Psalms 12 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
A prayer for help in an age of apparently universal hypocrisy, dissimulation, and untrustworthiness. The title assigns it to David, who might have written it while he was at the court of Saul, or during his outlaw life. Men like Doeg were in positions of authority. Unscrupulous enemies were poisoning Saul’s mind against him (1Sa 26:19). The ungrateful citizens of Keilah were ready to betray their deliverer (1Sa 23:11). The Ziphites deliberately meditated treachery (1Sa 23:19 ff.).
The situation of the writer resembles that described in Psalms 5. [ Psa 5:5-6 ; Psa 5:9-10); Psa 12:5 should be compared with Psa 9:18 and Psa 10:5; ‘I will arise’ ( Psa 12:5) is the answer to the prayer of Psa 3:7, Psa 7:6, Psa 9:19, Psa 10:12.
But the language is general, and the Psalm might belong to almost any age. Similar complaints are found in Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah. In every period of the Church’s history there have been godly men who, separated from friends and persecuted by enemies, have been tempted to say with Elijah, “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.”
In this psalm prophecy and psalmody meet. The Psalmist speaks to God, and God answers through the Psalmist ( Psa 12:5). It is no doubt possible that he is quoting some prophetic utterance (cp. Psa 89:19 ff.), but there is no need of the supposition. He can himself hear God speak, and deliver His word as an authoritative message. Cp. Psa 2:6-7 ff., Psa 50:1 ff., Psa 60:6 ff., Psa 81:6 ff., Psa 82:2 ff., Psa 91:14 ff.
The Psalm falls into two equal divisions, each consisting of two equal stanzas.
On the title, For the Chief Musician, set to the Sheminith (R.V.), see Introd. pp. xxi, xxv.
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".