the Lord according to His righteousness: When He executes strict justice with righteousness, to judge the wicked according to their wickedness.