Vs. 1-5 show how hateful someone can become;
Vs. 6-15 appeal for God to “let” bad things happen to an evil-doer;
Vs. 16-20 give the reason for God to let it happen;
Vs. 21-27 contrast how God would help the righteous;
Vs. 28-31 praise God for handling judgment right.
This Psalm was written by David, who had been betrayed by his trusted counselor, Ahithophel, who counseled rebel son Absalom against his father, David, but when that counsel wasn’t followed, went out and hanged himself (2 Samuel 15:12-17:23). This paralleled Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ, and went out and hanged himself (Matthew 26:45-56; 27:3-5). Psalm 109:8, therefore, is quoted by Peter in Acts 1:20 as a prophecy of Judas Iscariot. Interesting to note, Psalm 109 says about a betrayer what Jesus would never say, but is a fair judgment for such a dastardly deed.
Verses 1-5: The problem is laid before God (verse 1; 1 Peter 5:7); the wicked speak from the heart (verse 2; Matthew 12:33-37); hate speech leads to the death of a righteous person (verse 3; quoted by Jesus, John 15:23-25); only wicked people return evil for good (verses 4-5) the opposite of what Jesus taught (Luke 6:27-28), for David and Jesus gave themselves over “to prayer.”
Verses 6-15: What worse punishment could be done, than to do to the wicked what they do to others, with Satan (“accuser”) standing by? (verse 6); his prayers mean nothing (verse 7); for God to stand back and “let” the wicked: live a shortened life and be replaced (verse 8); be the last of his family (verse 9); leave nothing to his children (verse 10); lose all his life savings (verse 11); be shown no mercy (verse 12); lose his legacy (verse 13); pay for the sins of his parents (verses 14-15).
Verses 16-20: This is justifiable “because” the wicked: showed no mercy to the poor, needy, broken hearted (verse 16); cursed others and seldom blessed (verse 17); wore cursing as clothes that rot his inside (verses 18-19); so let it be done (verse 20).
Verses 21-27: Plead for God to deal differently with the righteous: to show others His “name’s sake” (verse 21); to see David’s frailties as “poor and needy” and “wounded” (verse 22); disappearing shadow, or wind-blown locust (verse 23); weakness through fasting (verses 24); object of ridicule (verse 25); only God can change things (verse 26); and so doing, demonstrate to others something only God could do (verse 27).
Verses 28-31: Trust God to judge rightly between the wicked and His servant (verse 28); let wicked be covered in their own shame (verse 29); God is to be praised “among the multitude” (verse 30); for His deliverance of the “poor” from those who “condemn him” (verse 31).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.