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Mizmor 005 - Surrounded by Enemies

(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל הַנְּחִילוֹת מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: (ב) אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה' בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי:
(1) For the musician, on the nechilos instrument. A mizmor by David. (2) Hashem, listen to my words, understand my thoughts.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 15]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 005 - Surrounded by Enemies
This mizmor was composed when David was contending with the antagonists who had betrayed him to Shaul Hamelech in the past and were now seeking his destruction. David prays to Hashem to distinguish him from his enemies by comparing their deception and treachery with his personal devotion to the path of righteousness. They are not only David’s enemies, but the enemies of Hashem, Who is revolted by their wicked behavior. David concludes with an expression of the joy and gratitude he will feel when the enemies are defeated and are no longer able to harm him.
Exploring the Mizmor
The mizmor has four parts beginning with a plea to be heard and ending with an expression of anticipated joy. In its two central parts David asks to be differentiated from his wicked enemies. He asks Hashem to defeat them and pledges himself to be eternally devoted to the cause of righteousness and the service of Hashem.
PART 1. A PLEA TO BE HEARD. David cries out to Hashem asking for His deep understanding in this time of distress. He commits himself to continue appealing to Hashem in prayer.
(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל הַנְּחִילוֹת מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: (ב) אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה' בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי: (ג) הַקְשִׁיבָה לְקוֹל שַׁוְעִי מַלְכִּי וֵאלֹקָי כִּי אֵלֶיךָ אֶתְפַּלָּל: (ד) ה' בֹּקֶר תִּשְׁמַע קוֹלִי בֹּקֶר אֶעֱרָךְ לְךָ וַאֲצַפֶּה:
(1) For the musician, on the nechilos instrument. A mizmor by David. (2) Hashem, listen to my words, understand my thoughts. (3) Give Your attention to the sound of my outcry, my King and my G-d, for to You do I pray. (4) Hashem, You will hear my voice in the morning, in the morning I arrange [my tefillos] to You and I look with hope.
PART 2. TO BE DIFFERENTIATED FROM THE WICKED. David prays to Hashem to distinguish him from the enemies he has been facing. He emphasizes that they are not only his enemies, but Hashem’s enemies. David compares their deception and treachery with his personal devotion to the path of righteousness.
(ה) כִּי לֹא אֵ־ל חָפֵץ רֶשַׁע אָתָּה לֹא יְגֻרְךָ רָע: (ו) לֹא יִתְיַצְּבוּ הוֹלְלִים לְנֶגֶד עֵינֶיךָ שָׂנֵאתָ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן: (ז) תְּאַבֵּד דֹּבְרֵי כָזָב אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב ה': (ח) וַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ:
(5) For You are not a G-d Who favors wickedness; evil cannot sojourn with You. (6) The debauched cannot stand before Your eyes; You hate all wrongdoers. (7) You will doom speakers of falsehood, Hashem abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (8) As for me, through Your great kindness, I enter Your house. I prostrate myself toward Your Holy Sanctuary in awe of You.
PART 3. HELP AGAINST ENEMIES. David asks Hashem to guide him on the path of continued devotion while the enemies he has been facing are defeated by their own wickedness.
(ט) ה' נְחֵנִי בְצִדְקָתֶךָ לְמַעַן שׁוֹרְרָי הַיְשַׁר לְפָנַי דַּרְכֶּךָ: (י) כִּי אֵין בְּפִיהוּ נְכוֹנָה קִרְבָּם הַוּוֹת קֶבֶר פָּתוּחַ גְּרוֹנָם לְשׁוֹנָם יַחֲלִיקוּן: (יא) הַאֲשִׁימֵם אֱלֹקִים יִפְּלוּ מִמֹּעֲצוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרֹב פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם הַדִּיחֵמוֹ כִּי מָרוּ בָךְ:
(9) Hashem, guide me in Your righteous [ways] because of my watchful enemies. [Let me see] Your way straight before me. (10) For there is no sincerity in their mouth. Their inner [thought] is malice; their throat is an open grave and they slicken their tongue. (11) Condemn them O G-d. Let them fall by their own designs. Push them [from calamity to calamity] for their many sins, because they have rebelled against You.
PART 4. ANTICIPATION OF JOY. David concludes with an expression of the joy and gratitude he will feel when the enemies of Hashem are defeated and he is protected from the distractions that interfere with his devotion.
(יב) וְיִשְׂמְחוּ כָל חוֹסֵי בָךְ לְעוֹלָם יְרַנֵּנוּ וְתָסֵךְ עָלֵימוֹ וְיַעְלְצוּ בְךָ אֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ: (יג) כִּי אַתָּה תְּבָרֵךְ צַדִּיק ה' כַּצִּנָּה רָצוֹן תַּעְטְרֶנּוּ:
(12) But all who take refuge in You will rejoice; they will sing joyously forever for You will shelter them and those who love Your Name will exult in You. (13) For You, Hashem, will bless the righteous man, enveloping him with reassurance like a shield.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. A PLEA TO BE HEARD.
(א) לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל הַנְּחִילוֹת מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד:
For the musician — לַמְנַצֵּחַ . This is a song to be performed on the nechilos instrument — אֶל הַנְּחִילוֹת . It is a mizmor composed by David — מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד .
The nechilos instrument most likely had a distinctive sound like the buzzing or droning of bees. This was reminiscent of the swarms of enemies with which David had to contend.
(ב) אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה' 
בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי:
Hashem, I ask that You listen to my words  אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה' , as long as I am able to put my requests to You in verbal form. However, there may come a time when I will be so overwhelmed with troubles that I will not be able to formulate my tefillah in words. I then ask that You understand the depths of despair hidden in my thoughts — בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי  and help me.
(ג) הַקְשִׁיבָה לְקוֹל שַׁוְעִי מַלְכִּי וֵאלֹקָי 
כִּי אֵלֶיךָ אֶתְפַּלָּל:
Give Your attention to the sound of my outcry — הַקְשִׁיבָה לְקוֹל שַׁוְעִי , my King and my G-d  מַלְכִּי וֵאלֹקָי for to You alone do I pray  כִּי אֵלֶיךָ אֶתְפַּלָּל .
I am Your servant who trusts and depends upon You alone so it is only right that You give consideration to my plea. As You are my King, I appeal to You as one appeals to a flesh and blood King who carries out judgment. As You are my G-d, You are my eternal Judge and so I appeal to You to judge me favorably and rescue me from those who want to harm me.
(ד) ה' בֹּקֶר תִּשְׁמַע קוֹלִי 
בֹּקֶר אֶעֱרָךְ לְךָ וַאֲצַפֶּה:
Hashem, You will hear my voice in the morning — ה' בֹּקֶר תִּשְׁמַע קוֹלִי  for it is in the early morning that I arrange my tefillos to You — בֹּקֶר אֶעֱרָךְ לְךָ . Since I have no personal interests that come before my tefillos to You, I look with hope  וַאֲצַפֶּה  for You to hear my voice.
PART 2. TO BE DIFFERENTIATED FROM THE WICKED.
(ה) כִּי לֹא אֵ־ל חָפֵץ רֶשַׁע אָתָּה 
לֹא יְגֻרְךָ רָע:
I look to You because I know that You will not support the wicked who are tormenting me for You are not a G-d who favors wickedness — כִּי לֹא אֵ־ל חָפֵץ רֶשַׁע אָתָּה ; evil cannot sojourn with You — לֹא יְגֻרְךָ רָע  because You hate it.
(ו) לֹא יִתְיַצְּבוּ הוֹלְלִים לְנֶגֶד עֵינֶיךָ 
שָׂנֵאתָ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן:
I know that the debauched cannot stand firm before Your eyes — לֹא יִתְיַצְּבוּ הוֹלְלִים לְנֶגֶד עֵינֶיךָ ; You hate all wrongdoers — שָׂנֵאתָ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן .
(ז) תְּאַבֵּד דֹּבְרֵי כָזָב 
אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב ה':
Surely You will doom the speakers of falsehood — תְּאַבֵּד דֹּבְרֵי כָזָב  who slander me, for Hashem abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man  אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב ה'  who secretly plans to harm his fellow while appearing to befriend him.
(ח) וַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ 
אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ:
As for me — וַאֲנִי , through Your great kindness — בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ  to me, hope to be able to stand firm before You and enter the courtyard of Your house — אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ , the Mikdash, in prayer. There I will prostrate myself — אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה  toward Your Holy Sanctuary  אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשְׁךָ  where the aron is kept. I will do this in awe of You — בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ  and not to ennoble myself before people.
PART 3. HELP AGAINST ENEMIES.
(ט) ה' נְחֵנִי בְצִדְקָתֶךָ לְמַעַן שׁוֹרְרָי 
הַיְשַׁר לְפָנַי דַּרְכֶּךָ:
This is my prayer to You: Hashem, guide me in Your righteous ways  ה' נְחֵנִי בְצִדְקָתֶךָ  so that I do not stumble. Inspire me to follow Your path. I ask this because of my watchful enemies — לְמַעַן שׁוֹרְרָי  who are eagerly waiting for my downfall. Let them not feel superior and let them not be cheered to see me stumble. Instead, inspire me to see Your way straight before me — הַיְשַׁר לְפָנַי דַּרְכֶּךָ  so that I will not stumble on it. Then my enemies will surely be unable to succeed against me.
(י) כִּי אֵין בְּפִיהוּ נְכוֹנָה 
קִרְבָּם הַוּוֹת 
קֶבֶר פָּתוּחַ גְּרוֹנָם 
לְשׁוֹנָם יַחֲלִיקוּן:
For there is no sincerity in their mouth  כִּי אֵין בְּפִיהוּ נְכוֹנָה . They present themselves as friends but are really enemies. Their inner thought is malice — קִרְבָּם הַוּוֹת ; their throat is an open grave — קֶבֶר פָּתוּחַ גְּרוֹנָם  to swallow me like the grave swallows the corpse. With their tongue they make smooth talk — לְשׁוֹנָם יַחֲלִיקוּן  which is superficially pleasing but does not represent their true feelings.
(יא) הַאֲשִׁימֵם אֱלֹקִים 
יִפְּלוּ מִמֹּעֲצוֹתֵיהֶם 
בְּרֹב פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם הַדִּיחֵמוֹ 
כִּי מָרוּ בָךְ:
Condemn them O G-d  הַאֲשִׁימֵם אֱלֹקִים Let them fall by the inadequacy of their own designs — יִפְּלוּ מִמֹּעֲצוֹתֵיהֶם  against me. For their many sins push them  בְּרֹב פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם הַדִּיחֵמוֹ  from calamity to calamity. They deserve this fate for they have rebelled against You — כִּי מָרוּ בָךְ . After all, it was You Who commanded them to serve me as king of Yisrael and they rebelled against Your word.
PART 4. ANTICIPATION OF JOY.
(יב) וְיִשְׂמְחוּ כָל חוֹסֵי בָךְ 
לְעוֹלָם יְרַנֵּנוּ וְתָסֵךְ עָלֵימוֹ 
וְיַעְלְצוּ בְךָ אֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ:
But all who take refuge in You will rejoice — וְיִשְׂמְחוּ כָל חוֹסֵי בָךְ ; they will sing joyously forever — לְעוֹלָם יְרַנֵּנוּ  for You will shelter them — וְתָסֵךְ עָלֵימוֹ  from evil and those who love Your Name will exult in You — וְיַעְלְצוּ בְךָ אֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ  when they see that You bless those who love You.
(יג) כִּי אַתָּה תְּבָרֵךְ צַדִּיק ה' 
כַּצִּנָּה רָצוֹן תַּעְטְרֶנּוּ:
For You, Hashem, will bless the righteous man — כִּי אַתָּה תְּבָרֵךְ צַדִּיק ה' , enveloping him with reassurance like a battle shield — כַּצִּנָּה רָצוֹן תַּעְטְרֶנּוּ , which surrounds the soldier on three sides.
Living the Mizmor
Listed below are some of the lessons that you can draw from this mizmor, as well as some of the thoughts you might have in mind when you say the words of the mizmor as a tefillah asking for your needs, or expressing your gratitude and devotion to Hashem.
Tefillos for Life - Your Relationship with Hashem .
[5:2] OPEN UP. – אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה' בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי – “Hashem, listen to my words, understand my thoughts.” Ask Hashem to look into your thoughts. See also Mizmor 001, Lessons for Life - Your Attitude.
[5:3] ONE TO ONE. – מַלְכִּי וֵאלֹקָי – “My King and my G-d.” Even though Hashem has a relationship with every being that He created, His relationship with each one is unique. So appeal to Him as a unique individual — “my King” and “my G-d”. At the same time have in mind that you are counting on Him alone: “for to You do I pray.” There is no other being that can help you. Any other intermediary is acting under His direction.
[5:9] GUIDANCE. – ה' נְחֵנִי בְצִדְקָתֶךָ – “Hashem, guide me in Your righteous [ways].” Ask Hashem to give you guidance so that you will not err in doing His will.
[5:12] NAME OF HASHEM. – וְיַעְלְצוּ בְךָ אֹהֲבֵי שְׁמֶךָ – “Those who love Your Name will exult in You.” Pay special attention when you speak of His Name. Through His Name you are being connected to eternity, the infinite past and the infinite future.
Lessons for Life - Your Behavior.
[5:4] MORNING. – ה' בֹּקֶר תִּשְׁמַע קוֹלִי – “Hashem, You will hear my voice in the morning.” Let your first tefillos of the day be as early in the morning as possible. In this way you are demonstrating your priorities in life.
[5:8] ABODE OF HASHEM. – וַאֲנִי בְּרֹב חַסְדְּךָ אָבוֹא בֵיתֶךָ – “As for me, through Your great kindness, I enter Your house.” Seek to spend as much time as you can in the place where Hashem’s presence is most intense, the place that has been identified as His abode, e.g. a place of Torah learning and/or communal tefillah. When you enter His abode, have in mind that it is a great privilege, which you are being granted through Hashem’s “great kindness.”
Lessons for Life - Your Attitude.
[5:9] EVIL EYE. – ה' נְחֵנִי בְצִדְקָתֶךָ לְמַעַן שׁוֹרְרָי – “Hashem, guide me in Your righteous [ways] because of my watchful enemies.” Be aware that you may be the target of “watchful enemies,” that is, people who look at you with envy and resentment. Protect yourself by making sure to have a good attitude towards the blessings that Hashem showers on others.
[5:10] DEFAMATION. – קֶבֶר פָּתוּחַ גְּרוֹנָם – “Their throat is an open grave.” When someone opens his mouth to spread gossip or slander, visualize that mouth as an open grave.
[5:13] WORRY. – כִּי אַתָּה תְּבָרֵךְ צַדִּיק ה' כַּצִּנָּה רָצוֹן תַּעְטְרֶנּוּ – “For You, Hashem, will bless the righteous man, enveloping him with reassurance like a shield.” Don’t give in to fear and worry of what misfortune might happen to you. If you are a servant of Hashem, He will envelope you with protection like a shield that surrounds you.
Tefillos for Life - Your Yeshuah .
[5:11] SELF-DESTRUCTION. – הַאֲשִׁימֵם אֱלֹקִים יִפְּלוּ מִמֹּעֲצוֹתֵיהֶם – “Let them fall by their own designs.” Ask that people who want to harm you should be disabled through their own actions, without the need for your active involvement.
Sources
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this mizmor are listed below.
א - רש"י, מצודות, רד"ק
ב - רש"י, מצודות, רד"ק
ג - מצודות, רד"ק
ד - מצודות, רד"ק
ה - רד"ק
ו - רש"י, מצודות, רד"ק
ז - מצודות
ח - רד"ק
ט - מצודות, רד"ק
י - מצודות, רד"ק
יא - רד"ק, מצודות
יב - רש"י, מצודות, רד"ק
יג - רש"י, מצודות, רד"ק