Skip to content

Psalm 109 – What Became of Judas

Psalm 109 is what we call a prayer of imprecation. That means that it is a prayer in which someone calls on God to judge wicked people. Many Christians do not like these kinds of psalms. These psalms are not about revenge for petty insults and offense one has taken. Rather these psalms are about the kingdom of God – the rule of God in our world. The Psalmist is asking God to judge wickedness and rebellion against his rule. In other words, the Psalmist is zealously aligning himself with God and God’s cause and glory. While we as Christians call for all peoples to repent and turn to the Lord, if such a great salvation is despised and rejected then we desire God to ultimately root out of his kingdom all sin and evil and for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In the opening verses we meet a righteous man who lives by God’s word – he speaks truth, loves, and does good. He is opposed by people who give false testimony, hates their neighbour, and would ultimately steal and kill – breaking God’s commandments.

The Psalmist prays that God will act justly, that is, an eye for an eye – neither more nor less than is warranted. The enemies use false testimony to convict the righteous man so may they experience false testimony and condemnation at court (6-7). As they did not remember to be kind to the poor and needy families, may their families receive no kindness (16-17, 9-12). As they sought to put the poor and needy to death (16) including the Psalmist (20), may they be cut off from life (13-15).

This psalm could be placed on the lips of Jesus because he is the ultimate righteous man whose life was sought by law-breakers. Peter quotes verse 8 of Judas: “May his days be few, may another take his office” in Acts 1. Terrible words of judgment are spoken by the Lord in this Psalm – may [his] iniquity be remembered before the Lord and [his] sin not be blotted out. What a terrible thing Judas did in rejecting the work Jesus would do on the Cross – remember not and blot out sin.

The Psalm’s final section is full of hope that God will vindicate his righteousness not only in judging the wicked but in saving the righteous. Even though the righteous sufferer is stricken in heart, is fading like a shadow, his body is disjointed in suffering, people are wagging their heads at him (22-25) – he knows that God will act for his own glory and in steadfast love deliver him (21,26), he knows that what he suffers is in the LORD’s hand (27) and that a future joy awaits despite the present moment (28). In the future, the righteous one (and recall Jesus is one of these), will with his mouth praise God in thanksgiving in the midst of his people (30). That is an amazing thought because it requires God to save not just the Righteous One but also many other righteous people – and together we will rejoice in the presence of God.

The reason for all this praise is that in the experience of the Righteous One we have learned that the LORD stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Don’t you think this Psalm teaches us about Jesus and also how to pray?