140. Deliver Me from Evil

Text Information
First Line: Deliver me from evil
Title: Deliver Me from Evil
Reviser: Bert Witvoet (1985)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 76 76 D
Topic: Deliverance; Afflictions
Source: Psalter, 1912
Language: English
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: John Ness Beck (1977)
Meter: 76 76 D
Key: G Major
Copyright: Tune © 1977, Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission

Text Information:

A prayer for deliverance from the plots and slander of unscrupulous enemies.

Scripture References:
st. l = vv. 1-5
st. 2 = vv. 6-8
st. 3 = vv. 9-13

This prayer for deliverance recalls Psalms 58 and 64. As in those psalms, the enemies' chief weapon is the tongue, which cannot be countered with sword and shield. Only God can protect from the deadly mischief the tongue can cause. The psalmist prays for protection from those who plot against him (st. 1), asking God to foil their plans (st. 2). But the God to whom the psalmist prays is no mere bodyguard on call. He is the heavenly Ruler and Judge, who "secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy" (v. 12) and punishes wrongdoers. The psalmist asks God to sentence the plotters with the same measures they would have inflicted upon him; he declares that such justice will bring God praise among the righteous (st. 3). The versification of Psalm 140 is a 1985 revision by Bert Witvoet (PHH 4) of the text in the 1912 Psalter.

Liturgical Use:
Useful in the Christian's battle against sin and evil in public life as well as in private.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

ACCEPTANCE, by John Ness Beck (b. Warren, OH, 1930; d. Columbus, OH, 1987), was published as a four-part anthem to "Help Us Accept Each Other" (1977) by Fred Kaan (PHH 277). The tune features a consistently syncopated rhythmic pattern in each of its four lines. The unison melody should be sung with intensity. The accompaniment harmonies should not overpower–play the alto and tenor parts on a separate manual. MUNICH (279) is a more familiar alternate tune for this psalm text.

Beck attended Ohio State University, where he studied science as an undergraduate and music composition as a graduate student. He taught music theory and harmony at Ohio State and served as director of the University Music House. He was also music director of the University Baptist Church in Columbus. Cofounder and president of Beckenhorst Press, a retail sheet music publisher, Beck was also board chairperson of the John Ness Beck Foundation for choral composers and arrangers of traditional American music. He published some 120 works, most of which are anthems, hymns, and vocal solos for church use.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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