1 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
This psalm continues in the theme of a plea for righteous judgment against the unrighteous. The word “godly one” literally means one who is faithful, pious or a “saint”. It is used sparsely in the OT before Psalms (Deut 33:8; 1 Sam 2:9; 2 Sam 22:26; 2 Chron 6:41). And in the three historical uses they come within the context of praise or prayer unto God. Though this word is also used in the prophets sparsely (Jer 3:12 – of God; Mic 7:2) it is inherently a special word for the Psalms. It describes the one who will not face corruption (Psa 16:10), those who will receive mercy (Psa 18:25) and those who will not be forsaken (Psa 37:28).
Here the appeal is that the “believers” or “faithful” have ceased to be among mankind. This word in verb form marked out Abraham’s righteousness (Gen 15:6). The plea essentially is “there is none righteous” (Psa 14:1-3; 53:1-3). This is not to be taken literally since the second half of the prayer prays for the protection of the righteous (Psa 12:7-8; 14:5-7).
But how are the unrighteous defined? As those who use their mouths to lie, flatter and use double meaning with their words. Christ’s teaching on the mouth and heart reflects this (Matt 12:23; 15:18; Luke 6:45). The lips are rulers of the wicked who use them to take advantage of the righteous and persecute the godly. In his epistle, James taught this same doctrine to the church (Jam 3:1-12).