64. Hear My Voice, O God, in My Compaint

1 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
guard my life from terror of the foe.
Hide me from the plots of those who hate,
from the noisy mob of evil ones.

2 Sharp as swords the wicked whet their tongues
and like arrows aim their deadly words,
shoot from ambush at the innocent
without warning and without a fear.

3 They agree to form an evil plot;
secretly they talk of laying snares,
saying, "Who will learn of our designs?"
They plan carefully their wicked schemes.

4 They are ready with a cunning plot,
for the human heart is full of guile.
God will shoot an arrow straight at them;
without warning they will be struck down.

5 They will all be made to trip themselves
and undo themselves by their own tongues.
All who see them shake their heads in scorn;
then shall all the people fear the LORD.

6 They will ponder God's almighty deeds
and proclaim the marvel of his works.
Let the righteous all rejoice in God;
praise the LORD for his protecting care!

Text Information
First Line: Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint
Title: Hear My Voice, O God, in My Compaint
Meter: 99 99
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Enemies & Persecution; Temptation & Trial; Afflictions
Source: The Book of Psalms for Singing, 1975, alt.
Tune Information
Composer: Daniel Read (1785)
Harmonizer: Erik R. Routley (1982, alt.)
Meter: 99 99
Key: d minor
Copyright: Harmonization © 1985, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Text Information:

A prayer for God's protection from a band of confident conspirators.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st. 4 = vv. 6-7
st. 5 = vv. 8-9
st. 6 = vv. 9-10

As in many prayers of the psalms, the psalmist's enemies' chief weapon is an evil and vicious tongue. Curses, lies, threats, and plots in those days could dethrone kings more effectively than brandished spears and drawn swords. And only God could protect against the tongue's deadly arrows.

So the psalmist turns to God for safety (st. 1), identifying the enemies' tongues as their weapons–like arrows shot from ambush (st. 2)–and marking their plots and intrigue as their mode of operation (st. 3). Confident that God will shoot the conspirators with his own arrows (st. 4) and turn their tongues against them (st. 5), the psalmist proclaims that the saints (of all times) will praise and rejoice in the LORD "for his protecting care" (st. 6).

Largely unrhymed, this versification was altered from The Book of Psalms for Singing (1973).

Liturgical Use:
Expressions of confidence in God's saving power in the face of persecution or slander; expressions of solidarity with those who are persecuted.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Daniel Read (b. Rehoboth [now Attleboro], MA, 1757; d. New Haven, CT, 1836) composed WINDHAM and published it in his collection The American Singing Book (1785). The tune, named after a village and a county in Connecticut, was also pub¬ished in many shape-note books of the nineteenth century.

Originally WINDHAM was in long meter with a half note beginning each phrase; the rhythmic pattern of its first three phrases is subtly altered in the final phrase. Erik Routley (PHH 31) composed the harmony in 1982. Sing this with three beats to the bar.

Although Read was one of the most significant American composers of psalmody of his time, he had a varied career. During the Revolutionary War he served in the Governor's Guards and after the war worked in engraving, publishing, and bookselling. He also manufactured ivory combs, taught singing schools, edited hymnals, and served as a stockbroker and librarian in New Haven.

His publications include The American Singing Book (1785), which included forty-seven of his tunes, The Columbian Harmonist (1793), and The New Haven Collection of Sacred Music (1817). From 1786 to 1836 he published the American Musical Magazine, the earliest magazine of its kind.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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