I've provided the King James Version translation of the entire Psalm 12 below: > 1. {To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.} Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

  1. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

  2. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

  3. Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

  4. For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

  5. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

  6. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

  7. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

I'm particularly interested in the two times that verse 7 says them:

7Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It seems to me that verse 7 speaks about the words of God at least once, perhaps with the first instance of them, but many translations render it as speaking about people twice. To me, that seems to make no sense because verse 6 clearly speaks about the words of God. But the majority of Psalm 12 does seem to speak about people, and the context also leaves it unclear to me.

I'm certain that the definitive answer can be found in the Hebrew, but I can't read Hebrew yet. I've provided a link to the Hebrew here.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya!
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 2, 2017 at 18:07
  • Some would say that what appears to be the suffix "them" on the verb "guard" is actually an enclitic mem, and the implied object should be understood as "us". This interpretation requires a bunch of other assumption modifications about the syntax in the present context, but it could help address the premise of the question.
    – WAF
    Jan 7, 2018 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


Your verse count is off as you are combining the first two sentences into one.

The translation is Tehillim 12:8

אַתָּה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁמְרֵם תִּצְּרֶנּוּ | מִן הַדּוֹר זוּ לְעוֹלָם

You, O Lord, shall guard them; You shall guard him from this generation forever.

The them here is referring back to verse 6

Because of the plunder of the poor, because of the cry of the needy, Now I will rise, the Lord shall say; I will grant them salvation, He shall speak concerning them.

That is, the words that Hashem is saying in verse 6 are pure and true (verse 7) and therefore He will guard them (the poor).

As Rashi says

shall guard them: Those poor and needy people being pursued by this generation, who are informers.

  • A question to OP regarding "Your verse count is off as you are combining the first two sentences into one." Many of us are not familiar with the King James version. Can you verify that the verse that you cited is, in fact verse 7 in the King James version and provide some insight, maybe, into how the verses are constructed? I sense that this version is different from ours.
    – DanF
    Mar 2, 2017 at 17:30
  • @DanF Apparently the goyim either drop the first sentence (the instruction to the menagen), list it without a number, or combine it with the second verse. As an example of this see Psalm 12 KJV I looked at a number of different versions at that site and they consistently did this. Mar 2, 2017 at 17:46

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