The 16th verse of Psalm 7 is much like the 15th, almost a restating of the same truth. Let me show you what I mean. By the way, this is one of the most prominent features of Hebrew Poetry. It’s called “parallelism.” The second line (or verse) explicating or sometimes expanding the first line (or verse). Here is verse 16 followed by verse 17 …
He (the wicked man) made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
(Two fairly equal clauses, with each containing one or two examples of a wicked design … coming back to hurt its malicious instigator!)
Really, it’s God’s Law of “retribution” described yet again.
So I am to patiently live …
Trusting the Lord.
Waiting on Him.
This is FAITH … just expressed in yet another way!
(With David here in Psalm 7 … He, the Lord, can handle all my problems, including those presented by individuals who hate me! That enemy will not prosper forever.)
Now for today, just verse 16 alone, look at the repetition of thought. The “matching” of words.
“His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”
“Mischief” is renamed by “violent dealing.” And the ungodly man’s “head” is matched by his “pate,” another word for the “crown” of one’s head. Even the verb “shall return” is explained by the matching verb “shall come down.”
Pure poetry, Davidic style!
Yes, one “reaps” what one “sows!”
The noun “mischief” is interesting too. It is spelled “amal” in Hebrew. And is found a relatively few times in the Old Testament, just 55 total. It means “mischief” and is so translated 9 times in the King James Text. But it also means “misery” 3 times! Also “trouble” (3 times), “sorrow” (2 times), “toil” (1 time), and even “wearisome” (1 time). Plus, it is rendered as “pain” or “painful” (2 more times).
So I draw this conclusion. In God’s Truthful Eyes …”sin” (with its “pleasures for a season”) ultimately leads to heartache, and tragedy, “pain” and “sorrow.”
The verb “shall return” is “shub,” to do a 180 degree “change” of direction! A surprising (to the wicked man) “boomerang” effect!
“Head” is “rosh,” the very seat of that man’s malicious thoughts.
Furthermore … “his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”
“Violent” is spelled (watch this carefully) “hamas.” Yes, “HAMAS!” They are still around, folks, still persecuting and murdering David’s people, too. At least the “kin” are still active.
And the word (“hamas”) means “cruelty, injustice, wrong, doing damage.” Hence, “violence.”
“Shall come down” (in Hebrew “yarad”) means “shall descend, shall fall” and even “shall sink!” Hatred too heavy to stay aloft. Hatred that will some day crush its inventor.
Then, lastly, the noun “pate.” Used in the sentence to “match” the previous noun “head.” It is “qodqod,” meaning the “top of one’s head.” It comes from a root verb meaning “to bow down” or “to stoop.”
Two days now of this … “God will righteously deal with the wicked, at the right time.” To which we can all say a sincere “Amen.”
Only one more verse remains in Psalm 7.
My initial goal in this particular study was … to watch how David handled his enemies. That is … how he responded to their hatred and threats and ill will.
And, as I see it, Psalm 7 has certainly performed well in this area.
The Bible, what an amazing book!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell