Psalm 12 Verse 7

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


Surrounding Verses

5 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.
6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.


This psalm is contrasting wicked men with the poor and oppressed.



Scripture (According to Fundamental Baptist Understanding)

This verse is commonly understood in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches to support the Doctrine of the Preservation of the written word of God.

Commentary in light of context

There are two problems to surmount in order to try to project an interpretation supportive of KJVOnlyism onto verse 7. First, you have to take verse 6 completely out of context and say that it is referring to the Bible. Second, you have to intentionally misinterpret the pronouns in verse seven to refer back to verse six rather than to the "poor" and "needy"-the real subject of the passage.

"Words" = KJV?

There is nothing in Psalm 12 to specifically indicate that the "words" are written ones. It's irrelevant to the KJVO view of preservation of scriptures.

There are descriptions throughout Psalm 12 about speech and spoken words (notice words like "lips" and "tongue") but none about written text (say like "pen" or "hand"). So even if you prefer (and it is a preference) to interpret the "them" as "words" (not the poor people) it doesn't matter in relation to the preservation of text.

Preserving What?

Much has already been written on the possible antecedent being referred to by the pronoun "them" in verse 7. See the links at the end of this article to read further, but in summary, these pronouns are most likely referring to the "poor" and "needy" from verse 5 based on a consideration of Hebrew grammatical gender.

In the interest of adding something new to the debate, I submit that these pronouns are referring to the "poor" and "needy" from verse five because this interpretation fits in perfectly when you consider the context of other verses in the Old Testament.

2 Sam 22:31 "the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him", Psalm 18:30 "the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." Prov 30:5 "every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." Notice that this thought is echoed time and again throughout the Old Testament-that God's promises are true, and that he will protect those that put their trust in him.

Considering the witness of the context of the rest of Psalm 12, and also of the rest of Scripture, it seems clear that what is being written of here is a song in which David praises God for how he sees God's promises of protection contrasted to the lying and deceitfulness of increasingly wicked men. As we always say, "let scripture interpret scripture."

Further Consideration: The Witness of Christian and Jewish Interpretation In History

More weight is given to the translation of "them" as "poor" and "needy" of verse 7 by the sheer weight of historical Christian and Jewish interpretation. Here are some quotes:

LXX — You, O Lord, shall keep US, and shall preserve US, from this generation, and forever. (Psalm 12:7 from Brenton's 1851 English translation of Greek Septuagint.)

1380 Wycliffe's — Thou, Lord, schalt kepe VS; and thou ‘schalt kepe VS fro this generacioun with outen ende. (Note: this is indicated as Psalm 11:8, translated from Vulgate). Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles were the only complete English translation and was still in circulation until the 16th century (although it had been made illegal by law to own or read).

1535 Coverdale's — Kepe the therfore (o LORDE) and preserue VS fro this generacion for euer. Coverdale's Bible was the first complete English translation to be printed (Tyndale was only a NT).

1560 Calvin's — Thou, O Jehovah! wilt keep them; Thou wilt preserve HIM from this generation for ever.

1568 Bishop's —[Wherfore] thou wylt kepe the GODLY, O God: thou wylt preserue euery one of them from this generation for euer. (Since this was the version they were revising, their change had to have been intentional.)

Therefore, a great many Christian readers had understood verse 7 to mean 'people' for many years from these Bibles.

Special thanks to Frank Monroe whose research and writing makes up much of this article.

All scripture quotations are from the KJV (unless otherwise indicated).



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